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According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics , on average a truck driver makes $47,130 per year at $22.66 per hour.

Some trucking companies pay cents per mile (CPM) only. For example:

An OTR driver does 2500 miles a week, with CPM (cents per mile) of $ 0.60, no traffic violations or tickets bonus of $ 0.02, and 5 consecutive days on the road bonus of $ 0.02.

Total cents per mile (CPM) = $0.60 + $0.02 +$0.02 = $0.64

Here, total truck driver salary per week = 2500* $0.64 = $1,600; Monthly salary = $1600*4 = $6,400.

How Much Do Truck Drivers Make-Truck Driver Salary

Now that we have established the base pay per month, to get the gross salary we will add all the allowances and benefits. Say in this case the total allowance is $ 1,200.

Gross salary is, $6,400 + $1,200= $7,600. The net salary will be the adjusted gross salary minus state and federal taxes. Then finally deductions like loan repayments, union contributions, etc. See truck driver salary, state tax and federal tax per state here.

 Disclaimer: Online truck driver salary calculators are for estimations only. Results may not always accurate  

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  • The experience a truck driver holds. New truck drivers will generally have a lower pay compared to experienced drivers.
  • The type of freight. Take heavy haul and hazardous materials, for example. They attract higher pay compared to dry van and local truckers.
  • The location or your state of residence. Different states in the US have different pay rates for truckers.
  • Training, Certificates, and qualifications. Having the required certificates like the commercial driver’s license will put you in a better pay position.
  • Type of company that employs you. Small companies tend to have limited resources. Hence, their pay can be lower compared to larger companies.
  • Base pay is another factor that affects drivers pay. There are four main types of base pay, hourly, pay per mile, monthly salary, and pay per load.

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Dry van truckers can earn up to $56,000 per year, and new drivers earn around $ 22,000. The average salary can be up to $46,000 per year. Most drivers get paid between 20- 60 cents per mile, known as CPM.

For instance, a company driver covers 2500 miles per week, with 40 cents pay per mile.

For instance, a company driver covers 2500 miles per week, with 40 cents pay per mile.

2500 * $0.4 = $1,000 weekly, $1000 * 4 weeks= $4,000 per month. With the driver earning $4,000 a month, his salary translates to $ 48,000 a year.

Most employers structure their benefits, commission and bonuses differently. Examples of the benefits you may be entitled to include medical, dental and retirement benefits. Some trucking company also offer performance bonuses and signing bonuses to new hires.

You need a Class A CDL license to get a dry van trucking job. Depending on the type of goods being transported, a Hazmat endorsement may be required.

Dry van trucker transports dry non-perishable goods in a single trail attached to a semi-truck, usually 53feet long. Dry Van haulers transport cargo from consignee to destination shipper. It can be locally or interstate. They are also required to load and offload the vehicle, fuel and clean.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates that all commercial trucks have a time logging device. Drivers are not allowed to work for more than 70 hours on 8 -consecutive days without taking 34 hours off work.

Most truck drivers rarely get weekends off. Working on weekends and the compensation depends on your employer and type of trucking job. You may get paid overtime, but again this depends on the trucking company.

Sick leave, paid sick leave, annual vacation days and earned paid leave depends on state laws. However, federal law mandates that employees are entitled to paid sick leave of up to 80 hours at the regular rate or the employee’s minimum wage.

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A tanker driver salary average is $52,371. A Hazmat endorsed tanker driver salary is higher with a recorded average salary of $63,930.

Tanker haulers transport liquid goods or gases in a cylindrical tank. The tank is secured on a flatbed which is attached to a semi-truck. Some of the goods transported by tankers are fuel, food or chemicals. Tanker drivers require special skills.

  • A tanker driver is expected to observe state and federal laws meant to regulate road safety.
  • Loading and offloading goods being transported.
  • Inspect and report the vehicle for any mechanical issues.
  • May be required to record deliveries to customers.

Some companies offer up to an $8,000 signing bonus when onboarding new drivers. Fuel efficiency, safety and performance bonus. Other benefits like medical insurance, paid vacations and sick leave, etc. depends on trucking company. Some employers may pay overtime for weekends and overtime for extra hours worked.

