Can Truck Drivers Make More Than Web Developers?

Topic 24878 | Page 1

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Moses O.'s Comment
member avatar

I got layoff from my web developer job in late January. After spent 18 years in the IT industry, I really got tired of it. Over the past few years, I didn't follow the new trend and technology of the industry because I'm now middle age, and was focus on hobbies, personal life enrichment, travel etc.

Now that I have to put myself out into the IT job market, I realize the IT pay is not that great. In my case, after 18 years, I'm not being pay $80K/year (In South Florida market). While looking for another Web Developer job, almost all employers only pay $65k-$75K and they want 5+ years of experience on NEWEST technical knowledge and experience that I don't have. I recently tried to learn the new skill but without actual working experience in those skills, recruiters just turn me away.

I'm considering switching career to be trucker, mainly because I think the money is good. What caught my attention is because I come across CDL job posting like this: https://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Delivery%20Driver%20Sysco&l=West%20Palm%20Beach%2C%20FL&vjk=fe20e7e53b83bee2

I'm wondering, does anyone can speak from experience, about the pay? Whether is working for Sysco, Walmart etc. Some employee even list $100K-$120K as CDL A driver.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

You definitely can make that much as sysco but do you really want to unload an entire trailer by hand, usually 25,000 pounds of product? Regardless of the weather they're out there working. I worked their warehouse, then drove for a competitor of theirs. Sysco was a great company to work for but everything is calculated the amount of time you have. The faster you work the more $$ you make but if you don't get the job done in the time they say it'll take you'll quickly find yourself out of the job. I talked to drivers out of the Palmetto FL (Tampa) and Ankeny (Des Moines) yards and several drivers were making over 100k. I did the same job they do and made around 85k my first year. Again, that's busting your ass all day, every day in all weather conditions for 60 hours a week. Your best bet would be to do a year of OTR driving to get the experience and then find what interests you more. You're not likely going to come in with a fresh CDL and get the really high paying jobs. Heavy haul also pays quite well. Other than most local jobs that pay hourly, most trucking jobs pay per mile.

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.

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.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Without trying to sound mean, you are being unrealistic. Those $100k jobs if they are out there are not going to a newbie with no experience. Many of those positions need 2 to 3 years experience, and those ads are usually top driver pay of considerable years.

The typical rookie pay is $40k to $45k the first year. Yes you can make more than that later, and perhaps even the first year. We have forum members who made $66k the first year. But this is not a "position pays this" industry This is a "you get paid on your own production" industry. So thw mpre productive you are, the higher your pay.

The first Sysco ad i saw on that link says "$83k with one year tractor trailer experience" (which you dont have)

and it also involves 14hour days and "manually loading and unloading" the product from the truck. Local driving is difficult for new drivers to begin with. The physical loading and unloading can be exhausting as new drivers build endurance.

Just from reading what you have written, I personally do not think trucking is for you.

I suggest you read some of our materials.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

1 other thing, your driving opportunities are going to be limited due to where you live. Many companies do not hire any farther south than I-4 due to lack of freight, or well paying freight as it makes it much more difficult to get you home.

Moses O.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the insight. Rainy D, you don't sound mean at all, in fact I welcome candid information.

I actually left out some detail about my plan/consideration. I'm considering give up IT. My first step is to get my CDL through Prime Inc (I already called them, they're okay for me being from Florida, my pet size is okay, and my Green Card immigration status is okay). I understand that a new CDL driver would make $40-50K as company driver (I'm only interested in company driver). I want to be OTR company driver for Prime Inc for 2 years to 2.5 years to pay my due and have verifiable driving record/experience. Then once/if I leave Prime Inc, I could work for companies who pay more (more than $80K) and catch up on saving money (OTR or Local doesn't matter, I just want to grind grind grind).

I don't see myself working in trucking for more than 10 years as I'm 43 years old now. I would like to retire in my home country of Asia when I turn 50s so I can be close to my siblings and friends. The cost of living in Asia is good, so I don't need a boat load of money to retire early because I have been making US dollar and saved up a bit. If trucking pay in the $80K range (after 2 years of experience), combine with my existing saving/mutual fund etc., retire in my 50s in foreign country seems attainable.

