How Much Do Truck Drivers Make in Texas?

truck driver salary texas

Texas’ unique size and large population make it one of the areas of the country where truckers are in high demand. Many trucking companies are claiming that “nobody’s applying” for these open positions. Due to the lack of qualified truckers, the truck driver salary in Texas is skyrocketing.

Some companies are even paying owner-operators up to $14,000 per week to haul goods.

CDL pay in Texas is good, but how much are drivers being paid in the Lone Star state?

Understanding Truck Driver Pay in Texas

how much do cdl drivers make in texas

Trucker shortages worsened with the pandemic, and as of July 2021, there are 33,000 jobs that still need to be filled to return to pre-pandemic levels. The state remains a major hub for the trucking industry due to its geographical location.

Also, goods coming in from Mexico and South America come through Texas.

Now is the optimal time to become a CDL driver because potential truckers only need to pass the road test to get their license. However, in February 2022, the federal law will go into effect that will demand any new potential CDL driver must:

  • Take classroom courses
  • Obtain hands-on training

If you’re looking to enter the field, you’ll find that the truck driver salary in Texas is superb.

Average Texas Truck Driver Salary

CareerExplorer has the following salary information for Texas truckers, but keep in mind that these figures were last updated in 2018:

  • Median salary of $45,300
  • Bottom 20% earn $27,400
  • Top 20% earn $74,900

These salaries were just three years ago, but in today’s world, the average Texas truck driver is earning $74,852 per year. So, as you can see, drivers are earning much higher wages now than they were just a few short years ago.

If you’re a company solo driver, you can expect to earn $0.43 – $0.60 per mile.

Owner-operators earn $0.94 – $1.75 per mile and team drivers make between $0.43 and $0.74 per mile.

Higher pay comes with experience, and if you’re in the field for 6 – 9 years, you can expect to earn $79,000 or more per year. Those that have been driving behind the wheel for ten or more years earn $84,000 per year.

Pay for OTR Drivers in Texas

OTR drivers spend a week or more on the road, but they also earn the highest pay. You can expect to make between $0.44 and $0.60 per mile. If home time is a major concern for you, just 4.4% of OTR drivers are home each week.

Pay for Regional Drivers

Regional drivers drive a lot of miles per week, but 53% of these drivers make it home weekly. If you don’t mind a slightly lower pay per mile, you’ll find regional driving is a good option. These drivers earn $0.41 – $0.55 per mile, with many driving 3,000 miles per week.

Pay for Local Drivers

As a local driver, you’ll enjoy a local route that offers more than enough home time. About 75% of drivers are home each day, and you’ll drive 1,900 miles or less a week. Typically, these drivers will earn $0.43 to $0.58 per mile.

However, due to the lower mileage, you can expect to make a lower salary than the figures above.

What is the local truck driver salary in Texas?

If you want to be home more often and don’t mind making less money, you can earn as much as $41,600+ a year. The bonus of working locally is that if you have a family, you don’t have to be away from home for weeks at a time.

There is consistency in driving locally, and for many truckers, the consistency is worth the lower pay.

Younger drivers without families often take the long haul positions, but truckers that have families often try to land local positions. Often, these local positions and routes are filled rapidly.

What is the first year CDL driver pay in Texas?

Entry-level drivers in Texas need to work their way up the ranks and start with a salary that is 57% below the national average. Many first-year drivers will earn $30,5000 per year, but this figure is likely dated.

We’re seeing a lot of companies hiring new drivers at $900 – $1,000 or more per week starting.

Under these assumptions, drivers will be able to earn as much as $50,000 or more per year. Since it’s a driver’s market, you’ll find most trucking companies are offering bonuses for signing on, they’ll pay for training and you can demand competitive pay early on.

In Houston, for example, the average entry-level driver is demanding $54,000 per year and receiving it without an issue. Some companies that routinely pay their drivers over $70,000 per year are also hiring, allowing truckers to get their foot in the door and potentially move up to these higher pay rates in the future.

A few of the many companies that pay $70,000 or more per year include:

  • Western Express
  • UPS
  • Hogan Transportation

Highest Paying Texas Truck Driver Jobs

Due to a shortage in drivers, some truck driver salaries in Texas are skyrocketing. A prime example of companies that are willing to pay more for drivers is Sisu Energy. The company is seeking out owner-operator frac sand haulers.

If you’re in this field, you can earn as much as $10,000 per week.

The Texas company specializes in hauling cement, barite, fly-ash and similar items. According to the company, the average owner-operator that is contracting with them will earn between $10,000 and $13,000 per week. We have not heard of anyone earning that amount consistently but six-figure weeks are available for those willing to put in the work hours.

Pay also increases with the more loads hauled per month.

Owners receive 80% of the load’s value, but if drivers haul over 60 loads in a month, their split is 83%. You need to be dedicated to reach 60 loads per month, but it’s definitely possible and something a lot of drivers are doing.

Entering the trucking industry at this opportune time is a great choice for any would-be driver.

CDL pay in Texas is on the rise, and as the trucker shortage continues to drag on, pay will keep rising. Demand is making it the perfect market for truckers that want to maximize their earnings.

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