How Much Do Truck Drivers Make in 2024?

Long drives, big trucks, and truck stop food are just some of the things that go with being a OTR driver today.

But for potential drivers, the biggest question remains: how much can truckers make in 2024?

Truck drivers are still in high demand with a massive lack of qualified drivers to fill the ranks of many trucking companies.

There are a few variables that go into the “average” we use, but it comes from over 6.5 million salaries submitted from truck drivers online and job boards.

A large data source of this kind allows us to have a better understanding of how much the average trucker will make and share it with you. Remember, this is a national average and you should check with each company to verify the data in your area.

Our new median pay is $49,920

That number was current as of May 2022, which is the most recent data available from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS reports that the lowest 10% of drivers earned less than $35,300, while the highest 10% of drivers earned over $75,220.

That is quite a large range; there are number of factors that can affect truck driver salaries; we will dive into those later on in this post.

This comes out to drivers earning $960 per week.

Truck Driver Pay Company Rankings Chart

Pay Per Hour

Often, truck driver salaries are negotiated around a rate that is based on mileage and not on hours.

For an experienced independent truck driver, the rate per mile could be as high as 80 cents a mile. This means for an experienced independent truck driver traveling an average of 70 miles an hour on the interstate can make an average of 56 dollars an hour. If the haul, or trip, equals out to 800 miles then the driver will make $640. This of course does not include his or her rates for accommodations.

Experience and Reputation

The average salary for a truck driver is based on your specific driving experience and reputation.

A reputable truck driver is often going to get paid a higher rate because he or she is in high demand.

Until a driver builds a reputation as a professional and reliable CDL driver they will have to be satisfied with a lower pay rate. Just like many other job professions out there, the truck driver job pay amount you earn will depend on a person’s ability to perform at or above the employer’s expectations.

US Trucking Company Directory

Industry-Specific Pay Data

UPS Driver Salary

How Much Do UPS Truck Drivers Make?

amazon truck driver pay & benefits

How Much Do Amazon Truck Drivers Make?

Fedex Salary

How Much Do FedEx Drivers Make?

Ice Road Truckers Pay Scale

How Much Do Ice Road Truckers Make?

Garbage Truck Driver Payscale Information

How Much Do Garbage Truck Drivers Make?

Armored Truck Driver Salary

Armored Truck Driver Salary

Truck Driver Pay by Industry

The BLS offers a brief breakdown of median annual wages for truck drivers by industry:

  • Truck transportation   $52,800
  • Wholesale trade          $49,440
  • Manufacturing            $48,600
  • Construction               $48,590

All of these numbers are pretty close together, but the truck transportation industry is the best choice if you want to maximize what you earn.

The BLS says that the truck driving field is growing at a rate of 4%.

That number is around the average for all occupations. This amounts to around 241,200 openings every year.

The BLS points out that the reason for these openings largely comes down to other truckers leaving their jobs.

Transportation Has High Turnover Rate

Trucking’s high turnover rate is due in large part to the burnout that is common in this field.

Choosing a good company to drive with is essential to avoiding burnout. If truck driving turns out to be a match for you, you can happily spend decades on the road.

How Much Can You Make Your 1st Year on the Road?

Naturally, more experienced drivers earn more money. The starting salary for truck drivers is still quite competitive, however.

Indeed gathers information on entry level truck driver salaries.

They have the average base salary per year for entry-level truck drivers nationwide is $41,180.

They report entry-level salaries as low as $32,142, and as high as $52,759. Keep in mind that the base truck driver salary does not include benefits or bonuses.

Here are the highest-paying cities for entry-level truck drivers:

Indianapolis, IN
$97,573 per year

Elmira, NY
$95,000 per year

Albany, NY
$95,000 per year

Troutdale, OR
$84,853 per year

Denver, CO
$83,381 per year

Lansing, MI
$81,613 per year

Cleveland, OH
$50,000 per year

Sparks, NV
$42,820 per year

Truckee, CA
$42,788 per year

As you gain experience, you may qualify for raises. You also will become a more efficient driver, which could impact your pay favorably as well.

