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Here’s The Average Tow Truck Driver Salary (Along With 19 Other Driving Professions)

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There are tons of jobs for all types of driving professions. Tow truck drivers get a good annual salary, but they’re just one facet of the industry.

Employment for drivers can be a far more widespread field than one might think. On paper, it sounds easy as you just need to know how to handle a vehicle and drive around for a bit. However, it’s not that obvious given how several jobs require different skills. Some drivers can be quick jobs transporting people around or handling deliveries. Others have to handle massive rigs packed with oil or other chemicals. There are also jobs from public transportation to private drives, which all have different requirements.

A few jobs aren’t just risky but outright dangerous, so the pay is much higher. Others are notable for how much work can go into them such as tow truck or snowplow drivers. With so many options around, it can be tricky figuring out what driving job might be best for a person’s skill set. Some jobs pay astoundingly well, although they have some risk involved. Others have extended hours for little pay and may not seem worthwhile. Here’s how 20 major driving jobs pay on average per year to give a hint where the money lies in driving employment.

20 Uber/Lyft: $28,580

Right now, Uber and Lyft drivers have overtaken cabs as the go-to service for folks needing a fast ride. Most drivers for both services are self-employed while others are contracted for certain companies. This means being able to get any pickup at any time, which can be a hassle for schedules.

It’s become popular for college students to earn some extra pay which can be decent although lagging behind cab drivers. While popular, both services don’t pay as much as one might think.

19 FedEx/UPS: $45,000-$58,000

As the top two delivery services in the world, it’s no wonder both FedEx and UPS have a fleet of drivers working every day. The pay is different for each company which has a flat rate although raises can come on an annual basis.

Currently, UPS pays a bit more as they handle a lot more volume, although FedEx isn’t too far behind. Also, both companies provide great insurance benefits to make the jobs very enticing for drivers.

18 Trolley Car: $39,100

True, they’re not nearly as common as they once were, but trolley cars are still around in some cities. San Francisco and New Orleans are the more popular spots as trolleys are less for serious transport and more for city tours.

A driver has to handle the usual issues of the road while also giving an entertaining spiel for the guests to make the trip fun. It’s more of a “vacation job” these days, but a good trolley driver can earn some good pay.

17 Airport Shuttle: $41,627

While many folks prefer taxis or Ubers, the airport shuttle service is still much in demand. Much like taxi services, shuttles operate on a set price, which shifts given the location and how much traffic they see.

They’re also used for quick trips to local hotels and handling the horrible traffic of an airport. The pay is pretty good even without tips as the drivers know they’re vital to making sure folks catch their flights.

16 Private Chauffeur: $56,543

While limo drivers are generally self-employed or working for companies, private chauffeurs are considered members of staff. The wages vary on who they work for, with some rich folks willing to pay far more than others are.

Chauffeurs aren’t just drivers but expected to maintain the cars as well and be ready to drive their employer at any moment. They rest on the whims of a boss who could let them go at any moment, but the pay is pretty good.

15 City Bus Driver: $42,080

It’s known that some residents in major cities don’t even own their own cars and rely on public transportation. City buses are still key transport for any town, with drivers having to handle everything from terrible traffic to some unruly passengers. What city you’re in can dictate how much pay there is.

Huge cities like Los Angeles or Chicago can see drivers making almost a hundred grand while smaller cities naturally have lower payment. The benefits of insurance also help make this a better paying job than expected.

14 Crude Oil: $80,000

With fracking growing in several areas and the demand for oil still peaking, transporting crude oil is a necessity. These drivers have to handle very heavy hauls that add to the regular dangers of long-distance driving. One leak and thousands of dollars in oil can be spilled on the road before the driver knows it.

In states like Texas and Oklahoma, these drivers can earn almost a hundred grand a year, which shows how oil is always big money.

13 Tanker: $71,200

Tanker truck drivers have to handle a different type of load than regular CDL ones do. That includes passing special tests for the unique hauls. They can include anything from refrigerated items to dangerous chemicals that need to be checked out regularly on hot days.

