Here’s a great video on how much a truck driver makes:

Truck drivers perform an extremely valuable job in our society. They are responsible for moving food, clothing, household items, electronics, lumber, industrial goods to businesses, companies and homes. But how much does a truck driver make? Truck drivers usually earn hourly wages. The amount of money they earn depends on their level of experience, the size of truck they drive, and whether they drive on local or regional routes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recognizes three major groups of truck drivers: drivers/sales workers, delivery truck drivers, and heavy truck drivers.

 

Drivers/Sales Workers

These drivers operate light trucks along predetermined routes. They seek for new clients, sell new products to their existing clients and deliver freight to wholesale and retail businesses. They also receive payment for goods purchased.

In May 2012, their median pay was $22,670 per annum. The lowest 10% (which includes those who are 1st-year drivers) earned lower than $16,780 while the upper 10% earned over $46,240.

The top 3 industries that employed driver/sales workers were: wholesale trade, retail trade and restaurants/eating places. The corresponding median yearly wages for driver/sales workers in these industries, in May 2012, were $30,170, $25,490 and $18,330 respectively.

 

Delivery Truck Drivers

These light truck drivers are also known as pick up and delivery (P&D) drivers. Delivery truck drivers drive vans and small trucks from major distribution centers to various delivery locations. They make all their deliveries based on a fixed schedule. When they receive instructions to move to a particular delivery location, they need to be able to determine the most suitable route to follow. Therefore, they need to have a good understanding of the street grid in each locality and the areas that restrict the movement of trucks.

In May 2012, their median pay was $29,390 per annum. The lowest 10% (which includes those who are 1st-year drivers) earned lower than $18,190 while the upper 10% earned over $62,520.

The top 3 industries that employed delivery services drivers were: couriers and messengers, wholesale trade, and retail trade. The corresponding median yearly wages for delivery truck drivers in these industries, in May 2012, were $55,130, $27,750 and $23,060 respectively.

 

Heavy Truck Drivers

Heavy truck and tractor-trailer truck drivers move goods and heavy freight from one location to another. The gross vehicle weight of the trucks and trailers usually exceeds 26,000 pounds. These drivers transport goods along inter-city routes that span several states.

Most heavy truck drivers have to plan their routes and make use of satellite tracking and global positioning systems (GPS) for this purpose.

In May 2012, their median pay was $18.37 per hour and $38,200 per annum. The lowest 10% (which includes those who are 1st year drivers) earned lower than $25,110 while the upper 10% earned over $58,910.

The top 3 industries that employed delivery services drivers were: general freight trucking, non-durable goods and merchant wholesalers, and specialized freight trucking. The corresponding median yearly wages for heavy truck drivers in these industries, in May 2012, were $40,360, $39,630 and $37,710 respectively.

Drivers of tractor-trailers and heavy trucks are paid based on the number of miles driven, with some extra bonuses. The pay-per-mile varies from company to company. It also depends on the experience of the driver and type of cargo.

Sources:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Delivery Truck Drivers, Driver/Sales Workers., http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/delivery-truck-drivers-and-driver-sales-workers.htm
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Heavy Truck Drivers, Tractor-trailer Drivers, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm
  3. Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes533032.htm