It is a great time to choose a trucking career and become a highly-paid truck driver. As the global economy and e-commerce continue to thrive, truck driving jobs are on the upswing. From the U.S. to India to Europe, there is a massive demand for CDL jobs.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) also forecasts a robust 3.0% annual growth rate in the trucking business and jobs through 2029.
The tricky part is for drivers to connect with the best trucking companies that are hiring now. While truck drivers have been the highest paid blue-collar workers in America, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics on truck driver earnings.
Source: BLS March 2019
Yet, driven by several factors including driver demand, freight services companies are increasing wages to attract the best CDL drivers.
Translation? You can now maximize your truck driver salary if you choose to operate with one of the highest paying trucking companies of 2020.
Or, if you choose to be an independent trucker, you can pick and choose the best trucking gigs to make the most out of your truck driving skills, experience, and available hours.
But how do you find those companies and trucking gigs near you in 2020? And how can you make the most truck driving income based on loads, lanes, and more?
1. Use Technology To Get the Best Load and Hotshot Gigs
The way to earn the highest income as a truck driver is to get loads that offer the best freight rate. Freight rates can range from as low as $1.50 per mile to $4.00 per mile, so you’ll want to book loads that offer around $3.00 per mile freight rate.
To do that, you need to know where to get such truck loads.
Using a typical load board can get you average paying gigs—and every other independent trucker can do that. So to make the highest income, use a dedicated smart trucking load board that’ll help you calculate the load-to-truck ratio of a place, shipper, freight broker or freight company. That ratio implies the balance between truckload capacity and freight availability. A higher truckload capacity means there are fewer trucks and qualified drivers to haul the freight. That means you can get a higher freight rate per mile in this kind of situation.
So How Do You Know Which States, Freight Companies, and Shippers Have This Favorable Deficit?
Use a smart trucking app such as TruckBook. It is a mobile app, so you can take it with you anywhere you drive and find truck loads in real-time.
You can also use TruckBook to:
- Find truck driving jobs near you by equipment type (reefer, flatbeds, van)
- Or, by load size (full, partial, hotshot)
- Book a load from inside the app. Or, call the broker directly to reserve the best paying loads
- Get truckload alerts wherever you are so you can fill any empty space you may have
- Find destinations suitable for drop-and-plug loads so you won’t waste time looking for gigs. Instead, you’ll get more time making more on the road
The TruckBook app also lets you access emergency repair assistance from within the app to optimize your time doing paying work—not stuck in a rut.
If you don’t have a truck, you can find trucks for lease inside, hire the most economical one, and make an OTR or short-range haul of your choosing.
You can do that, too, if you are an owner-operator. Plus, in addition to driving with large companies, you can also find motor carriers that also broker loads for recurrent trucking jobs anywhere on the globe.
2. Become a CDL Truck Driver
Drivers with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) make more in the trucking business than those without.
While the truck driver shortage being experienced globally means there are more jobs to go around, many do pay below $40,500 per year.
What if you want to make over $87,500 annually, and without sacrificing your health and family life?
Well, trucking jobs for big companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and independent freight companies will want you to negotiate with your CDL in tow.
It takes just weeks to get the CDL license, so consider investing in earning much more soon than only short-term gains.
3. Pay Per Mile vs. Pay Per Hour As a Truck Driver: Which is the Best?
Here’s the thing:
If you spend a lot of time in driver detention scenarios such as loading and offloading loads, search TruckBook for gigs that pay per hour.
But if you prefer hitting the open road as an Over-The-Road truck driver, pay per mile is a good pick for getting the most pay for your services.
Again, your pay rate will depend on several factors such as risk, distance, drop off/pick up time, and, importantly, the load-to-truck ratio discussed earlier.
Pay per mile is also commonly used for:
- Household Goods Mileage
- Practical Mileage
- Hub Mileage
You can also get better pay by negotiation a:
- Stop pay
- Detention pay
- Accessorial pay
- Per diem pay
- Percentage of load pay
- Fuel and safety bonuses
4. Become a Specialized Driver
The highest-earning truck drivers are niche drivers.
That means you’ve trained and picked up experience driving specialized trucks for hauling hazardous, machinery, oversized, HAZMAT, and ice road loads.
Now, notice that to become a specialized truck driver, you’ll need some special training and more CDL endorsements. Here are nine CDL classes you’ll need to know about if you want to haul hazardous materials, for example:
For example, a HAZMAT transportation job salary such as for hazardous materials in the picture above, pay up to $61,000, according to Payscale. You’ll need to have a Class H (placarded materials), N (tankers) or X (all types) endorsement.
Still, you can even choose which state to work in based on calculated income expectation:
Check out the U.S. states that pay the best trucking salaries in 2020, for example:
Image: Seek Capital
5. Pick the Best Industries for Truck Driver Salaries
Yes, some industries are more lucrative than others—even if you are not a specialized truck driver.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed in May 2018 that heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in the motion picture/video, telecommunications, motor vehicle manufacturing, and electric power generation industries earned the highest.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018
But those jobs can be one-offs or rare. So if you more available professional truck driver jobs to fill your available time, look for the following industries if you are in the U.S. for example:
You can find high-paying best truck driver jobs near you starting right away. The smarter way to do that is to use an intelligent trucking app to access the best paying loads, appreciative freight companies, and lucrative, niche trucking jobs. So do get a resourceful and convenient trucking app such as TruckBook to do the legwork on your behalf. That way, you’ll have more time doing what you really want to do; earn as much as you can in a single day. Over to you.