Where Do Truck Drivers Earn the Most in the U.S.?

Truck driver inside his truck

The demand for commercial truck driver leasing services continues to grow in the U.S., as companies cope with few qualified talents. But filling job vacancies in Nevada seem easier than elsewhere due to the high salaries in the state.

Seek Business Capital’s analysis ranked the state as the best place for truck drivers based on annual average salaries. An average trucker in Nevada earns $50,920 per year, which is almost 21% more than the median salary of a typical worker in the state. Meanwhile, drivers in Washington, D.C., earn more at $52,760 on average every year. However, the figure is more than 26% lower than the annual salary of an average worker in the U.S. capital.

Where Drivers Earn More

Mississippi ranked behind Nevada on the list of best states for truck drivers. The average annual salary of drivers in Mississippi is $41,900. Kentucky and Utah truck drivers earn almost 17% more than the average worker’s salary in these states, where their annual median salaries reach around $45,600.

South Carolina ranked as the fifth-best state with average salaries amounting to $44,270 per year. The analysis partly based its findings on the cost of living in every state. For instance, a truck driver who earns around $42,000 per year in Jackson, Mississippi has the same spending power as someone who earns $50,200 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where there are no state income taxes. If there was, the Jackson-based truck driver will likely earn a higher net income.

The type of trailer, work hours and driven miles, and additional certification also affect the average salary of truckers in every state. Education rarely contributes to a higher salary for a truck driver with a college degree. Surprisingly, the analysis also revealed that smaller companies are more likely to pay a higher salary than bigger enterprises.

Are Owner-Operators Richer Than Company Drivers?

Truck in the open road

Certain demographic factors such as age, education, marital status, and sex determine the actual salary of self-employed truck drivers. While salaries have increased in recent years, some economists believe that truckers generally earn less than most workers in other fields. When demographics are controlled, however, owner-operators in the trucking industry actually earn more than self-employed individuals in sectors such as food service.

The same situation applies to a comparison between company drivers and owner-operators. A self-employed trucker may earn $1,900 more every year than salaried individuals. The gap increases to almost $6,000 when demographics aren’t considered in the comparison. While it seems enticing to buy a truck and be an owner-operator instead, there are certain risks, such as shouldering the entire cost of maintenance and insurance, among other things.

Higher salaries may encourage more people to work as truck drivers, but more money can only do so much to meet a growing need for truckers. If you still find it hard to recruit workers, then maybe driver leasing services can be a good alternative. Some staffing agencies cater to a nationwide market and they have people with professional commercial driver’s licenses. They can help you find the best people for the job.