User Tag List

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-06-2011, 09:10 AM
Rookie
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 2
Default Low wages, high danger. Is trucking really worth it?

I currently have a CDL but haven't been behind the wheel since 2007...this was with Swift and I was a trainee. Over the last four years, I have been looking for work (from electrician to courier to import agent at a Japanese freight forwarding company), and have managed to get a few temporary jobs, but nothing permanant. The economy has been harsh!

Over the last few days, I've been considering going back to school for a refresher here in CA so I can get a job as an OTR truck driver (as none of the local/LTL guys seem to want to hire people straight out of school). But after reading several posts on here, it looks like trucking just isn't worth it paywise:

25 cents per mile x 50 miles per hour average x 90% x 70 hours per week / (40 hours + 20 hours *150% + 10 hours*200%) = $8.75 per hour

Here's what went into this equation.

25 cents per mile = starting wage with most of the big training companies
50 miles per hour average = average driving speed (includes EVERYTHING like traffic, drop/PU at consignee/shipper, fueling up, taking a shower,...)
90% = Household Goods miles (they're about 10% under what you are supposed to get)

70 hours per week / (40 hours + 20 hours *150% + 10 hours*200%) = in California, you're supposed to get time and a half for hours worked over 40 and doubletime for hours worked over 60. So this is used to compensate for the fact that there's no overtime when you're paid CPM.


To me, $8.75 is way waaaaaay too little money to drive an 18-wheeled monster loaded to 80,000 pounds in sometimes dangerous conditions and with violations threatening to take $1000s of dollars away from your salary, and this, for me, was enough for me to keep looking.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-06-2011, 03:36 PM
Orangetxguy's Avatar
Senior Board Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 4,799
Default

Well.......IF you planned on only driving in the state of California, your wage formula might actually be close. BUT if you actually drove Over The Road, once you were out of the state of California.....your formula would go out the window.

There are driving jobs in CA that where you could gross $30 to $40 thousand dollars a year. There are driving jobs in CA where you could gross $40 to $50 thousand dollars a year. There are also driving jobs in California where you could gross $65 to $85 thousand dollars a year.

Gaining those jobs takes two things, the willingness to wade through the crap to get to those jobs, and the willingness to prove to the people who hire drivers for those jobs that you want the job and can do the job safely.

Working out of California there are plenty of OTR jobs that pay better than Werner Enterprises. BUT.........YOU have to get the necessary experience behind you to gain those jobs.
__________________
Space...............Is disease and danger, wrapped in darkness and silence! :thumbsup: Star Trek2009
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-06-2011, 05:37 PM
GMAN's Avatar
Administrator
Board Icon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 17,086
Default

I would not worry about the hourly pay. You can still earn more in a week than most other professions with minimal training. We all pay our dues when we start out. All jobs pay lower in the beginning until you gain some experience. You will usually start out in the $30-35,000 range and in a year or two can be earning $40,000+. There are not many jobs where you can earn that much in such a short period of time. This is primarily a performance business where drivers are compensated based upon their efforts. The more miles you can drive in a week the bigger your paycheck.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-06-2011, 06:35 PM
Mackman's Avatar
Senior Board Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Concordville PA
Posts: 3,845
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMAN View Post
I would not worry about the hourly pay.
Thats the problem with OTR driving. Too many people think that way.

Your time is worth something aint it??? I think its worth more then 8.75hr.

This is the reason why i always drove local and got paid by the hour with OT after 40.
__________________
Truck Driving an occupation consisting of hours of boredom interrupted by sheer terror!!

"All the coolie carriers suck. Log 70, work 80-100, paid for 50." - the Great ColdFrostyMug


Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-06-2011, 06:48 PM
Copperhead's Avatar
Senior Board Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Kellogg, IA
Posts: 535
Default

Even most college graduates start out making less than most OTR drivers with 4 years experience. It is true that most of college grads think that they are going to make 6 figure incomes right out of school and then reality hits them, and many of them still have to live at home with mom and dad because they can barely afford their own places. Same is true for new drivers. They seem to think that they are worth $60,000+ a year out of the gate. Even electrical apprentices, plumbing apprentices, etc make little more than the starting yearly income of new truck drivers. Every one has to start out and "pay their dues" in the sense of gaining more experience and developing a safe track record along with a proven reliability.

