How much do truck drivers make? For those aspiring to be a truck driver, this is a common question. There is a need for you to know this fact, so you know if it is worth it or not. This is true because everyone goes into any business of any sort to make a profit. As you read through, we will be showing you how much truck drivers make.
How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?
According to estimates from Indeed (remember, these figures are approximate and subject to variation from week to week or month to month), the typical salary breakdown for a truck driver in the United States, taking into account the 11-hour driving limit, is as follows:
1. Hourly wage: $28.05
2. Daily earnings: $320
3. Weekly income: $1,544
4. Monthly salary: $5,780
5. Annual earnings: $84,377
Additional perks and bonuses may be applicable, depending on internal company policies or external factors such as adverse weather conditions or fluctuations in the economy, increased demand due to supply chain challenges, and so on.
While there are individuals who argue that truck drivers receive uniform pay throughout the United States, the truth is that a truck driver’s income is influenced by a range of internal and external factors.
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What Affects the Salary of a Truck Driver?
To begin with, a truck driver’s location plays a role in determining their income. As a general guideline, companies located in the Western and Southern regions tend to offer lower salaries compared to those in other parts of the country.
However, when it comes to over-the-road (OTR) carriers, which involve long-haul trucking, the difference in wages is relatively small, regardless of the state in which they operate or are based.
The routes a driver takes also have a direct impact on their earnings. Typically, there’s a variation in pay based on whether a driver is engaged in local, regional, or OTR routes.
OTR drivers earn more than regional drivers because they spend extended periods away from home.
Similarly, regional drivers earn more than local drivers since regional drivers often return home on a weekly basis, while local route drivers come home daily.
In addition to location and routes, the type of trailer being hauled affects a driver’s compensation. For instance, dry van drivers generally earn less than reefer truckers, who, in turn, earn less than flatbed drivers.
Another significant factor is a driver’s experience; those with limited or no expertise typically earn less than their more seasoned counterparts.
This discrepancy partly arises from the higher insurance costs that carriers incur when employing inexperienced drivers.
Furthermore, the size of the company has an impact on a driver’s earnings. If you work for a small company, your wages might be higher compared to drivers at larger, well-known companies.
This is because smaller companies can swiftly adjust their driver pay in response to market conditions.
However, there may be potential drawbacks to balancing this advantage: larger carriers can provide the stability of a consistent workload and an experienced management team, which smaller, more independent carriers may struggle to match.
What are the Best States for Truck Drivers?
Seek Capital, a financial services firm renowned for assisting over 500 companies in their business establishment and growth, compiled the following dataset and chart tailored specifically for the trucking industry.
This chart has subsequently been adopted and shared by other websites focused on trucker compensation as a point of reference for understanding state-level wages in comparison to professions outside of trucking.
It’s important to note that this data is from 2019, predating the pandemic, and trucker salaries, like other economic factors, fluctuate.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that, largely due to the pandemic, the demand for skilled truckers has reached unprecedented levels, resulting in improved compensation for them.
The information provided highlights the top states for truck drivers in terms of their annual income and earnings per mile (CPM) when contrasted with the average income of individuals in non-trucking occupations within the same states.
To put it differently, earning $50,000 annually in Nevada represents a 20% increase compared to the average income in non-trucking professions in that state.
Conversely, that same $50,000 is 25% lower than the average per capita income in Connecticut. (The annual income data is sourced from Seek Capital, while the cents per mile statistics are estimated by Indeed.)
|CPM (for up to 3000
miles per week)
|Difference from the
state average earning
|46 – 51
|40 – 56
|39 – 54
|40 – 55
|43 – 60
|42 – 52
|38 – 52
|44 – 64
|41 – 59
Salary of a Truck Driver by Trailer Type
Various kinds of trucks and trailers are employed in the realm of commercial trucking.
While truck specifications often prioritize performance, the distinctions among trailer types are primarily determined by the specific needs of their intended applications.
For instance, certain trailers are designed for transporting consumer goods and agricultural products, while others are tailored for specialized cargo such as hazardous chemicals and mineral resources.
Consequently, certain truckers are required to obtain specialized endorsements in order to transport these particular loads.
Bearing this in mind, the income of truck drivers varies depending on the following factors:
1. Hazmat and Tanker (X Endorsement)
The “X” endorsement, alternatively known as the Tanker/Hazmat Combo endorsement, grants you permission to drive tankers and other vehicles transporting hazardous materials upon successfully completing the required knowledge assessment.
These drivers handle dangerous materials, which translates to an earnings range of $0.60 to $0.85 per mile. Their annual income typically falls within the bracket of $68,750 to $106,250.
2. Flatbed Truck Driver Salary
The typical annual income for flatbed truck drivers falls in the range of $80,000 to $90,000. On a national scale, the average per-mile salary varies from $0.50 to $0.60, resulting in weekly earnings of approximately $1,250 to $1,500.
However, it’s important to note that many companies provide additional bonus payments for tasks such as tarping, which can add $200 to $350 to your weekly earnings.
If you’re interested in exploring the advantages and disadvantages of flatbed trucking further, we recommend checking out our dedicated article on the subject.
3. Requiring Special Endorsement
A special endorsement refers to an extension of your standard commercial driver’s license (CDL), granting you the authority to transport specialized cargo and consequently, increase your earnings.
