One of the most critical questions on your mind if you’re considering a career as a truck driver is probably, “How much money do truck drivers make?!” The short answer is, “That depends.” As a truck driver, you have the opportunity to earn competitive pay and benefits, but many factors will influence how much you will make.
Here are three more questions to help answer your question of how much do truckers make:
- How much do truckers make?
- What is the average trucker’s pay at prime?
- How is truck driver pay determined?
What does a truck driver get paid?
In 2014, truck drivers earned a median annual income of $39,520, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bottom 10% of truck drivers earned $25,740 on average, while the top 10% made $61,150 on average. In contrast to many other careers, truck drivers do not typically earn an annual salary or an hourly wage.
Their pay is based on the number of miles driven.
- Truckers earn between 28 cents and 40 cents a mile on average.
- The average trucker drives between 2,000 and 3,000 miles a week.
- That translates into a pay range of $560 to $1200 every week.
- You could earn between $29,120 and $62,400 if you drove 52 weeks in a year at those rates.
How much do truckers make at prime?
The pay for truck drivers at prime exceeds the industry average and depends on the type of driver you become and the type of truck you drive. Company solo drivers receive a different pay scale than company team drivers and independent contractors. There are three driving divisions: refrigerated (reefers), flatbed and tanker.
- Solo company drivers earn 44-49 cents per mile working for a refrigerator company. In a typical week, a company refrigerated driver logs between 2,400 and 2,800 miles and makes between $1,128 and $1,316. They would earn between $58,656 and $68,432 if they drove the same distance for a full 52-week year.
- Flatbed solo company drivers earn 46 cents a mile. In the same way as the example above, flatbed drivers typically drive between 2,200 and 2,600 miles per week and earn $968 to $1,144. The earnings would be between $50,336 and $55,488 over 52 weeks.
- The average solo company tanker driver earns 51 cents per mile. Based on a typical 1,800 to 2,200-mile week, the driver’s earnings would range from $882 to $1,078 per week or $45,864 to $56,056 for 52 weeks.
Through various incentives offered by prime, drivers can also increase their earnings:
- Increased fuel mileage bonus: Earn up to 8.2 cents per mile for exceeding 7.75 miles per gallon (mpg).
- CDL School graduates can receive tuition reimbursement of up to $1,500 if they qualify.
- Prime has a referral program in which new drivers can earn cash for referring them to prime.
- CDL Training: Become a CDL Instructor or Trainer to earn an additional income.
Alternatively, you can team up with a spouse, partner, or friend and work together as team drivers. Depending on the type of truck driven, prime team drivers earn cents per mile:
- Refrigerated truck drivers: 52 cents per mile
- Flatbed truck drivers: 50 cents per mile
- Tanker truck drivers: 53 cents per mile
Drivers who exceed 3,000 miles per week can earn 22 cents per mile.
The factors affecting company driver income
If a driver is paid by the mile, they only make money when the truck is moving forward. For instance, truck driver earnings do not include the time you spend on the road due to the following things:
- Waiting in lines at border crossings and customs.
- Being stuck in traffic.
- Weighing and sizing a load.
- Checking your trailer and truck for damage.
- Getting DOT scales and inspections.
- Watching for delays with loading and unloading.
- Awaiting repairs to the truck or trailer.
In addition, federal safety regulations limit your driving time to 11 hours per day within a 14-hour window; however, there are some exceptions. Suppose you are in the process of becoming a truck driver. In that case, it’s essential to plan routes to increase the distance you can travel safely within the legally prescribed driving limitations and to minimize the amount of time you spend unattended.
How to become your boss as an independent contractor?
An owner-operator also called an independent contractor, is the best way to maximize earnings as a truck driver. Contractors who work independently have greater control over their routes, schedules, and earnings. Instead of being paid a per-mile rate, Prime independent contractors receive a share of the freight bill for their haul loads.
- A refrigerated truck driver earns 72% of the freight bill as an independent contractor.
- Flatbed contractors earn 72% as well.
- A tanker contractor earns 71% of the freight bill.
During the first three weeks as an owner-operator, you will earn a guaranteed $1,000 per week if you have at least six months of driving experience.
Additionally, prime offers drivers the chance to lease a truck through Success Leasing. The aspiring entrepreneur can now start their own business without needing to put any money down and without a credit check. With its state-of-the-art trucks, prime offers a choice of advanced safety technologies, such as sensor tracks and lane departure warning systems.
Do local truckers make good money?
Local trucking is a popular occupation that allows drivers to transport goods within a specific region or city. When it comes to whether local truckers make good money, the answer is it depends. The amount of money a local trucker can make depends on several factors, such as experience, qualifications, type of trucking, and job location.
Generally, experienced local truckers with a good track record of on-time deliveries and safe driving can earn a good income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in May 2020 was $48,930. However, it is important to note that this figure varies significantly based on location, experience, and company. Local truckers can earn significantly more than the national average in certain areas, such as high-cost metropolitan areas. Additionally, specialized trucking jobs, such as hazardous materials transportation or oversized loads, typically pay higher wages.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What is the average salary of a beginner trucker?
The average salary for an entry-level truck driver in the United States is $71,845 per year.
- Is it possible to make $100,000 as a truck driver?
Indeed, the average truck driver makes $100,000 annually. A driver who moves from a company to an owner-operator often earns over six figures.
- Do 18-wheeler drivers earn a lot of money?
Top Earners (90th percentile) in the United States make $74,000 annually. While Zip Recruiter sees salaries as high as $85,500 and as low as $25,000, most Semi-Truck Drivers’ wages are currently between $39,000 (25th percentile) to $62,000 (75th percentile).
- What is the typical workweek for truck drivers?
Truck drivers who operate vehicles every day can follow either rule. In addition to the 40-hour control, a driver cannot be on duty for more than 14 hours a day, even if they are on duty for 60 hours or 70 hours over seven or eight days.