One thing to keep in mind in all this... If you make $51,000 a year or more income, you are in the top 10% of income earners in the country! Facts are what they are. Check out the facts at the IRS and Department of Labor. I find it fascinating that some would expect, with 8 weeks of training, to be in the top 10% of income. It would be nice, and we all feel our time is valuable. But your time is only as valuable as what another person is willing to pay for it. You want to get paid more? Then make yourself marketable to a higher salary. Do specialized transportation or some other niche market that has less competition. Oh, but then you will have to still get the experience and reliability behind you.

Sure, the national average pay scale for drivers is low for an area like CA or NY. But you are dealing with a national pool of drivers. There are many areas of the country where making $30-40,000 a year is pretty good and you can live well. I live in Central Iowa. The $60,000 net I had last year is top scale for where I live. The AVERAGE income for Iowa is around $47,000. And I have a higher standard of living than many in LA or Frisco that make more than I do, primarily because my dollar buys more in a place like Iowa than what it will in CA or NY.

And GMan has it pegged right as well. This is a performance based system we live under in trucking, especially OTR. That and targeting a more specialized segment is the only way to maximize income. If you keep yourself in the generic form of trucking, don't expect big things. Or you can choose to get your own truck and then you can tweak things yourself and maximize your profits as opposed to doing the one size fits all pay rate that a company will provide. One thing for certain, you have to think outside the box compared to the average worker.
__________________
Freedom does not mean the choice to do whatever you want. It means the choice to do what you ought.

Last edited by Copperhead; 11-06-2011 at 07:12 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-06-2011, 08:24 PM
Orangetxguy's Avatar
Senior Board Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 4,799
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperhead View Post
Even most college graduates start out making less than most OTR drivers with 4 years experience. It is true that most of college grads think that they are going to make 6 figure incomes right out of school and then reality hits them, and many of them still have to live at home with mom and dad because they can barely afford their own places. Same is true for new drivers. They seem to think that they are worth $60,000+ a year out of the gate. Even electrical apprentices, plumbing apprentices, etc make little more than the starting yearly income of new truck drivers. Every one has to start out and "pay their dues" in the sense of gaining more experience and developing a safe track record along with a proven reliability.

One thing to keep in mind in all this... If you make $51,000 a year or more income, you are in the top 10% of income earners in the country! Facts are what they are. Check out the facts at the IRS and Department of Labor. I find it fascinating that some would expect, with 8 weeks of training, to be in the top 10% of income. It would be nice, and we all feel our time is valuable. But your time is only as valuable as what another person is willing to pay for it. You want to get paid more? Then make yourself marketable to a higher salary. Do specialized transportation or some other niche market that has less competition. Oh, but then you will have to still get the experience and reliability behind you.

Sure, the national average pay scale for drivers is low for an area like CA or NY. But you are dealing with a national pool of drivers. There are many areas of the country where making $30-40,000 a year is pretty good and you can live well. I live in Central Iowa. The $60,000 net I had last year is top scale for where I live. The AVERAGE income for Iowa is around $47,000. And I have a higher standard of living than many in LA or Frisco that make more than I do, primarily because my dollar buys more in a place like Iowa than what it will in CA or NY.

And GMan has it pegged right as well. This is a performance based system we live under in trucking, especially OTR. That and targeting a more specialized segment is the only way to maximize income. If you keep yourself in the generic form of trucking, don't expect big things. Or you can choose to get your own truck and then you can tweak things yourself and maximize your profits as opposed to doing the one size fits all pay rate that a company will provide. One thing for certain, you have to think outside the box compared to the average worker.


You did a lot better describing what I wanted to impart to the young man than I did!! :thumbsup:



Mackman ..........You are proof that what I said about "wading through the crap" is true! You started out "paying your dues" like we all did. Now....YOU are a successful businessman, because you took the crap jobs, learned the trade....then let your own ambitions take over. Having your father there to tweak the road for you was helpful........but your own ambition and willingness to learn is what made you successful........in a cut-throat economical environment.....as well as in a cut-throat area of the country too!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

