How Much Do Truckers Make [Employment & Earning Stats]
One of the perks of becoming a truck driver is that you can make a good salary without years and years of additional schooling or degrees. How much do truckers get paid? The answers can vary a lot depending on the type of driving you do and who you choose to work for. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates average truck driver pay to be $43,680 annually. However, there are many trucking jobs that pay significantly more—if you know where to find them.
If you’ve been driving for a while or are just getting started and want to know which truck driving jobs and experience you should pursue to get the best pay possible, check out our list of the highest paying truck driving jobs and highest paying companies to get you started.
Like most jobs, how much truck drivers get paid depends on the amount of experience you have and the responsibility and risk you are willing to accept in your position. High paying truck driving jobs usually require you to have greater skill, experience, endorsements, and a willingness to haul more dangerous or difficult loads. Other requirements include a willingness to:
Accept more liability
Keep your driving record clean
Work in remote locations
Aside from these requirements, there are some trucking jobs that pay more than others on average. These high paying trucking jobs include:
If you get a gig hauling luxury or vintage cars you’re likely to make much better pay because your liability and the value of your load is higher.
Mining dump trucks are massive vehicles that require specialized skills to drive, meaning they pay higher than average for trucker driving jobs.
Oversized loads have additional restrictions and requirements when hauling and some companies even specialize in it. These loads pay better because of the expertise required to haul them.
Drivers who work in the trucking fleet of private companies often receive higher pay than the average truck driver. Some companies, like Walmart, have made it standard practice to pay their drivers above industry standards to get the best drivers possible.
Some drivers opt to be part of a union. Unions ensure that wages are indexed for cost of living and standardized. This usually means unionized drivers make more than the average truck driver.
Team driving allows truckers to stay on the road longer—which translates into more money in your pocket. However, it still takes good planning to ensure that you don’t waste time on delayed loads and that you don’t burn out.
This type of driving is more dangerous than other types of trucking jobs, but drivers can also make very good money. Often drivers will make anywhere from $42k up to $250k for just a few months of seasonal work.
Hauling liquid loads requires you to have additional CDL endorsements and skills. However, the pay for tanker truckers can be very good, especially if you’re hauling hazardous materials.
Although there is also a lot of responsibility and expense that comes along with being an owner-operator, they are able to make more money than the average truck driver.
How much money you can make as a truck driver also depends on where you get your trucking job. North Dakota and Wyoming have the highest average pay rates for truck drivers, but just because you are in a state with a higher average trucking salary doesn’t mean you will get a higher-paying job. You need to go out and find the right type of trucking job and get the experience necessary to do it.
So how much do truckers make? When it comes down to it, that question also depends on the company you work for. Some companies are better than others and not every great company is on our list, but here are a few companies to consider if you’re wanting to make more as a driver:
Sysco: A leader in distribution, Sysco has many routes for truckers to consider, including many local routes that allow for more hometime. Drivers with Sysco can earn up to $81,000 per year with bonuses.
Acme Trucking: This is a large company that offers steady work, great pay, and 401K benefits for their drivers. On average, drivers with Acme make around $61,680 annually.
CRST Trucking: This reputable company hires rookies and experienced drivers alike. They focus on team trucking and provide lots of benefits and incentives for their drivers. CRST pays $50,000 per year on average to their drivers.
Walmart: Walmart’s private trucking fleet is known for their great drivers and great pay. The average yearly pay for Walmart drivers is currently $85,904. Plus, Walmart drivers get healthcare and retirement benefits and aren’t required to load or unload their freight.
GP Transco: This company really believes in caring for their drivers and their great pay reflects that commitment. On average drivers with GP Transco make $78,400 per year.
While these aren’t the only trucking companies around, they are a great place to start if you’re trying to find out how much truckers get paid. The main key to making more money as a truck driver is to keep a clean record and get as much experience hauling a variety of loads as possible. That way, when a great opportunity opens up, you’re ready for the job.
Just because you’ve reached retirement age or are able to retire doesn’t always mean that you want to. Many people work past retirement because they like to stay busy. Alternatively, you may want or need some extra income, even after you’ve reached retirement age.
Truck driving is a great career to consider after retirement because it offers you the opportunity to travel and see more parts of the state or country. You may even choose a more local position that’s only part-time so you can bring in extra income and still enjoy more time to yourself during your semi-retirement.
To become a truck driver you need to get your CDL (commercial drivers license). The process of getting a CDL usually takes around seven weeks on average and requires you to attend a truck driver training program and pass a test at the end of your program. However, there are factors that can speed up or slow down the process of getting your CDL and becoming a truck driving including:
CDL Type: Most semi truck drivers require a class A CDL, but there are also other CDL classifications including Class B and Class C CDLs for different types of truck and large vehicle driving.
Program: CDL programs can be either part-time or full-time. A full-time program will help you get your CDL faster and get behind the wheel sooner, but a part-time program will make it easier to continue your day job until you can make a career switch. The decision of which one to pursue depends on your personal situation and needs.
Time in Class: CDL programs offer varying requirements for the number of hours you must spend in the classroom. More hours means it will take longer to get your CDL, but it may benefit you, in the long run, to have more knowledge under your belt.
Driving Practice Time: To get your CDL you also need practical driving experience. Your CDL training program should provide ample time to practice behind the wheel so you feel comfortable when you hit the road.
Additional Endorsements: If you choose to get endorsements right away on your CDL you will need to spend additional time practicing and studying for them. While you should try to get as many endorsements as possible, you can pursue endorsements after you have your CDL as well.
Some private companies have their own private trucking fleets, even if they aren’t considered a trucking company. Walmart if widely known for hiring excellent truck drivers and for the great pay and benefits they offer the driver in their private trucking fleet. On average, Walmart truck drivers make nearly $86,000 per year moving freight for the company. Not only do they pay their drivers well, but Walmart also offers retirement and health benefits, additional training opportunities, and safe driving bonuses.
Working for a private trucking fleet can be a great way to make more money as a truck driver. Here are few more companies worth taking a look at if you’re interested in joining a private trucking fleet.
Target: The driver salary for Target truck drivers averages $57,338, according to data from Indeed.
Costco: The average truck driver salary for Costco truck drivers is currently around $66,000 per year.
U.S. Express: The average truck driver salary for U.S. Express is around $75,000 per year.
When looking to work in private fleet trucking driving, it’s important to consider lifestyle as well as pay. Some companies provide the option to drive locally, meaning you can be home with your family every night. However, if you prefer being on the open road, there are also plenty of options to do OTR trucking with a private fleet and get paid well for your time on the road.
Now that you know how much truckers get paid, you can start finding a great trucking job that pays you well for your hours behind the wheel. The hours you put behind the wheel and dedication you have for your career can help you get the experience necessary to make more money as a truck driver.