Over The Road Truck Driving, Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'New Truck Driver Questions' started by Flatlander, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Flatlander

    Flatlander Well-Known Member

    Found this on Associated Content.com. Seems like a good start for those interested in starting as an OTR driver. There are other articles on being a trucker's wife, etc. on this site.

    Over the Road Truck Driver's Salary: Is it Worth It?, Page 2 of 2 - Associated Content - associatedcontent.com

    An over the road truck driver is a truck driver who is typically on the road for two or more weeks at a time. The over the road truck driver can expect to make it home for 1-2 weekends per month and be home for most holidays. Does a truck driver salary make being an over the road truck driver worth it?

    Truck Driver Salary - Paid By The Mile
    An over the road truck driver is paid by the mile, a new driver can expect to get paid .30 cents per mile to upwards of .40 cents per mile. If you do a rough calculation, it may sound as if as a truck driver, you can make a decent amount of money. Take the average, .35 cents per mile and multiply that by the speed limit of 60mph and you get $21 per hour. $21 per hour is not bad for a truck driver salary. Unfortunately, the salary of a truck driver is not that simple and it is not as good as it sounds.

    A truck driver can expect to average about 50mph over the course of a day due to traffic, rest stops, gas stops, tolls, and weigh stations. The 50mph calculation is for a truck driver that rushes and does not waste extra time at stops and does not encounter excessive traffic. A truck driver that has to drive through multiple large cities or who takes extended stops can expect to have an average mph significantly less than 50mph, regardless of their driving speed.

    Truck Driver Salary - Working Hours Per Day
    Doing a simple truck driver salary calculation one may say that a truck driver can drive 10 hours a day or more and that would mean upwards of $210 per day. In reality, truck driver salary is limited by driving regulations. An over the road truck driver can work for 14 hours per day but only 11 of it can be actual drive time. Another limitation is that a truck driver must take 34 hours off after they have worked 70 hours in one week; this time includes load and drive time. Once the truck driver takes 34 hours off, they can begin a new work week and it is termed that they have taken a 34 hour restart.

    These truck driver regulations mean that if a driver spends 6 hours a day getting loaded and unloaded (which happens more than it should,) they only have 8 hours in a day left to drive. The other unfortunate setback in a truck driver salary is that they are not paid any time they are not driving. If a truck driver spends 6 hours per day getting loaded and unloaded, this is unpaid time. Many companies do offer pay if a driver has to wait an extended amount of time but this does not usually take effect until a driver has sat for more than two hours.

    Truck Driver Salary - So How Much Do They Make?
    The typical over the road truck driver can expect to get paid on average .35 cents per mile (new drivers often start at .26 and work up to .29) and run about 2500-3000 miles per week. The miles that a truck driver can expect to run are often limited not by the driver but by load availability. Even the most ambitious driver can expect to legally max out at 3500 miles per week and this is only possible with long hauls that offer few and short load and unload times.

    To answer the question, the average over the road truck driver can expect to make $875-$1050 gross per week.

    (I THINK THIS IS TOO HIGH: From everything I have read it is more like $8 - $13/hour to start. And it isn't always 8-10 hours/day. Figure a low of $250 for a bad week (shop and weather) to $400/week as the LOW salary to start. Anything after that is gravy until you get experience and better routes and loads. Don't forget that if you take vacation, etc. - no pay, thou some companies do offer a small weekly pay for vacation after a year. Go in expecting less and happy to have more.)

    To make this kind of money, a truck driver can expect to be away from home for most of the month with only 2-4 days spent at home. This leaves a truck driver alone in his truck or at truck stops for the majority of his down time and 34 hour restarts. In a perfect world, the truck driver would be able to make it home for his 34 hour restarts but due to load demand it is not usually possible.

    Is an over the road truck driver salary worth the time away from home? It depends on the person and family needs. A single truck driver may enjoy the time away and the travel. An older truck driver may be able to take his spouse along and essentially travel the country together for work. A father however, may find it difficult to balance being an over the road truck driver and a Dad.
  2. cajuntrucker59

    cajuntrucker59 Well Known Smart Azz

    damned good post here! thanks!
  3. patriciajnsn

    patriciajnsn Steering Wheel Holder

    I agree,very good post flat.Well OTR does have its drawbacks.I've been doing it 9 yrs.I get home every 4 to 6 weeks.I don't look at the pay.I just love being out here.I spose regional and dedicated is better,at least u pretty much know what your pay will be every pay period.The longer the runs the better the pay.Most companies give u short runs and you do more sitting then driving.My company gives me usually 800 mile runs and have to be there the next day unless im short of hrs then its 500 mile runs.If companies would give OTR drivers consistant miles then they would make great money OTR.But when they hire and have more drivers then freight then yes you are going to be sitting.My company has to turn down loads because not enough drivers.Mel and Judy are always ontop of things.Im never sitting waiting for the next load.I call while waiting to get unloaded and ask if u have another load,99.9% of the time they do and if they dont,with in a half hr they have a ld for me.If dispatchers and load planners was more organized and better communicating skills,there sure would be alot happier drivers out here.Plus I am single so OTR is ideal for me.I spose if I were married i'd be getting home every week or he comes with me simple as that.Most the drivers for my company do get home every weekend,there's only a couple of us that stay out.
  4. Flatlander

    Flatlander Well-Known Member

    This is why I want to drive. Lots of good jobs out there that would bore me to death or that I would hate every day at work. The best advice I have heard is to find something you like to do and do it if you want to be happy. Like you, I love to be on the road and driving. After lots of reading I hope I am coming in with my eyes wide open and no delusions about the potholes on the road ahead.

