CDL driver salaries varies a lot depending on the type of vehicle you drive, the load you carry, and of course the hours you work. Below we share some earning statistics from the US Department of Labor to give you a better idea of the earning potential of commercial drivers.
Heavy Truck & Tractor-Trailer Driver Statistics
- Heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers earned a median hourly wage of $17.92.
- The highest 10% of truck and tractor-trailer drivers earned more than $27.07/hour.
- The lowest 10% of truck and tractor-trailer drivers earned less than $11.63/hour.
Light or Delivery Services Truck Driver Statistics
- Light or deliver truck drivers earned a median hourly wage of $13.27.
- The highest 10% of light or deliver truck drivers earned more than $24.15/hour.
- The lowest 10% of light or deliver truck drivers earned less than $8.10/hour.
Long haul truck drivers are generally paid by the mile with bonus schemes often in place for employees who save their companies money. Local trucker drivers are most commonly paid by the hour and paid extra for working overtime.
The exact amount earned by long haul truck drivers varies a lot from company to company and also on the type of cargo being shipped.
In general, CDL driver salary levels increase with experience, seniority and also depending on the type of truck driven. Generally speaking, larger truck drivers earn more than light truck drivers.
How Much Can You Expect To Earn?
Trucking companies often report salaries of $100,000 or more for truck drivers however this isn’t a realistic starting point for any driver. In your first year of driving you should expect to earn a base salary of between $30,000 – $40,000. Some trucking companies will add bonuses on top of this and these can be quite lucrative although you should never assume you’ll receive a bonus.
Owner operators stand to earn much more than company drivers. Being an owner operator could see you earning anywhere from $50,000 up to $200,000 per year depending on your knowledge of the trucking industry.
The following graph was prepared by indeed.com: