Trucking is a $700 billion industry in the U.S and long haul trucking is an integral cog of this ever-growing sector. According to the American Trucking Association, close to 70 percent of all freight transported in the U.S. is done via trucks. The sector employs roughly 7.7 million people, with 3.5 million of them truck drivers.
Of the truck driver jobs, about 1.7 million are long haul truck drivers who earn one the highest income in the transport industry.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics projects jobs in the sector should grow by 5 percent between 2018 and 2028. Add to that the fact that many long haul trucking companies find it difficult to attract and retain truck drivers and you see why the best trucking companies pay top money to lure the best of truck drivers.
What is Considered Long Haul Trucking?
Long haul trucking or over-the-road (OTR) trucking involves driving a truck over long distances, often hundreds or a few thousand miles or kilometers. It is this factor that primarily differentiates long haul from short-haul truck driving.
Generally, long haulers will include dry van semi-trailers, sleeper trucks, flatbed trailers, Conestoga trailers, and tanker trailers.
If you fancy long haul trucking, it won’t really matter if it’s a dry van, reefer or flatbed. What you are sure to find is a schedule that would involve thousands of miles at a time. Truck drivers will also spend several days, weeks or even months on the road and away from home.
Long haul trucking companies understand this and so try their best to make the driver comfortable. Top trucking companies also know that it takes sacrifice for the truckers to stay on the highways. And when the driver is carrying time-critical goods, the sacrifice can even be bigger.
The truck normally has a sleeper unit and drivers take meals, change clothes or rest in the truck or at stopover centers.
What is the highest paid truck driving job?
Long haul truck drivers get paid some of the highest salaries in the job market. While pay is better compared to other drivers in the transport industry, average salaries for drivers vary with jobs, company or fleet.
Worth noting is that private fleet and unionized truck drivers earn much more than drivers who work for national companies.
For example, Walmart is a prized private fleet employer offering top money to attract and maintain drivers.
Going further, driver salaries also vary depending on the state. Mississippi, Wyoming and New York lead the way in the U.S.
But what is the highest paid truck driving job?
- Ice road trucker jobs- tricky roads and terrain mean drivers in this category can earn an average of $70,000. The pay can be as much as $150,000 per year.
- Hazmat truck hauler jobs – these truck drivers haul hazardous materials and are guaranteed a good income that can exceed $120,000 annually.
- Tanker/liquid hauling- drivers who haul tankers earn higher pay due to the dangers involved. Drivers earn as much as $110,000 annually.
- Oversized loads haulers- some companies specialize in oversize loads and drivers need to be specially trained to navigate tricky roads. Truckers earn an average of between $53,125 and $108,000.
- Specialty car haulers- drivers hauling expensive, vintage cars must be highly qualified and be experts. The pay is often commensurate with the high demand, with drivers earning up to $90,000.
- Mining/dump trucks- operating massive dump trucks is going to guarantee you some good money. The average pay is $100,000 per year.
- OTR drivers- these trucking jobs involve hauling goods from coast to coast. Landing a job as an OTR will see you earn between $53,000 and 65,000 per year.
That’s for specific trucking jobs. How about averages across the trucking industry?
A recent ATA study found that the median salary truck drivers on national, irregular routes surpassed $53,000. Drivers who work for private fleets earn an average of $86,000. The findings are marginally higher than those by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show truck drivers earned a median pay of $43,680 per year in 2018.
Companies are also offering new drivers incentives via generous signing bonuses that can rise to over $5,000. Other benefit packages designed to pull drivers and keep them on the roads include paid leave and health insurance. Owner-operators earn on average $184,000 per year.
How do Long Haul Truck Drivers Get Paid?
Long haul truck drivers get paid in a number of ways, the most common of which is by weekly/monthly salary or on an hourly basis. Most companies choose to pay via these two methods, although some have ended up paying via methods like per mile or load.
The latter refers to what we call percentile pay. It is where the income is pegged on how far the destination is (per mile) or a percentage of what the company charges per load. The rates will vary from one company to another and from location to location.
Per mile compensation varies greatly, but generally, companies pay between $0.28 and $0.40, for mileage that can range between 2000 and 3000 miles a week.
Overall, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the median hourly pay for truck drivers in the U.S was $21.91 for 2018.
How Much Does the Average Truck Load Pay?
If you need to find out how much each load costs, then using a free load board is your easiest option. You may find load boards that offer all the necessary details you need to determine load pay or pay per mile.