What are the Best States for Truck Drivers?

Where you work can have a significant impact on how much you earn trucking.

According to the BLS, these are the best paying states in which to be a Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver.

StateEmployment (1)Employment per thousand jobsLocation quotient (9)Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Nebraska24,47025.211.88$ 30.56$ 63,560
Washington37,25010.940.82$ 28.95$ 60,210
Alaska3,13010.220.76$ 28.61$ 59,510
New Jersey49,73012.100.90$ 28.55$ 59,380
New York63,2006.940.52$ 27.94$ 58,110

These are the highest paying metropolitan areas in which to work as a Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver:

Metropolitan areaEmployment (1)Employment per thousand jobsLocation quotient (9)Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Lincoln, NE4,99028.732.14$ 35.10$ 73,020
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA11,02023.371.74$ 32.23$ 67,030
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA15,5706.510.49$ 30.83$ 64,120
La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN1,87025.951.93$ 30.72$ 63,890
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA19,1209.390.70$ 30.34$ 63,110
Fairbanks, AK55015.891.18$ 30.25$ 62,920
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA4,6304.130.31$ 29.99$ 62,380
Sioux City, IA-NE-SD3,55040.993.05$ 29.70$ 61,780
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA79015.961.19$ 29.46$ 61,280
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA69,2307.540.56$ 29.43$ 61,210

Here are the highest-paying non-metropolitan areas to work as a Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver:

Nonmetropolitan areaEmployment (1)Employment per thousand jobsLocation quotient (9)Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Alaska nonmetropolitan area9008.860.66$ 28.90$ 60,120
Western Washington nonmetropolitan area1,73013.801.03$ 28.12$ 58,480
Eastern Washington nonmetropolitan area1,83018.301.36$ 27.99$ 58,230
Massachusetts nonmetropolitan area4707.630.57$ 27.71$ 57,640
West North Dakota nonmetropolitan area4,20038.162.84$ 27.55$ 57,300

Delivery Truck Driver Pay & Careers

UPS Driver Salary

UPS Driver Pay

One of the most popular box truck delivery companies provide great pay and outstanding benefits packages.

Fedex Salary

Fedex Driver Pay

Another great option for CDL and local delivery drivers. Great benefits and career options.

So far, we have focused our discussion of OTR and long-haul truck driver salaries for people who are driving semi-trucks and other heavy-duty trucks.

Along with data on the salaries of Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers, the BLS also tracks the earnings of Delivery Truck Drivers/Sales Workers as a separate category.

The BLS reports that the median pay for delivery truck drivers is $38,220 per year.
That comes out to $18.38 per hour.

The BLS further breaks down the data for driver/sales workers and light truck drivers, reporting the following:

  • Median annual pay for driver/sales workers: $32,690
  • Median annual pay for light truck drivers: $40,410

These are the highest-paying states for driver/sales workers:

StateEmployment (1)Employment per thousand jobsLocation quotient (9)Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Washington9,1602.690.81$ 22.19$ 46,160
North Dakota2,5206.211.88$ 22.01$ 45,790
California49,2802.790.84$ 20.89$ 43,460
Missouri12,8904.571.38$ 20.12$ 41,850
Oregon7,3103.851.16$ 19.11$ 39,750

Here are the highest-paying states for light truck drivers:

StateEmployment (1)Employment per thousand jobsLocation quotient (9)Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Alaska1,4404.690.65$ 25.34$ 52,710
New Jersey23,0205.600.78$ 24.22$ 50,380
District of Columbia8601.250.17$ 23.86$ 49,640
Illinois50,2808.551.19$ 23.60$ 49,090
North Dakota2,9507.271.01$ 23.59$ 49,070

While delivery truck drivers earn less according to the BLS than those driving heavier-duty vehicles on average, there are other advantages to this type of work, like being able to drive local delivery routes.

