How Much Does a Truck Driver Make? [Updated January, 2024]

The days of truckers being the unseen superheroes who keep things running smoothly in the world are long gone. With the ongoing supply chain shortages, trucking has become a very visible, as well as very prominent, profession throughout North America.

If you are considering a career as a truck driver, but are bogged down by the “how much does a truck driver make?” question, then this article is for you.

We’ll explore the socioeconomic relevance of trucking and logistics, and how each plays a part in determining the take home pay of drivers. Read on to discover truck driver earnings in the USA based on location, routes, experience, company size, and vehicle type.


Contents:

  1. How Much Does a Truck Driver Make?
  2. Where Do Truck Drivers Earn More in the US (By States)?
  3. Salary of a Truck Driver by Trailer Type
  4. Salary of a Truck Driver by Route Type (Distance)
  5. Salary of a Truck Driver by Operating Mode
  6. Salary of a Truck Driver by Experience
  7. External Factors Affecting Salary
  8. How Much Does HMD Trucking Pay?
  9. Conclusion

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How Much Does a Truck Driver Make?

Although some people claim that truck drivers earn the same across the United States, the reality remains that the salary of a truck driver depends on various internal and external factors.

What Affects the Salary of a Truck Driver?

First off, the driver’s location affects their earnings. As a general rule, companies in the West and South offer less money than those in other parts of the country. However, the wage disparity for OTR (“over-the-road,” or long-haul trucking) carriers is quite small regardless of which state they’re working in or based out of.

The routes you run also determine your salary. There is generally a difference in pay that corresponds to whether you are driving local, regional and OTR routes. OTR drivers earn more than regional drivers because they spend longer stretches of time away from home. Similarly, regional drivers make more money than local drivers, as regional drivers are often home on a weekly basis, whereas those driving local routes come home daily.

Alongside location and routes, the type of trailer makes a difference in the payment you receive. For example, dry van drivers earn less than reefer truckers, who in turn make more less than flatbed drivers.

Another important determining factor is the driver’s experience; truckers with little or no experience earn less than those with several years of experience. Partially due to the fact that сarriers also have to pay more in insurance when working with inexperienced drivers.

And company size determines your earnings as a driver. If you work for a small company, your wages could be higher than your contemporaries driving for prominent companies, because small companies are ready to quickly adjust to the market and increase driver pay. But there may be potential negatives to offset that positive: larger carriers may provide the stability of a consistent workload and an experienced management team, two things that smaller, more independent carriers simply might not be able to deliver.

How Much Does a Truck Driver Make on Average?

According to Indeed estimates (and keep in mind that estimates are just that — an estimation — and will therefore vary from week to week or month to month), the average salary breakdown of a truck driver in the United States is as follows (considering the 11-hour driving limit):

  • $34.24 per hour.
  • $391 per day.
  • $1,884 per week.
  • $7,292 per month.
  • $102,988 per year.

Other benefits and bonuses may apply based on internal company policies or external factors like adverse weather or swings in the economy, greater demand because of supply chain issues, etc.

PPM Method Description (Pay Per Mile)

Most truckers prefer charging for every mile because they see it as fair compensation for their services. However, the cents per mile (CPM) depends on the factors discussed earlier. Statista estimates the median CPM for truckers in 2020 at $0.57 per mile.

Where Do Truck Drivers Earn More in the US (By States)?

Where Do Truck Drivers Earn More in the US (By States)?

We’ve already talked about certain areas of the country being more pocket-friendly to truckers than others. Now let’s rank them per state based on CPM and annual income.

The Best States for Truck Drivers

In 2024, according to Zippia.com, the top states for truck drivers based on average annual salaries are:

  • Kentucky - $68,557
  • Pennsylvania - $68,232
  • Indiana - $67,338
  • Delaware - $70,901
  • Mississippi - $66,365
  • Ohio - $65,665
  • Oklahoma - $67,261
  • Rhode Island - $70,834
  • Wisconsin - $66,857
  • Arkansas - $65,794

Kentucky has the highest Location Quotient of 2.03, while Rhode Island has the lowest at 0.64, yet nearly the highest average salary. The Location Quotient, a measure by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicates the concentration of an industry in a state relative to the national average.

Source: Zippia.com

State Average Salary Lowest 10% Earn Population Job Count

Kentucky

$68,557 $46,000 4,454,189 6,466

Pennsylvania

$68,232 $45,000 12,805,537 14,369

Indiana

$67,338 $45,000 6,666,828 9,598

Delawere

$70,901 $47,000 961,939 1,484

Mississippi

$66,365 $44,000 2,984,100 3,254

Ohio

$65,665 $44,000 11,658,609 15,146

Oklahoma

$67,261 $45,000 3,930,864 3,032

Rhode Island

$70,834 $47,000 1,059,639 671

Wisconsin

$66,857 $45,000 5,795,483 5,493

Arkansas

$65,794 $44,000 3,004,279 2,518

Worst States for Truck Drivers

Check out the worst states for truck drivers in terms of annual income and cost per mile.

