First-Year Truck Driver Salary | How Much Do New Truck Drivers Earn? - All Trucking (2023)

Starting out in the trucking industry can be frustrating for rookies. What most new truck drivers do not understand is that experience is where the money is. Just like with any other job, entry level positions do pay considerably less. Going through a truck driving school that offers employment placement assistance really is your best bet. Inexperienced tractor trailer drivers are a high risk to companies. There are several reputable companies that do pay very well for first year drivers.

Swift Transportation is the highest paying company for rookie drivers. Not only can new truck drivers get their schooling through Swift, they can go right into employment with the company when the schooling and training are complete. Swift allows student drivers to repay their tuition and schooling costs over a period of 26 months while employed with the company. On average, first year dry van drivers earn $41,110. Team dry van drivers, in their third year can earn roughly $88,710. The pay does gradually increase year by year, based on performance, safety and experience.

(Video) NEW TRUCK DRIVER PAY - first 3 months on the road - melton truck lines

Con-way Freight also hires new CDL license holders. Several types of drivers are accepted with them from expedited freight van drivers to tractor trailer drivers. The salaries do vary depending the position and number of runs taken, but the average van driver can earn $800 – $1,000 per week easily. Con-way Freight does keep strict delivery deadlines that must be met. It is a fast paced environment that requires drivers to be alert, self-starters and dependable.

J.B. Hunt is a reputable trucking company that does hire rookie drivers. The average yearly salary for rookies is $40,000. Of course, bonuses and additional perks are available for their top drivers. J.B. Hunt is a company that has many benefits including no forced dispatch. The fuel surcharges are adjusted weekly based on the price of fuel that week. For owner-operators, parts and other repair materials can be purchased through the company at a discounted price. These are just a few of the benefits of working for this well-paying company.

Which States Pays the Highest Rookie Truck Driving Salary?

Truck driving salaries tend to not follow suit when it comes to the cost of living in an area. It is more about the job being performed and the company you are with. It does seem that the jobs that no one seems to want do pay more, even for rookies. A lot of those jobs are available in the state of New York according to CNN.

(Video) 1st Year Truck Driver Pay - Here's the Cold, Hard TRUTH!!!

West Virginia and Mississippi are also high paying states for rookie drivers according to Several technical driving positions pop up all year long. These positions require precision driving and dedication. In West Virginia, local or state-wide drivers earn top wages simply due to the terrain within the state.

Important Notes to Keep in Mind as a Rookie Truck Driver

It is important for rookies to understand that they may have to go to a different state for employment if their company of choice does not have a local terminal. This will also get them the highest wages. Some truckers do suggest that you find the company, then work out the terminal details and how to juggle for an out-of-state terminal second.

Rookie drivers are more likely to get hired with a large company such as Swift, Con-way, J.B. Hunt or Werner Enterprises. Schneider Trucking is another large company that has a truck driving school and hires many of their graduates. Although their pay is slightly lower than others, drivers learn invaluable lessons and have top notch training.

(Video) We Are The Highest Paid Truck Drivers In The World

The first year as a truck driver is essentially a learning year. Although the schooling is complete, there are things that must be learned only by performing the job. Rookies have to have a lot of patience and must be willing to take constructive criticism in order to be successful in the trucking industry. In this ever-growing industry, safety and dedication go a lot further than a driver that can get the most miles per week. Positions are always available for rookies along with experienced drivers as the truck driving industry always has the demand for drivers.

Truck Driving Pay Calculator

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(Video) How Much Money Do Truck Drivers Make? (2022)

A Day in the Life of a Truck Driver

Jonathan Knope, contributor with The Rideshare Guy, discusses his experience as a truck driver in the video below.

(Video) NEW TRUCK DRIVER PAY - first year truck driver salary (9 month review) - melton truck lines


First-Year Truck Driver Salary | How Much Do New Truck Drivers Earn? - All Trucking? ›

35% of truckers quit their job in the first 90 days.

What company pays the most for new CDL drivers? ›

The 10 Best Paying Trucking Companies
  • Bennett Motor Express.
  • Mercer Transportation.
  • Sysco Foods.
  • Walmart.
  • UPS.
  • GP Transco.
  • Marten Transport.
  • ABF Freight System.
Mar 20, 2023

What percentage of truck drivers quit in the first year? ›

35% of truckers quit their job in the first 90 days.

