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Big Rigs and Big Gigs: Why You Should Consider Driving for a Truck Driver Salary

You’re thinking about making a career change this spring, but you’re afraid you may never find your dream job. All you want, though, is a job that pays well, gives you autonomy, and doesn’t require a nine-to-five schedule. That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

No, it’s not. In fact, you can experience all of this and more if you embark on the path to becoming a commercial truck driver in 2019.

Research indicates that truck driving is a burgeoning industry — one that should grow six percent by 2026. And part of the reason for this is that truck drivers make way more than you think, especially if they drive for Walmart.

Here’s a rundown on why you should consider driving for a truck driver salary this year.

Let’s get started!

You Can Expect a Decent Truck Driver Salary

Federal government statistics show that truck drivers earned a median wage of more than $42,000 a year in 2017.

However, Walmart announced in late January 2019 that it would pay its drivers $87,500 per year starting in February 2019. Its goal was to draw more drivers to the company to accommodate its ever-growing freight transportation needs.

Truck drivers, in general, are paid based on the number of miles they travel, not the number of hours worked each week. Fortunately, they can easily track their earnings with their odometers.

Some drivers do receive hourly wages or salaries, but your earnings will likely be higher if you work for a company that pays you by the mile.

Also, note that the kinds of products or materials you haul may also impact your pay. For example, you can try out flatbed or hazmat hauling.

In addition, you could make more money by driving further and showing that you’re a competent and reliable truck driver time and time again.

You Have a Number of Truck Driving Options

Based on your particular career goals, you have a number of truck driving options to consider as you enter the industry.

First, you can become a solo driver — the types of drivers commonly seen on the road carrying freight from point A to point B. They earn over $53,000 a year on average.

After you’ve gotten a few years of driving experience under your belt, you can move into a trainer role. Drivers in this role earn nearly $54,000 a year on average.

Finally, if you’re interested in being your own boss, you can move into an owner-operator truck driving role.

This is an excellent opportunity to increase your earnings as you’ll contract with businesses directly and thus, get rid of the middleman. To expand your business, you can hire several drivers to work underneath you as well.

The average annual salary of owner-operators is over $98,000 a year.

You Can Take Advantage of Truck Driver Bonuses

The great thing about being a solo driver starting out is that you can pick the carrier you like the most — and that includes choosing the one with the best bonuses.

Different carriers offer various kinds of bonuses, so let’s take a peek at some of the best ones to inquire about.

To start out, you may be given a nice sign-on bonus. The carrier you join may offer you this bonus in a single payment or in a series of smaller payments.

Also, ask your potential carrier if they offer a mileage bonus for reaching their mile thresholds every month. Simply put, you’ll enjoy more bonuses from the company if you stay with them for the long haul.

You should further ask if the carrier offers bonuses to drivers who take steps to save fuel. The more fuel efficient and cost-conscious you prove to be, the bigger your checks may be.

In addition, you might be given bonuses for practicing safe driving. This is highly valued among carriers as truck accidents can be costly not only financially but also reputation-wise.

Another type of bonus to ask about is the layover bonus. Some companies offer this to drivers who end up being inconvenienced while delivering products.

If you get clean inspections from the transportation department, you may also be eligible for bonuses with some carriers.

Why Walmart Stands Out

Walmart remains among the biggest employers of truck drivers in the United States. Its drivers travel more than 700 million miles each year, delivering freight to both Sam’s Club and Walmart stores nationwide.

What you may like about driving for Walmart is that the average hauling length for a driver is 300 miles and that drivers work regular schedules. According to the company, resetting at home every week rather than on the road is possible.

In addition, Walmart claims to have among the safest driver fleets. In fact, a Walmart driver back in 2016 won a national championship for truck drivers due to his top-notch skills behind the wheel.

As a Walmart driver, you can also enjoy benefits like medical insurance, a 401(k), a stock purchase plan, associate discounts, commuter benefits and even will preparation help. Other carriers also offer insurance and retirement planning benefits.

In light of the many benefits that truck driving has to offer, now may be a good time to contact local truck driving schools and see for yourself how you can make this career field work for you.

How We Can Help

Along with providing truck driver salary information, we offer tips and hacks on how to excel in your business or in your career.

For instance, you can learn how to make the most of your current job as well as how to thrive in a business management role as an entrepreneur.

Take a peek here to find out how to enjoy a more fulfilling work life this year and beyond.