CDL Grad Starting Pay

Topic 18341 | Page 1

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Barry L.'s Comment
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I plan to begin CDL training at the American Institute of Trucking in Las Vegas upon my retirement from the Air Force in early August. What should a CDL grad expect to make, in CPM , with their first trucking company? I'm just wondering what would be considered the low end of the pay scale. Thanks for any insight anyone can provide.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

It will depend on the company you go with and how well you run. Start here.

Then here Company-Sponsored Training Programs and here, Trucking Company Reviews. Then put "first year total" in the search bar above. You can expect anywhere from .29cpm to .42cpm. There are many more and different features about each company and you need to find one that fits you best. Good luck.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Parrothead66's Comment
member avatar

As stated above it can vary depending on freight and such....flatbed, refrigerated, dry etc....Lot of flatbeds start out at .45 and above but may be regional runs. Not as many miles but with added pay for tarps etc

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Dry Van can expect about 32 cpm starting out. Dry van is the lowest paid of the types of trailers. Reefers get paid a little more. Probably around 37 cpm. As Parrot stated a flatbed driver is probably looking at low to mid 40s cpm. I would expect probably around 42 cpm. I have no clue what a Tanker driver would start out as. Having Hazmat endorsement you could expect 3-5 cpm more on a Hazmat load.

Some companies pay the same on all dispatches miles. Some companies pay more on loaded miles, but less on Deadhead and Bobtail miles. For example: I get paid 32 cpm on all dispatched practical miles. Another company may offer something like 38 cpm on all dispatched loaded miles, but 21 cpm on all dispatched deadhead and bobtail miles. But they may pay HHG (Household Goods) miles. There are just a lot of variables to consider.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Barry, my recommendation is to ask companies directly. Make sure they tell you what a new driver makes, NOT an average of all their drivers. If they say they can't tell you, ask for new hire pay per mile and average weekly or monthly miles. Then do your own math.

I started at the beginning of 2015, made $40k as dry van OTR. I averaged 10,000 miles per month.

I hope this helps and thanks for your service.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
BQ 's Comment
member avatar

As a reefer driver for Prime, I started out at 46cpm for all miles, empty, loaded and bobtail. They calculate the miles as "the crow flies," which often differs from the actual miles driven. I get an extra 5cpm for loads picked up and dropped in the North East. Also, I drive a lightweight truck, which pays an extra 5cpm, so if you get a condo you would start at 41cpm. The lightweight has less room, but incentives besides extra pay include ability to haul slightly heavier loads, less miles needed to earn vacation and faster raises.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

A key thing to remember is that companies may pay different based on region and other factors. E.g. Company ABC might pay drivers in NJ different than drivers in OK. They may have more difficulty recruiting from an area or a geographic area's cost of living may justify a difference in pay for the same job elsewhere.

Barry L.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks to all. I appreciate your time.

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