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First year truck driver pay

The truth about first year truck driver pay

Misinformation abounds about truck driver pay. Usually it boils down to comparing apples and oranges between different companies and pay structures, or “super truckers” boasting about their best-case scenario paychecks. We’re here to help you break through the noise, understand how driver pay really works and find you a driving job that meets your needs.

  • How are truck drivers paid?

    How are truck drivers paid?

    Truck drivers can be paid many different ways, all depending on the nature of the work for the type of truck driving job you choose. Make sure you’re comparing oranges to oranges! Here are the most common elements in Schneider driver pay packages:

    1. Base pay methods – the foundation of a great paycheck
      • Mileage – this rate will be represented in cents per mile (e.g. $0.50/mile)
      • Load pay – set rate for each load you deliver (e.g. $50/load)
      • Hourly – set rate per hour (e.g. $25/hour)

    Example: Regional (mileage emphasis) vs. Local (load emphasis) Intermodal pay

    1. Accessorial pay examples – add-ons you earn
      • Loading/unloading – when you need to do it, get paid for it
      • Detention – your time still matters if you get hung up at a customer
      • Stop-offs – if mileage is your base pay, you may still get pay per stop

    Example: 25 percent of Tanker pay is accessorial (hands-on loading/unloading, tank wash, etc.) 

    1. Performance pay and bonuses – the cherry on top
      • Safety and fuel management – up to $.04/mile at Schneider, paid weekly
      • Sign-on bonuses – available on many Schneider positions
      • Referral bonuses – up to $2,000 per driver when you refer to Schneider 

    Example: Schneider Improves Performance Pay, Adds Automatic Increases 

    1. Most overlooked compensation considerations – don’t miss these!
      • Benefits package – medical/dental/vision, 401(k) with match — it all adds up
      • Growth opportunities – quickly advance to training engineer, increase earnings
      • Company perks – tuition reimbursement, group discounts and facility network with free parking, laundry, showers, exercise rooms and more

    Example: Schneider’s Unique Truck Driver Benefits Package

  • Schneider’s truck driver pay highlights

    Schneider’s truck driver pay highlights

    1. An elite overall compensation package – we review our pay, benefits and other perks weekly to ensure our pay package is highly competitive
    2. Job-specific pay plus performance pay – we have literally hundreds of different driver pay packages — not to confuse you, but so we pay every driver for the unique work they do, plus performance pay to reward those who do it well
    3. Rewarding experience and longevity – the longer you stay, the more you can earn, plus enjoy exclusive membership into our Advantage Club after five years


  • Schneider pay during your first year

    Schneider pay during your first year

    Whatever type of pay package your driving job features, you have the potential to earn well above the industry average on your W-2 — plus the great benefits above and rapid growth: 

    • $45,260 – average industry-wide driver wage (U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics).
    • $49,585 – average first-year Schneider truck driver pay (figures throughout this page based on this example).
    • $96,000 – earning potential for Schneider driver, depending on type of driving job.

    Starting off – the money you need to get the training you need 

    • Paid CDL training options – driving school tuition reimbursement, up-front tuition payment or other funding sources available
    • Paid orientation – your transportation, lodging and most meals are on us with a set daily pay rate and your first paycheck during your second week

    Your first 3-6 months on the job – embrace the learning (and earning) curve

    • 70-80 percent earnings capability – it takes a few months to adjust to the rhythms of the road, but stay the course: the efficiency and consistency you need will come! Never judge your career decision by your first couple paychecks (average $685/week first 3 months, $893/week next 3 months).
    • Keeping perspective – your patience will pay off — in about the time it takes your debt-ridden college friends to finish one semester, you’ll have passed the biggest hurdle of your career.

    The last half of your first year – it pays to be patient

    • Now that’s more like it – As you grow as a driver, your paychecks will grow with it, and typically by this stage, you’ll start approaching 100 percent capability. Accordingly, you can expect paychecks to be north of $1,100/week within this timeframe.
    • Experience is where the money is – a driver 10 months into the job won’t earn as much as a driver 10 years into the job, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you will climb the pay ladder — with automatic annual increases, regular pay package upgrades and expanding career paths.

    Beyond your first year – pay will only get better from here!

Start your first year now, earn more sooner.