How Much Can You Earn as a Truck Driver?

The trucking industry is experiencing a shortage of drivers in 2021 . According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the industry will be short 174,000 drivers by 2026. One way trucking companies are battling this “issue that has plagued the industry for decades” is by offering higher driver compensation.

In fact, if you are a new commercial driver’s license holder searching for a trucking job, you have chosen to enter into an industry ripe with opportunity, when it comes to truck driver pay.

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver Salary

According to the United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1.8 million truck drivers employed in May of 2019 earned a median annual wage of $45,260, a weekly wage of $870, or what comes to be approximately $3,480 per month. Earning potential depends a lot on load types, company, experience, and other factors, so there is a great deal of variation.

While the lowest 10% of truck drivers might make less than $30,000 per year, the highest 10% earn over $65,000 annually. In fact, drivers that haul for well-established, reputable, high-paying companies can make more than $80,000 a year. That is more than $1,500 a week and $6,875 per month.

If you are just starting out in the industry, you can expect to earn less at first, and more as you gain experience. Inexperienced drivers with larger trucking companies, such as Roehl, earn an average $60,000+ after about nine months on the job.

Experience Matters

Experience makes a big difference in your earning potential. As with any industry, less experienced employees start at the lower end of the pay scale.

Once out on the road, new drivers typically earn between 27 and 40 cents per mile. Rates rise after six months or one year of experience and continue to rise as the driver gains experience.

How Much Can You Drive Per Day Driving a Commercial Truck?

Since truck drivers are paid by the mile, one of the first questions new drivers ask is, “How much can I drive in one day?”

This is a complicated question. Many factors play a role in how many miles a driver can cover in one day. Time spent at the loading dock, traffic complications, speed limits, and state and federal regulations limiting how many hours a driver can work all play a role in how much distance a driver can cover. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) does not limit how many miles a truck driver can drive in a single day, but they do limit the amount of time a driver can drive per day. This limit? 11 hours. Commercial truck drivers (those that carry property, not passengers) may drive 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. In addition to this rule by the FMCSA, there are others related to driving time. Read more here: Summary of Hours of Service Regulations.

Truck Driver Salary

If you work for a trucking company that pays well (like we do here at Roehl), you can expect to make between 57 and 59 cents per mile (CPM) starting out if you are an experienced flatbed truck driver. However, the best companies find ways to pass along greater earning potential to their best drivers. You might be limited in the number of miles you can cover in a day, but you can still earn more money if you work hard and make yourself a valued member of the team.

Here are some ways that you can earn more money through bonuses and hard work.

  • Referral Bonuses
  • Performance Bonuses
  • Hiring Bonuses
  • Benefits. Excellent medical and dental benefits, as well as other benefits including life insurance, 401k, profit sharing and more

Consider Roehl Transport

At Roehl, you will be paid for extras that many other carriers do not pay you for. The extras you'll get with Roehl include:

  • Intermediate Stops
  • Tarping and Untarping
  • Hand Load or Unload
  • Detention Time
  • Short Haul Pay (Travel less than 100 miles)
  • Layover Days
  • Canada Pay
  • Placard Load Premium
  • Refrigerated Modular Unload
  • Secondary Load

So just how much money can you make when you drive a truck for Roehl Transport? The National Transportation Institute certifies top-paying trucking companies and Roehl has been on the list for years. The top 50% of Roehl drivers earn $64,500 annually, and we have drivers making close to $100,000 a year.

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