How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

Truck for a hero section
Written by Mike Skliar

The trucking industry allures people who fancy dynamic adventure and good money. Drivers who opt for the profession in this industry are introduced to a variety of outstanding perks some jobs fail to offer: mesmerizing sunset drives, non-stop music blasting on the go, and, most notably, competitive salaries! How much do truck drivers make? What influences their payments?

We’ll try to delve into this all-important question so that you get all your questions answered!

How Much Does a Truck Driver Make a Year? 

How much do truck drivers make a year? According to recent data from, a truck driver’s salary per year averages $78,029 in the United States. This average number still relies on several variables, such as the type of driving job, certifications and endorsements, and the trucker’s ability to conduct niche or specialty hauling – and these are just several factors that define a trucker’s annual pay.    

How Much Does a Truck Driver Make a Week?             

Relying on the information obtained from Ziprecruiter, a weekly pay of an owner-operator, as of July 6, 2023, is $1,200. There is also some noteworthy data on the highest weekly pay known, which is $2,173, and the lowest pay, $759.

How Much Do Truckers Make? Three Factors That Define Trucker Salaries 

  • Base pay is calculated by the salary of a truck driver per hour or mile spent on hauling; 
  • Drivers’ salary also includes specialized payments for different events like detention or layovers; 
  • Bonuses often add up to the largest portion of annual take-home income drivers receive. Common bonuses include sign-on, monthly mileage fuel efficiency, referral, and DOT inspection bonuses.  

This Is How Much Truck Drivers Make: Let’s Talk About Newcomers

Obviously enough, truckers who are new to the profession are expected to have smaller remuneration than seasoned drivers. How much does a truck driver make in an hour? A trucker having work experience of less than one year will make $18 per hour on average. Such a wage isn’t a wage for driving, but rather a training pay – and this approach to cooperating with newcomers is quite justified. Most drivers need to complete a truck driving school to obtain a required license before they become fully trained truckers who can operate their dangling vehicles in often insidious and merciless conditions on the road. As they go through the training process, most trucking schools pay a weekly rate of $18 per hour to each trainee. 

After a trainee completes their training program and becomes fully licensed, their pay will rely on the type of trucking job they choose and whether they decide to take on an owner-operator journey. 

Small and Large Companies: Salary Differences

At first sight, there’s not much difference between the salaries that truckers receive working for a small or large trucking company. How much truck drivers make,  however, relies on whether or not the company is big or small. Small companies provide free funds for drivers. Also, small trucking companies invest more resources in the development of their drivers, which gives them an opportunity to sharpen their skills and get better with every move they make on the road! 

How Much Do Owner Operators Make?

When it comes to large trucking companies, they have more optional income. It sometimes happens that additional funds end up in drivers’ pockets. However, it mostly depends on the company’s policies and its loyalty to customers. There are large companies that may impose standard pay rates and rates that correspond to certain certifications and business experience. Some big companies offer free deferred-payment training initiatives, attractive relocation packages, etc. 

Becoming an owner-operator is one of the best ways to make good money in the trucking industry. On average, owner-operators in the United States make around $60,000 on an annual basis. However, an owner-operator occupation can come with some pitfalls – their salaries are highly dependent on their net revenue, which means that this number is slightly volatile among owner-operators. On top of that, managing your own trucking business throws much responsibility and challenge at you – numerous expenses, documentation and federal rules to deal with, taxes, etc.

Although demanding and tough, an owner-operator business comes with a huge variety of advantages that win over the minor difficulties it may expose drivers to – being an independent trucker gives you a unique opportunity to be your boss.

Drawing the Line 

One of the most popular industries of today, the trucking industry, is not only recognized for its importance of putting commerce and e-commerce in motion but also for the financial reward drivers get operating their trucks. In this article, where we’ve been eager and honest answering the question “How much money do truck drivers make?” we provided must-know facts and numbers that every aspiring trucker should note. 

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Author Mike Skliar

As the truck driver recruiting agency's CEO, I deeply understand the unique challenges and demands truck drivers face.

Drawing from my extensive work experience, I bring knowledge in truck driver recruitment, logistics, and transportation management. I possess a comprehensive understanding of industry regulations, safety standards, and best practices, ensuring that the agency adheres to the highest standards of professionalism and compliance.

Now, looking back and remembering my path from the very beginning, it seems to me that this story is a lifetime. During all these years of development and growth of our agency, I took part in no less interesting projects in which my experience, knowledge and vision were needed. And I was also able to gain new skills, contacts and experience by participating in the development of these projects from various fields, such as cargo transportation, trucking companies, e-commerce, parcel delivery and much more! But the best is yet to come!

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