How Much Money Do Truck Drivers Make?

If you’re considering a career as a truck driver, one of the biggest questions on your mind is probably “How much money do truck drivers make a year?”

The short answer to that question is, “It depends.”

While truck driving does provide a great opportunity to earn competitive pay and benefits, there are many factors that will influence how much you will make as a truck driver.

To help answer your question of how much truck drivers make, we’ll break it down into three more questions:

  • How do truck drivers get paid?
  • How much do truck drivers make at Prime?
  • What things influence truck driver pay?

How Do Truck Drivers Get Paid?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for truck drivers in 2014 was $39,520. The bottom 10% of truck drivers earned a median of $25,740, while the top 10% brought home a median of $61,150.

It’s important to note, however, that truck drivers are typically not paid an annual salary or hourly wage, as with many other careers.

Company drivers are paid on a cents per mile basis.

  • Average truck driver pay per mile is between 28 and 40 cents per mile.
  • Most drivers complete between 2,000 and 3,000 miles per week.
  • That translates into average weekly pay ranging from $560 to $1,200.
  • If you drove all 52 weeks in a year at those rates, you would earn between $29,120 and $62,400.

How Much Money Do Truck Drivers Make at Prime?

At Prime, truck driver pay is above the industry average and depends on which type of driver you become and the type of truck you drive.

Driver pay varies for company solo drivers, company team drivers and independent contractors. Driving divisions, which represent the type of truck you drive, include refrigerated (reefer), flatbed or tanker.

  • Refrigerated solo company drivers earn 44- 49 cents per mile. A company refrigerated driver typically logs between 2,400 and 2,800 miles in a week and would earn between $1,128 and $1,316. If he or she drove the same distance for the entire 52-week year, total earnings would range between $58,656 and $68,432.
  • Flatbed solo company drivers earn 46 cents per mile. Similar to the example above, a flatbed driver typically drives between 2,200 and 2,600 miles in a week and would earn $968 to $1,144. Over 52 weeks, earnings would reach $50,336 to $59,488.
  • Tanker solo company drivers earn 51 cents per mile. If the driver were to complete a typical 1,800 to 2,200 miles a week, earnings would range from $882 to $1,078 per week and $45,864 to $56,056 for 52 weeks.

Company drivers can also boost their earnings through various incentives offered by Prime:

  • Fuel mileage bonus: Earn up to 8.2 additional cents per mile for exceeding 7.75 miles per gallon (mpg).
  • Tuition reimbursement: Up to $1,500 for CDL School graduates, if qualified.
  • Driver referral program: Earn money for referring new drivers to Prime.
  • CDL Training: Become a CDL Instructor or Trainer and earn extra money.

Another option is to pair up with a spouse, partner or friend and work together as team drivers. Prime team drivers earn a cents-per-mile split based on the type of truck driven:

  • Refrigerated team drivers: 52 cents per mile split
  • Flatbed team drivers: 50 cents per mile split
  • Tanker team drivers: 53 cents per mile split

In addition, team drivers can earn an additional 22 cents per mile for each mile over 3,000 per week.

Things that Affect Company Driver Income

Drivers who get paid by the mile only make money when the truck is moving forward. In other words, truck driver earnings don’t include the following things that take up your time on the road:

  • Waiting at border crossings or customs
  • Sitting in traffic jams
  • Scaling and weighing a load
  • Performing a circle check on your trailer and truck
  • Waiting for DOT scales and inspections
  • Waiting on delays with loading or unloading
  • Waiting for repairs on truck or trailer

In addition, federal safety regulations limit your driving time to 11 hours per day, within a 14-hour driving window, with some exceptions.

Once you launch your driving career, it’s important to plan routes in order to maximize the distance you’re able to travel safely within the legally prescribed driving limitations, and minimize the amount of time when the truck is not moving.

Becoming Your Own Boss as an Independent Contractor

The greatest opportunity to maximize earnings as a truck driver is to become an independent contractor, also called an owner-operator.

Independent contractors enjoy greater control over the routes they run, when they run and how much they bring home. Unlike company drivers, Prime independent contractors earn a share of the freight bill for the loads they haul, rather than a rate per mile.

  • Independent contractors who drive a refrigerated truck earn 72% of the freight bill.
  • Flatbed contractors also earn 72%.
  • Tanker contractors earn 71% of the freight bill.

Drivers with at least 6 months of driving experience will earn a guaranteed $1,000 per week for their first 3 weeks as an owner-operator.

Prime also gives drivers the opportunity to lease a truck through Success Leasing. That gives the aspiring entrepreneur the freedom to start his or her own business with no money down and no credit check. Prime offers a choice of state-of-the-art trucks equipped with advanced technologies to boost safety, including sensor tracs and lane deviation warning systems.


Do you have more questions about how much truck drivers get paid at Prime?

Contact us online or call our Recruiting Hotline at 877-491-1112 to speak to one of our recruiters. We’ll answer your questions and give you helpful information about how to start your own driving career with Prime.

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