How Truck Drivers Can Earn More Money
CDL Endorsements – Endorsements allow truck drivers to drive specialized trucks or move cargo that might need special care. Having an endorsement can also make you eligible for a higher rate (seeing as you’re a more valuable driver). Endorsements have their own additional written and road driving tests outside of the state CDL exam. Truck driver endorsements can include1
- H Endorsement: required for vehicles containing hazardous materials.
- N Endorsement: allows you to drive tank vehicles.
- P Endorsement: permits you to operate a vehicle that carries over a specified number of passengers (varying by state).
- S Endorsement: permits the operation of a school bus.
- T Endorsement: allows you to tow a double or triple trailer.
- X Endorsement: a combination endorsement for hazmat and tank vehicles.
Carrier Bonuses – Many of our preferred carriers offer bonuses to their CDL drivers. You could be eligible to earn extra money through various bonuses, like
- Safety: Carriers want safe drivers who can move materials without any hassle, and they are willing to pay for it! Demonstrating long drives without accidents could lead to more money.
- Fuel efficiency: Cutting fuel where possible saves the company more money. Some companies do, in turn, reward their drivers for fuel efficiency.
- Sign-on bonus: Carrier companies compete for new CDL truck drivers during the current driver shortage. One of the ways they attract new drivers is through sign-on bonuses, which could pay thousands of dollars just for signing up with their company!
- Monthly mileage: While the amount will definitely vary from carrier to carrier, many companies will pay bonuses to drivers that hit a certain mileage amount within a month’s window.
- Referrals: As we’ve stated, carrier companies are on the hunt for new CDL drivers! Referring a friend or acquaintance to your trucking company could mean big rewards for you!
- Clean DOT inspections: The Department of Transportation checks to make sure commercial vehicles are operating efficiently and drivers are safe and responsible. Passing your required inspection could actually earn you more money!
New Truck Driving Role – Switching truck driving roles might not only be a change of pace, it could be a dramatic change of pay, too!
- Solo OTR Driver – Truck drivers who drive solo over-the-road make up a major percentage of the trucking industry – and for good reason! Solo OTR drivers can earn $40,000 to $45,0002 in just their first year alone! Depending on your carrier company, you could be eligible to earn other great trucking benefits and bonuses as well.
- Team OTR Driver – Team drivers work in pairs and switch off taking duties driving while the other rests. This method of switching off allows the truck to move longer distances, which usually means more money. Since both of the drivers get paid for their combined mileage, teams can average $100,000 – $150,000 a year!2 Sure they have to split the pay between them, but that comes out to $50,000 – $75,000 each driver!
- Dedicated Driver – Truck drivers who make runs and deliveries for a single company are called dedicated drivers. Many times, dedicated drivers have a specified route for their company that they’ll travel along, moving only the specific company’s materials or goods. Dedicated drivers can average $45,000 to $65,000!2
- Truck Driver Trainer – All the great experience you’ve earned while out on the road will stack up and allow you to apply to new trucking positions with a decent reputation if you’ve kept a clean record. With enough experience, you can apply to positions training new CDL truck drivers and earn $60,000 – $80,000 a year!2
- Owner-Operator – Eventually you could work your way up to a position calling all the shots! Owner-operators know the ins and out of trucking and run their own fleet of professional CDL truck drivers, signing contracts directly with companies. Owner-operators can earn $100,000 plus a year!2
2wage info supplied by Werner Enterprises