Earning near or over six-figures is something that many people don’t equate to the garbage truck driver position. But recent data points to a very lucrative garbage truck driver salary that doesn’t involve working night and day and only being able to return home once every 10 days.
The only issue? There’s a wide range of salary information available, and whether or not you earn six figures will depend on your location.
CNN Money Reports $100,000 Salary
CNN posted a report about two garbage truck drivers, Noel Molina and Tony Sanker, who have been working together for over a decade in New York City. The two have had their wages increase 8 out of 9 times in as many years.
Molina is the driver, and he earns $112,000 a year as a garbage truck driver. His partner, who rides on the back of the truck, earns $100,000 per year.
To be clear, their story is not the norm in the industry, and the reason for their high salary is difficulty finding qualified drivers without any penalties in recent years. The pay has risen 18% nationwide for trash workers, and this outpaces the 14% for most workers in the country.
Being at the right place at the right time is the best way to describe these two workers, who have been able to succeed and reach the pinnacle of the garbage truck driver salary.
Glassdoor Salary Information
New York is an abnormality, offering higher wages than most parts of the country. When driving in the city, this becomes even more apparent. Glassdoor has provided information from 51 garbage truck drivers who have submitted their salary information to the site.
How much do these drivers earn?
The lowest salary submitted was $28,000
The highest salary submitted was $53,000
The national average was $35,890
And city has a lot to do with the salary provided. Looking at hourly salaries for cities provided, we find the following:
Flagstaff: $10 – $11 per hour
Omaha: $15 – $16 per hour
Hartford: $17 – $19 per hour
Working for private companies that haul trash seems to be the most lucrative. One company is paying $22 – $24 per hour, which far surpasses figures provided by city workers. In terms of benefits, government workers often outpace the private sector.
A posting in Seattle, Washington is paying $27 an hour to workers who have 5 – 7 years of experience, and this would be on the high-end for drivers.
Garbage Truck Driver Payscale Information
When trying to find out how much garbage truck drivers make, it’s important to look at as many resources as possible. PayScale provides further data points that we can follow to try and narrow down what the normal pay is in the industry.
Payscale has the following information available:
A low of $12.18 per hour
A high of $22.27 per hour
Salaries of $26,300 on the low end
Salaries of $54,800 on the high end
So, these drivers are making a great salary. The median hourly pay came out to $16, which is respectable. The top 10% of drivers earned $22 or more per hour.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Information
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salaries under this profession as “Garbage Collector.” This is a broad classification, so it’s safe to say that it will also include the collector and “helper,” or actual collector of garbage.
The statistics given shows the following information:
9,400 number of jobs
6% unemployment rate
$33,660 median salary
This information provides an insider look into the industry. But this information is also from 2014, so the salary is likely slightly higher than the figures provided, which would put it on par with the other figures provided.
The salary information goes a little deeper, too:
The lowest 25th percentile of workers in this field earned $24,430
The top 75th percentile of workers earned $44,790
So, we have a salary that ranges between $24,430 and $44,790 based off of data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014.
Putting It All Together
All of this information paints a rather clear picture of the range of salaries a person can make as a garbage truck driver. We’ll leave off the extreme case of $112,000 in salary because it’s a driver working for a private waste management company in the center of New York where demand is very high for qualified drivers.
The information we have shows the following ranges:
Hourly Compensation: An hourly compensation of $10 – $27
Annual Salary: An annual salary of $24,430 – $54,800
If we want to try and determine the average between each, we have an hourly pay of $18.5 and an annual salary of $39,615. Drivers with more experience in the field are paid more, and any driver hoping to get into the field must be able to meet stringent driver record requirements to land a job.