There is also salary data from Indeed that conflicts with the BLS data. In this post, Indeed states that delivery drivers earn $65,481 per year on average. And on this page, Indeed lists a higher per mile pay range for local drivers than it does for regional drivers.

What could account for this difference in data between these two sources?

One possibility we thought of is that the BLS might be including data for different types of delivery drivers than Indeed.

For example, perhaps the BLS is adding in the salaries of people who do things like deliver pizzas. That would pull the average downward, and not be representative of what people who drive vehicles like UPS or Amazon box trucks are making (which is what we are interested in here).

In fact, let’s take a look at the pay you can expect from some of these major companies.

UPS and Fedex

Wondering what you can earn driving around one of those famous brown trucks for UPS? ZipRecruiter gathers salary data for UPS truck drivers across the country.

According to that data, the average salary for a UPS truck driver is $56,348 per year. Salaries range from as low as $21,500 to as high as $103,000.

If you are wondering what that amounts to per hour, ZipRecruiter reports that the average salary is $27 per hour.

While this data is relevant, however, it is not complete. ZipRecruiter actually reports the exact same salaries for Fedex, and we know that Fedex drivers earn less than UPS drivers.

Bloomberg reported in 2023, “Delivery drivers hired by FedEx Ground contractors typically make anywhere from $15 to $25 an hour, according to Bright Flag Recruiting. That’s much lower than the $49 an hour plus full pension and health-care benefits that UPS drivers with more than four years of experience will make at the end of the new contract.”

The difference in pay largely reflects the fact that UPS is unionized, whereas Fedex still is not.

So, if you want to maximize your pay doing this type of delivery truck driving, you should try to get a job with UPS rather than Fedex if possible. We will warn you though, UPS is hard to break into. The company tends to hire from within.

What About Amazon Truck Driving Jobs?

If you want to deliver packages to customers in an Amazon truck, you are looking to become an Amazon Delivery Service Partner (DSP) Driver. This is distinct from Amazon Freight Partner program, which is for long distance freight transportation.

ZipRecruiter has a page for tracking Amazon DSP salaries. On that page, they report that the average yearly salary for an Amazon DSP driver nationwide is $33,871. That comes out to $16 an hour. Yearly salaries range from $20,500 at the low end to $43,000 at the high end.

If you are interested in becoming an Amazon Freight Partner, you can make a lot more money. Amazon states that the startup costs are around $40,000, and the annual profit potential is anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000.

A lot of people mix up the DSP and Freight Partner programs, leading to confusion over salaries. But now you know the difference between the programs, so you can decide which might suit you.

What Factors Impact Truck Driver Salaries?

Having had a chance to check out some of the data, you probably are still wondering how you can maximize your earnings. Here are some factors that can impact what you earn as a truck driver.

73%

Prior CDL Experience
3,077 hrs

Average Road Hours
2.5 yr

OTR Experience
hr outsourcing companies
  • Specializations: If you have some kind of specialization, especially one that involves hazardous work, then you can command a higher salary as a truck driver. For example, if you are trained to haul hazardous materials, you could earn more.
  • Geography and routes: As we have already discussed, where you are driving a truck can have a huge impact on what you earn. So can the routes you drive.
  • Experience: The more experience you have as a truck driver, the higher your salary will be.
  • Efficiency: There are different models of payment for truck drivers. But it is most common to be paid by the mile, rather than paid by the hour. That means that the more distance you can cover in an hour, the higher your effective rate of pay will be. So, it is in your interest to learn to drive s efficiently as possible while still staying safe.
  • Individual companies: All other things being equal, different companies offer different salaries to their drivers. Shop around to see which employer is offering you the best pay and benefits.
  • Role: Your role has a big impact on your pay as well. You can usually earn a lot more money as an owner-operator than you can as a company driver. Being an owner-operator does come with additional responsibilities, however, so there are a lot of pros and cons to assess before you decide what to do.

After a few years behind the wheel, if you make smart career choices, you should find yourself bringing home a competitive salary.

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