• DATVF.ATLPHL
    2.026
    0.053
    2.7%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.929
    -0.026
    -1.3%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    1.332
    0.051
    4%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.321
    -0.035
    -2.6%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    0.968
    0.070
    7.8%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    1.196
    0.068
    6%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.159
    0.040
    1.9%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.717
    0.032
    1.9%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.536
    0.032
    2.1%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.327
    0.009
    0.7%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.563
    0.055
    3.6%
  • ITVI.USA
    12,193.510
    -16.270
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    19.070
    -0.210
    -1.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,187.120
    -17.950
    -0.1%
  • TLT.USA
    2.680
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    159.000
    19.000
    13.6%
  • DATVF.ATLPHL
    2.026
    0.053
    2.7%
  • DATVF.CHIATL
    1.929
    -0.026
    -1.3%
  • DATVF.DALLAX
    1.332
    0.051
    4%
  • DATVF.LAXDAL
    1.321
    -0.035
    -2.6%
  • DATVF.SEALAX
    0.968
    0.070
    7.8%
  • DATVF.PHLCHI
    1.196
    0.068
    6%
  • DATVF.LAXSEA
    2.159
    0.040
    1.9%
  • DATVF.VEU
    1.717
    0.032
    1.9%
  • DATVF.VNU
    1.536
    0.032
    2.1%
  • DATVF.VSU
    1.327
    0.009
    0.7%
  • DATVF.VWU
    1.563
    0.055
    3.6%
  • ITVI.USA
    12,193.510
    -16.270
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    19.070
    -0.210
    -1.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    12,187.120
    -17.950
    -0.1%
  • TLT.USA
    2.680
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    159.000
    19.000
    13.6%
AskWavesBusinessDriver issuesNewsTrucking

What are the most profitable trucking jobs in 2020?

Trucking can be a lucrative career. Drivers can make upwards of $60,000 a year, depending on their load type, mileage, licensing and experience. Whether you’re interested in joining the industry or are experienced and looking for new work, you probably want to know what the best driving jobs are.

Technology can help improve driver retention by allowing fleets to incentivize drivers. Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Many of the highest-paying trucking jobs involve moving dangerous or difficult loads or navigating riskier terrain. Generally speaking, the more skill required to do a job, the higher it will pay. If you have the right experience and certifications, there are many valuable opportunities in the trucking business.

Here are nine of the highest-paying jobs in trucking you may consider.

1. Ice road trucking

Ice road truckers can earn between $30,000 and $40,000 in just three months, making them some of the highest-paid drivers there are. However, this impressive salary comes at a cost. Ice road trucking can be a dangerous job.

Image: Alex Debogorski

These truckers drive across frozen roads in northern Canada to deliver goods to miners in winter. Given the danger of these roads, the drivers who navigate them must be highly qualified. Different shipping companies have varied qualifications, but most truckers who apply for these positions don’t get the job.

If you do have the right qualifications and get hired, ice road trucking, although seasonal, can be notably lucrative.

2. Hazmat hauling

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Another more dangerous but profitable trucking job is hazmat hauling. Hazmat trucking involves transporting hazardous materials such as gases, flammable liquids or corrosive substances. These volatile loads require extra care to deliver safely, so drivers are compensated well.

If this is what you want to do, you’ll need hazmat endorsement on top of your CDL. This requires an application and passing a test, but many companies will pay for you to get certified since these drivers are in demand.

3. Tanker hauling

Liquids don’t have to be hazardous for you to get paid well for shipping them. While some tanker drivers do haul dangerous liquids, some deliver things like water or milk. A significant amount of any fluid can be difficult to transport, which is why tanker truckers earn $60,000 a year on average.

To drive a tanker truck, you’ll need one of two certifications: an N endorsement or an X endorsement. An N endorsement qualifies you to drive loads of 1,000 gallons or more. An X endorsement includes an N endorsement and a hazmat certification.

4. Oversized load hauling

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Another trucking job requiring additional certifications is oversized load hauling. These truckers deal with extra large loads, such as shipping heavy construction equipment or even small houses. Unsurprisingly, pulling these enormous payloads requires a high level of skill, which is why oversized load truckers get competitive pay.

Oversized load truckers make an average of more than $54,000 a year, and can even make six figures with the right experience, company and drive time.

5. Luxury car hauling

It stands to reason that the more expensive your cargo, the more it pays to deliver it. This is undoubtedly the case with luxury cars, as truckers transporting them can earn $100,000 annually under the right circumstances.

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Hauling expensive cars is an understandably meticulous job. While you don’t need any certifications to perform this job, you do need to have demonstrable skills. Companies will likely not hire you for this kind of trucking unless you have an impressive driving record.

6. Team driving

To shorten shipping times, many companies hire drivers in pairs. In team driving, one person takes the wheel while the other sleeps, allowing them to travel longer distances in shorter periods. These positions often pay more than solo jobs due to the higher mileage.

