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After Expenses: The Earnings of Long Haul Truck Drivers

Being a long haul truck driver is no easy feat. It requires dedication, physical endurance, and a love for the open road. But what about the money? After all, a career needs to be financially rewarding as well. So, let's talk about how much long haul truck drivers typically earn after expenses.

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Published onJanuary 8, 2024
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After Expenses: The Earnings of Long Haul Truck Drivers

Being a long haul truck driver is no easy feat. It requires dedication, physical endurance, and a love for the open road. But what about the money? After all, a career needs to be financially rewarding as well. So, let's talk about how much long haul truck drivers typically earn after expenses.

Crunching the Numbers

Long haul truck drivers are typically paid by the mile, which means the more miles they drive, the more they earn. On average, long haul truck drivers cover around 125,000 miles a year. However, it's important to note that not all of these miles are paid miles.

Expenses on the Road

Long haul truck drivers have several expenses to consider while out on the road. These include fuel costs, insurance premiums, truck maintenance, meals, lodging, and other incidentals. All these expenses can make a significant dent in their earnings.

Average Earnings

On average, long haul truck drivers in the United States earn anywhere between \$50,000 to \$80,000 per year. This is before deducting expenses. It's important to remember that this figure can vary based on various factors such as experience, region, and the company they work for.

Deducting Expenses

Now, let's delve into the expenses long haul truck drivers typically encounter and how they can impact their earnings.

Fuel Costs

Fuel is a major expense for long haul truck drivers. On average, a truck can consume up to 20,000 gallons of fuel per year. With the fluctuating prices of fuel, this can significantly impact their take-home pay.

Insurance Premiums

Truck drivers are required to have insurance coverage for their vehicle and cargo. Insurance premiums can vary based on factors such as driving record, age, and the type of goods transported.

Truck Maintenance

Regular truck maintenance is crucial for the safety and efficiency of long haul journeys. Oil changes, tire replacements, and other repairs can eat into their earnings.

Meals and Lodging

Long haul drivers spend a considerable amount of time away from home. They need to factor in the costs of meals and lodging while on the road. Eating out and staying in hotels can quickly add up, impacting their overall earnings.

Other Incidentals

Long haul drivers often face unexpected expenses such as toll fees, parking fees, or fines. These incidentals can further reduce their take-home pay.

Boosting Earnings

Despite the expenses, long haul truck drivers have some options for boosting their earnings.

Experience and Performance

With more experience and a solid performance record, drivers can negotiate higher pay rates or potential bonuses with their employers. Companies like Schneider recognize and reward their top-performing drivers.

Specialized Skills and Endorsements

Certain specialized skills, like hazmat or oversized load endorsements, can open up opportunities for higher-paying jobs. These certifications often command a higher pay rate.

Owning or Leasing a Truck

Some long haul drivers choose to become owner-operators or lease their trucks from a company. While this option comes with added responsibilities, it also allows drivers to earn a larger share of the profits.

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