The six major truck driving jobs available, and how much you can earn working in each.
The last 10 years have drastically changed our perspective of what e-commerce entails. Add the growth of the online retailing sector, the need for a rapid speed of delivery, and we can safely assume that the demand for certain jobs aren’t going away.
Truck drivers, delivery drivers, warehouse associates are all crucial elements that help fuel the supply chain of online retailers. The non-stop flow of goods across the North American continent means the trucking business will still be in demand for a long time. To back this up, a report from Careercast, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), shows trucking is one of the top ten in-demand jobs for 2017.
And why not? The pay is commensurate with demand, with truck drivers experiencing a 5.7% boost in pay over the past year.
However, getting exact figures can be difficult as the reported figures vary based on many factors including type of truck, size of company, even according to who is aggregating them. For example, Glassdoor estimates the median pay for long haul drivers is around $54,000. The American Trucking Association estimates $73,000 for private fleet drivers, and the BLS estimated that median pay (for 2016) was around $41,000.
Wildly varying but attractive figures, right? As you can see the pay ranges widely, depending on whose stats you are looking at. But why do pay rates vary so much?
Because pay depends on many factors including:
• How far you’re willing to drive – Simply put, the farther you can go, the more you can earn. Drivers willing to drive long distances, will typically earn more money.
• CDL or non-CDL – Drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) will earn more money than any driver without one. According to indeed.com, CDL truck drivers make around $62,750 annually.
• Location – Due to the demands of the job in some regions, pay can be higher. Alaska, Washington, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota currently pay the highest wages for truck drivers.
• Bonuses – Companies offer drivers bonuses and benefits, which include: bonuses for being a fuel-efficient driver, having an accident-free record, referral bonuses, even hiring bonuses. All these can significantly boost pay.
However, a major determinant of how much you can earn is your specific driving role. With the variety of freight that needs to be moved, there’s also a huge variety in the truck driving skills required to move them. With cargo as varied as livestock to dangerous chemicals, there are a ton of truck driving skills required to move them:
According to the the BLS, there are two main trucker descriptions:
• Heavy-truck and tractor-trailer drivers who drive vehicles with a capacity of 26,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and above.
Their freight may include anything from livestock to hazardous materials to cars. Their trips often cover long distances, across state borders, and can last up to a week.
• Next are light- or delivery-services truck drivers who drive trucks weighing less than 26,000 pounds GVW. Compared to tractor-trailer drivers who often move between cities, delivery-services drivers pick up and deliver shipments, within cities, often in the same day.
These are still broad classifications, as the cargo and conditions vary wildly. Let’s break it down further into the six major driving jobs available, and how much you can earn working in each:
Solo OTR Driver: This is a position where experience and having the determination to get the job done can go a long way. Here, the average earnings start at around $40,000 in the first year.
But when you add performance bonuses ($0.05 CPM in some firms), referral bonuses (up to $2,000 per hire), hiring bonuses, the take-home pay really starts to add up. Dedicated over the road truckers can take home between $70,000 and $140,000 p/a.
Team Driving: One way to counter the long stretches of loneliness as a solo driver is to be a team OTR driver. With team driving, you work with another driver, alternating driving and resting time. This makes it possible to cover a much larger distance in a shorter time, as you only stop to refuel. This arrangement allows you to make the most money possible, as both of you are paid for the total mileage traveled, and this can mean between 100,000-$150,000 per year!
Another form of OTR is the dedicated driver, who works for a specific company e.g. Walmart. Think of it as delivery but on a huge scale, and while routes may be identical, the pay can be up to $65,000.
Apart from OTR, drivers are needed for specialized trucking jobs that have higher pay, including:
Tanker Hauling: With an unstable liquid load, tanker hauling is more dangerous than flatbed loads or dry van hauls. Whether it’s gasoline, milk or liquefied gaseous material, the demands go beyond simply moving the load. Drivers are expected to stay up to date with all industry policy changes and the laws of the roadways in each region that they travel through.
But they are well compensated as the starting salary is around $75,000 before any bonuses.
Oilfield Driver: Whether you are hauling actual crude or a frac sand hauler, you can still expect to make around at $74,000 to $90,000 per year.
Ice Road Truckers: Of all these, ice road truckers are probably the highest paid specialist drivers. It’s one thing to drive a 100,000 pound vehicle over frozen lakes, it’s another thing to be skilled enough to handle the elements and know how to fix your truck if it break down on a trip.
For their risky trips to deliver food, fuel, supplies and equipment to oil workers and far-flung towns, these drivers can earn between $120,000 and $250,000 for working only two to three months of the year.
Other roles in the trucking industry that command big bucks include:
Trucking School Trainer :- Ready to start training the next generation of drivers? You can be well compensated, up to $75,000 per year.
If you’d rather be a trucking job recruiter, scouting out newbie truck drivers, you can still rake in $50,003.
With enough experience under your belt, you can eventually transition into being an owner-operator. Being in charge of all your expenses means you make all the money and have to make all the decisions as well. In certain fields such as ice road trucking, an owner-operator can make up to $250, 000 for a few months work!
A lot of big figures thrown around, so can you imagine the cost of downtime? Especially downtime that could have been avoided by doing PM at the right time.
At Perfit Computers, we work closely with our valued clients, whether they are owner-operators, fleets of 5, fleets of 500, to ensure their vehicles are kept in prime working condition. Keeping up with PM, whether you outsource repairs, or handle it in-house, can be a source of worry. That why we developed the EMDECS truck management software suite.
When deployed in your fleet, EMDECS can keep track of vital metrics such as warranties, PM due dates, analyzing vehicle durability etc. This data allows you pinpoint any areas that may be costing you money.
With the ease of setting up reminder notifications, as well as availability on a per user, per month usage basis, EMDECS is an easy-to-use system that grows with you as your fleet expands.
Lets see how EMDECS can get your vehicles working more efficiently. Contact us here for a free demo.