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Team driving jobs are widely available and offer competitive pay, but may not be ideal for everyone. The long stretches away from home may be unappealing. If you don’t get along well with your partner, it can be an unnecessarily stressful job.

If you don’t mind being in close quarters with others or being on the road a lot, team driving can be a profitable career.

7. Owner-operator jobs

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Although most truckers work directly for a larger trucking company, this isn’t the only way to make a living as a driver. Owner-operators own their trucks and trailers, instead of using equipment belonging to the company, and can either operate independently or lease to another company. This independence comes with higher expenses, but could also pay more.

Most owner-operators have been in the trucking business for several years before becoming independent. Owning your equipment means having to pay maintenance costs out of pocket, which may be an unattractive prospect to some drivers.

If you can handle the initial expenses, becoming an owner-operator can pay enough that maintenance becomes less of an issue.

8. Private fleets

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Many businesses use shipping services offered by trucking companies, but some large corporations hire their own drivers. Because they don’t have to pay shipping companies, these private fleets can often afford to pay their drivers a higher salary.

Not only are these jobs lucrative, but they’re also readily available. Walmart employs more truck drivers than any other company, with more than 8,000 truckers on its payroll. Private fleets often expect more out of their drivers, such as a cleaner driving record, but offer tempting pay.

9. Mining industry trucking

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Mining companies require talented drivers to take material such as coal safely out of the mines and up to the surface. Sudden movements or bumps could potentially lead to a collapse, so these jobs can be risky. Because of this, mining truck jobs tend to pay well, often falling just behind ice road truckers in terms of compensation for specific tasks.

Find the best driving job for you

Most of the best-paying trucking jobs involve danger or more challenging work. If you’re willing to take on the challenges, there are plenty of profitable positions available.

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Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a technology journalist and writer interested in manufacturing and the supply chain. Her work has been published on Thomas Insights, Industrial Machinery Digest, American Machinist and Manufacturing.net.

40 Comments

  1. “jobs” are not “profitable”. Truck drivers, Owner Operators, small fleet operators are 3 completely different things that often compete against each other. When those lines get blurred the driver (which is always in a hard to hire situation) always gets burnt.

  2. i dont know why combo unit or vac truck isnt on here my first month doing this i took home 11000 net thats after taxes. that is on the low end. it does involve labor as well as driving in crappy muddy conditions in winter the roads are good just lots of other trucks on the roads to look out for.

  3. I haul eggs for a poultry company, work only 4 days a week and make between $95000 – $100000 a year. But most of my time is spent loading and unloading without any help and my driving skills always have to be on point to keep from breaking all the eggs.

  4. The majority of trucking jobs don’t pay well . That’s why we have articles that express that TRUTH like the one I’ll quote below .

    Quote:

    Teamsters Slam Ontario Trucking Association’s Proposal to Bring in Foreign Workers

    Instead of trying to suppress wage growth, the Ontario Trucking Association should be looking at ways to give truckers a big raise…

    Toronto, Jan. 10, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Teamsters Canada, the country’s largest transportation union, is slamming the Ontario Trucking Association’s (OTA) proposal to bring in foreign workers to fill a shortage of drivers in the trucking industry. They should instead be focusing on significantly improving drivers’ wages and working conditions to attract more people to the profession. 

    “Trucking companies can’t move overseas, so they’re trying to bring cheap labour to Canada. This is nothing short of an attack on Canadian workers and the middle class,” said François Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada. “Instead of trying to suppress wage growth, the Ontario Trucking Association should be looking at ways to give truckers a big raise.”

    In real dollars, non-union company drivers’ wages in Ontario have remained stagnant for close to 35 years. According to a study published in 2013 by the Conference Board of Canada, approximately 87% of productivity gains by the for-hire trucking industry since 1986 have flown through to customers in the form of lower prices.

    The problem began when the federal government deregulated the trucking industry in the 1980s. Deregulation allowed just about anyone to open a trucking company, leading to a proliferation of fly-by-night transport operations.

    These businesses chipped away at working conditions and profit margins in the industry by offering ridiculously fast delivery standards at unfairly low prices. The entire industry was forced to adjust; unreasonable delivery schedules, low wages and long hours became the norm for truckers.

    Many non-union truckers must now work over 60 hours a week, usually alone and away from their families, to be lucky enough to earn $50,000. 

    Drivers paid by mileage will sometimes earn below the minimum wage when their routes force them to spend too much time in traffic, not moving. 

    Truck driver’s licences in Ontario (Class AZ) are also easy to obtain, as long as you have enough money. They cost upwards of $10,000 and most companies no longer help cover the expense. The province should act to reduce these costs and make trucking a skilled trade (which would give prospective truckers access to grants and other subsidies). 

    “Unless their workers are union members, transport companies usually got away with paying Canadian drivers ridiculously low wages.

