Long Haul Trucker Salary: Influencing Factors

A truck driver is one of the most famous professions in the USA. The job takes a lot of effort but allows you to expand your world view and gain unique experience. Many people think about becoming drivers immediately after school or vice versa after retirement. The trucking industry is open to all ages.

However, when considering becoming a truck driver, everyone is interested in the average trucker salary. The USA trucking industry offers many opportunities to increase this amount.

How much can you earn doing trucking, and what factors affect the amount?

The average long-distance trucker salary is $ 68,000 per year. Long-distance drivers get more than regional or local ones. For example, the cost per mile is 0.44 cents, while the other two types of transportation are charged an average of 0.37 and 0.42 cents.

Driver salaries also vary by state. Truckers in North and South Dakota and Nebraska have the highest salaries. The smallest sums are received by drivers in Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Connecticut, New Hampshire.

However, even the average salary for a truck driver is higher than the amounts paid to representatives of other popular occupations in America, such as salespeople and junior programmers. 

The truck driver profession remains one of the highest-paid and in-demand.

Oversized Load and Ice Road: Trucker Salary Reasons to Increase

There are several types of work of freight carriers that are paid higher than traditional long-distance transportation. Among them are the following:

1. Liquids. Usually, these are various chemicals, as well as gas. These substances are hazardous to health, and their transportation requires special skills. For such work, a driver can earn up to $ 120,000 per year, depending on the type of substance and company.

2. Oversized cargo. Transporting oversized cargo requires specific skills, the ability to drive special trucks, and a special license. Oversized cargo can help to earn $ 100,000 per year.

3. Ice road. Hazardous weather and road conditions during the cold season can bring from $ 30 to $ 40,000 in a couple of months.

4. Cars transportation. If a driver is involved in transporting automobiles, he can also make good money - an average of $ 73,000 per year. Transportation of expensive and luxurious cars can increase the income to $ 120,000.

5. Mining industry. Transporting various rocks, such as coal or granite, is also a risky business. When a driver needs to load cargo in a quarry or mine, he can get into a dangerous situation. Therefore, such work also pays well.

Company vs. Solo Driver Salary: USA Experience

Apart from certain types of trucking jobs that can increase the average OTR trucker salary, other factors also affect the amount. For example, whether the driver works for himself or the company. Also, the experience of a trucker plays an important role in cargo transportation. 

How Much Money Independent Trucker Earns?

To earn more, experts recommend working independently or choosing small companies. Working as a solo driver, you can earn significantly more than being an employee of a trucking company. For example, an independent trucker’s salary per mile is about $ 1.25, while working for someone else is 65 cents. But there is a disadvantage.

According to Indeed, the median annual salary for a solo driver in the US is nearly $ 230,000. However, it is worth remembering that the costs can be up to 70% – you need to monitor the truck's condition and pay taxes independently. That’s why many independent drivers sign contracts with trucking companies to have stable orders and work.

The amount that solo drivers vary from state to state. Thus, the most profitable regions for independent truckers are North and South Dakota, Nedawa, Kansas, Massachusetts, and New Mexico. The least profitable is to work for yourself in Alaska.

How Experience Influences Long Haul Trucker Salary: Average Amount

Of course, the experience is an essential factor for the average OTR trucker salary. Every trip adds new knowledge and skills. It affects the received amount of money and the ability to cope with various unforeseen situations on the road. As a result, experience also helps to avoid fines related to HOS rules and other traffic regulations, saving money.

Drivers who are just starting their trucking careers receive a regular salary. According to statistics for usual long-distance cargo transportation, excluding specific work types, the first year trucker salary is above $ 64,000. After which the amount increases for each year. So, drivers who are engaged in cargo transportation from 6 to 9 years receive an average of 73,000 dollars. And those who have worked in this industry for more than 10 years can earn $ 77,000 per year.

By Denis Kirston
03 / 12 / 2020
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