Fuel Efficiency Commission Calculation

Experienced drivers get 30% commission on fuel efficiency over one year period. If the driver managed to bring the MPG ( miles per gallon) from 6 to 8 that year. Covered miles that year 125,000, and the cost of gas was $4 per gallon.

125,000/6 = 20,833.3 * $4= $83, 333.3
125,000/8 = $15,625 * $4= $62,500.
Fuel cost saved is $83,333.3 – $62,500 = $20,833.3
The driver’s commission 0.3 * $20,833.3 = 6,249.99.

A class A or class C CDL training license is required. Class C license ensures that the driver has all the necessary permits and necessary endorsements.

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The average flatbed driver salary is $61,213 per year and hourly wage is $29. Owner operator flatbed truckers can earn over $200,00 a year because they are paid by the load they transport. They are paid a commission on the gross or net value of the load being transported.

Some companies pay their drivers by commission. For example, at a rate of 20% pay, a shipper pays $2,700 to haul a shipment from Michigan to Louisiana. The driver earns 0.2 x $2,700= $540.

Benefits like medical insurance, retirement benefits, signing bonuses depends on the employer.

The amount you can earn depends on your education and level of experience.

Flatbed trucks transport large dry products and machines that require an open-air- trailer because they cannot fit in a dry van truck. Flatbed trucking requires expertise to secure the cargo.

  • Transport shipments to their destination.
  • Inspect the vehicle for any mechanical issues.
  • Ensure cargo is fastened and secured on the truck.
  • Comply with local, state and federal road safety laws.

Flatbed truckers are required to have a CDL, Class A license. You may have weekends off, depending on your working schedule. Most drivers get paid vacation and sick leave.

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Experienced OTR drivers can earn up to $80,000 annually, while rookie drivers can earn an average of $24,000 per year. Therefore, the average OTR truck drivers salary is $50,000 annually.

According to the U.S labor department, the minimum federal wage is $7.25 per hour. The average salary differs depending on the level of experience, employer and how a driver’s pay is calculated. Some drivers are paid per hour, others per mile.

Most long haul truck drivers are compensated for food, lay overs and other expenses during their journey. Let’s take pay per mile, for instance.

John is one of the OTR truckers who covers 2,500 miles a week. He is paid 0. 60 cents per mile and 25% per diem. John’s gross salary monthly will amount to:

Total miles covered monthly 2,500 * 4= 10,000

Basic pay 10,000 * $0.60= $6,000. If the per diem is 25%, this means John earns an additional $0.15 per mile, 10,000 * $0.15 = $ 1500.

That sums up John’s salary for OTR driving job is, $6000 + $1500 = $7,500 per month and $7500 * 12 = $90,000 per annum.

Over the road trucking, known as long haul truck drivers, involves the transport of goods from state to state. Long haul tracking requires being on the road for multiple days unlike regional drivers.

  • Safely transporting cargo to its destination.
  • Complying with traffic laws and regulations.
  • Inspecting the vehicle and reporting any issues.
  • May be required to assist loading and unloading cargo.
  • Timely delivery of freight to its destination.
  • Keep a record of deliveries.
  • Update management on hours and mileage logged.
  • Refuel and clean the vehicle.

You only need a class A CDL to be an OTR driver. CDL training from established truck driving school helps smoothen the process.

If a OTR trucker is paid per hour as opposed to per mile, they may be entitled to overtime pay. However, federal law dictates how many consecutive hours a driver can drive. OTR drivers mostly find themselves working on weekends due to the nature of the job. You can negotiate with your employer to get overtime pay on weekends. Most companies give their drivers paid sick and vacation leave days.

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The average salary of a refrigerated truck driver is around $60,000 annually. The amount earned per year can be higher or lower depending on experience. Experienced drivers can earn up to $90,000 a year.

Refrigerated trucks are also known as reefers. They are used to transport perishable goods that are temperature specific like, meat or flowers. Some trucks come with freezing containers.