DoubleNickel.......trucking is a career that you have to want to be in. Plain and simple. Learn the craft and be ambitious, and you will make a very decent living as a company driver, even in California. Learn how to be a good businessman....and eventually you will have an even better life than you expect.......just like our young "Mack-dude" did and does.
__________________
Space...............Is disease and danger, wrapped in darkness and silence! :thumbsup: Star Trek2009
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-06-2011, 08:51 PM
Mackman's Avatar
Senior Board Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Concordville PA
Posts: 3,845
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orangetxguy View Post


Mackman ..........You are proof that what I said about "wading through the crap" is true! You started out "paying your dues" like we all did. Now....YOU are a successful businessman, because you took the crap jobs, learned the trade....then let your own ambitions take over. Having your father there to tweak the road for you was helpful........but your own ambition and willingness to learn is what made you successful........in a cut-throat economical environment.....as well as in a cut-throat area of the country too!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Thanks Stan. Im Trying.

I hate it when people in OTR driving always talk about making 50-55k a year. Yea thats great money but look at the hours you work for it. 70hrs a week to make 55k a year is not that great to me. I understand nothing is going to change and thats how OTR trucking works. But the avg person will not work 70hrs a week for 55k a year.
__________________
Truck Driving an occupation consisting of hours of boredom interrupted by sheer terror!!

"All the coolie carriers suck. Log 70, work 80-100, paid for 50." - the Great ColdFrostyMug


Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-06-2011, 09:41 PM
GMAN's Avatar
Administrator
Board Icon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 17,086
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackman View Post
Thanks Stan. Im Trying.

I hate it when people in OTR driving always talk about making 50-55k a year. Yea thats great money but look at the hours you work for it. 70hrs a week to make 55k a year is not that great to me. I understand nothing is going to change and thats how OTR trucking works. But the avg person will not work 70hrs a week for 55k a year.

The average person in this country would work 70 hours for a lot less than $55,000/year.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-06-2011, 11:41 PM
Rookie
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 2
Default

Quote:
The average person in this country would work 70 hours for a lot less than $55,000/year.
$55,000 per year at 70 hours per week would work out to about $12.22 per hour straight time, assuming two weeks of vacation per year. And I'd think a truck driver would make this after getting 1 or 2 years of experience under his belt.

But I still can't imagine being paid less than $13 per hour to do something that many people, drivers and non, would consider very dangerous work. See the chart on page 5:
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf


You've got an 80,000 pound behemoth under your hands, specialized training, and more responsibility than anyone else on the road. Watching out for 4 wheelers, dealing with weather, dealing with DOT regs and possibly getting smacked with huge fines that the company won't pay for, having to chain up and run in winter because dispatch wants you there tomorrow, etc., demands a lot more than less than 13 bucks an hour.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-07-2011, 01:33 AM
Orangetxguy's Avatar
Senior Board Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 4,799
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleNickel55 View Post
$55,000 per year at 70 hours per week would work out to about $12.22 per hour straight time, assuming two weeks of vacation per year. And I'd think a truck driver would make this after getting 1 or 2 years of experience under his belt.

But I still can't imagine being paid less than $13 per hour to do something that many people, drivers and non, would consider very dangerous work. See the chart on page 5:
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf


You've got an 80,000 pound behemoth under your hands, specialized training, and more responsibility than anyone else on the road. Watching out for 4 wheelers, dealing with weather, dealing with DOT regs and possibly getting smacked with huge fines that the company won't pay for, having to chain up and run in winter because dispatch wants you there tomorrow, etc., demands a lot more than less than 13 bucks an hour.
Lad......You are focusing to much on OTR and hourly wages. You really can not do that. IF you drive local....absolutely. There are a lot of driving jobs that pay hourly, and well over $55K a year.

Before you can get to the decent wage in truck driving, you have to pass the physical, get the CDL then get experience. You are not going to walk into this industry and make $50K + right out the gate. My first year driving professionally I made $19,000. That was in 1979....but it was also working in the oilfield. My second year I made $43,000.......and I have not made less than $65,000 since........hell.........I don't know. When I was working local in Seattle, I was knocking down $65K without putting in 50 hours a week. When I was putting in 60 hours every week, I was knocking down $85K plus!

As far as dealing with DOT regulations.......You are here putting the cart before the horse....in a lot of regards.
__________________
Space...............Is disease and danger, wrapped in darkness and silence! :thumbsup: Star Trek2009
Reply With Quote
Reply






Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT. The time now is 11:04 PM.


User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.3.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.