There are over 3.5 million truckers in the U.S. who are responsible for transporting goods across the country. Whether it be food, livestock, or anything in between, truckers can end up driving for days or weeks at a time. Now could be the right time for you to enter the trucking industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is demand for more truck drivers and employment is expected to grow six percent by 2030.
With increasing job demand over the next decade, there’s good money to be made. Find out how you could be earning a $100,000 trucking salary with an online search.
What Factors Impact a Trucker’s Pay?
It isn’t the norm for truckers to be paid a flat salary. Most of the time, a trucker will be paid by the hour or per mile driven.
Cents per mile (CPM) wages can be calculated several different ways. This includes:
- Having a trucker’s activity tracked via Google Maps;
- Using the distance between origin and destination cities for the calculation, or;
- Simply tracking the truck’s odometer before and after a trip.
For companies with shorter routes of 150 miles or less, truckers will often get paid by the hour. This type of payment gives them an opportunity to make decent overtime wages. While salary paid jobs are rare and the hours and mileage can vary, the income will typically stay the same.
Not all truck drivers are paid the same. There are various factors that can determine how much a trucker is paid, such as:
- Their level of experience;
- The company they haul for;
- The type of truck they drive;
- Their endorsements, and;
- How much they drive per month.
Experience is possibly the biggest indicator in how much you’ll make as a driver. More years under your belt means that you’ve dealt with all types of problems or unexpected roadblocks, so you’ll know how to deal with them. Your pay will continue to reflect your experience and eventually start to grow.
How to Make $100K Per Year
In 2020, the median pay for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $47,130 per year and $22.66 per hour. But you might be able to earn as much as $100,000 per year by applying for the right trucking position.
Truck drivers have the opportunity to make a lot of money depending on:
- Their specialty;
- How much they’re willing to drive, and;
- What they’re hauling.
Experienced drivers can make more money by specializing in a certain skill set. For instance, drivers who are trained to handle hazardous materials can earn more money. The risk is much higher when you’re transporting more dangerous elements. If you’re comfortable with that risk, you can become certified and give yourself more opportunities.
Alternatively, drivers can work with a partner to earn more money. This is when you drive with another person and take turns driving. Rather than having to pull over for the night to rest, partners can switch places and keep the truck moving to earn more money. Roadmaster says teams can split an average of up to $100,000 to $150,000 per year.
Another potential niche in the trucking industry is ice road trucking. These drivers typically hit the road months at a time. While it does pay more, drivers will have to endure more treacherous road conditions that include extreme temperatures, poor road conditions, and harsh winter storms.
Some other types of trucking that pay good money include:
- Oversized loads;
- Mining industry dump trucks, and;
- Tanker endorsement drivers.
How to Find High Paying Trucker Jobs
There are various ways a trucker can earn a high salary. A good place to start would be applying to unionized trucking companies. They typically make higher wages than an average driver since there is a standardized rate of pay. There are other worthwhile perks to working for a union, such as medical coverage and driver advocates.
For someone with significant experience in the industry, they can skip the job search by taking the next step and become an owner-operator. This allows you to be your own boss and have more control over your income. While being an owner-operator comes with a lot more responsibilities, there is the potential to eventually grow the business and hire your own fleet of drivers.
The best place to job search is online. You can browse through job sites and apply based on your skillset and level of experience. Since truck drivers are in demand, you may be able to secure higher pay rates and a greater number of trucking gigs.