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Payment Overdue: the $100k trucker

Over the past 40 years, the average income of a trucker has increased by 17% while the cost of a home and a car have increased by 560% and 883%, respectively, calculates American Trucker’s resident business guru Tim Brady. And yet trucking companies wonder why they have a hard time finding drivers?

Brady goes into more detail over on the Fleet Owner side of the house, but drivers should be as aware of his math as the trucking company execs he’s addressing.

The median price for a home across the U.S. in 1975 was around $40,000; the average price for a new car, $3,800. The median price for an existing home in the U.S. in 2015 was $224,100. The average cost of a new car in 2015 was $33,560.

Here’s the kicker: A truck driver pulled down a $32,500 average salary in 1975, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To have that same purchasing power in 2015, that same trucker should have earned $149,179.11 per year. The average income in 2015 for a truck driver was $40,000.

And Brady gets straight to the bottom line in addressing carrier management.

Tim Brady

“You want quality applicants to fill those empty seats? Then you need to look seriously at how much you pay them,” Brady writes. “Providing creature comforts is all well and good, but if the person driving your truck can't pay his/her bills and save for the future, the job becomes worthless. If they are unable to justify to their family that being gone for days and/or weeks at a time is worth it to the family, the job is worthless. If a trucker can't buy a home or is unable to purchase a late or new model car, then what's the incentive to drive a truck?”

Don’t sugar coat it, Tim. Tell ’em what you really think!

His concluding words of advice: “Make it possible for a trucker to earn $100,000 per year and you'll fill every left seat you have available and have others standing in line to take the next available truck driver position.”

Like what Tim has to say? Think it’s impossible? Either way, leave us a note either in the comment section here or over on our Facebook page.

Of course, Tim’s tips (and an occasional opinion or two) are featured every month in American Trucker magazine’s Business of Trucking feature. His latest is online here.

Tim’s most recent book, Nicky Hammerlane’s Business Lessons from the Road, puts a neat spin on the idea of “case studies” (in other words, it’s a good read as well as a good reference). It available, along with his many others titles, over on

Below, Cuba Gooding Jr.’s demonstrates his acting chops and provides truckers a famous example of how to negotiate—or not. (Or, if you prefer a not-suitable-for-work suggestion from an equally famous film clip, just google “Goodfellas pay me”.)

TAGS: News Business
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