Realistic First-Year Salary

Topic 29189 | Page 1

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Mike A.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi All,

I'm looking at starting this career, but I can't seem to find a concrete answer as to what a realistic salary would be. I understand that there are variables involved, but can you provide some guidance? I'd really like to drive, but I'm hesitant to pull the trigger without knowing what I could be making. What information do you need to know to help me out?

I'm looking at a driving schools, so I get the initial payment. I'm more interested in what happens after a few months when I'm a solo driver. I live in Arizona.

Thanks for any help. Mike

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Sid V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Mike,

I would say generally you'll make 30 to 40k for a run of the mill first year otr position at a mega carrier. That's probably on the low side but still realistic.

Remember our work week is 70 hours and you'll be out usually 2 to 3 weeks at a time

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.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

What's up, Mike! Here is a copy of my YTD pay at the end of last year. 2 things to consider: I started the year in February and did about a month of training after that. Also, I had about a year of experience before that as well (I transferred companies). Im training drivers now and those numbers have risen considerably. Not sure how I would have done running solo this year. Anyway, for what it's worth, here ya go...

0389362001606809627.jpg

First year pay will vary among drivers obviously. I like to think this is about average.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Leeva804's Comment
member avatar

Hi All,

I'm looking at starting this career, but I can't seem to find a concrete answer as to what a realistic salary would be. I understand that there are variables involved, but can you provide some guidance? I'd really like to drive, but I'm hesitant to pull the trigger without knowing what I could be making. What information do you need to know to help me out?

I'm looking at a driving schools, so I get the initial payment. I'm more interested in what happens after a few months when I'm a solo driver. I live in Arizona.

Thanks for any help. Mike

Absolutely not sure about OTR but I’m local first year and I’m on track to make 70,000+ my first year. This is from May 2020-May 2021. You’ve to know that what you make depends on your work ethic and how much you’re willing to run. And sacrifice sleep.

Honestly shocked new drivers can average 30-40K a year. I would quit trucking if that’s all I was making as I made that being a security guard.

Be careful about what company you choose. I would definitely look at Target accounts and Walmart accounts if you easily want to gross 60K plus! It’s hard work and you’ll likely hate the account, but the money is good. Personally if you care about money that much drive to a few terminals and ask some drivers about what they make weekly.

I saved my butt a while ago by driving to Darts terminal in Virginia and asking four drivers about their pay. None were grossing more than $1000 a week. The recruiter said you average about $1200 a week.

So you gain knowledge by going up to terminals near you and directly asking the drivers in your area.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

For an OTR job I agree with the numbers Sid gave. You may make more but 30k-40k is a safe estimate. We've had members make over 50k OTR their first year. It all depends on how quickly you become efficient and understand the business. Although Leeva did quite well his first year I would suggest not expecting to make that much year 1. As a local driver I will say it's not the best way to get started. Put in a year OTR then find something local if that's what the end goal is.

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.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

Here are my earnings at exactly 6 months. This includes TNT of 3 months where I made $ 700 per week gross.

0231202001606842466.jpg

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Starting salaries were normally in the $40k - $45k range up to a few years ago, but they have come up over the past few years. I'd say a new driver can expect to make $45k - $50k their first year these days if they're willing to hustle. We've had many drivers gross well over $50k their rookie year in recent years, some beyond that.

I'd say if you're willing to hustle you can count on $45,000 or beyond your first year at most carriers.

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
member avatar

Mike here is a link to my thread on My pay as a rookie driver. CFI has raised training pay and first year pay since then. Also, their training is free.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

I made a thread of my first couple years pay. The starting pay at Prime is now 46cpm in a full size and 51cpm in a lightweight for reefer. Plus bonuses of an average 5cpm.

So figure even if you do only 2000 miles you are making $1000+ gross per week.

2016 I made $43k 2017 I believe Turtle made $65k flatbed 2018 I believe Donna made $60k+ in a lightweight reefer

First year Pay Prime

Each company is different. Each division is different. Each driver is different when it comes to planning and running.

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.

Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
member avatar

For my first year local it was about $81,000

I wouldn't recommend learning how to drive at this company though like I did.

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