How much do truck drivers make?

March 16, 2021

Are you curious about the average income that truck drivers earn? Well, a career in trucking is extremely lucrative for someone looking for a new career path or for those that need more money to gain financial stability. Few other jobs can become such a financial lifeline and allow you to become financially stable as quickly as truck driver earnings can while requiring no secondary education after high school other than CDL training from a truck driving school. Some companies will even give you training pay and offer sign on bonuses. How many other jobs will allow you to do all of this without any upfront tuition costs?

Truck driver salary average

According to the BLS 2018 report (Bureau of Labor Statistics May), drivers average salary $43,680 a year or approximately $21 per hour.

The top 10% of drivers 3 years ago were being paid over $65k per year with the bottom 10% making less than $28,160. In 2019, those numbers moved to an average salary of $57,000, with a low of $37k and a top of $77k.

This shows an upward trend that is expected to continue.

Factors that impact truck driver pay

First things first, an average OTR driver salary in the trucking industry ranges a lot - as much as 35%! You can see in the examples in the paragraph above how much difference in pay between that of the highest compensated truck driver and the least paid truck driver. Many factors go into deciding how much a truck driver can make and bring home to the family.

Some factors are in the driver's control such as education, experience, and job types such as regional drivers, team drivers, dedicated drivers, and high risk professions such as ice road trucking. Team drivers are two drivers in the same truck working together by taking turns behind the wheel instead of a dedicated driver that is assigned a specific route and truck. Other factors are not as controlled by the driver such as starting pay, the amount of work available, and adverse weather conditions which would affect a driver's ability to work depending upon the type of work.

Truck drivers are usually paid by the mile, per hour, per day, or per trip. Truck drivers that get paid per mile can choose to make more by driving more. Usually, work that is done locally will pay drivers by the hour. Companies will give their drivers a minimum pay for the day so that there is always consistency in their earnings. Drivers that are compensated per trip will usually have a set percentage of the trip’s revenue that is agreed upon with the company they are driving for.

Drivers that perform different types of work such as flatbeds, tankers, and hazmat will be some of the highest-paid truck drivers because of the need to haul either dangerous material which requires hazmat endorsement or commodities that require extra attention. At Migway, we've chosen to stick to simple dry van movements to reduce errors during transit and to allow for an easier entry for new truck drivers to begin working with Migway. Hauling dry van loads allows for easy on-and-off loading and unloading, minimal time spent at shippers and receivers, and allows truck drivers to keep their attention on what's in front of them - the road and the drive to get to the final delivery.

How much do OTR drivers make at Migway?

  • Wondering how much money can you make with a CDL at Migway?

Migway works with OTR truck drivers that have a commercial driver's license, at least 2 years of experience, and a clean record. We start our drivers at .65 cents per mile (CPM) and give drivers an opportunity through our performance bonus to consistently be paid .70 cents per mile that they drive. With these rates, our drivers are top performers found in the top tier in the example above that shows that 3 years ago the top 10% of company drivers that year were making over $65K.

  • How much do truck drivers make a week at Migway?

A truck driver that plans to run 2,000 miles per week at .65 cents per mile will make around $60K. The performance bonus allows experienced truck drivers to make an extra $7K. For our guys and gals that don't know how to stop, let's say 3,000 miles a week with .70 cents per mile for the performance bonus which is $2,100 a week or $100k a year. To put it into the current perspective, driver-trainers on average are estimated to make around $80K, and working for Walmart or FedEx as a direct delivery driver will earn you about the same as a driver-trainer would.

Our mission statement is to build a great company and to enrich the lives of our employees. Employees mean not just office staff and shop staff - but drivers! We see it fit to pay them ultra-competitive rates towards their average OTR salary to show them that we care about them and understand their sacrifices and commitments to their work. So if you enjoy driving and the nature of the trucking industry, reach out to recruiting and ask for help on how working with Migway could be the job opportunity that you could be looking for. Come see how you can earn an annual salary of a truck driver that has their own equipment without all the troubles and hassles associated with bookkeeping and repairs.

Other pay incentives

Curious about how to make good money as a truck driver? Salaries and other bonuses that are earned on top of the driver's salary, for example, referral bonuses, are continuing to increase over the last few years to give the truck driver an opportunity to choose how much they make. Listed below are a few accessorial pays that companies offer their employees.

Referral Bonus

Companies have put together different systems created to give drivers more of an opportunity to bring extra money towards their checks. Programs such as bonuses paid for referring new hires to work for the company are popular due to the current labor gap that the industry is experiencing. Migway pays drivers that refer their friends and family a bonus of $2,000 over the first 6 months that a driver referral begins to work.

Safety Bonus

Trucking is an industry where safety is not only paramount but is also a top priority for everyone in the industry - the driver, the dispatcher, and the CEO. Companies will offer safety bonuses that allow drivers to receive a bonus added towards their pay if the driver can show that they are taking proper care of the equipment and following all rules and regulations set. On top of a safety bonus, Migway also pays its drivers for passing inspections to - up to $300 per instance! This is to ensure that they have no reason to be anxious about the status of their equipment and logs when pulled over by patrol.

Performance Bonus

Another honorable mention is a performance bonus which was created to give company drivers an extra incentive to reach a goal set with the company on a certain amount of miles to hit that week or a monthly mileage bonus. Not only is this good for the truck driver's pay but it also gives drivers a goal to strive for and a feeling of accomplishment when they meet that goal. Another bonus paid out to truck drivers is a fuel efficiency bonus where truck drivers are paid for efficient truck driving. Detention pay and layover pay are two other methods drivers are paid to accommodate them spending their time at shippers and receivers.

volvo truck

Here at Migway

The beauty of the truck driver position is that a truck driver's career path is not restricted to making money on the road indefinitely. Having a love for trucks or enjoying the nature of the work can help a truck driver earn money by choosing to educate a new truck driver later in their career.

A truck driver can choose to become owner operators or independent contractors, choosing which routes, loads, and hours you drive can set you on the path of purchasing your own truck, doing business for yourself instead of a single company, and being one of the highest-paid truck drivers - an owner-operator! There are many mega-corporations in trucking that began their operations with one truck, just like Migway out of North Carolina!

If you asked us, we would tell you that we believe that driving a truck as a career path for your future is an incredibly wise decision. With pay depending on your performance, different directions for growth, rising demand for good drivers, and little barrier for entry, the trucking industry can be a home to many people that don't know all that it is able to provide for them and their families.


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