box truck owner operator jobs and salary guide

How Much Do Box Truck Drivers Make?

Thinking about becoming a box truck driver, but not sure how much you can earn in this profession? This post will go over comprehensive salary information. We’ll break it down for you by state and by city, so you know where you can pull in the most competitive wages as a box truck driver—specifically as a box truck owner-operator.

What is a Box Truck Owner-Operator?

Before we dive in, let’s make sure you know what a box truck owner-operator dos. As a box truck owner-operator, you drive a box truck. This type of vehicle features a chassis cab with a connected cargo cube. Another name for it is a “cube truck.”

Being an owner-operator means that you either own your box truck outright or you lease it. You can then work as an employee or contractor for one or more companies hauling and delivering their cargo.

The reason we are focusing on what owner-operators make rather than company drivers is simple. Owner-operators earn a lot more, so that is the gig you are probably going to want if you will be driving a box truck.

Box Truck Owner-Operator Salary

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary box truck owner-operators are earning in the US is $112,015. That comes out to $9,334 per month and $53.85 per hour.

Some of the highest-earning box truck owner-operators are making as much as $208,000 per year.

ZipRecruiter provides detailed information about box truck owner-operator salaries by state. Here is what box truck owner-operators are earning annually, monthly, weekly and hourly in the top-earning states.

StateAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
New Jersey$114,909$9,575$2,209$55.24
New York$110,636$9,219$2,127$53.19
Rhode Island$110,238$9,186$2,119$53.00

You might be wondering where box truck owner-operators are earning the lowest salaries, so you know where to avoid working. These states included Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri and Illinois.

Along with the data on states where box truck owner-operators earn the most and least amounts of money, ZipRecruiter also provides salary data by city. Here are the cities were the site says that box truck owner-operators are earning the highest pay.

CityAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Atkinson, NE$144,283$12,023$2,774$69.37
Frankston, TX$137,616$11,468$2,646$66.16
Inverness, CA$134,315$11,192$2,582$64.57
Barnstable Town, MA$133,374$11,114$2,564$64.12
Dimondale, MI$128,686$10,723$2,474$61.87
Manhattan, NY$128,271$10,689$2,466$61.67
Hooper Bay, AK$127,640$10,636$2,454$61.37
Potomac Heights, MD$124,709$10,392$2,398$59.96
Cambridge, MA$124,322$10,360$2,390$59.77
Bridgehampton, NY$123,860$10,321$2,381$59.55

As the site points out, you should weigh cost of living into your considerations, as some of these cities may be significantly more expensive to live in than others.

So, if you have the option to live in a less expensive location and earn a similar salary—even if it is a little lower than one you might earn in a pricier city—it might end up resulting in getting to keep more of your hard-earned salary.

Where Can You Work as a Box Truck Owner-Operator?

Here are just a few employers we see with postings for this job as of the time of this writing:

  • Off-Max Logistics LLC
  • Fox Carriers
  • T.A.G. Transportation Agent Grid
  • Select Express & Logistics
  • Eagle Point Transportation
  • Neighbors Moving and Storage
  • XPO Logistics
  • Amplified Transportation & Logistics
  • Amazon box truck contracts

You will need to browse through current listings to find the roles that are offering the most competitive pay and benefits.

Here are some of the different types of box truck driving you can specialize in:

  • Delivering food: No, we are not talking about bringing some dude his pizza. We are talking about delivering food in bulk, for example to grocery stores, or even from grocery stores to customers. Catering is another possibility.
  • Helping people move: This is exactly what it sounds like—using your box truck as a moving truck. You can help individuals move their residential belongings or even help companies move their commercial property if they relocate their business premises.
  • Hauling recyclables: Some box truck drivers drop off items at recycling centers.
  • Towing: You probably will not make towing services your main gig. But if you purchase some items like a tow cable, you can take on some towing gigs when you have extra room in your schedule.
  • Advertising: You can rent out advertising space on the side of your box truck for some extra income.

Those are just some ideas. You might find other ways you can make money driving your box truck.

What Factors Impact Your Salary as a Box Truck Driver?