  • Transport freight safely to destinations.
  • Monitor the temperatures to ensure cargo does not spoil.
  • Minor repairs to the refrigerator boxes if necessary to preserve cargo.
  • Report on deliveries.
  • Report any spoilt goods.

As a Refrigerated driver, you can earn commission through referrals. Your employer may give you a certain percentage commission for every client you refer to them. Other benefits that will increase your pay are bonuses and benefits. Some employers will offer you medical insurance, pension, 401, performance bonuses, among others.

The required CDL classification for reefers is Class A. However, if a driver is driving a refrigerated box or a straight truck, Class B CDL is acceptable.

U.S department of labor does not mandate paid vacation days. Paid vacation is at the discretion of you and your employer’s agreement. If you have walked over time, you are entitled to overtime pay. Most companies provide paid vacations and paid leave sick days.

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The average salary for LTL haulers is $53,00 per year.

LTL is also known as less than load, involves the transport of small shipments of cargo that do not fill up a dry van. The driver then carries multiple shipments from different shippers at a go.

  • Plan routes to pick up and deliver freight.
  • Report picked up and delivered freight.
  • Deliver and pick up cargo in good time.
  • Maintain the truck and report any mechanical issues.

LTL drivers have the potential of earning more since they get compensated for delays and stopovers when collecting shipments.

Most employers will offer you basic health care insurance, but others go above and beyond to provide disability insurance, retirement benefits, and 401k. Although they may not discuss it in your offer, you could negotiate and agree.

You will only need a Class A CDL to be an LTL driver.

LTL drivers may work on weekends depending on the agreement between the employer. Paid vacation days depends on what you agree with your employer. Some employers pay for vacation days and sick days.

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The average salary for auto car haulers is $80,000 per year. Owner operator car hauling drivers earn between $ 300 -$800 per car transport.

An auto hauler is a professional commercial driver with a Class A license that drives a truck transporting cars from one place to another. They are usually used to transport new vehicles to their respective car lots.

  • Safely load cars in the trailer.
  • Safely transport the cars to their destination.
  • Observe all state and federal road safety laws.
  • Report any accidents or traffic violations.
  • Report deliveries and worked hours.

Most companies structure their bonuses and benefits differently.

As an auto trucker, you may receive medical and dental insurance. Other benefits may include welfare, detention or layover compensation, paid when a driver is held up on unanticipated transit periods. Some companies will offer signing bonuses to new hires, annual bonuses, and performance bonuses.

You will only need a Class A CDL to be an auto car hauler.

Again, the working hours depend on your work schedule and what you and your employer agree. Overtime work is required by law to be compensated.

You may also work on weekends if necessary. However, if you do not work on weekends, your employer is not obligated to compensate you. Some employers will pay you for vacation and sick days.

