How much money does a straight-truck driver make?

How much money does a straight-truck driver make?

If you’re like most people who are considering a career in over-the-road trucking, you have one big question: How much can I earn? It’s all well and good for us to give you a rate per mile, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

Looking over a month on the road, your earnings are determined by a number of factors:

  • How many miles did you drive?
  • What license endorsements do you have (e.g. hazmat, tanker, etc.)?
  • How many days were you available?
  • What is your rate per mile?

Many fleets will pay drivers on a revenue split (e.g. 40/60 split, in which the fleet owner covers fuel costs, or 60/40 split, in which the driver covers fuel costs). We pay our drivers a flat rate per mile, and all expenses (truck payment, tolls, fuel, maintenance, repairs, etc.) are covered by our fleet. For more about why we choose to pay drivers in this way, check out this earlier post.

I’m going to share some numbers from our fleet in the month of April. These drivers are going over the road in a straight truck, driving expedited freight. They’re required to have minimum Class B license (some do have Class A but choose to drive a straight truck). We pay for all miles dispatched, including empty moves and deadhead. Our drivers also earn accessorial pay (for example detention times). The rate per mile in the table below is determined by their tenure with us, performance, and their license endorsements.

First I’ll show you numbers for drivers who were available for the entire month (they took no hometime).

Sample earnings from drivers who were 100% available for the month (they took no hometime in April). 
Sample earnings from drivers who were 100% available for the month (they took no hometime in April).

A big part of succeeding in expedited freight is being available as much as possible. Expedite drivers may not run as many miles as OTR tractor drivers, but they have the potential for greater earnings because they are carrying freight that has to be there asap. Our highest earning drivers stay out for 6-8 weeks at a time. That said, everybody needs hometime sometimes! Here is a sample of drivers who were available for about 2/3rds of the month.

Sample earnings from drivers who were available for about 2/3rds of the month (they took roughly 10 days of hometime).
Sample earnings from drivers who were available for about 2/3rds of the month (they took roughly 10 days of hometime).

As you can see, being available for an extra 10 days can nearly double your earnings for the month. Also, it’s well worth getting your hazmat and tanker endorsements in order to increase your rate per mile. Driver F drove over 2,000 fewer miles than Driver E but earned slightly more money because of her higher rate per mile.

Finally, remember that these drivers don’t have any truck-related expenses to deduct from their earnings. Drivers with other pay arrangements (such as owner/operators) may appear to earn far more, but a huge percentage of that will go toward the costs of keeping the truck running.

3 Replies to “How much money does a straight-truck driver make?”

  1. Hi my name is William Young I have had my class B for about eighteen years drove for an oil company for nine years them got away from it went back an got my class A two years ago. Drove tor for five months haven’t drove in a year my girlfriend has a class A but hasn’t really done anything with it. We want to go tor in a straight truck. We are willing to go for a refresher courses if need be just wanted to see what you would have to say can you help us.

    1. Hi William, give us a call at 844-836-7878 during the day, and a recruiter can talk you through all of this!

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