  • Owner-operator status. As we already mentioned, we have a strong focus on owner-operators in this post because they tend to rake in higher earnings than company drivers. How much higher? About three times as much in terms of gross income. That being said, you do have more in the way of expenses as an owner-operator than you would as a company box truck driver. So, just keep that in mind.
  • Company or companies you work with. Some companies that work with box truck drivers pay significantly more than others, even within the same geographical area. So, you should be highly selective about which companies you choose to do business with.
  • How much work you take on. The more consistently you can be claiming jobs as an owner-operator, the more reliably you will be pulling in income. You are going to want to become an expert at finding box truck loads.
  • Your geographic area. As we already discussed, there are certain states and cities where owner-operators may earn more driving box trucks than others.
  • Your experience level. Box truck drivers with more experience and excellent safety records have more competitive applications. As a result, they may receive more lucrative offers from potential employers. As you gain experience, you should be able to raise your earnings potential.
  • Your efficiency. How quickly you are able to deliver your cargo will have an impact on how much you can earn driving a box truck. Random events may also cause income to fluctuate up and down (traffic jams, weather, etc.).
  • Your cargo. Sometimes, the nature of your cargo may also have an influence on your earnings. If the freight you are transporting is high in value, it stands to reason that you may be paid at a higher rate for moving it.
  • How you get paid. Some companies will pay you based on how many miles you drive, with a set rate per mile. Others will instead pay you a percentage based on the load itself. If the situation is the latter, that is what allows you to pull in high profits from hauling expensive cargo (on the flip side, low value cargo may pay poorly). But if you are just paid a flat rate per mile, your pay will always be the same. You will need to decide for yourself which of these models you prefer.
  • Your expenses. Finally, if you are an owner-operator rather than a company driver, you will be responsible for all of the expenses involving your truck. That means you need to pay for fuel, maintenance, repairs and insurance, as well as any miscellaneous expenses that come up. These can all vary considerably. So, the better you are at keeping your expenses low, the higher your net income will be.
  • Your taxes. Depending on where you live and whether you are an owner-operator or not, there could be a lot of variation in the taxes you need to pay. So, this is another important factor to consider when you are trying to calculate your likely take-home pay as a box truck driver.

How Do You Become a Box Truck Driver?

If you want to drive a box truck, you need to either become an owner-operator or start working as a company driver.

Do You Need a CDL to Drive a Box Truck?

No doubt, the first thing you want to know is whether you require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to become a box truck driver.

You will be delighted to hear that the answer is “generally not.”

The reason is that you only need a CDL if you are going to be driving a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of over 26,000 pounds.

Thankfully, a lot of box trucks have a lower GVWR than that, which means that a regular driver’s license is all you need. So, you can probably cross out “CDL” on your checklist and move on to other requirements (there are some exceptions).

What Else Do You Need to Become a Box Truck Driver?

The exact requirements for becoming a box truck driver depend on what type of work you are looking for, but let’s say you want to become an owner-operator. Here is what you need to do:

  • Pay the costs involved in forming and registering your business (for example, if you want to form an LLC, there are specific costs associated with that).
  • Pay the cost to either buy a new box truck or lease one.
  • Apply for your VIN and pay the associated fee.
  • Apply for your USDOT number.
  • Apply for your Motor Carrier (MC) number.
  • Buy FMSCA-compliant insurance.
  • Purchase and install an electronic logging device (ELD) that is also compliant with FMSCA requirements.

Some box truck owner-operators might decide just to run a solo business with a single truck which they themselves drive.

Others might instead opt to purchase or lease additional trucks, and then hire drivers. You may also decide to rent a location out of which to operate.

It is important to calculate your potential start-up costs as fully as you can before you get going.

Given the high salaries that box truck owner operators can pull in, it should not be too long before you have earned back the money you invested in your business and then some.

The typical range we have seen for startup costs in this industry is anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. When you think about it, that is not bad at all, especially if you might potentially earn more than $100,000 a year in this career.

Launch Your Career as a Box Truck Driver Now

If you start your own box truck business, there is a good chance you will be able to earn more than $110,000 a year. If you work hard and excel at driving, you might one day even earn more than $200,000 a year.

If you are ready to start your career as a box truck owner-operator, we suggest taking a look at some of our posts on working as an owner-operator for additional guidance. We also teach you how you can get started with load boards to find your first freight jobs.