truck driver salary

Truck Driver Salary: How Much Can You Make as a Driver?

When there’s a job available that doesn’t require a degree but still pays well, you can expect people will join in. Well, there’s a reason why truckers are the most common profession in 29 states in the US.

However, you may be wondering whether or not the job is really as lucrative as they say. Well, let’s talk about the average truck driver salary and how much you can expect to make.

Truck Driver Pay Structure

Very briefly, we should break down how truck drivers are normally paid before discussing the numbers so you can get a better sense of how much you can expect. These are the most common pay structures for truck drivers.

Salary/Hourly

You’re probably familiar with these terms from most other jobs, so we’ll spare you the details. However, it’s unlikely that a long-haul truck driver would be paid by the hour. This is because they will need to take breaks in order to rest and recover from a long day of driving.

However, an hourly rate might make sense for a short-haul driver who works a back and forth route 4 or 5 days a week, leaving break times to a minimum.

A salary could be used for any type of trucker. Whether you’re a flatbed driver, tanker, or anything else, a salary might make sense if you’re expected to perform fairly regular hauls.

Per Mile

Being paid per mile is very common for long-haul drivers. Let’s say you’re being paid 40 cents per mile and you drive 3,000 miles in a week. That would earn you a weekly total of $1,200 or $60,000 a year.

The benefit of this is knowing exactly how much money you will make before you start a trip. It helps the miles go by faster. If you know that your trip is going to be 2,000 miles before you start, then you’ll know how much to expect in your paycheck the next week.

The only issue for this is when drivers experience high amounts of traffic, as their hourly rate will be affected beyond their control. However, on routes that involve a lot of country driving, being paid by the mile can be extremely lucrative. Speak to your potential employer about your desired pay structure before making any decisions.

How Long are the Routes?

For long-haul, over-the-road truckers, you could expect to be gone for up to 3 to 6 weeks at a lime, most often being paid per mile. Those miles add up quickly on those trips!

Truck Driver Salary

Bear in mind that, as with any profession, salaries will change dramatically from region to region within the US. If you and your company are based in Washington state, you will likely be earning more than a truck driver with similar experience in Mississippi.

Be sure to look into the job postings in your area to see data that is more relevant to you. However, here are the averages across the country.

Average Long-Haul Salary

Long-haul truck drivers are typically paid per mile, but that varies. These are the drivers who drive from Boston to Los Angelos or Baton Rouge to Ann Arbor.

Either way, the average long-haul truck driver is between 28 and 40 cents per mile or a salary of $64,000. The range could be anywhere between $45,000 and $80,000 for most companies, with the ability to make more later in your career.

Now, those numbers certainly have room to increase with the more experience or credentials that you have. If you drive specialty tankers or flatbeds, you should expect to be paid more. Many truckers earn more than 50 or even 60 cents per mile.

At Kaiser Transport, drivers can easily expect to make over $100,000. 

Regardless of whether you are being paid by the mile or by the hour, you can expect to make a decent living from long-haul truck driving. Long-haul drivers are in demand and there is a shortage, so joining sooner rather than later will likely give you the highest reward.

Keep in mind that these averages are across the country, where the average salary for all jobs in the US is around $34,000, making truck driving an excellent and lucrative career path for those without a college degree. 

How Much Experience Do You Need?

The good news is that in certain cases, all you need is a CDL and a year of experience to start earning 6 figures. The most valuable experience to have in the industry is with flatbeds!

Most short-haul drivers, the ones who drive back and forth within one day will only expect an average salary of around $53,000, or around $25 an hour, making long-haul driving a no-brainer.

The great news about these jobs is that they are still plentiful and anybody with the right experience can get into them now. If you have a CDL and some experience, all you have to do is apply for a job and start earning big!

Get A Move On!

Now that you know the average truck driver salary across the country and what to expect, you can now make an informed decision as to whether or not it’s right for you. Well, stay up to date with our latest trucking news and if you’re interested in a driving position, and feel free to reach out with any questions!

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