Who Makes More Money? Owner-Operators or Company Drivers?
By Matt Sullivan, Marketing, DAT Solutions
Wages have stayed stagnant for most Americans, except for one group of workers: Truck drivers. Since 2013, the average annual income for long-haul truckers rose 17%, while wages rose less than 4% for everyone else, according to the Wall Street Journal.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Many freight haulers have in the past year pushed through their biggest raises in decades. Truck-stop job boards and satellite radio airwaves are saturated with want ads, some offering sign-on bonuses topping $5,000 and free bus tickets to drivers willing to switch employers. Companies are equipping their fleets with satellite televisions and other amenities to make life on the road more comfortable.
The report also says that the strengthened U.S. dollar has led to more imports, and there aren’t enough drivers to meet the demand. “The long-haul trucking industry, which employs about 800,000 people today, needs an additional 48,000 drivers,” says the WSJ.
Much of that import freight moves through California ports. A recent study by the California Trucking Association and the Southern California-based Inland Empire Economic Partnership found that owner-operators in that state earned higher incomes than company drivers in 2013 and 2014.
California company drivers earned $42,078 in 2014, according to the California Employment Development Department. That’s $17,400 lower than the owner-operator average.
While the owner-operators in California are reportedly doing better than company drivers, there may be other parts of the country where the opposite is true.
Are you a company driver or owner-operator? Are you earning more money in 2015? Let us know in the comments.
DAT offers money-making solutions for owner-operators and carriers of all sizes. To learn more, contact our award-winning customer service team at 800.551.8847 or complete this online form.
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Researching CDL Schools and Trucking Companies
Getting the facts is WELL worth the effort!
It takes VERY little time to do the research!
FACT: You WILL save yourself potential hardship!
FACT: There is no perfect company, but some ARE better than others!
FACT: ALL you need is a computer and internet access.
If you do not have computer access you can try the public library in your area for free internet to research BEFORE you sign contracts and make commitments.
For valuable information about the trucking industry in general, the following websites provide a comprehensive and honest assessment of current issues in trucking.
Exclusively designed to equip and inform female drivers about the trucking industry, including the many unique dangers that women drivers face. This website has valuable links to blogs, truck driver forums, and videos that discuss specific issues related to women in trucking. Make sure you read the entire content of the “Female CDL Student FAQ” including the video called “How to Choose a CDL School” EVEN if you already have, plus other posts like “Truck Carrier Warnings”. It will save you a lot of time in your research.
This extensive database website provides general information about the trucking industry from the truck driver’s perspective. From CDL schools, student training carrier information, company reviews, industry articles and free CDL test preparation questions, this trucker website is a great resource for those doing research on the industry. Be aware that seasoned drivers can be “terse” with new drivers in The Forum Area. This is because there are so many “know it all’s” entering trucking with no ability to drive. The forum area can be rough to get a straight answer but there is a lot of great information available on this website. Use your instincts when reading complaints and reviews. If a driver complains about every little thing they may not be someone to take advice from and to the contrary, if they are raving about a carrier that has a history of bad treatment toward drivers you should realize it might be a company executive pretending to be a driver or there to “stir up the pot” on a forum thread.
Allen Smith has devoted himself to becoming an advocate for truck drivers in all stages of their career. Through his insightful blog posts and blog talk radio program, new drivers to the industry can be introduced to the social media truck driver community and stay connected to timely issues that should be of concern to anyone considering truck driving for a career.
This website seeks to provide an honest and realistic assessment of the trucking industry. Although it provides candid articles about life as a trucker be aware that just because it has a comprehensive listing of trucking company profiles, they may not be good companies to work for. Some of the articles are content you can find on other websites but if you do find some original content make certain you take the time to cross-check the information. Experienced drivers find more credibility about carriers on “The Truckers Report Forum”. Some new drivers become confused that the job listings are good companies when they see a nice website with some good articles about becoming a truck driver. Utilize the articles and free CDL training materials but do not misinterpret the quality of the trucking companies and CDL schools listed on most websites. Paid advertising is how these websites are supported and generally without any advertising criteria. It’s up to YOU to research to find out what is best for YOUR situation and hiring area. While there is a forum for females on this website it is important to realize that some of the profiles appear to be “created” and not authentic.
For employee reviews of trucking companies, simply Google (www.Google.com) the name of the company and add the word “reviews” or add the word “complaints” to bring up a list of websites. Look for companies that have high “star” ratings; avoid those with low “star” ratings. As a rule, the more “pop-up” advertising you see around the internet, the more you should read the REAL truck driver reviews and find out why that company is ALWAYS in need more drivers.
YouTube (www.YouTube.com) provides extensive videos from current and former employees of specific trucking companies, as well as videos of truckers discussing life on the road. Although the videos are subjective and based on individual experiences, they can provide helpful “insider” information about what you can expect from a company that you won’t get from a recruiter or company website.
A REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. Member