Many factors affect truck driver income, including experience, knowledge, and reputation. Depending on if you’re a company driver or an owner-operator, being a truck driver can come with good benefits. Still, it also means that you spend a considerable amount of time away from your family.
The country runs on truck drivers as they are such a massive part of the economy, so there will always be a demand. On average, the annual pay for a truck driver is $50,000 – this varies for company drivers and owner-operators. Everyone always wants to increase their salary, so here are some tips on improving your truck driving income.
Add different CDL endorsements
If you don’t already, having different CDL endorsements can increase your salary as a driver. Getting different ones can widen your job opportunities, as well as increase your experience. The increase in knowledge and skills you gain from getting the endorsements can affect your salary as you’re able to choose between loads that pay more.
With all industries, more experience brings more money. And this is the same for truck driving. You need to be patient when gaining experience in the trucking industry, as there is so much learning and field experience to be done. The first two years are usually where you’ll do the most learning, so sit tight before you start earning a higher income.
Gain a good reputation
Your reputation can mostly come down to your driving record. If you have a clean driving record, there will be more job openings and opportunities that you can choose from. Some people will not work with you if you’re driving record isn’t clean. This is especially relevant to company drivers, as your driving record is a big factor if they’ll hire you and how much they’ll pay you.
Building relationships is another way to increase your truck driving income. The more people in the industry that you know, the better opportunities you’ll get. People will talk and recommend drivers throughout the industry for jobs or loads, so building relationships and having a good reputation can directly affect your truck driving income.
Plan your routes
If you’re an owner-operator, planning your routes can help increase your income. Planning your routes efficiently will allow you to find the best-paying loads to and from your locations, so you’re not stuck coming back without hauling anything and wasting a trip. If you plan, you’re able to choose the best paying loads, and if you’ve built relationships with direct shippers in the industry, you’ll have access to the highest paying freight as well.
Have control of your finances
One of the most important things if you own your own trucking company is having your finances in order. For you to increase your truck driver salary, you need to be smart with your money. One way to do this is by freight factoring. Instead of waiting 30 to 90 days to get paid and not having enough cash flow to cover your expenses, partner with a freight factoring company (like Porter Freight Funding) and get paid in 24 hours. You’ll avoid debt, and you’ll continue to make money while driving your truck.
Combining all of these tips together can help you increase your income. Don’t expect it to happen overnight – it takes time. It’s a slow and steady process, so patience is key. But it’s worth it in the end!