Schneider driver pay scale and average earnings expectations

By Pat Lilja Aug 17, 2020
Truck driver looks at money in his wallet received based on this Schneider driver pay scale

I frequently get asked, “How much does a truck driver make?” Or more specifically, “How much does an average truck driver make?”

Generally, my response is that there aren’t many “average” drivers since everyone’s circumstances are unique.

The next question I get is better: “Well, then what does a Schneider driver pay scale look like and what should my earnings expectations be?” Now that’s a great question!

It’s important to set realistic expectations for the various stages of your truck driving career, while understanding that Schneider drivers can quickly climb the pay ladder.

Good news: The job is only new once

When you first start as an inexperienced driver, there’s a natural learning curve and lots of questions. It can take a few months to start refining the art of efficient time management, which will ultimately impact where you land on the driver pay scale.

The example below will help you better understand first-year truck driver pay and your experienced truck driver pay outlook .

What experienced drivers factor in their pay scale

Successful drivers often set goals and track their results over time. From what I’ve heard over almost 40 years in the industry, successful drivers focus on these factors of a driver pay scale:

  • Average miles per work day – This will vary by type of driving job and location, but the below is the average (over 12 months) miles per driver per day for Van Truckload Over-the-Road (OTR) drivers. The miles vary day-to-day, but over time the numbers smooth out.
  • Working days – Successful drivers set a target for revenue-generating days. Most find 73 revenue days per quarter works well, leaving 18 days off duty.

Trip planning tips can help you increase your average earnings expectations.

How much does a truck driver make on average?

Here’s a driver pay example drawn from actual driver fleet averages and capability expectations, starting as an inexperienced driver within our Van Truckload Over-the-Road fleet, if you started on the first day of the next quarter:

Hire date Oct. 1, 2020
Miles per driver per day 380
Working days per quarter 73
Miles per quarter 27,740
Performance pay annually ($.04/mile)* $4,438.40
Accessorials: stop-offs, load/unload, etc. 5%

Factoring in Schneider’s improved performance pay and automatic annual increases, here is what that Schneider driver pay scale would look like for the driver above hired today:

Date Earning timeframe Earning potential Capability level
Oct. 1, 2020 Start to 3 months $8,359.45 70%
Jan. 1, 2021 3 to 6 months $10,896.27 80%
Apr. 1, 2021 6 to 12 months $27,268.42 100%
End of first year Year 1 total $46,524.14
Oct. 1, 2022 Year 2 total $56,867
Oct. 1, 2023 Year 3 total $58,032.08
Oct. 1, 2024 Year 4 total $59,197.16
Future earnings potential $65,022.56

How to earn even more

Again, it’s important to emphasize that the above is an example of averages within our Van Truckload Over-the-Road fleet.

You have the power to increase your earnings, and Schneider has many Over-the-Road drivers earning much more. Here are ways you can add to the above:

  • Drive more miles per day and/or work more days – up to $74,000 per year

Schneider’s top-performing Van Truckload OTR drivers are hitting this amount, and the freight is available throughout the year to pull it off.

  • Team up with a driving partner – up to $96,000 per year each

Team drivers are able to rack up more miles while hauling premium freight, leading to the highest earning potential in the company.

  • Choose a different type of driving job

Schneider offers the widest variety of truck driving jobs in the industry, and each type has a range.

Schneider driver pay scale by type of driving job

Each truck driving job description lists both an average pay range and an up-to amount showing what you could earn. With variables by region and even driving style within each (Team vs. OTR vs. Regional vs. Local), it pays to look at specific jobs, but here are approximate average ranges by type:

  • Van Truckload: $46,000-$57,000.
  • Dedicated: Completely dependent on the specific customer.
  • Intermodal: $58,000-$71,000.
  • Tanker: $52,000-$64,000.

One more factor in your earnings expectations

In addition to the above driver pay amounts, don’t forget about the value of a comprehensive truck driver benefits package , which includes this and so much more:

  • Health benefits.
  • 401(k) with match.
  • Paid orientation.
  • Paid time off.
  • Driving school tuition reimbursement.
  • Military benefits.
  • Free amenities.
  • Sign-on bonus potential.

What will your Schneider driver pay scale and earnings expectations look like?

There’s only one way to find out. Explore all driving jobs near you, with pay details in each job description.

Explore driving jobs near me

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About the Author

Pat Lilja, Senior Transformation Partner for Driver and Owner-Operator Compensation

Pat has been with Schneider for 36 years, and is currently Senior Transformation Partner for Driver and Owner-Operator Compensation and Hire-to-Pay Processes. He works to ensure accurate and timely compensation that is market competitive and performance based, designed to attract and retain driver associates. He has held several other roles, including Regional Operation Director, Director of Van Operations Support, Director of Pay Services and Operation Center Manager.

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