State Average Salary Lowest 10% Earn Population Job Count

Washington

$61,194 $38,000 7,405,743 3,222

Nebraska

$54,316 $37,000 1,920,076 1,519

Montana

$56,810 $37,000 1,050,493 717

Colorado

$58,278 $39,000 5,607,154 3,312

Oregon

$53,050 $33,000 4,142,776 2,586

Texas

$50,414 $33,000 28,304,596 12,691

Idaho

$47,833 $30,000 1,716,943 1,320

Florida

$56,563 $37,000 20,984,400 6,139

Alaska

$47,735 $38,000 739,795 149

Hawaii

$44,475 $33,000 1,427,538 154

Caveat: Again, it’s worth noting that the figures in this table don’t mean that these states are terrible for truck drivers; rather, these are just statistical projections to guide prospective truckers living in those states to make decisions with respect to the average salaries of non-trucking jobs.

Even when the salary figures for some states appear lower than expected, remember that: a) these are generalizations — the statistics don't represent fixed wages; b) skilled drivers often earn 25% to 30% more than the reported averages. Continue reading for real-world examples that illustrate this point.

Salary of a Truck Driver by Trailer Type

Salary of a truck driver by trailer type

There are different types of trucks and trailers used for commercial trucking. While the specs for a truck will likely center around performance, the differences in trailer type revolve around the application requirements. For example, some of them haul consumer goods and farm produce, while others focus on non-standard deliveries like harmful chemicals and mineral resources.

As a result, some truckers need special endorsements to haul these loads. With that in mind, the earnings of truck drivers differ based on the following:

Requiring Special Endorsement

A special endorsement is an addition to your regular commercial driver’s license (CDL), which allows you to carry specialized loads and earn more in the process.

An example here would be truckers tasked with moving nuclear waste from factories to dump sites — these drivers need special endorsements, which will also increase the income they receive for their services.

If you’ve ever seen a truck transporting hazardous materials and thought, “how much do hazmat truck drivers make for risking their lives?”, then this section is for you.

Hazmat Trucks (H Endorsement)

The cost per mile for hazmat driving ranges from $0.60 to $0.80. As for the hazmat trucker salary per year, drivers can clear between $68,750 and $100,000 per year, depending on their weekly workload. You’ll also need a TSA-issued HazMat endorsement to operate such trucks, which in turn helps you earn a better salary. Do you want to know how to get a hazmat endorsement? Read our article.

Doubles/Triples (T Endorsement)

Acquiring this endorsement allows you to drive with more than one trailer attached. These are sometimes called “long-combination vehicles,” or LCVs, and, likewise, this qualification may be referred to as an LCV endorsement. The average double trailer truck driver salary range is $62,500 to $93,750 annually. The CPM could go from 50 to 75.

To get a T endorsement, you must take an additional written knowledge test that covers major areas of concern (like preventing two or three trailers from rolling over), as well as fully understanding how to couple and decouple trailers correctly. And getting this endorsement also provides opportunities to increase your salary.

Tankers (N Endorsement)

Tank vehicles are designed to safely transport liquid or liquefied gaseous material. An N endorsement lets you operate a vehicle with either a permanent or temporary tank attached to it.

Drivers within this category need a CDL certification different from the regular hazmat endorsement. For drivers that complete over 2500 miles per week at 60 - 85 CPM, the average annual tanker truck driver salary is $75,000 - $106,250.

Hazmat and Tanker (X Endorsement)

The “X” endorsement, which is also referred to as the Tanker/Hazmat Combo endorsement, allows you to operate tankers and other vehicles that carry hazardous materials after passing the compulsory knowledge test. These truckers transport harmful materials, so the commensurate earning per mile is $0.60 - $0.85. They also make around $68,750 - $106,250 annually.

Trucks Without Special Endorsement

Flatbed Truck Driver Salary

The average flatbed truck driver salary ranges between $40,000 and $91,000 yearly. The nationwide average salary per mile is $0.50- $0.60, which gives the weekly pay at around $1,250 - $1,500. That said, you should take into account that the majority of companies offer bonus pay for tarping and you can expect $200 - $350 extra weekly. If you're curious about the pros and cons of flatbed trucking, be sure to check out our other article which delves deeper into the topic.

Dry Van Driver Salary

Dry van truckers receive around $60,000 to $65,000 per year and $1,200 - $1,300 weekly. The average dry van driver salary in CPM is 48 - 52, while the cost per day is around $250 - $270.