Which trucking company pays the most for training? ›

What is the Highest-Paying CDL Company? CRST Trucking School is arguably the highest-paying CDL company. What State Pays CDL Drivers the Most? North Dakota State pays CDL drivers the most, offering up to $53,720 in wages.

How much does a beginner truck driver earn in USA? ›

Entry Level Truck Driver Salary. $41,500 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $70,000 is the 75th percentile.

What state does CDL A drivers make the most? ›

The highest-paid state for truck drivers is Delaware with an average salary of $70,901 per year.

What state pays CDL drivers the most? ›

The top 5 best states to be a truck driver according to mean annual salary are:
  • Alaska – $59.7K.
  • District of Columbia – $55.4K.
  • New York – $55.3K.
  • Wyoming – $55.0K.
  • North Dakota – $54.6K.
Aug 21, 2020

What is the average age of new truck drivers? ›

What's the average age of truck drivers? According to the American Trucking Associations, the average age of OTR truck drivers is 46, and the average age of new drivers just beginning their careers in the industry is 35.

At what age do most truck drivers retire? ›

Though there is no official retirement age for truck drivers, you may have to stop driving for various reasons. People getting older is one of the largest reasons for the truck driver shortage. The average truck driver is around 45 years old and the average retirement age is 62.

Is the trucking industry in trouble 2023? ›

Fifty-four percent of the Freight Rate Survey's respondents reported a negative forecast for 2023, citing concerns such as high fuel costs, increased regulation, inflation, overcapacity and a cooling economy.

What is the best money in trucking? ›

Higher-paying trucking jobs
  1. Delivery driver. National average salary: $16.85 per hour. ...
  2. Snowplow operator. National average salary: $18.89 per hour. ...
  3. Private fleet driver. National average salary: $1,210 per week. ...
  4. Tanker driver. National average salary: $71,065 per year. ...
  5. Long-haul driver. ...
  6. Truck driver trainer. ...
  7. Owner-operator driver.
Mar 3, 2023

What makes the most money in trucking? ›

Truck drivers can also get paid based on their route type. OTR (Over the Road) drivers typically spend weeks on the road, traveling long distances and making deliveries across the country. While OTR driving can be demanding, it often commands the highest salary and offers the opportunity to see new places.

Can you become wealthy in trucking? ›

Trucking Won't Make You Rich

Only the top 10% of truck drivers make more than $58,000 per year. You may think that the time invested is lucrative but it doesn't often turn into a big payout. It's a thing you need to know and accept before starting your driving career.

Is there money in starting a trucking company? ›

The average net profit margin of a trucking company averages between 2.5% and 6%. That means it can be a profitable business and an industry that you can make a decent living from, provided you get into the trucking business with your eyes wide open.

How much do Amazon drivers make? ›

Average Delivery Driver hourly pay in the United States is approximately $18.78, which is 12% above the national average. Salary information comes from 227,586 data points collected directly from employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.

What is the hardest state to get a CDL? ›

In fact, a study by Siegfried & Jensen shows Washington is the hardest state in the nation to get a driver's license.

What state has the hardest CDL test? ›

Washington state has one of the toughest driving tests in the country. According to the state Department of Licensing, passing rates for the knowledge test are around 46% at DOL offices. A study by personal-injury law firm Siegfried & Jensen suggests Washington is the most difficult state to get a license.

Where do most CDL drivers live? ›

Metropolitan Areas With the Highest Number of Truckers

New York-Jersey City-White Plains metropolitan area has almost 40,000 truck drivers. Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area in Texas has the second most resident truckers. Most are located in and around Houston, but the whole area boasts about 39,000.

What states are the easiest to get a CDL? ›

Make Your State The Easiest State to Get a CDL

So, if you're still wondering what the easiest state to get a CDL in is, just know it includes Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, and South Carolina, because that's where our schools are located.

