Professional truck driver salary in the US

July 21, 2022 - Reading time: 7 minutes

Truck driver photo created by aleksandarlittlewolf


Want to know the salary of a truck driver in the United States? Read this guide to understand how much truck drivers can make.


Without a doubt, the first question people ask when they are about to start a career in trucking: how much does a truck driver make? In this article, we'll take a look at the average salary in the trucking industry, as well as the factors that affect it.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for truck drivers in the United States is about $80,583 a year. There are some different factors that affect how much it is paid. The main ones are:

  • Job type
  • Years of experience
  • Incentives and bonuses
  • Certification and endorsements
  • Trucking specialization

Base Pay

Majority of the company drivers are paid on cents per-mile (CPM) basis. This method is the most common because it is flexible, efficient and comparable to a good hourly wage.

Regional drivers work in a certain area of the country only. This job allows the driver to return home every week or every two weeks. In this case, the driver gets between $0.60 and $0.70 per mile on average. So, you can earn $1,200 a week and $60,000 a year respectively.

Solo over-the-road (OTR) drivers haul in the continental U.S., sometimes crossing the Canadian and Mexican borders. They can spend weeks on the road and the average rate per mile for OTR drivers is up to $0.90. That means you can bring home $1,400 a week in your first year of trucking and $70,000 a year.

A driver team consists of two drivers who alternate driving shifts while the other takes a break.  Team drivers can get an average of $0.75 to $0.90 per mile and a range of their salary is $80,000 to $90,000 annually.

Driver pay may vary slightly from company to company. Try to find employers who have been in business a long time, have a proven payment history and treat their drivers well.

Bonuses and incentives

Most companies also offer incentives and guaranteed weekly pay. Company drivers may receive not only financial compensation. When choosing a company to work for as a driver, don’t be afraid to ask about their full compensation package. The solid compensation package can save you a lot on health insurance and earn more money for retirement. Different trucking companies provide the following benefits to their employees:

  • Medical, dental and vision insurance
  • Life and disability insurance
  • Industry-leading 401(k) retirement plan
  • HSA and medical programs
  • Paid tolls and fuel cards
  • Education refund
  • Riders and pet friendly
  • Military skills test waiver
  • Elite program for veteran drivers
  • Best employer for military veterans
  • Team matching program
  • Industry-leading miles
  • Stock purchase plan

Certifications and endorsements

These additional competence levels can also significantly increase a truck driver's pay.

HAZMAT

Truck drivers can earn a few cents more per mile with a HAZMAT license. Some companies may even pay more for non-HAZMAT loads in such cases.

TANKER

Transportation of bulk liquids also involves certain difficulties. Receiving a specialized tanker truck license will lead to a pay raise.

OVERSIZE

Cargo over 13′ 6″ tall or over 8′ 6″ wide requires a permit and usually costs more than a standard-sized load. Some examples of oversized shipments that require a permit:

  • Aircraft parts
  • Heavy military equipment
  • Architectural construction parts
  • Water vessels

HMD Trucking Base Pay

HMD Trucking was founded in 1998 and has become one of the fastest growing trucking companies in Chicago, with a fleet of more than 300 trucks. Check out HMD Trucking's pay and extra benefits:

  • Local Dry van drivers’ rate is $27 per hour. It gives around $1,400 - $1,500 weekly, which means $70,000 - $75,000 a year.
  • Regional Dry van drivers can earn up to $1,700 per week at the rate of $0.75 CPM. Average earnings is $85,000 annually.
  • OTR Solo drivers can make up to $0.60 CPM base plus a $0.10 CPM safety/productivity bonus. Average Solo OTR drivers’ salary is $1,800 - $1,900 a week and $90,000 - $95,000 a year.
  • OTR Flatbed Solo drivers make $0.65 CPM plus $0.05 CPM bonus in case you drive more than 9000 miles monthly. The average weekly salary is about $1,900 to $2,000 and the annual income is $95,000 - $100,000.
  • OTR Teams rate is $0.77 CPM plus $0.05 CPM $0.10 CPM safety/productivity bonus. That way teams can make $4,000 - $4,600 a week. Plus a $10,000 sign-up bonus. The real annual income is $210,000 - $230,000 per team.

Conclusion

As we can see, there are opportunities to make real money in the trucking industry. Even rookies can get a big paycheck once they start working. In addition, this kind of work is good for military veterans looking for a new career, as some companies offer special terms for them. After just a few years of experience, the opportunities get even better. If you've made a decision to become a truck driver, learn how to get a CDL and start your career by visiting the HMD Trucking page.

by Evelina Brown (July 2022)