In most cases, calculations come down to an average per mile pay. Pay per load for about 1500 miles would be somewhere close to $3,500, although that can rise to over $5,000 in some places. Per mile charges in the trucking industry average $2.00-$3.50.
Is long haul trucking a good career?
A career in long haul trucking often begins with drivers getting a commercial driver’s license.
Do you need a degree to make a career in trucking? No. A relevant high school diploma and a certified CDL is all you might need to begin earning as a truck driver. Can you earn good money? Yes.
Several reasons make trucking a good opportunity for anyone looking to make good money and use their experience to further their careers in the industry. Other than being open to both men and women, being a trucker comes with several benefits.
Demand is also high, given projections that jobs in the sector will grow by 5 percent annually for the next ten years.
Are you looking to start your trucking career or are you after a new experience? Here are some reasons that make pursuing a career in trucking desirable.
- High-income potential- an obvious reason to pursue a career in trucking
- Travel- you get an opportunity like no other in seeing the world as you spend your days on the highways and roads across the country.
- Be a member of a great community- trucking is like a “lifestyle” form many truck drivers and the result is a tightly knit community of truckers.
- Job security- with demand set to rise, layoffs in the trucking industry aren’t as rampant in other sectors.
- Benefits- advance your career in trucking and reap benefits such as health insurance, paid holidays and 401 (k). Some companies offer very lucrative retirement plans.
How many days off do truckers get?
Days off for truckers vary and mostly depend on the trucking company and any other arrangements drivers may have with the company.
But generally, truckers get between 2-4 days off, a much-needed break that comes after a driver has been on the road for between 2 to 3 weeks.
When a trucker goes off for a whole week, they usually need time off to reset and ensure they stay legal on their logs. Quite often, the driver spends the 34 hours off meant for resetting logs to zero on the road.
Sometimes the driver gets more time off, more so if the company brings in the trucker on Friday’s or Saturday.
How many hours do truck drivers sleep?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truckers need adequate sleep when off duty. Over 30 percent of driver accidents are a result of fatigue due to sleep deprivation.
The FMCSA states that drivers should not be on the road for more than 11 hours if they have been off duty for 10 hours running. That, basically, means that truckers have additional time to rest or sleep. Truck drivers use these guidelines to rest at truck stops or motels.
Also importantly, drivers are urged not to drive for more than 14 hours whenever they resume driving after being off duty.
How much do regional truck drivers make?
A regional truck driver works within a specific region, or sometimes within a state. Regional truck drivers have more time to be at home and rest as compared to OTR drivers or other long haul truckers.
The average income a Regional Truck Driver takes home is as follows:
- Hourly average: $29
- Weekly average: $1,167
- Monthly average: $5,057
- Annual average: $60,680
Do truck drivers have to pay for gas?
A common practice is that truck drivers do not pay for gas or fuel they use when working. These and many other expenses are settled by the company, however, one instance that may see a truck driver pay for gas is when they engage in “out of route” driving.
When a driver pays for gas out of pocket, reimbursements and bonuses can reach $3,500 a year. It may also be that a driver is part of an arrangement called “profit-sharing”.
In such a case, the driver is likely to earn a commission when they spend on fuel. The payment can be as low as $500 or as high as $16,000.
Who Are the Top 10 Trucking Companies by Size?
The top 10 biggest trucking companies primarily have their business in freight shipment via truck. Most of these companies offer global trucking services and take care of their drivers by paying top dollar.
Here is what determines a top trucking company:
- How the company rates on Glassdoor
- Company’s average salary for truck drivers
- The number of people the company employs
- Number of locations
If you want to investigate more about the best trucking companies, check out this list of the top 10.
- Schneider National.
- Werner Enterprises.
- JB Hunt.
- TMC Transportation
- Pitt Ohio
- Prime Inc.
- Old Dominion Freight Line
- Con-way Truckload
What state has the most trucking companies?
Trucking companies in the U.S. number over 1 million, with each of the 50 states home to a considerable number. But which state has the most trucking companies? It has to be California with over 250, 000 trucking companies. Others in the top 5 are Texas, Florida, New York, and Georgia.
Do you want to pursue a career in trucking? Find a footing by first getting the training needed to prepare you for the ‘lifestyle’.
Any questions or needs concerning long haul trucking, please call B & B Logistics at 1-877-512-0692 or contact us. We are happy to help.