Truck Driver Pay: From Rags to Riches

Truck Driver Pay: From Rags to Riches

The reason you work so hard as a truck driver is to take home that serious scratch, the cheddar, the bones, you know…the dead presidents in our pockets—MONEY. But how much money can you actually make behind the wheel? The answer isn’t always simple. Truck driver pay depends on where you’re working, how much experience you have, and which company you’re hauling for. A lot of us may recall advertisements showcasing the earning potential of $100,000 a year, but is this realistic for truck driver pay? Let’s find out!

What is the Average Annual Income for Truck Driver Pay?

So, when all things are considered, the average salary for truck drivers is $50,909 (as of June 2021.) However, that doesn’t take into account drivers who might not work full-time or compare the differences between independent drivers and company drivers. Therefore, the scale generally ranges from an annual income as low as $21,500 up to $82,000 according to ZipRecruiter.com.

Truck Driver Pay

Truck driver pay is unique because drivers are not usually paid an hourly wage. Instead, compensation is based on cents per mile (CPM). For company drivers, your CPM rate depends on the size of your company. Small companies usually dish out $0.35-$0.50 CPM, while larger companies range between $0.23-$0.60 CPM. If you’re a seasoned driver, you can earn more based on your experience. So, once you get some experience under your belt, you’ll have the negotiating power to demand a higher truck driver pay. The benefits of getting paid by the mile are high for those that have open roads and a lead foot. However, earning by mile might not always pay if there’s certain days where traffic or road conditions are unfavorable.

If you prefer a job with a more consistent stream of income, then consider searching for a salaried position. Salaries offer the stability of a contract, that doesn’t depend on the number of miles you drive or hours you work. Hourly pay is an option, but is less common than CPM and salary work. The perk is being able to anticipate how much pay you’ll bring home based on the number of hours you’re going to work. If you’re being paid hourly expect more stops and lots of loading and unloading.

Check out the average truck driver pay based on the type of job.

  • Class A: $49,000
  • CDL Driver: $46,000
  • Truck Driver Run OTR: $62,000
  • OTR CDL Truck Driver: $57,500
  • Dump Truck Driver: $39,000
  • CDL Truck Driver: $51,500
  • Tank Truck Driver: $59,500
  • Bulk Truck Driver: $52,000
  • Semi-Truck Driver: $49,000
  • Tow Truck Driver: $35,000
  • Commercial Truck Driver: $50,000
  • Route Truck Driver: $37,500
truck driver pay

How to Bring Home 6 Figures as a Truck Driver

So, you’ve entered the trucking industry with the intention of earning six figures. But how do you earn the big bucks? Well, typically earning that much in the profession is pretty uncommon. However, it’s not impossible. You just have to be willing to go the extra mile, literally and figuratively.

Someone once told me that there’s two ways to earn a lot of money. First, you can do a job that no one else wants to do. Second, you can do a job that no one else can do. So, in the realm of truck driving, here’s a couple of ways you can up your truck driver pay and earn over $100k annually:

  • Ice Road Trucking: Most of us have seen or at least heard of the TV show Ice Road Truckers. If you haven’t, it’s a show that profiles drivers that are brave and skilled enough to drive the icy routes north of the Arctic Circle. It’s made its way onto reality television for a reason…it’s downright dangerous and requires a skilled truck driver who understands the risks they’re taking on before starting. The payoff is large though, up to $250,000!
  • Hazmat Endorsement: You can earn extra when transporting hazardous material – anything that is flammable, poisonous, explosive, or otherwise deemed dangerous. Getting certified to transport this type of material will definitely pay off, with salaries ranging from $55,167 to $71,637.
  • Tanker endorsement: Getting your tanker endorsement qualifies you to transport trucks that are holding liquid, which will earn you a few extra dollars of pay! Typical truck driver pay for this category averages around $71,461 per year.
  • Oversized loads: Transporting oversized loads requires a skilled driver with proper experience. Therefore, this risky and challenging job comes higher compensation, about $55,289 per year.

Where Does This Leave You?

So, what’s the takeaway? Well, although it’s not just a fairytale that there are actually some drivers who can pull in a 6-figure salary, it’s probably not the most common occurrence. The jobs with higher truck driver pay come with a significant amount of risk and danger. But that doesn’t mean truck driving isn’t an honest job with pretty good pay. The easiest way to move up financially in the trucking industry is to put in your time because it pays to be experienced.

What are your thoughts on truck driver pay? How much have you made as a truck driver? We’d love to hear about your experiences and pay in the comments!

Author: Hit The Road Jack

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44 Comments

  1. Drivers in warzones are typically not taxed on their income. So that 100k is more like $140k plus you have very little expenses living in the warzones. Hauling Hazardous waste in the U.S. can offer $85 to 110k jobs. But there’s a lot of training involved.

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    • How would one apply for the job to truck drive in war zones

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    • What type of training??

