Why Trucking

How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?


If you’re thinking about getting your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you’ve probably wondered “How much do truck drivers make?”

A recent compensation study by the American Trucking Association found that truck drivers average $69,000/year with private fleet drivers earning upwards of $85,000/year.*

How much money truck drivers make per year depends on the following factors.
How truck drivers are paid?
The type of driving they do?
The company they work for?

How are Truck Drivers Paid?

Truck drivers are paid for the miles they drive. Unlike most jobs that pay by salary or hourly rate. Each trucking company has an established compensation scale that increases with experience. Truck driver pay per mile continues to increase with the demand for truck drivers. CDL graduates can expect to earn between $0.30 and $.40 per mile. Most truck drivers are paid by the mile. They generally make more money per year than hourly or salary paid drivers.

On average, an over the road (OTR) CDL driver will travel 2,000 to 3,000 miles per week depending on the type of driving the do.  In our experience, CDL truck drivers can easily make $1,200 a week.

However, truck drivers can earn more based on the company the drive for, their location, the type of trailer/freight they haul and the additional endorsements they have.

Next, let’s look at how the type of trailer/freight hauled can effect average trucker salary.

What Is the Highest Paid Truck Driving Job?

From food and medicine to fuel and building materials; truck drivers haul it. Different types of loads require special skills from the truck driver. The more training required for the job or special certifications needed, typically the higher the pay. For example, a driver hauling fuel in a tanker trailer is required to obtain tanker and hazmat endorsements. These additional endorsements greatly increase their pay. One of the highest-paid driving jobs is tanker driver.

Below are the most profitable CDL driving job types as outlined by Freightwaves.com

1. Ice Road Trucking – $30,000 to $40,000 in just 3 month
2. Hazmat Tanker Driver – $120,000/year
3. Specialized/Oversized – $150,000/year
4. Luxury Car Hauling – $120,000/year
5. Team driver – $100,000/year
6. Owner-Operator – $200,000/year
7. Private Fleet Driver – $90,000 to $100,000/year

We all can’t be ice road truckers and many of the high paying CDL driving jobs listed above require several years of successful professional driving experience. The best way for new CDL drivers to increase their pay is to be safe and productive, which will earn them bonuses.

How To Increase Truck Driver Pay?

Most transportation companies will reward safe and productive drivers by offering bonuses. If drivers meet certain criteria in their job, they can earn additional cents per mile or a one-time bonus. Drivers can earn bonuses for the following:

Safety – Companies prioritize safety and reward safe drivers with bonuses paid out in the form of a monthly bonuses or additional cents per mile.
Fuel Efficiency – Fuel is one of the largest expenses a trucking company has. Truck drivers can reduce fuel usage based on how they operate their truck. Many companies pay bonus incentives for meeting fuel usage goals.
Clean DOT Inspection – When a drivers gets a clean inspection from the Department of Transportation they may receive a bonus.
Layover Pay – There are often delays in the delivery process. Pay is based on time lost. Each company will have a layover policy that outlines when layover time begins and ends.
Stop pay – Drivers may be paid for each additional stop to the final destination. This can add up quickly if you make several stops each day.
Referral Bonus – Companies know their current drivers are the best recruiters. They will pay a set bonus for each referral once hired.

Do Truck Drivers Have Benefits Packages?

In addition, truck drivers receive comprehensive benefits packages. Truck driver pay can often be very similar, but it is the benefits package that will set a company apart. Comparing the truck driver benefits at each company is a great way to help determine the best overall job. A few of the most common truck driver benefits include:

  • 401(k) Retirement Plans
  • Medical and Dental Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Vacation and Sick Time
  • Pet Policy
  • Passenger Program

Get Started

As you can see there are numerous opportunities to earn high pay as a truck driver. You can get your commercial driver’s license in 3-4 weeks through one of our network schools. There are numerous CDL tuition assistance programs, including grants to help fun your education. To learn more about our CDL classes and getting your commercial driver’s license apply online now. or call a career specialist.

*Pay information based on ATA Compensation Study

**Driver demand based on ATA report


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