What state pays the most for dump truck drivers? ›

Highest paying cities for Dump Truck Drivers near United States
  • North Charleston, SC. $27.17 per hour. 16 salaries reported.
  • Eagan, MN. $25.44 per hour. 7 salaries reported.
  • Phoenix, AZ. $24.78 per hour. 183 salaries reported.
  • Atlanta, GA. $21.57 per hour. 67 salaries reported.
  • Monroe, NC. $20.51 per hour. ...
  • Show more nearby cities.

How hard is the life of a truck driver? ›

Truck drivers typically have a long workday that starts early and ends late. In the middle, they are on the road most of the time, up to a maximum of 11 hours a day. Their workday consists of tight schedules that must be met, with an ever-present risk of delay due to a variety of events.

Is truck driving a hard life? ›

Many truck drivers must work long hours, spend lots of time away from home, and remain seated for most of their workday. Most truck drivers spend long hours sitting in one position, which can lead to a host of health problems (e.g., obesity, chronic back pain).

Is being a truck driver a good life? ›

Truck driving is more than a job, it's a way of life, and this way of life isn't for everyone. But, if you're able to handle the long miles, lonely hours, and being away from your home and family for weeks and months at a time, truck driving might turn out to be your dream job.

How long will truck drivers be in demand? ›

Truck Driving: The Business That Keeps Growing

As of right now, it is expected that the employment of truck drivers will grow by 4% from 2021 to 2031. As an essential industry, job stability is available to all truck drivers.

Why are so many truck drivers retiring? ›

One of the leading causes of truck drivers getting out of the industry during the pandemic was the pandemic itself. The trucking industry saw a surge in retirements among older drivers who were at-risk of facing serious complications if they happened to contract the virus.

Do truck drivers get pensions? ›

A pension plan is a type of retirement plan in which an employer contributes to a special fund set aside for their employees. They can be helpful for truckers because they guarantee a fixed monthly benefit in retirement. Employers invest and guarantee a specific retirement payout for each of their workers.

What is Biden doing for the trucking industry? ›

“We're using funds from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help address truck parking shortages, and we're working with state and industry leaders to develop more parking that will improve safety and quality of life for our nation's truck drivers.”

Why is the trucking industry losing drivers? ›

A 1,000-mile journey through the middle of America reveals the fundamental reason for truck driver shortages: It is a job full of stress, physical deprivation and loneliness. Stephen Graves at a rest stop in Oklahoma, where he slept for the night.

Why are truck rates dropping? ›

Most experts would say trucking rates are relaxing and flattening out after a few years of high rates and tight capacity due to demand. But the uncertain state of the US economy, the lack of consistent work for drivers, and recent part supply issues keeping semi-truck prices high all heavily impact these rates.

What freight pays the most? ›

The type of freight

Flat-bed loads are good-paying loads because they're usually heavier or larger cargo, and the driver often has to help secure and cover the load. Dangerous goods, such as fuel, chemicals, or other unstable cargo, are better-paying as well.

How can I save money while trucking? ›

Truck driver money saving tips to maximize your budget
  1. Bring your own food and avoid spontaneous food spending. Food can easily be the largest expenditure if your truck driving job takes you away from home for days or weeks at a time. ...
  2. Take advantage of all available discounts. ...
  3. Plan every stop.

What type of trailer pays the most? ›

Auto Hauler

Generally speaking, the highest-paying trucking job base on trailer types are reefers, tankers, flatbeds, lowboys, bull and auto haulers; however, these trucking jobs also require more training and certification, making them less desirable for new drivers.

What type of trucking is most in demand 2023? ›

Here are some of the top pay truck driver jobs of 2023 and what makes them stand out:
  • Hazmat Haulers. Hazmat hauling involves transporting hazardous materials such as chemicals, fuel and explosives. ...
  • Refrigerated Goods Drivers. ...
  • Private Carrier Drivers. ...
  • Special Car Haulers. ...
  • Ice Road Drivers.
Feb 24, 2023

What owner operator pays the most? ›

What is the highest-paid owner/operator job? The highest-paid owner/operator job is an operator and truck driver. Operators And Truck Driver earn an average salary of $250,847, which is $ 120.60 hourly.

Is it worth being a owner operator? ›

Though there is an additional responsibility for being an owner operator, the benefits are well-worth it. As an owner-operator, you'll have the freedom to make your own decisions on what loads to haul, which clients to work with, and how much work to take on.

