Do Truck Drivers Make Good Money?

The trucking industry is a massive, intimidating, and successful industry. But, what exactly makes truck driving an attractive endeavor? Why should you even pursue it in the first place? Well, for starters, the requirements are pretty simple. You do not need to have a college education to become one of the truck drivers. You can travel for a living and be part of a community of like-minded individuals.

In addition, you can have easy access to useful and affordable training. The training periods are also relatively short, so you can enjoy more free time.

With plenty of truck driving jobs available, more people should consider going into this industry. Aside from the good salary, you can also have an opportunity to go further in your career.

The Average Truck Drivers Salary in the United States

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of truck drivers is $45,570 with the average hourly rate at $21.80. The primary factors that determine how much they earn include their years of experience, number of miles driven, and location.

Some of the states with the highest paying truck driving jobs include Nevada, Mississippi, Kentucky, Utah, South Carolina, Arizona, New Mexico, Indiana, Idaho, and Montana. The salary you earn in Nevada can be as much as $50,920 per year.

Then again, you should not only focus on the rates. You should also consider the cost of living in the states that pay high salaries. If the salary is good but the cost of living is very high, then it may not be worth it. You should aim to have a high salary and live in a place with a low cost of living.

With this being said, you should probably avoid the following states if you want to have a good career as a truck driver: Connecticut, Virginia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Wyoming, California, New York, South Dakota, and Washington DC.

In North America, however, truck drivers do not usually receive a salary. Instead, they receive earnings that are structured around a mileage rate. They get paid extra for deliveries, freight pickups, maintenance bonuses, safety bonuses, border crossings, and waiting or delay time.

The Different Factors that Influence Truck Drivers Salary

In general, the following factors determine how much money a truck driver can earn:

  1. Trucking Type
    This can be local trucking, team driving, dedicated runs, LTL freight, short haul, or over the road (OTR).
  2. Trucking Niche
    This can be general freight, tanker work, car haulers, oversized loads, flatbeds, temperature-controlled freights, ice road trucking, and heavy haul.
  3. Trucking Company
    The salaries that companies pay tend to vary.
  4. Work Experience
    The longer you have worked as a truck driver, the higher the salary you can receive.
  5. Location
    Every state in the United States has a certain average pay rate. The salaries can also vary from one city to another.

Mileage Pay Plus Extras

This is the most common way to calculate truck driver salary. It is usually set by the company that the driver works for. Such companies tend to use a variety of mileage software programs for their computations.

Practical Miles
It refers to the shortest number of miles necessary to reach a destination.
Shortest Miles
It refers to the shortest route that a truck driver can take to reach his destination. It is often beneficial to the company because it can save them money. However, it also tends to be detrimental to the driver if he is not able to follow the shortest route because of certain restrictions.
Hub Miles
It refers to the pre-determined miles between two terminals. Only a few companies pay hub miles because it tends to cost a lot of money.

Aside from mileage pay, such companies may also pay for every pickup and drop along the route of the driver. They may also pay the driver for delay time.

An Hourly Wage

This is the most preferred way of drivers in the trucking industry. It comes with a lot of benefits.

For instance, it offers security. When you know how much money you are going to earn for the week, you can have peace of mind. You will be able to budget your money better for your necessities.

Also, it provides consistency. It does not matter what the weather outside is like. You get to earn the same amount of money per day. Your company might even give you a raise.

Even better, you can lower your stress levels and reduce your risk of getting into a road accident since you do not have to rush to your destination.

Getting short paid by your company is also less likely since your electronic logging device (ELD) would accurately record how many hours you have worked. This method is also easier to track for you and your company.

How do Truck Drivers Earn Well

If you really want to become a truck driver, you should go for small- to medium-sized trucking companies since they tend to have better rates. You can also consider non-advertising carriers.

Do not forget to inquire about the benefit packages. Study its cost-effectiveness. Make sure that it is not overpriced if you have to pay for its entirety or a part of it.

Find out about your net earnings. Determine how much money you would get after income tax, unemployment insurance, pension, and health benefit costs have been deducted from your earnings.

With the right skills and attitude, truck driving can be lucrative for you. You can have job security, as well as enjoy paid holidays and vacations. You can also earn more money over time.