    There is so much to learn from NTL insurance, to how to make the logs work for you, DOC hell, chicken lights, etc. This is a great site, even with Sinister,bigyellowpete and the gang. Lol Just a pun and good humor teasing. This is a great site. :thumbsup:

    I hope to be in school in a few weeks. I am getting my physical next week. I just got laid off so I am on unemployment and as a vet they will pay for my schooling for training up to $3000. I could go to a 25-week adult school but I will have to settle for a 4-week private school as I can not afford to be out of work that long and unemployment will run out. I plan to bite the bullet, do some mumbling under my breath, and make it through hell year once I start driving. I am still selling my beloved Silverado and will use that to get rid of bills and cover the ups and downs that first year. At least my schooling is paid for before I start. I hope this will give me a few more choices for my first job. Once I get my license I can change my avatar. I is goin to be a twucker. :shootself:

    Patty, I think you said it best, "ATTITUDE" makes all the difference.
  5. patriciajnsn

    patriciajnsn Steering Wheel Holder

    I built computers for 10 yrs and got laid off as to why im trucking,they paid for my schooling so I thought why not ill give it a try.It was a struggle the first 2 yrs but stuck with it no matter how many obsticles along the way.It's all what you make of it.Some can't handle the trucking life style so they find every reason possible what they see wrong with this carreer.In other words they blame the industry for their failing rather then being on the winning team.Trucking is'nt easy especially for the new drivers but if they stick it out and really wanna do this,they'll be happy they did in the long run.I'm out here because I don't have anything better to do,LOL.Heck I no longer get home and ready to go back out again.I bore easy,LOL.
  6. Flatlander

    Flatlander Well-Known Member

    On the road again
    Just can't wait to get on the road again
    Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
    We're the best of friends.
    Insisting that the world keeps turning our way

    Thank you Willie.

    Saw you coming west. Taking 80 over the pass through Sacramento? It's cool this week, a nice change from the hot east. Even Death Valley was down to 95.
  7. Sean McQuaid

    Sean McQuaid Whiny baby

    I actually did something similar some months ago. I looked at some of the more common per mile pay a lot of newbies will see - like .26 - .27. Some start as low as .25 now because of budget cuts. It barely works out to minimum wage for many folks.
  8. Flatlander

    Flatlander Well-Known Member

    Thank you Sean. Now that was a good post. Thanks for contributing.
  9. patriciajnsn

    patriciajnsn Steering Wheel Holder

    Flat,when did u say u was going to be starting driving trk????????????????// and Sean,thanks to you commenting me on not putting commas in any of my post awhile back,I do that alot now is case you have'nt noticed,LOL.
  10. Sean McQuaid

    Sean McQuaid Whiny baby

    It's sad, but pay has gone down. Maybe in the near future (or somewhat distant future), it'll go back up. Who can say?

    I actually went in "expecting less", and said as much when I posted my driver pay thread.

    I do agree that "attitude" makes a difference - MOST of the time anyway. Again, I hope it works out for you, I don't see age being an issue based on the hires I have seen for myself. As long as you can perform the job....... And again, I say that I was simply in the wrong places and the wrong times (yes, plural on both counts). Attitude being positive does not always take you where you want to go. I just say that in case crap happens to you too - and yet again, I hope it doesn't and you're able to just generate a paycheck week to week. The start of my saga goes back near two years now. Maybe things are a bit better. Trying to be optimistic.

    Well that was me being malicious when we were clawing at one another. I really don't care about spelling or punctuation. No one's perfect.
  11. patriciajnsn

    patriciajnsn Steering Wheel Holder

    LOL,I know it,i'm just teasing ya.
  12. Keendriver

    Keendriver Hates all of you Supporter

    Look into heavy haul,you would be suprised at how much the pay goes up.Ya gets what ya pay for!
  13. Flatlander

    Flatlander Well-Known Member

    Yep, good advice. Flatbed, heavy haul, even tanker is better. Any speciality pays more. I need the miles first and then the other.

    As for starting school I am not sure. I see my vet rep next week and then the next class. Hopefully the end of the month. Right now I am waiting for my unemployment and selling my truck. If there is a will, there is a way. Thanks.
  14. Sean McQuaid

    Sean McQuaid Whiny baby

    Ditto :)

    I am assuming you mean those with experience, or at the very least, a RECENT school grad or some RECENT experience (meaning within the last 12 months), and no terminations on your DAC.

    But remember, seldom will you get a better paying gig without some years of experience, and trouble-free (no safety issues, terminations, or a previous carrier/employer who will NOT recommend you when asked for a recommendation - we all know how the industry can be). Newbies sometimes will run HazMat (with the endorsement), but based on what I have seen (and what has been emphasised right here on the forum over and over again), heavy haul, tankers - etc. which are more specialized will require experience. If not, I'd be on my way to the Ice Road now.

    Veterans, let me know if I've been brainwashed ;).
  15. BlackDog

    BlackDog New Member

    I agree with everything you said and would like to add a couple of things....

    Truck stop food. Tastes bad, is unhealthy and expensive.

    Rest rooms. Usually dirty. Sometimes no toilet paper so check.

    Showers. Infrequent and dirty in many cases.

    Loneliness. Because you're on the road 28 - 30 days a month (forget about advertised home time) you need to be able to deal with being alone a lot.

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