I did a lot research about trucking life style, I don't have family in the USA, just me and my dog (dog is 12 years old). Being away from my house weeks at a time shouldn't be a problem (just need to pay someone to mow the lawn).

Besides Sysco, I came across video in Youtube about Walmart distribution center driver. Even FedEx Expedited could pay a lot. I think many of the jobs doesn't require you to unload like Sysco to get great pay.

So with that said, is my plan way off in term of the potential money to be made?

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.

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Just curious...what makes you think 80k with isn’t possible with Prime, or any of the major carriers after two years of experience?

Fairly certain Rainy and Turtle are at that level with Prime.

Moses O.'s Comment
member avatar

Just curious...what makes you think 80k with isn’t possible with Prime, or any of the major carriers after two years of experience?

Fairly certain Rainy and Turtle are at that level with Prime.

I'm just being conservative, and may be lack of industry knowledge. This is how I see it at the moment: Prime pay 0.42 cpm for solo company refrigerated. Assume I drive 2500 miles per week (is it normal for solo driver?), I also think with ELD, after detention, waiting for load, 2500 miles/week is the average? So, 2500 x $0.42 = $1050 take home pay per week.

I know some weeks are better than other weeks, either you have fuel bonus etc. I just haven't seen anyone discuss pay after 2 years with Prime as solo company drivers. Those that I have seen turned lease + trainer after 1st year with Prime.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Moses we all receive annual pay increases and performance bonuses. Emphasis on “performance”.

70-80k is a reasonable expectation for any top performer working as a company driver with 2+ years of experience. I know many experienced drivers and moderators in this forum at or above that range.

I’ve been driving on the same Dedicated Walmart Account for almost 6 years and increased income by 40+% since my 1st year. I have zero reasons for looking elsewhere. Retirement is the next move for me.

This is a performance based business; top performers; efficient and safe, great communicators make top money.

Bruce K.'s Comment
member avatar

So what is the CPM a two year vet with a good record can achieve? (Ballpark)

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

A few things.. I am a trainer at Prime and going into my fourth year.

My first year i made in the $40ks, the second year I did train for three months and did $72k ish. This past year, I trained five months, and I would have been way above that, but I went out for surgery for about 8 weeks, plus took my normal home time, and had a lemon of a truck (Prime swapped me out of it due to excessive shop time). I haven't even done my taxes yet, so I dont know what I wound up with. But i did post some pay stubs on the link below. It shows the potential of what you can make. But weeks and months go up and down. You can have a great few months with high miles every week then get a few of 2200 miles. but even at 2200 miles at 49cpm plus bonuses, you are still at $1100 gross for the week. That is usually what i get when i take home time.

My First Year Pay with Prime

Second...the pay has increased since i started. i was at 39.5 cpm but it increased to 41.5 cpm my first year. Prime reefer now starts at 44cpm for full sized cabs and 49cpm for a lightweight truck with less living space. That truck earns you vacation time faster also. So today you would make slightly more than I did with the cpm and bonus increase over the years.

2500 to 2800 miles x 49cpm equals $1225 to $1374 a week gross... roughly $60k depending on home time for your first year. The less home time, the more you run and the more you make. The better you manage your time, the more you run.

After a year, sure, train others if you want and boost that income. But NEVER NEVER lease. That is a whole other issue. Turtle and I are both company drivers and in the end we both make about the same as the lease ops. He runs flatbed, i run reefer.

Also understand the flip side. There are some drivers getting only 1500 to 1800 miles per week. They never took the time to learn the time management and trip planning that makes trucking profitable. When we say your earning potential is on you, we mean it. I could run 3000 miles one week and another driver could run 2000. He could feel he did everything right, but by not getting to customers early or moving up appointments, or sleeping at customers occasionally, he limited his potential.

There is a lot more to trucking tha just turn the key and move the truck.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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