    They’re only now realizing that they won’t be able to do that forever,” explained John McCann, National Director of the Teamsters Canada Freight Division. “But we are more than willing to sit down with the Ontario government to find solutions to these issues.”

    Teamsters represent 125,000 members in Canada in all industries, including 15,000 semi-truck drivers. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, represents 1.4 million workers in North America.”

  5. Surprised LTL didn’t make the cut. Full time road drivers make over 100k/yrs with full benefits. City drivers typically are over $25/hr++. Its also not uncommon for UPS Feeder drivers to make 130k, after they make seniority and go through the pay progression. There’s money out there, some of it doesn’t require endless days on the road.

    1. Full time ? How many hours per week ?

      A quick calculation using an hourly rate which is much higher than average .

      Say you work 1 normal 40 hour per week driving job at $30 an hour . That’s $1,200 gross per week / $4,800 per month . Multiply that by 11 months = $52,800 .00

      However , the norm/average in Canada is $1,400 gross per week for 70 hours . That’s $20 an hour while working 2 jobs in one . Most will not complete 70 hours in time on the head . They’ll average between 60 & 65 hours(averaged 62.5hrs) . That brings us back to approximately the same pay(1,250) in the first example at $30 an hour for a 40 hour “normal” work week .

      Pepsi will pay a driver approximately $28 per hour for deliveries x 40 hours a week . However , you’re city driving and working physically . OTR you’re sitting all day which is hard on the body , and longer hours for the same pay as the Pepsi driver who goes hone every day .

      Pepsi driver is unionized . OTR driver generally is not . UPS also has an organized labour union in place . That’s the MAJOR difference !

      IMHO

      1. United Steelworkers union have a slogan .

        ” United we bargain , divided we beg”

        Think about that for a moment .

        What are divided truck drivers doing ? They’re “begging” for better treatment , better pay , better life ,better hours , more parking , etc etc etc . They have no “bargaining power” .

        IMHO

        1. Out of curiosity I checked out their Union dues .

          Quote :

          “The USW dues formula is 1.45% of gross pay and 2 cents per hour worked.

          Union dues are a very small percentage of total earnings. Dues are tax-deductible and dues are not paid if you are off work due to layoff, injury, sickness or leave.”

          LOL ! That’s cheap . A little more(double) than if truck drivers UNITED and created their own Alliance and funded it internally until set up to earn on its own .

          However, 1.45% & 2 cents per hour worked off gross earnings is well worth the “bargaining power” in return to improve one’s circumstance .

          Based on the example in my prior comment. A driver earning $20 an hour working 62.5 hours a week would pay approximately $20 per week in union dues in an attempt to have that wage increased with benefits etc, along with all the other perks a union provides !

          LOL , that’s cheap !

          In my humble opinion .

          1. Going a step further on the prior comment .

            On their website they say a unionized worker earns $5.17 more per hour

            Quote:
            “Union members make $5.17/ hour more than non-unionized workers.”

            So let’s use that very basic example too arrive at a rough estimate .

            Assuming one earns $20 an hour , the union member would increase that hourly wage by 26% to $25.17
            At 62.5 hours a week it equals to an additional $323.125 gross . It could be more if the union negotiates overtime . But I’ll keep it basic .

            The cost to arrive there is $20 bucks per week . Then the cost per week to maintain once wage increase is added on = $24.06 . Assuming 48 weeks per year = $1,154.89 cost for an approximate extra $14,355.11 gross gain plus benefits & union perks per year !

            I would take that bet in a heartbeat , LOL !

  6. Even the government is now in our pockets now Dot is in our pockets EDL in our pockets Freight waves in our pockets insurance is in our pockets. Disel the prices is in our pockets it goes up and up broker’s in our pockets thi world we should all should stop driving for one hole day and see wjat moves

    1. Government is involved generally due to parties lobbying them . There’s a tremendous amount of abuse in this industry which needs to stop .

      On one hand you have abusers lobbying and also going to court in an attempt to continue abusing , and on the other you have the opposite who want the abuse to stop .

      You’re currently in the midst of a revolution in the industry . Regulators cracking down and creating more regulations , cargo autonomous vehicles coming into the picture , Labour laws being more stringent , created , and being applied , unions more active , technology being implemented , many carriers going bust , all during a trucking recession within a seasonal slow period within the trucking cycle .

      Shutting down isn’t going to solve anything . It’s just going to get government even more involved and not necessarily in the truck driver’s favor .

      If you had the power to get truckers to Unite , why waste that energy and success on shutting down to have some bureaucrat come in and dictate your future furthermore ??? Better to use that energy and success to restructure the industry yourselves collectively guaranteeing it would be in your favor .

      In my humble opinion ………..

  7. One thing can not get everyone to shut down for a day.thats the whole problem.yes I do agree that we need to get the trucking back regulated for sure then alot of things will change good for all of us..

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