What is the success rate of trucking companies? ›

Typically, around 85-90% of startup trucking companies fail. It's not always easy to run a company, but it's especially difficult in the competitive transportation industry.

Who pays the most for new drivers? ›

Swift Transportation is the highest paying company for rookie drivers. Not only can new truck drivers get their schooling through Swift, they can go right into employment with the company when the schooling and training are complete.

What flatbed company pays the most? ›

Jordan Company has the highest average salary for flatbed truck drivers.

What owner operator company pays the most? ›

Top companies for Owner Operator Drivers in United States
  • ELITE TRANSPORT. 3.1 $488,885per year. 22 reviews9 salaries reported.
  • ELE. 3.8 $437,453per year. 20 reviews1.2k salaries reported.
  • DSL Express Trucking. 4.8 $379,096per year. ...
  • AFC Transport. 4.6 $325,000per year. ...
  • Cowan Systems, LLC. 3.1 $316,998per year. ...
  • Show more companies.
4 days ago

How much difference can a new driver make? ›

Newer drivers help improve ball speed and have thinner faces which produce longer drives. Be sure to test out different drivers on a launch monitor before purchasing them to compare distances. Different golfers have their own unique swings so results can vary.

What is the best paying load for truckers? ›

The type of freight

Refrigerated loads (also known as reefers) are better-paying loads than van freight. Flat-bed loads are good-paying loads because they're usually heavier or larger cargo, and the driver often has to help secure and cover the load.

What drivers make the most money? ›

Review these three best-paying driving jobs that pay over $80,000:
  • Tanker driver.
  • Tractor-trailer truck driver.
  • Owner-operator driver. National average salary: $301,511 per year. ...
  • Automobile hauler. ...
  • Ice road truck driver. ...
  • Hazardous materials hauler. ...
  • Heavy equipment transporter. ...
  • Mining truck driver.
Mar 3, 2023

Can you make a living driving for Amazon? ›

Most drivers earn $18-25* an hour. *Actual earnings will depend on your location, any tips you receive, how long it takes you to complete your deliveries, and other factors. Or download the Amazon Flex app.

How much do DoorDash drivers make? ›

Base pay from DoorDash to Dashers ranges from $2-$10+ per delivery depending on the estimated duration, distance, and desirability of the order. Deliveries that are expected to take more time, that require Dashers to travel a longer distance, and that are less popular with Dashers have higher base pay.

Do Amazon drivers get overtime? ›

According to federal law, these employees are non-exempt, and are thus entitled to time and half for every hour worked in excess of 40 per week.

Why does flatbed pay more? ›

Flatbed truckers are often paid more because the stakes are higher due to exposed cargo, but also because flatbed trucking is a physically and mentally demanding, skill-reliant job. The combination of these three factors means that flatbed drivers will earn more per mile to match the task at hand.

What is the best flatbed company to drive for? ›

Top 15 Flatbed Trucking Companies in 2023
  • Melton Truck Lines.
  • Prime Inc.
  • System Transport.
  • Western Express.
  • CRST The Transportation Solution.
  • Roehl Transport.
  • Miller Transfer.
  • Combined Transport Inc.

Who is the largest flatbed carrier in the United States? ›

Daseke, Inc. is the largest flatbed trucking company in the nation and one of the most respected shippers in the world.

Do you make more money as an owner operator? ›

Owner operators generally earn higher per-mile rates than company drivers or a percent-of-load rate. Although they make more income per load, they also must pay all the expenses of operating a truck and business.

What is the best company for owner operator trucking? ›

Here's a list of eight high-paying companies that you can consider as an owner-operator:
  • Prime Inc.
  • Quality Carriers.
  • USA Truck.
  • XPO Logistics.
  • J.B. Hunt.
  • Marten Transport.
  • Mercer Transportation.
  • Landstar.
Jun 24, 2022

What is the average freight rate per mile? ›

Trucking rates per mile vary based on a number of factors—including gas prices, supply and demand, type of freight, mode, and distance. The latest national averages are: $2.41 per mile for vans. The highest rates are in the Midwest and the lowest in the Northeast.


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