One of the first things anyone wants to know when deciding on a career is how much money they will make. After all, if we work all day we want it to be worth it, right? A truck driving salary, even the lowest paying position, is usually better than most average professions depending on the type of truck driving job you want to do. Just as a computer technician makes more than a receptionist, the pay scale for trucking jobs increases according to the skills needed, the responsibility to the driver, and the dangers posed by the job.
There are a lot of different truck driving positions to choose from with different advantages. If you want to be home every night you can drive locally; you will make about $19,000 on average making deliveries from local manufacturers to retailers. Driving regionally, between 3-4 states and being home 2-3 days per week pays an average of $25,000-$30,000. If you don’t have a need to be at home frequently there are a number of higher paying truck driving jobs that will pay you more money.
For instance, an OTR (over the road) truck driver can make anywhere from $40,000-$60,000 per year depending on the type of rig he or she chooses to drive. A dry van driver that hauls non-perishable goods will make less than a reefer (refrigerated) rig that requires more attention, skill and responsibility. Hauling heavy equipment, new cars from the factory to dealerships and transporting manufactured homes also pays more than conventional dry vans. An oil field trucker will make more than an OTR driver due to the dangers of the job and the hours; an oil field trucker can sometimes be on call for days at a time. More danger and more responsibility nearly always means more dollars in the paycheck.
Experience counts also when it comes to paychecks. A trucker with less than a year of experience will make about 1/3 less than one with up to 4 years of experience; a veteran trucker with more than 15 years of driving experience can earn well over $100,000 depending on his endorsements.
It also makes a difference which company you choose to drive for. Many companies offer profit sharing as an incentive to make deliveries on time with the goods in perfect condition. Some offer benefits such as health and life insurance that would be worth about $12,000 if they were offered as cash; a driver with these benefits that makes $40,000 per year is actually being compensated about $50,000 if the perks were counted in.
The area of the country where you are employed will also affect how much you make. States with a high cost of living will generally pay more than those that have lower costs of living. A trucker driving in New York or California will bring home more than a trucker in the Midwest; the pay evens out due to the cost of living in those areas.
As you can clearly tell, truckers can earn quite a nice living driving a truck! There are tons of opportunities, and depending on a driver’s endorsements and the company he works for, experienced drivers can pull down salaries that are very hard to beat.