If you are considering a career in professional truck driving, you have undoubtedly come across ads and articles stating that you can make as much as $100,000 per year. Although this can be true, let’s put this bitter sweet statement into perspective.
These are the kinds of claims that cause students and new drivers to jump on board with a carrier without giving it the thought that needs to be applied before joining. This is also another reason why so many newcomers to trucking fail. There are simply too many statements like this one floating around all over the internet. Many times, by those who have never even driven a big rig.
There are those making good money with a truck driving career. But what is good money? The facts are, experienced truck drivers average between $30,000 and $35,000 per year as a company driver ( and that’s with a decent company). New, inexperienced company drivers are averaging $20,000 -$25,000 per year, ( based on 48 weeks @.21-.27 cpm @ 2000/ mpw.)
Owner Operators can gross $100,000 per year and then some, but keep in mind that this is gross income. After tax write offs, personal taxes, expenses, etc., the final income (net) can easily be cut in half if not more. Now, that is still a net income of around $50,000 per year, but keep in mind that many owner operators continue to clear nearly the same as experienced company drivers.
Just understand that not all Owner Operators are making this alluring $100-200k per year (Although with good business practice it is possible). Successful Owner Op’s have spent years of hard work, educating themselves on business finance and management, and have “paid their dues” so to speak, in order to rake in this sum of gross income. It does not happen over night for the majority of drivers.
Leasing programs through trucking companies are the best way for a new driver to “purchase” a truck in order to become an “owner operator.” It is also the best way for a new driver to fail. Studies show that drivers that “buy” a truck through one of these leasing “scams” experience an 87% failure rate. Let’s talk about the truth when it comes to these leasing programs. Studies show that the carrier will decrease the driver’s mileage to prevent them from being able to make the payment . . . studies show that companies will add on so many deductions that they were actually receiving 90% of the driver’s income!
Now is not the time to become an owner operator. Fuel is too expensive, maintenance is still too high and there is still an influx of too many drivers and not enough freight. When you find these articles and ads claiming you can earn $100,000 per year driving a truck, just be careful. There are simply too many avenues that can take you down the wrong road.
© 2008 – 2011, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.