Best States for Truck Drivers [Best Pay, Insurance, and Starting a Company]
While there are a few people that drive a truck just because they love to be on the road for long hauls, most people do it because it’s where the money is, and it’s their career. If money matters to you, then it’s important to know where to find the best pay, insurance, and location is—whether you’re just a driver or looking to start a trucking company.
When it comes to trucking, where you live can play a major role in how much you get paid. The difference between state lines can be over $50,000 in annual pay. What state pays truck drivers the most?
The best state for truck drivers is Nebraska. With an average salary for drivers of $91,000, Nebraska is the highest paying state. Not only does Nebraska pay well, but it also has a good amount of jobs available for drivers. Some of the other best trucking states include New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Iowa, and Oklahoma.
The worst state for pay is Arizona. The average pay for drivers in Arizona is $35,156.
Location plays a role, but what is even more important is the type of jobs you fill. The two biggest factors to determine pay rates are the experience of drivers, and the risk of the job. Specialty drivers, long haul drivers, and over-the-road drivers make the most money.
Specialty drivers are drivers that haul oversized loads, specialty products, or hazmat materials. These require additional certifications on your license, which requires additional training and testing. Because you are working in more dangerous conditions or hauling sensitive materials, you are able to charge more.
One of the highest-paying over-the-road companies to work for is Walmart. They pay an average salary of $85,092 before bonuses. The only downside to driving for Walmart is that they require experienced drivers to drive for them. They want safe, experienced, and trustworthy drivers. If you do not have a minimum of three years experience with a clean driving history, then they will not hire you.
Insurance is a necessary cost of being a trucker. Everyone has to have it, and it’s there to protect you in case of an emergency.
While it is necessary in every state to have insurance, the amount and cost of insurance can change drastically depending on where you live. Because of state laws, the rates of insurance can be drastically lower or higher.
The cheapest state for commercial truck insurance is Mississippi. In some instances, Mississippi’s rates are four times less than other states. For example, an estimated cost of insurance in Mississippi is $4,664, while in Georgia it would cost $20,641.
Being an owner-operator makes you a small business owner, and with that, you have additional fees, taxes, and laws that you have to follow. In addition to that, you have to consider the local economy. While it might be cheaper to make a trucking company in one state over the other, there might be fewer trucking jobs, which means that you’ll be making less money overall.
Oklahoma is the best state to start a trucking company as an owner-operator. Oklahoma is in the center of the United States, which allows you to work both east and west coast jobs. In addition, Oklahoma has low fuel costs due to it being an oil-rich state, which can reduce your overhead costs and make trucking more cost-efficient. The final reason that Oklahoma is a good state to start a trucking company is because there is rarely gridlock or heavy traffic. With Oklahoma, you get wide-open roads and quick travel, which is essential for trucking.
Some of the other best states for owner-operators are Tennessee and Texas, for many of the same reasons that Oklahoma is a good state to start a trucking company.
To find out more about the jobs that are available and more insights about the trucking industry, join CDL by making a driver profile today.