Refrigerated Truck Driver Salary

Drivers who operate refrigerated trucks (reefers) transport perishable goods between states. The average reefer truck driver salary per year is around $65,000. In a week, a reefer driver could earn $1,300 when driving for $0.52 per mile.

Oversized Load Truck Driver Salary

If you transport heavy-duty equipment cross-country, you can expect an average annual oversize load truck driver salary of $118,750, which translates to about $2,375 per week or $0.95 per mile.

Salary of a Truck Driver by Route Type (Distance)

Truck Driver Salary by Route Type (Distance)

The salary of a truck driver can also be determined by the type of route they usually drive, and how much the company they work for pays for those routes. Route classification generally breaks down into three groups: OTR (as mentioned above, this stands for “over-the-road,” or long-haul trucking); Regional, which means you’ll be driving primarily through one section of the country, like the Midwest or the Northeast Corridor; and Local, which is exactly what it sounds like — you’re far likelier to be back home daily.

OTR (Over the Road) Driver Salary

Over-the-road or long-haul truckers specialize in transporting freight across long distances, mostly between states and sometimes across borders. Read our article to learn more about what an otr truck driver is.

As far as their salary is concerned based on recent estimates and extrapolations the average OTR truck driver salary in the United States is around $70,000 per year. If you're eager to learn more about the long haul truck driver salary, we strongly encourage you to check out our other article, which provides a comprehensive analysis of their income based on different states and specializations.

Regional Truck Driver Salary

Truck drivers operating on regional routes typically earn a bit less than OTR (Over-the-Road) drivers. ZipRecruiter reports the average annual salary for regional truck drivers as $75,877, or about $1,459 weekly. The per-mile pay rate for these drivers ranges from $0.60 to $0.70

How Much Do Local Truck Drivers Make?

Drivers who only deliver loads locally often don’t require additional endorsements. Glassdoor claims that local truckers often earn $72,000 annually net of bonuses. That said, the average local truck driver salary per week is around $1590.

Salary of a Truck Driver by Operating Mode

Truck driver salary by operating mode

Here are the standard operating models for truckers.

Solo Truck Driver’s Salary

When you complete a trip alone, you are a solo driver. Riding solo can get lonely, especially on long trips. But on the bright side, you won’t have to share your earnings with another person.

The average solo truck driver salary per year is around $81,249,000 per year (gross) according to Ziprecruiter.

Team Truck Drivers’ Salary

Truckers can work in teams instead of going solo. In this operating model, you can partner with a spouse, friend, or colleague.

Team trucking operations often succeed better than solo operations because you'll be delivering your freight in half the time it would normally take. For two-person partnerships, the team drivers’ pay per mile is around $0.75 - $0.90 split.

Although most teams split the expenses and returns evenly, members can share earnings according to their initial contributions. Overall, according to Ziprecruiter the range of team truck drivers' salary hovers around $90.312 annually.

If you want to know if the job of a team truck driver is right for you, then read our article on what is team truck driving.

Owner-Operator Salary

Solo owners often prefer a hands-on approach to the business, acting as operators and owners as well. The glaring drawback to this model is that transporting goods yourself limits your ability to focus on administrative tasks.

The owner-operator salary range for a trucker driving 500 miles daily is around $85K to $100K, excluding maintenance expenses. Since you are the direct negotiator for every job, your salary depends mostly on your preferences in routes, load type, etc.

Lease Operator Salary

According to Indeed, the average lease operator salary is difficult to calculate due to the massive disparity in job volume and distance covered. Nevertheless, the average pay hovers around $117,771/year.

Salary of a Truck Driver by Experience

Salary of a Truck Driver by Experience

Just like in any other industry, the more experience you have in the field, the more employers are willing to pay for your expertise. Let’s explain how your experience determines your CDL A driver salary.

Starter Salary for CDL A Drivers

Every new truck driver must start with entry-level wages and work their way up. Even if you already have CDL Class A certification, you cannot earn as much as someone with years of experience in the same field for the same operating model.

The average new truck driver salary in the United States is $40,000 annually. These newcomers can also charge $0.30 - $0.40 per mile in small companies, while larger corporations can pay up to $0.50 for every driven mile.

Experienced CDL A Driver Salary

With experience comes a better understanding of industry regulations. You’ll also figure out ways to maximize your earnings while staying within local, regional, and interstate driving limits.

Besides, having a proven track record of delivering for different companies gives you the leverage to negotiate better prices for yourself. And generally, experienced drivers have better commercial driving skills.

Based on market estimates, an experienced truck driver salary could reach $90K - $120K, depending on their location, routes, and endorsements. Although the average CPM is 55 - 75, some experienced drivers could raise their earnings up to $0.85 - $0.95 per mile.

