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Salary, Wages, Pay: Truck Drivers & Driver-Sales Workers




Median hourly earnings of heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers were $16.11 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.67 and $20.09 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.18, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $24.07 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers in May 2004 were:

General freight trucking $17.56
Grocery and related product wholesalers 17.32
Specialized freight trucking 15.61
Employment services 14.82
Cement and concrete product manufacturing 14.47

Median hourly earnings of light or delivery services truck drivers were $11.80 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.96 and $ 16.00 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.20, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $20.83 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of light or delivery services truck drivers in May 2004 were:

Couriers $17.94
General freight trucking 14.79
Grocery and related product wholesalers 12.44
Building material and supplies dealers 10.85
Automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores 8.07

Median hourly earnings of driver/sales workers, including commissions, were $9.66 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $6.94 and $14.59 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $5.96, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $19.81 an hour. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of driver/sales workers in May 2004 were:

Drycleaning and laundry services $14.67
Direct selling establishments 13.55
Grocery and related product wholesalers 12.36
Limited-service eating places 6.77
Full-service restaurants 6.59

Local truck drivers tend to be paid by the hour, with extra pay for working overtime. Employers pay long-distance drivers primarily by the mile. The per-mile rate can vary greatly from employer to employer and may even depend on the type of cargo they are hauling. Some long-distance drivers are paid a percent of each load’s revenue. Typically, earnings increase with mileage driven, seniority, and the size and type of truck driven. Most driver/sales workers receive commissions based on their sales in addition to their hourly wages.

Most self-employed truck drivers are primarily engaged in long-distance hauling. Many truck drivers are members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Some truck drivers employed by companies outside the trucking industry are members of unions representing the plant workers of the companies for which they work.