What Do Truck Driver Jobs Pay?

Woman driving an eighteen wheelerIf you’re considering a truck driving career, one of your first questions will be about your earning potential. There are a few factors that contribute to the truck driving pay scale. For instance, pay rates vary with the type of freight a trucker hauls as well as its weight. Specialized freight trucking generally pays more than generalized freight trucking. Your training and amount of experience will also influence your earnings. How you are paid (salary, hourly or by the mile) is yet another factor to consider.

Pay Per Mile

Most often, truck drivers are paid at a rate that is based on mileage and not on hours. The rate per mile varies and depends on experience, training and what is being hauled.

Pay Per Hour

Many truck drivers who get paid by the hour drive either locally or regionally. The hourly rate varies just like the mileage rate and can depend on the employer, the type of cargo and the experience of the driver.

Heavy Tractor Trailer Truck Driver Salaries

Heavy tractor trailer truck drivers generally have CDL training, a high school diploma, and must meet certain other criteria. As the driver gains more hauling experience, and establishes a stellar safety record, their pay rate can increase. Drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers are usually paid by how many miles they have driven, plus bonuses and benefits.

Over the Road OTR Truck Driver Salaries

OTR trucker salaries vary depending on the cargo being hauled and the geographic region(s) worked. Driving a refrigerated truck, for example, requires extra training and experience and therefore may pay more than a job hauling dry goods or non-perishable items.

Specialized Freight Truck Driver Salaries

Drivers who haul specialized freight can earn more than those carrying generalized freight. For example, someone who drives a truck that delivers new cars to an automobile dealership needs to know how to handle that special rig so that the cars get to the dealership safely.

Tanker Truck Driver Salaries

A tanker truck driver may haul gasoline and other hazardous materials. The more experience a tanker driver gets, the more he or she can earn. Because of the extremely dangerous nature of the cargo, a tanker truck driver must maintain a clean driving record and refresh his or her specialized driving skills periodically.

Questions to Ask Employers About Compensation

When enquiring about truck driving pay, there are a few things to keep in mind and certain questions you’ll want to ask. First, you will want to know if the rate is hourly or per mile, and what influences that rate (experience, training, cargo, etc.). Also, bear in mind that compensation is not just an hourly or mileage rate. Total compensation will take into account benefits, home time, schedule/shift flexibility and other perks. When calculating your total pay rate, remember to factor in these other benefits as well, so that you can arrive at an accurate estimate of your total earning potential.