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    • I’ve been driving for 33 years and have made over 100,000 for the past 12 years its not hard but you need to work for a private fleet ie Air Liquide, Praix Air, Air Products, Dow Chemical, there are several private fleets looking for drivers and they pay well. I am working for a chemical company now we only have 7 drivers but pay $32 per hour 60 to 70 hours a week. not much off time but great pay

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      • How and where do you apply?

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    • Thats misleading. You still have to pay taxes if you’re working for a US Company. Foreign Earned Income only applies to Foreign companies. DynCorp International (A US Private Contracting Firm based in Texas) got into big trouble when they created the DIFZ (DynCorp Internation Free Zone) in Dubai and reported that they were now a foreign company; didn’t work though. They had to pay back over $1B in taxes because the money paid to them was US Taxpayer money. So- get a tax advisor. I was a contractor for 3 years and made $183k a year, but my take home was about $120k AFTER taxes that I had to pay uncle same. Many chose not to file at all.. and that’s a risk some take.

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  2. This confuses me my uncle drives and earns 15,000 a month for he does all year and we’ll that’s well above 140k

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    • That confusses me, what does he do for that kind of money? I drove more than 24 years never made near that kind of money. Is he hauling extreme heavy or something like that?

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    • what does he carry what company give us some detail

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    • really,, what type of truck he drives and in which company

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  3. I drove for two years before landing a job with a big box retailer. I’ve made 100k the last 5 years. Keep your record clean, those jobs are out there.

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  4. @MARK 15,000 per Month ? What Exactly Does Your Uncle Do

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    • Drives for the Escobar drug cartel.

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    • He’s probably a owner operator to make $15K a month

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  5. My husband started leasing from xpo logistic when he first started out which brought home 65,000 a year . Then when he owned his truck we put everything in storage . So we had no rent to pay , no car payment , no other bills besides our phone , and taking care of the truck . We haul in the southern states and now bring home 145 a year .

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    • How much where u guys paying for truck note insurance I’m much is the truck in all for lease an how Mony years did it take to pay off the truck

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  6. I hope to meet a serious trucker ready for a serious relationship
    Am sandy
    5514446864

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    • Sandy- gold digging huh? Lol

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      • HaHa I guess, Digging in the sandy beaches didn’t work out. Next step OTR long haul trucker checks. 😂😆🤗😎🙏

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  7. Depending on the freight company you can make good money working as a dock worker. I make $22/hr and put in about 43 hours a week. My pay hovers between $900-$950 a week.

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  8. $22 an hour is sh!t pay. May have been good in 1985, but its 2017…going into 2018. 52 weeks in a year $900-950 isnt even 50k dummy. The topic is 6 figures..100k or above. Not humping labor 85-90 hrs a week to make 100k.

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  9. Yes, of course, the salary of truck drivers depends on where they are working, how much experience they have, and which company they are hauling for. There are few portals like yourmilesapp.com where you can earn up to $40- $50 per hour by driving a truck.

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  10. Ltl is where good money is made in trucking.you need to stick with it to be able to have a good paying run miles is what makes money. I have made six figure for 9years been with same company for 28 years

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  11. I’ve been a truck driver for 8 month and make $10k per month

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    • Which company are you with ?

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  12. They are not paying enough. Owner operators were making 100k over 30 years ago. Looks to me that the industry micromanaged the truckers to the point that the job simply does not attract at the offered compensation. I would drive a truck and be very dedicated as I am about everything i commit to. However, I require 200k take home for that job, no exceptions. I think this is more folly anyway. This older blog seems to indicate I am right. https://www.indeed.com/forum/job/truck-driver/have-cdl-license-class-but-no-experience/t316252

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  13. I got hired by an LTL company as a team driver right out of school, my first year i made $94,000. I was at the bottom pay scale and made 94k. LTL is the way to go to make good money.

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  14. Why doesn’t anyone that says they make all this money have a flat answer when asked where or what and so on come on people are we still in high school stop bragging in the dark and be helpful or shut up some of us are just looking for a way to to take care of a family

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  15. Please, name the company and how much you make..gross, then net.

    Vague generalities does no good for anyone.

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    • This info is out of date. I work at old dominion freight. As a line driver I’m home daily. And make about 120k a yr

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      • Well that’s awesome! How long have you been a truck driver?

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    • Meyer logistics: first year.. gross 3700 every two weeks. Net 2800.

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  16. I work for Fed Ex Freight. I drive a set route that is 520 miles round trip. I’m home in my bed every night and I bring home 100K a year.

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  17. Plenty of trucking jobs that pay 100k plus in North Dakota if you are willing to deal with the harsh winters and the hazards.

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  18. Good that you shared such a good article that most of were unaware of. I do agree that the job of a Truck driver is money-making but along this, we should not discard with the fact that they have to sacrifice a lot whether it’s a function to attend, time to family, time to relax. Most of the company wants 24/7 work by day leave it two. If you are ready with it then you can make a lot of money. But guide me ‘What skills are required to grab a job of truck driver in a good company?
    Thanks for your post…

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