External Factors Affecting Salary

Trucker Salary

The average CDL A driver's salary often fluctuates within a predictable range. We’ve explored the main variables that determine the wages of any truck driver. However, external factors which can affect the total payment include the following:

  • Border crossing: For drivers who get paid on an hourly basis, waiting at border crossings or customs adds to the overall cost of every job. Although some companies add additional fees to account for these border delays, it is often not enough to compensate for time wasted.
  • Traffic: Trucks often have a 14-hour window to travel between states. But in places like California and New York, drivers often end up sitting in traffic jams longer than the overall estimated time of delivery.
  • Weighing the load: When you work with a big company, agents and managers handle the weighing operations. But if you work with a small carrier, you’ll often need to double-check the load before departure and upon arrival, which cuts into the overall freight time.
  • Safety checks: Before leaving on your trip, you must conduct safety checks (Pre-trip inspection) to ensure the load is in perfect shape. These routine checks are especially essential for hazmat and tanker trucks, considering the potential impacts of any mishap. In addition, you need to conduct these checks after any unprecedented incident on the road, such as skidding, collisions, and accidents.
  • DOT inspections: The DOT agents will sometimes need to inspect your load before departure and upon arrival. These inspections often include re-weighing the shipment to make sure it tallies with the data on the manifest.
  • Unloading and loading: While waiting for the client to load or unload, you’ll be accruing time but not necessarily income. This will affect your bottom line, as it’s still time away from home or earning more while driving.
  • Repairs: When your truck experiences an issue, you might need to stop for repairs. Provided you report the incident to the manager as it occurs, you can get extra payment for such mishaps.

Other unforeseen circumstances can play significant roles in the amount of money you earn for every operation.

How Much Does HMD Trucking Pay?

HMD Trucking Salary

HMD Trucking is a company with over 20 years of experience in trucking logistics. At HMD Trucking, we care about our drivers and ensure they get fair wages for their work. We also maintain a favorable working environment without any form of discrimination based on race, gender, or ethnicity.

HMD Trucking Offers

Here is a list of our fleet rates by potential earnings per week.

Local Dry Van

At HMD Trucking, local drivers are home daily and have 50-55 working hours weekly, with Saturday optional. The rate is $27 per hour plus affordable benefits and a performance bonus. All combined it gives around $1,400 - $1,500 weekly ($70,000 - $75,000 annually).

Regional Dry Van

Our drivers can earn up to $1,600–$1,700 per week at the rate of $0.65 per mile. On the whole, the projected average earnings for our regional dry van drivers is $80,000 - $85,000 annually.

OTR Solo

Our OTR drivers can earn as much as 60 CPM base plus 10 CPM safety/productivity bonus. At the same time, if you have endorsements we can offer you an additional 04 CPM while hauling hazmat loads. On average, Solo OTR drivers at HMD Trucking make $1,750 - $1,850 weekly, racking up between $87,500 - $92,500 in annual income.

OTR Flatbed Solo

The base rate here is 65 CPM but we pay 5 CPM extra if you’re ready to drive 10K+ miles monthly. Plus we offer a load pay. Plus driving a new and well-maintained Peterbilt 567. All in all our OTR Flatbed solo drivers can make around $1,900 - $2,000 weekly ($95,000 - $100,000 per year).

OTR Teams

Teams make 77 CPM plus 05 CPM as a safety/productivity bonus. But teams can haul hazmat/doubles loads if they are endorsed and get additional 04 CPM as well. The average weekly miles is about 4500 to 5000, which results in $4,000 - $4,200 per team. Plus a $10,000 sign on bonus. All combined, this makes earning between $190K - $210K per year more than realistic.

We’ve just added a team position to our Flatbed division. We offer 77 CPM base plus 5 CPM as an MVP bonus. And well-maintained Pete 567 and a load is still in place.

Lease Opportunities

We always strive to support those drivers who want to run their own business. That's why we have good lease opportunities with affordable downpayment and walk-away options. Plus 2 trucks to choose from: Peterbilt 567 in Flatbed and Peterbilt 579 in Dry van.

Conclusion

Choosing a trucking company to work for can be a challenge, especially for those taking their first steps into the world of trucking. Before choosing a carrier to work for, always consider the benefits they offer and the support system they provide for their drivers. Use this information to choose your route to reduce unknowns and earn as much as possible.

If you want to work with a company that cares about the driver’s overall health and wellbeing, HMD Trucking is the place for you. Our personalized approach to trucking makes us the favorite destination for drivers with at least 6 months of CDL A experience. Apply with us now to start your trucking adventure.

Curious about truck driver salaries and the allure of the open road? Check out our article on the top trucker movies to get a glimpse into the world of these hardworking drivers!

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