For instance, consider truck drivers responsible for transporting nuclear waste from production facilities to disposal sites; these drivers necessitate special endorsements, which also result in higher compensation for their services.
If you’ve ever wondered about the earnings of hazmat truck drivers who undertake the risk of transporting hazardous materials, this section is tailored to address your inquiry.
4. Hazmat Trucks (H Endorsement)
The expenses associated with hazmat driving vary from $0.60 to $0.80 per mile.
When it comes to the annual income of hazmat truckers, they can earn anywhere from $68,750 to $100,000 per year, contingent upon the number of hours they work each week.
Furthermore, to operate these trucks, you must possess a HazMat endorsement issued by the TSA, which, in turn, contributes to a more lucrative salary.
5. Doubles/Triples (T Endorsement)
Obtaining this endorsement enables you to operate a vehicle with more than one trailer attached, commonly known as “long-combination vehicles” or LCVs. Similarly, this qualification may be referred to as an LCV endorsement.
The typical annual salary range for double-trailer truck drivers falls between $62,500 and $93,750, with a cost per mile (CPM) ranging from 50 to 75.
To acquire a T endorsement, you must successfully complete an additional written knowledge test, which covers critical aspects such as preventing rollovers with two or three trailers and mastering the correct coupling and decoupling procedures for trailers.
Obtaining this endorsement also opens up opportunities for increasing your earnings.
6. Tankers (N Endorsement)
Tank vehicles are specifically constructed for the secure transportation of liquid or liquefied gaseous substances.
An N endorsement grants you the authority to operate a vehicle equipped with either a permanent or temporary tank.
Drivers in this particular category require a CDL certification distinct from the standard hazmat endorsement.
For those drivers who cover more than 2,500 miles per week at a rate of 60 to 85 cents per mile (CPM), the typical annual income for a tanker truck driver ranges from $75,000 to $106,250.
7. Dry Van Driver Salary
Dry van truck drivers typically earn an annual salary ranging from $60,000 to $65,000, translating to weekly earnings of approximately $1,200 to $1,300.
On a per-mile basis, the average salary for dry van drivers falls between 48 and 52 cents per mile, with daily costs averaging around $250 to $270.
8. Refrigerated Truck Driver Salary
Refrigerated truck (reefer) drivers are responsible for transporting perishable goods across state lines.
The typical annual salary for reefer truck drivers hovers at approximately $65,000. On a weekly basis, these drivers can earn about $1,300 by driving at a rate of 52 cents per mile.
9. Oversized Load Truck Driver Salary
If you transport heavy-duty equipment cross-country, you can expect an average annual oversized load truck driver salary of $118,750, which translates to about $2,375 per week or $0.95 per mile.
External Factors Affecting Salary
The typical income for a CDL A driver frequently varies within an expected range. We’ve delved into the primary factors influencing the earnings of all truck drivers.
Nonetheless, there are external factors that can impact the overall compensation, including the following:
1. Weighing the Load
In larger companies, weighing operations are typically managed by agents and supervisors.
However, when collaborating with a smaller carrier, it’s common for you to be responsible for verifying the load both before departure and upon arrival, which reduces the total time available for transporting freight.
2. Border Crossing
For drivers who are compensated on an hourly basis, the time spent waiting at border crossings or during customs inspections increases the overall expenses for each assignment.
While certain companies may include extra charges to address these border-related delays, these additional fees often fall short of adequately compensating for the time that is lost.
Trucks typically have a 14-hour window for interstate travel. However, in regions such as California and New York, drivers frequently find themselves stuck in traffic congestion for durations exceeding the originally projected delivery time.
4. Safety Checks
Before embarking on your journey, it’s crucial to perform safety assessments (referred to as pre-trip inspections) to verify the condition of the cargo.
These regular examinations hold particular significance for hazmat and tanker trucks, given the potential consequences of any unforeseen incidents.
Moreover, these checks should be carried out following any unexpected road events like skidding, collisions, or accidents.
5. DOT Inspections
DOT inspectors may occasionally be required to examine your cargo both before departure and upon arrival.
These inspections commonly involve re-evaluating the weight of the shipment to confirm its alignment with the information provided in the manifest.
6. Unloading and Loading
During the time spent waiting for the customer to load or unload, you’ll be accumulating hours but not necessarily earnings.
This can have an impact on your overall financial results, as it represents time away from home or potential income while actively driving.
If your truck encounters a problem necessitating repairs, you may need to pause for maintenance. If you promptly notify the manager about the incident, you may be eligible for additional compensation in such instances.
Unforeseen situations can also have notable effects on the income you receive for each operation.
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Selecting the right trucking company can pose a challenge, especially for newcomers to the trucking industry.
Before making a decision about which carrier to join, it’s essential to thoroughly assess the benefits they provide and the level of support they offer their drivers.
Utilize this information to make an informed choice, reducing uncertainties and maximizing your earnings.
If you’re looking to work with a company that prioritizes the overall health and well-being of its drivers, HMD Trucking is the ideal choice for you.
Our personalized approach to trucking sets us apart and makes us the preferred destination for drivers with a minimum of 6 months of CDL A experience. Apply with us today to embark on your trucking journey.