How Much Can You Earn as a Truck Driver?

There are many things that draw hardworking people to the trucking industry. Some come for the freedom of the open road. Others come because they want to see new places. Many come for the high earning potential. Skilled truck drivers are in high demand and are thus well-compensated for their services. Top earning truck drivers make over $100,000 per year and enjoy benefits like referral bonuses, sign-on pay (better than hiring bonuses), performance bonuses and safety bonuses (accident-free pay). If you're hoping to start your career as a truck driver, here's what you can look forward to.

* Note: All Salaries Updated 02/2022
** Salary Source for National Salary Averages: Glassdoor

Types of Trucks

There are several types of commercial vehicles in the trucking industry. The type of truck you drive can affect your schedule and earning potential. The Roehl averages are based on an average of actual Roehl drivers with at least one year of experience.

Dry Van Trucking Jobs

Dry van trucking jobs are popular among drivers who like to come home at the end of every day - and who also like to be around on weekends.

  • National average : $1046 weekly
  • Roehl averages : $1345 per week
  • Earning potential: Top earners can make over $104,000 annually

Flatbed Trucking Jobs

Flatbed trucking jobs have great earning potential. Drivers are typically away from home for 11 to 14 days, and then come home for three days at a time.

  • National average : $997 per week
  • Roehl averages : $1480 weekly
  • Earning potential: Top earners can make up to $112,000 annually

Reefer Trucking Jobs

Drivers of refrigerated trucks haul important products like cheese, frozen foods and other temperature-controlled goods around the United States. They may drive across the country with their goods and be gone for many days at a time. At Roehl, our refrigerated trailers are whisper-quiet.

  • National average : $1090 per week
  • Roehl averages : $1,425 weekly
  • Earning potential: Top earners can make over $107,000 annually

Curtainside Trucking Jobs

Curtainside truck drivers have the best mix of van and flatbed because you are able to secure and protect the customer’s freight with much less physical demand than traditional tarping. Arrive at the customer, load the freight, secure the freight, then slide the curtains closed and away you go.

  • National average : $1,150 per week
  • Roehl averages : $1,440
  • Earning potential: Top earners can make over $105,000 annually

Tanker Trucking Jobs

Tanker truck drivers haul liquids and gasses over long routes. They're often gone for days at a time, then come home for days at a time.

  • National average : $1,188 per week
  • Roehl averages : N/A
  • Earning potential: Top earners can make over $100,000 annually

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver Salary

According to the United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1.9 million truck drivers employed in May of 2020 earned a median annual wage of $47,130, a weekly wage of $906, or what comes to be approximately $3,927 per month. DOL reports that the average hourly wage for a truck driver is $22.66 per hour. 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 top 10% of salary earners, especially those that haul for well-established, reputable, high-paying companies, can make $70,000 year. That's more than $1,500 a week and $6,875 per month.

If you're 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.

Factors That Affect Earnings

There are many factors that affect earnings.

CDL Class Types

CDL licenses come in three class types (class A, B and C), depending on the weight of the vehicle and the cargo. Your CDL class type will affect the kind of truck you drive. Give thought to the type of vehicle you'd like to drive (described above), then choose your class type accordingly.

Endorsements

Along with your vehicle class type, you can also get endorsements that allow you to transport special types of cargo or drive special kinds of vehicles. Endorsements help maximize your earning potential by putting you in a class of drivers that have special skills.

Freight Type

Not all drivers can haul all kinds of freight. When you haul an in-demand freight type that requires a special endorsement, then you can earn more money.

Experience

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.

Miles

Many, many trucking companies still pay HHG (also known as short-route miles). At Roehl, you’re paid on the practical route from the starting address to the ending address – a more accurate reflection of the miles you’ve actually driven. Roehl was one of the first companies to pay practical route miles and we remain the innovator with address-to-address mileage calculations .

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. 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 .

Solo Versus Team Truck Driving Jobs

Team truck drivers have a higher earning potential than solo drivers. Solo drivers have to stop for rest, and their miles are limited by their need for sleep. Drivers that team up with a partner can keep driving endlessly without long breaks for sleep. As one driver is behind the wheel, the other driver can rest. An experienced driver who works as a part of a team can make as much as $2884 per week ($150,000 annually), depending on their experience, what kind of vehicle they're driving and more.

Truck Driver Salary

If you work for a trucking company that pays well (like we do here at Roehl), you can expect to make to be well compensated, if you are an experienced truck driver. All Roehl drivers have the opportunity to increase their earnings through their performance with Roehl’s Your Choice Pay Plans.

As one of the best trucking companies to work for, we also find other ways to pass along greater earning potential to their best drivers. Here are some ways that you can earn more money through bonuses and hard work.

  • Referral Bonuses
  • Performance Bonuses
  • Sign-on Pay (Better than 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 provide for their drivers. 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

One More Benefit of Driving a Truck: Job Security

Truck drivers are in high demand and short supply! In fact, in the fall of 2021, the shortage reached an all-time high of 80,000 drivers . According to the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the industry will be short 174,000 drivers by 2026. When you're an experienced, skilled truck driver, you can quickly find a job no matter where you move.

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. Many of our top drivers make close to or over $100,000 a year.

Are you ready to earn money while performing a valuable service? Do you want to be a part of the crucial system that moves goods and services around our nation? Get your start with Roehl.

Contact Us

Connect with our driver employment specialists.