Paid to Drive – Are Truck Drivers Well Paid?

Most of the truck drivers typically get paid based on a rate per mile they traveled, not how long they work in a day, unlike other jobs. This is better than those who are being paid per hour. The rate of course also depends on the years of experience, the company they are driving for, and the location where they drive. This the reason why most of the truck drivers are earning above-average wages.

Due to limited quality truck drivers, truck drivers with Class A license are very in demand right now. The current shortage of truck drivers also helps them demand a higher rate. Some companies are paying their truck drivers higher than other companies offer. Some are also giving bonuses.

Salary rate for different types of truck driving careers

  • An average of $45,000 in the starting year. This salary rate is common for a Solo OTR (Over the Road) Truck Driver. This is the most common type of driver. Aside from the salary, most haulers are giving bonuses to the deserving driver. That is why it is also important to choose your hauler.
  • An average of $100,000 up to $150,000 yearly. Team OTR Truck Drivers are drivers that are driving together as a team. Some prefer this because they can earn a bigger salary. Since there are two drivers in a team, they can travel more miles in total. While one driver is resting, the other is driving. Drivers can divide the salary they earned.
  • An average of $45,000 up to $65,000 a year. This salary rate is typical to truck drivers who are driving for a single company like Home Depot or Walmart. They are called dedicated drivers. They are transporting the company’s products or materials in a specified route. These drivers have a lesser working hour and more free time compared to others. This makes them earn a lesser salary.
  • An average of $60,000 to $80,000 yearly. This salary rate is for trainers. Some tenure truck drivers can be promoted to be a truck driver trainer. They can share their experience and knowledge they learned from the years they spent on the road to new truck drivers. Most carriers are requiring new drivers to drive with a trainer for a certain period until they get familiar going solo.
  • Weekly $450-$525 training rate. New drivers are also get paid during their training period. Carriers are setting a period for the training and orientation of their new drivers. After they passed the training, they will then get a per-mile rate like other truck drivers. Some carriers are also offering a sign-on bonus to invite new drivers to choose their company. The sign-on bonus is often given once as whole or gradual payments.
  • Over $100,000 a year. This is the potential income of an owner-operator. Some business owners want to run their business without hiring a truck driver. They have a high per-mile rate because there is no more middle man between the company and the driver. Some experienced truck drivers are considering to become an owner-operator. In the long run, they can eventually have their group of truck drivers working for them.

Bonuses paid to the driver

  • Target monthly mileage. Aside from the salary rates computed for each type of driver, carriers are also giving bonuses to a deserving truck driver. Some companies are setting up target mileage per month for their drivers. Truck drivers who reached the monthly mileage set by their company will receive extra payment.
  • Fuel saver. A truck driver who knows how to conserve fuel is also rewarded. There are many tactics and techniques that drivers can do to save fuel. Carriers appreciate drivers that are aware of cutting down their fuel expenses.
  • Inconvenience pay. Drivers who experienced inconvenience on the road while delivering their materials or goods receive a layover pay. Carriers are aware of the time the driver lost when got stuck in the delivery process.
  • Accident-free bonus. Truck drivers who did not have any accidents on the road receive a bonus from their carrier. Drivers who drive carefully helps in having a smooth business. It is important to businessmen. A clean Department of Transportation (DOT) record is good for both the company and the driver. Clean inspections for truck drivers are also considered by carriers in giving bonuses.
  • Referral bonus. Due to the high demand for quality and responsible truck drivers, carriers are ready in giving referral bonuses to employees who can recommend a Class A truck driver.

Benefits of a truck driver

There are benefits that carriers offer to their truck drivers especially to those who are Class A CDL or Commercial Driver’s License holder. This is apart from the medical, dental, and life insurance that are common benefits.

  • Paid leave. In a truck driving business, paid vacation and sick leave are also offered. Like other jobs, truck drivers also need time to rest and unwind from work. They also need time to recover from sickness.
  • Job security. It is the best benefit that a truck driver can receive. The high demand for truck drivers is projected to continue increasing throughout the years to come. That is the reason why job security is very important.
  • Insurance. Carriers are offering life, medical, and dental insurance to their drivers.
  • Drive as a team. Carriers allow friends to drive together. This can make them accept more hours and longer drive. This will give them a higher salary.

For those who are planning to start their career as a truck driver, it is better to pass your CDL exam first. Get a certification from pieces of training and seminar. Truck driving is not an easy job, but this industry has been increasing demand in the country. The job requires long hours on the road, sometimes more than a typical office hour a day.

There is an additional payment for truck drivers that are transporting hazardous materials and oversized loads. The condition of the route, the road, the weather, and traveling into isolated routed also pay higher. The higher the risk that comes with the work, the higher you will be compensated. But this kind of work is often offered only to experienced truck drivers. If you love driving and traveling while earning, this is the right job for you.