First Year Earnings Question

Topic 26503 | Page 1

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Greg C.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello again. My wife and I are leaning toward either doing OTR or regional driving. Right now we're probably leaning a bit more toward regional, but nothing definitive at this point. Since we’ll be driving together once our daughters are out of the house and on their own, being away from home for a period of time will be an option for us. I know the answer to this question will vary from company to company, but what would be a reasonable expectation of annual pay range for us the first year? Neither one of us are afraid to work and are certainly willing to put the time and miles in. Thanks.

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.

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.

Feanor K.'s Comment
member avatar

Ahhhhhh, the eternal question with no definitive answer.

First off welcome to the site! You've found the best source of info on this profession the internet has to offer. There are a bunch of great articles covering your question as well as many others which I don't have the links handy for but I'm sure someone will supply shortly.

I will give my answer based on my own experience.

The standard response here on TT is 40-50k for a solo driver. Trucking play is setup to be performance based, so depending on your own ability/ dedication this number could be higher or lower. OTR will typically pay somewhat better than regional but this is not always the case. The type of freight you haul is also a factor.

If you are running team with both driving it should naturally double, and more, because the nature of team driving is more efficient. I have not driven team so others may have better info.

Here is a link to a thread I made detailing my own first year wages. https://www.truckingtruth.com/truckers-forum/Topic-24755/Page-1/my-rookie-year-wages-flatbed

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
what would be a reasonable expectation of annual pay range for us the first year?

Hello, and welcome to you two!

Our standard answer to new rookie drivers curious about their first year income is that they can expect to earn 40 to 45 thousand dollars their first year. That translates to 80 - 90 thousand dollars income for a married team.

Trucking pay can be confusing to the uninitiated. Everything about it is performance based. That's why you see so many whiners on the internet complaining about their pay. We don't get paid for showing up and punching a clock. We get paid for what we can produce - the volume of our pay has a direct correlation with the volume of revenues we produce for our employer.

The trick to making great money in trucking is to be productive. Typically rookie drivers simply haven't developed the street smarts required to really be productive drivers, so their income is hindered by their own struggles with learning how to deal with issues like big city traffic, weather conditions, Hours of Service regulations, shipping/receiving clerks, fatigue, and a whole host of other issues.

It takes a few years out here on the road to really get your stride so that you can make some good money. Most people get frustrated and throw in the towel early on. Therefore they never really garner any expertise or credibility to make the ridiculous claims they do online.

There's no reason why a good team couldn't be earning about 150,000 dollars per year after about three years experience together. We refer to successful drivers as Top Tier drivers. They are the ones who get treated the best and consequently earn the higher incomes. There's nothing about this career that holds with the ideas of "spreading the wealth around." If you want to be on the "gravy train," you must put yourself there.

Take a look at this article. It may help you understand the concepts that go into becoming a Top Tier Driver. If you find that information helpful you may also want to think about this question...

Do I Have What It Takes To Be A Successful Truck Driver?

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

ChrisEMT's Comment
member avatar

Trucking can be a very profitable job. It all depends on what whatever company/companies your looking at have to offer. I found that dedicated accounts (Home Depot, WalMart, Coke, Pepsi, etc) at Werner usually paid the best. It also will depend on how hard you work and how long your are willing to stay out. I agree for the 1st year or 2 earnings should be between 45-55k/year OTR , I have spoken with drivers on Wal Mart accounts that are made 55-60k their 1st year, and 80k+ their 3rd+ year. Another Werner Driver I spoke with on a dollar account (dollar tree, family dollar, dollar general) was on par making 85k his 3rd year.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

And you know we never, ever recommended a Dollar Store account to any brand new driver.

Another Werner Driver I spoke with on a dollar account (dollar tree, family dollar, dollar general) was on par making 85k his 3rd year.

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