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What to Consider when Choosing Your Destination

Truck drivers are some of the country’s top earners and for a good reason. They work tirelessly to keep our world turning and our economy thriving. So it’s no surprise that a truck driver’s salary is competitive compared to other industries. On average, a truck driver can earn anywhere between $40,000 and $78,000 per year. But, did you know there are some states where the money for trucking is even better? However, you must be careful when deciding on where to go. In some states, the cost of living and state regulations could significantly impact the amount of money you actually make. 

Like any profession, each state offers different pros and cons. For instance, while one state may see a higher average annual pay, other factors like natural resources and geographic proximity could impact that number, ultimately making you less than the supposed average. That’s why it’s crucial to weigh all factors carefully before deciding where to reside as a truck driver.

The main factors to consider include:

1. The Cost of Living 

In most industries, the average pay varies from state to state, and, in some cases, the pay doesn’t always correspond to the cost of living within said state. Most of the time, a truck driver’s income is based on the specific route they drive, the type of freight they’re hauling, the difficulty of the job, and the company’s standards. But unfortunately, most companies don’t factor the cost of living into their wages. So, if you choose a state with a lower cost of living, your paychecks will go further.

2. Income Taxes

You must also consider the state’s income tax rates. If you want more take-home pay, you’ll want to choose a state with a lower income tax rate. As of 2020, only seven states offer no personal income tax, including Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. With these rules and regulations constantly changing, it’s wise to seek advice from a tax professional before deciding on a new job in a new state.

3. Quality of Life

While pay is a crucial factor when choosing your career and the location you’d like to work in, it should ultimately come second to the quality of life. For instance, some states offer better roads and highways, safer public rest areas and truck stops, and cheaper parking. These factors not only make your job easier, but they can help to reduce out-of-pocket costs and stress. You’ll also want to look into your state’s crime area to ensure the safety of your home and neighborhood.

4. State Regulations

Like pay, industry regulations can vary from state to state, and these regulations can impact trucking companies and drivers. And if the trucking company is on the smaller side, they could have trouble adapting due to limited resources. Unfortunately, if the company doesn’t have access to things like new equipment and personnel, these regulations could come at a high cost. If these added costs are passed on to the customers, you could see reduced pay.

5. Geography and Natural Resources

You should also consider the type of freight you’ll be hauling, the population, the geographic location, proximity to other states, international borders, and shipping ports when choosing a state to work in. You’ll also want to determine what natural resources the state you’re considering is known for since there’s a good chance you will be hauling it at some point or another.

6. Freight Volume

As previously mentioned, you’ll want to consider the amount of freight you’ll be hauling across states. The amount of cargo you handle often affects the pay you’ll receive per job. The states with the most freight being moved include Texas, California, Illinois, and Ohio.

The type of freight is also necessary to note, as it can also determine how much money you could be making.  

  • Top states for flatbed hauls: Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, and Mississippi
  • Top states for refrigerated loads: Texas, California, Illinois, Ohio, and Georgia
  • Top states for van loads: Texas, Illinois, Ohio, California, and Georgia

What are the best states for truck drivers?

Ready to find new territory? Make sure you get the most up-to-date information before deciding where to land. 

Here are the top five states to work in as a truck driver:

STATETOTAL JOBSAVERAGE SALARYHIGH/LOW
Kentucky6,466$72,287$107,000/$48,000
Indiana9,598$71,429$105,000/$48,000
Ohio15,146$70,880$105,000/$47,000
Pennsylvania14,369$71,491$106,000/$47,000
Delaware1,484$71,947$107,000/$48,000

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