Driving To Deliver Your Business

Owner Operator Salary

Salary Comparisons When Looking At Owner Operator Pay

To get an idea of how much more Owner Operators make than other types of truck drivers we ve listed the Indeed Salary Comparison tool1 to the side and listed different trucking positions. As of November 19th, 2013 an Owner Operator had job listings with an average overall pay of $163,000 a year which is $100,000 a year more than every other single trucking position compared to. An O/O earns more than $100,000 more than a $63,000 a year CDL Hazardous Materials driver. A CDL Tanker driver getting $63,000 a year is making $100k less than an O/O and a trucker with a CDL A making $57,000 a year average is getting paid more than $106,000 less than an Owner Operator in the United States.

BLS Tractor Trailer Truck Driver SalaryNow if you take a look at what the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts truck driver pay at you ll notice that it s even lower and doesn t really apply to an Owner Operator pay in any way shape or form. What does show an interesting analysis in the BLS graphic2 to the right is the amount of jobs available in the trucking industry in 2010 which were sitting at 1,604,800. The growth and employment change for trucking is expected to be 21% and add an additional 330,100 truck driver jobs to the market which only puts pressure for Owner Operator salaries to be pushed upward.

Owner Operator Salary Trends & Comparisons

Owner Operator Salary TrendsAnother interesting look at the salary market for Owner Operators is overall trend in the industry when you lay them next to other similar careers in the trucking job market. What we have in this chart is the National Salary Trend from Indeed.com which shows Owner Operator, CDL Hazardous Materials Drivers, CDL Tanker Drivers and CDL Class A holders and their associated salary trends. One thing that definitely stands out is that the Salary Index for O/O has been dramatically higher than all of the others and has seen the biggest impact in driving upwards as time goes on. While this changes month to month, historical analysis of Owner Operator pay rates has only inched upward and went at a faster clip than other trucking jobs with other qualifications.

Expansion of Owner Operator Businesses

In 2012 an article was published3 in Overdrive Online discussing the overall landscape for Owner Operator Businesses and how they are continuing to pick back up with economic recovery in the shipping industry. As freight demand pushes new heights after some slumps in the 2000 s it s seeing a resurgence and has seen more Owner Operator individual businesses started up that have just a single truck. This shows growth in the industry with many new O/O willing to get involved in the business. In 2006 and 2010 the numbers started picking back up for overall Owner Operator businesses. In 2011 alone there were 5,600 Owner Operated Businesses added to the trucking industry.

Owner Operator Pay Per Mile Rate Averages

While we have pretty detailed salary averages down below for an Owner Operator in every state, one thing holds true to all of those, the total pay you see is actually made up by PPM (Pay Per Mile) for Owner Operated Businesses and decided on for each run or as a contract with a company you are leased to. Depending on what type of load and route you ll be taking as an owner operator they can be paid anywhere from $1.00 to $3.00 per mile gross. The main point of the game here is to cover your expenses and make as much profit as you can. A great blog put together called Owner Operator 4114 details how the leasing programs typically work out for O/O by stating that, If you are leased to a company that pays a percentage, the average ranges from 65% to 75% of the freight bill. It is stated their that on a leasing program your average net income is around 1/4th your gross pay and that you can expect that fuel is going cost around 40-50% of your gross pay. These PPM or sometimes referred to as CPM (Cost Per Mile) rates are extremely important to make sure you re covering your side of the costs like insurance, tires, fuel, plates, truck payments, food and home costs.

Different Types of Owner Operator Costs That Can Effect Pay

You can make all the money you want and it can be big numbers in the $150k $225k a year range but if you re costs are out of control your net revenue you re taking home for your owner operator business might have you looking for another job. Sometimes it can all be about choosing the right company to partner with that will even help you cover some costs and fees. Costs to consider:

  • Insurance (all different types for more than just your truck $1,200 $13,000 a year)
  • Fuel (Typical to be around 38% 53% of your gross pay)
  • Fuel Taxes
  • Broker Fees
  • Permits / Endorsements / Licenses Door Signs, Decals, Lettering, Road Taxes, FHUT/2290, IRP, Parking Scales, Tolls & Pre-Pass
  • Bookkeeping / Accounts Costs
  • Maintenance
  • Tires
  • Buffer Savings for downtime
  • OTR Food / Drinks
  • Laundry Expenses
  • Shower Expenses from Truck Stops
  • Clothing, Work Boots & Safety Shoes
  • Insurance Costs Bobtail, Liability, Cargo Insurance & Claims, Workers Comp, Physical Damage, Dental / Health / Vision
  • Hauling Equipment Chains, Tarps, Pallets, Bungee Cords
  • Trailer & Tractor Washes & Expenses
  • Inside your tractor accommodation expenses Alarm Clock, Appliances, Atlas & Maps, Bedding, Electric Blanket, Camera, Coffee Pot, Coolers & Ice, Crock Pot, Flashlight & Batteries, Flyswatter, Hangers, Ice Scraper, Microwave, Paper Towels, Refrigerator, Seat Covers & Cushions, Rugs & Floor Mats, Tools, Trash Bags, TV
  • CB Radio & Antennas
  • Satellite Radio like Sirius or XM
  • Cell Phone & Chargers
  • Internet Card or Hotspot
  • Tablet or Laptop


  1. ^ Indeed Salary Comparison tool (www.indeed.com)
  2. ^ BLS graphic (www.bls.gov)
  3. ^ article was published (www.overdriveonline.com)
  4. ^ Owner Operator 411 (owneroperator411.blogspot.com)

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