Can you support your family on 28 cents per mile truck driver salary? How long would that "fat" $3,000 bonus pay last?
As I was finishing my CDL training in May 2015, I came across an ad in Craigslist looking for a truck driver to be paid $0.40 per mile truck driver salary. I knew this was far better than all of the major carriers such as Schneider, Werner, and Con-Way, who were only offering around $0.28 per mile truck driver salary.
I answered the ad and met with the owner and discussed the type of loads he needed hauled. Turns out he was the owner of a cargo trailer retail business and he needed a truck driver to pick up new trailers on a flatbed from manufacturers in Georgia and Indiana and deliver them to his retail locations in Colorado and Nebraska. We agreed to the $0.40 per mile truck driver salary rate and I was quickly on my way to southern Georgia to pick up my first load. Along the way from Colorado to Georgia or Indiana he had me pick up various loads close to Colorado to help defray the cost of moving the truck and flatbed trailer to the trailer manufacturers. I hauled everything from coiled wire to Army surplus trucks.
I averaged around 9,000 miles per month, so I was making about $3,600 salary per month before taxes. Not bad, but I knew I could do much better on my own with my own truck. In the four months that I worked as a company truck driver I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot. This experience was essential for me to really learn the trucking business before setting out on my own. My advice is to always start as a company truck driver to learn the ropes and make your mistakes on the company dime before setting off on your own as an owner operator.
Once I felt I had learned enough to have the confidence, knowledge, and experience to become an owner operator, a crazy thing happened. I was in a home accident that broke my right hand that prevented me from driving a truck. With a cast on my shifting hand, I informed my boss that I couldn't drive and quit my job as a company truck driver.
This episode and the recovery period was a forcing function that drove me to develop and execute a plan to strike out on my own as an owner operator. During my medical down time, I formed my new company, bought my truck and trailer, and got my system in place to manage my new endeavor.
I did a lot of financial analysis and determined what load rate would be necessary to achieve my goal of $100,000 per year income. I have a separate blog post titled "What's a Good Load Rate?" that covers my financial analysis.
After getting my authority to operate, I began to book loads that would help me achieve my goal of a $100,000+ truck driver salary. After four months as an owner operator, I saw that I was on track to achieving my goal.
I had earned more than $60,000 in revenue and my expenses were about half of that amount, which left me with a pre-tax salary of $7,500 per month, more than double what I was making as a company truck driver. As I continue to sharpen my operations I expect this monthly income to continue to rise.
If you continue to read my blogs and digest my other materials such as my podcasts, videos, and webinars, then you will be armed with the information necessary to achieve your own $100,000+ truck driver salary.
I invite you to ask me questions and challenge yourself to achieving this same goal. It can be done!!
In the Comments section below, please share your rate per mile.
-May the wind be at your six and weigh stations closed.