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SateState AbbreviationAverage Truck Driver Salary Per MonthAverage Truck Driver Salary Per YearState Tax Percentage Federal Tax PercantageRemarks
AlabamaAL$3,382$40,5805%12%
AlaskaAK$4,091$49,0960%22%No individual tax
ArizonaAZ$4,315$51,7793.34%22%
ArkansasAR$3,548$42,5705.9%22%
CaliforniaCA$3,839$46,0736%22%
ColoradoCO$3,773$45,2794.63%22%
ConnecticutCT$4,240$50,8795.50%22%
DelawareDE$3,757$45,0785.55%22%
FloridaFL$3,923$47,0760%22%No state income tax
GeorgiaGA$4,162$49,9495.75%22%
HawaiiHI$4,311$51,7368.25%22%
IdahoID$3,595$43,1406.93%22%
IllinoisIL$3,528$42,3384.95%22%
IndianaIN$4,287$51,4473.23%22%
IowaIA$3,899$46,7886.25%22%
KansasKS$3,855$46,2615.70%22%
KentuckyKY$3,619$43,4255.00%22%Flat Rate
LouisianaLA$3,968$47,6174.00%22%
MaineME$3,580$42,9546.75%22%
MarylandMD$4,018$48,2205%22%
MassachusettsMA$4,403$52,8375%22%
MichiganMI$3,540$42,4784.25%22%Flat rate
MinnesotaMN$4,092$49,0997.05%22%
MississippiMS$3,612$43,3495.00%22%
MissouriMO$3,741$44,8913.00%22%
MontanaMT$4,360$52,3186.90%22%
NebraskaNE$3,951$47,4096.84%22%
NevadaNV$4,059$48,7090%22%No state income tax
New HampshireNH$4,080$48,9550%22%
New JerseyNJ$4,278$51,3395.52%22%
New MexicoNM$3,909$46,9095.90%22%
New YorkNY$4,228$50,7335.97%22%
North CarolinaNC$3,223$38,6745.25%12%
North DakotaND$4,078$48,9362.04%22%
OhioOH$4,070$48,8453.33%22%
OklahomaOK$3,672$44,0623.74%22%
OregonOR$3,904$46,8499.90%22%
PennsylvaniaPA$3,613$43,3543.07%22%
Rhode IslandRI$4,143$49,7143.75%22%
South CarolinaSC$3,782$45,3857.00%22%
South DakotaSD$3,959$47,5070.00%22%No state income tax
TennesseeTN$4,101$49,2061%22%No state income tax
TexasTX$3,471$41,6460.00%22%No state income tax
UtahUT$3,998$47,9734.95%22%Flat rate
VermontVT$3,836$46,0265.75%22%
VirginiaVA$3,899$46,7885.75%22%
WashingtonWA$4,235$50,8200.00%22%
West VirginiaWV$3,675$44,1006.00%
WisconsinWI$4,111$49,3356.27%
WyomingWY$4,627$55,5210%22%No state income tax

Use the truck driver salary calculator here to know how much they make.

Similar careers to trucking jobs may pay more or less depending on industry and level of experience. Below are some comparisons:-

  • School bus driver average annual salary is $33,891.
  • Personal driver average annual salary is $46,800.
  • Ambulance driver average annual salary is $42,155.
  • Logistics manager average annual salary is $58,00.
  • Freight agent average annual salary is $ 44,00.
  • Auto mechanic average annual salary is 48,749.
  • Car salesman average annual salary is 46,000.

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There are federal requirements you must meet before you can become a truck driver. These requirements are enforced at the state level by the DMV.

  • You must possess a commercial driving license (CDL).
  • To get a CDL, you must be at least 21years or at least 18 years to drive semi-trucks within state lines.
  • Ensure you do not have any past criminal history that may disqualify you from obtaining a CDL. Some felonies may disqualify you from getting a CDL for a certain period, and others are indefinite.
  • Medical health report. Some health conditions may hinder your ability to become a truck driver. For road safety purposes, you are required to provide your medical records.
  • You should pass both the knowledge and road skills test. These tests may vary from state to state. However, the federal requires that you score at least 80%.
  • You should be able to provide your Id or residence permit.
  • CDL endorsements. Some trucking jobs like transporting hazardous materials and tankers require a specific skill set. A CDL endorsement that shows a driver has undertaken the necessary training and met all qualifications is issued.

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What can you do to boost your salary? Here’s a few pointers on how you can become one of the highest paid truck drivers.

  • Become an owner-operator. As an owner-operator, you have the freedom to negotiate your rates with the client.
  • Obtain a Hazmat endorsement. Specialized drivers like hazardous and tanker transporters earn more compared to others.
  • Education, skills and experience. Getting the necessary training coupled up with experience is a sure way to bump up your pay bracket.
  • Obtain employment in high-income states. States like Alaska, Florida and New York are some of the states known to pay drivers a higher wage.
  • Choose the industry that has high pay rates. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, some industries pay more than others.
  • Choose high paying driving jobs like OTR, heavy haul, and flatbed trucking.

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Wrap Up

Truck driver salary is influenced by many factors. Covered mile, employer, commission percentage, hourly and fixed wages are are major determining facts. Industry is recovering from a recession and demand for new trucks and truck drivers is increasing significantly. Getting an average yearly pay of $47k and average hourly wage of $23 shows the industry is moving to a better standing than ever.

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