How much does a truck driver earn in the USA?

Truck drivers are one of the most lucrative and profitable jobs in America, and one of the most sought after. There are several prerequisites for this: more and more businessmen in the country are opening firms and offering services specifically for trucking, since trucking in the USA is a relatively inexpensive type of transportation at a cost, unlike railroads, air communications, shipping, and so on.

America has excellent roads and truck dispatcher course that allow you to connect any metropolis with a small town. In addition, during the last year of the pandemic, the demand for trucking in the United States has doubled. This led to the fact that truckers, who were already lacking in the country, began to be appreciated even more. Today, firms offer them not only favorable salaries, but also very good working conditions.

So how much does the average truck driver in the US earn? Let’s talk more about this.

From 30 – 50 dollars per hour
The difference between the earnings of truck drivers can be significant, since several factors affect the amount of a truck driver’s salary: the presence of a commercial license, the profit of the company, the type of cargo that the trucker transports, as well as the personal qualities of the hired worker himself.

According to the portal, which maintains average statistics on the salaries of employees throughout the United States, the minimum wage for a trucker in the country ranges from 30 to 50 dollars per hour. This indicator increases if the driver’s experience increases. Not the last role is played by the type of load of the truck driver.

For example, truckers who transport hazardous materials (HAZMAT) can earn 35 percent more on average than regular truckers. Long distance hauliers (OTR drivers) get even more.

Such a driver can earn from 60 to 120 thousand dollars a year, this is without bonuses from the company.

And his earnings directly depend on the following factors:

The company he works for.

Of course, an agreement with the employer on working conditions and wages is an individual thing, but some nuances are still worth considering.

If a truck driver gets a job in a small trucking company, then he must understand that there is not much free money in such a company, and it’s not a fact that employees will be able to pay well, as well as periodically increase salaries.

Some managers of small firms ask drivers to work for the first time as independent contractors, which completely shifts the entire tax burden onto the shoulders of the truck driver himself.

On the other hand, growing firms with wise management tend to invest every free penny in the development of a good specialist, in addition, you will have constant contact with the authorities and the opportunity to establish reliable partnerships with them for the long term.

A large company will always find free funds for drivers, but where it invests them depends on the values ​​of the company itself.

Some set certain rates for hired workers, and increase pay depending on the length of service and the prospects of the driver. In addition, they regularly offer bonuses, refresher courses, the opportunity to move to another state at the expense of the company, and so on.

There are those who do not appreciate the work of the worker, therefore, when choosing a company, you need to focus not so much on its scale, but on its reputation.

Experience matters
Driver experience.

American law officially allows a truck driver to drive at the age of 21. A novice driver will most likely receive half as much as an experienced truck driver: from 15 to 25 dollars per hour.

In fact, he pays the firm for his own training. Many companies take on the training of novice truck drivers, offering him to take courses and get a driving license, under certain conditions. Therefore, in addition to a license, such a driver also gains experience and seniority, which means it becomes more in demand in the general “market”.

An experienced truck driver earns about twice as much as a novice.

CDL is right.

Every truck driver, whether employed or not, needs a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

There are, of course, companies that are willing to hire drivers without such rights, but this is always a big risk. For example, if a serious accident happens, the Department of Motor Vehicles will definitely pay attention to the fact whether the driver had a CDL – a license or not? Was he doing his job legally or not? If not, the driver faces a serious fine, and this fine can easily be deducted from his salary.

In addition, the truck business system in the United States is designed so that the CDL gives the driver an advantage, he gets more than a trucker who does not have these rights.

Types of cargo.​

Truck drivers in the US fall into 6 main categories. Depending on the category of the driver, the type of cargo that he carries is also determined.

Tanker drivers – a category of drivers who transport gasoline or other flammable substances. For this they have specially equipped tanks. Reefer drivers – transportation of frozen and chilled products such as fish, ice cream, meat and so on. It is carried out in special trucks with refrigerators.

Less than Truck Load – drivers who mainly work with stores. They transport light cargo across America. Flat Bed drivers – carriers of bulky goods such as building materials, metal pipes, logs and so on.

Dry Van drivers – transport goods for large wholesale bases with a maximum shelf life. Auto Haulers – international transportation. Cars, motorcycles or construction equipment.

The highest pay is usually received by Tanker drivers if they take the cargo marked “Dangerous”, as well as Dry Van drivers.

The state in which the driver works.

According to data provided by the US Bureau of Statistics, there are states that pay their truckers more than others. The highest paid states for truck drivers in 2020 were: Alaska, New York, Wyoming, North Dakota, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Washington.

Bonuses for salary
Do not forget about salary bonuses, which are provided for in almost every company, due to the fact that a truck driver is a very popular profession today. Firms seek to retain their employees through various bonuses, most often these are:

– bonuses for registration and employment for new drivers; – bonuses for monthly mileage. The driver’s truck is rewarded if he has passed a certain mileage in a month; – bonuses for safety. If the driver travels a certain number of miles in a certain amount of time without incident; – bonuses for saving fuel on semi-trailers; – bonuses for net inspections by the Department of Transportation, which conducts an inspection of truck drivers every year; – bonuses for recommending other drivers to get a job in this particular company.

Separately, it is worth mentioning that there is a category of drivers that work for themselves. This is an opportunity to get the maximum profit from the trucking business. An experienced self-employed driver can earn over $221,000 a year.

But there are also risks in such work: the earnings of the driver – the owner of the truck completely depend on how many orders he finds, and how he can save the costs of their implementation to the maximum. And there will be many costs.

The costs of a “private trader” include not only the purchase of a truck, but also the maintenance of the car, the cost of fuel, insurance, taxes, and so on. In addition, it is he who will spend time looking for new clients and monitor payment for services from brokers.

To take on this type of work or not, each truck driver decides for himself. In “private service” there is no ceiling in earnings, but there will be much more problems.

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