That’s more risk if a crash happens, which is why this pays much more than regular CDL jobs do. Granted, driving what amounts to a chemical powder keg is tricky, yet many make it work.

12 CDL: $55,036

Commercial Driver’s License is the shorthand for any regular truck driver on the road. As the title indicates, you need a special license to handle these vehicles and then take to the roads.

These jobs vary in pay depending on the company and the cargo, with roughly $55,000 the average salary. They have to handle long hours on the road, and a lot of rules but some places pay enough to make it one of the best driving jobs out there.

11 Auto Shipping: $75,000

There are a lot of huge trucks to try and avoid on the highway. The most notable is what’s called the “auto shipping” haulers. These are the guys with the huge rack of automobiles being shipped to dealerships or salvage yards.

This obviously requires serious care as one wrong move, and there’s a car falling onto the highway. They’re also extremely heavy and require a highly trained driver to handle it. It’s no wonder this particular job pays higher, given its precious cargo.

10 Garbage: $41,446

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Garbage truck drivers are often hired for their strength as it’s amazing just how heavy garbage can be. There’s also dealing with everything from old furniture to some very gross items being thrown out.

It’s listed as the fifth most dangerous job in America due to the many broken items inside bags. While it can pay pretty well (even higher in major cities), it’s a full-time job that brings a lot of risk.

9 Taxi: $35,600

While services like Uber and Lyft have gained huge popularity, regular taxi drivers are still going strong. They’re more popular in major cities where people don’t want to wait for an Uber and just grab a quick ride.

Cab drivers have to pay a lot of fees for their medallions and to their employers which offsets what they make from tips. It can be a tough job that’s seen competition from driver services, so the pay isn’t as good as it once was.

8 School Bus: $32,110

Being a school bus driver can be a thankless job. They have to handle some rambunctious kids, demanding parents, and how it’s a part-time job only requiring a few hours on weekdays.

A common complaint can be how the pay is too low, and some states are failing to provide adequate insurance. They also have to maintain the bus and handle a lot of paperwork. Much like being a teacher, a school bus driver probably deserves more pay than they get.

7 Pizza Delivery: $27,113

This actually goes for a lot of food delivery services, but pizza guys are the most popular. The key to their jobs is always speed as customers want the food fast. Some places even offer a discount if the driver doesn’t make it within a specific time frame which comes out of their paycheck.

The pay itself is okay and decided by the employers. The real benefits are the tips from customers, which can boost the regular salary up. A quick pizza driver can make even more than the median salary off some good tips.

6 Snow Plow: $51,500

Obviously, this is not a nationwide job given how several states never see snow. Those that do will go months without needing a plow at all. But when winter hits, plow drivers are the most in-demand jobs around.

Many are self-employed with others contracted by the local governments to ensure top areas are cleared off faster. It can be a tough job in a snowstorm, but for a few weeks of work, a plow driver can make a hefty salary.

5 Street Sweeper: $29,151

It’s one driving job that’s often ignored but still needed for major cities. Street sweepers generally work at night when traffic is low to ensure streets are clear of debris.

They can be busier after storms or another event with pay varying depending on the city and area they’re cleaning. It’s lower than other driving jobs, but they do provide an excellent service to maintain clean roads for drivers.

4 Limo: $25,020

Even in today’s world of uber drivers, limo services are still in demand. They can range from airport trips to someone wanting a fancy ride around the city. As with other driving jobs, it can vary if the driver is employed by a company or renting himself out.

There is more of a dress code than other driving jobs, but the benefits include meeting interesting people and seeing some great places. While the pay can be lower than expected, the side additions make it worthwhile.

3 Courier: $31,000

While we live in a world of email and texting, there’s still a need to send some documents or other important items in person fast. FedEx and UPS are the big guns, but there are scores of smaller courier services to handle the high demand.

The pay can vary if one works for a company or self-employed, yet a good courier can make about $31,000 a year, which shows people still prefer having stuff sent in person.

2 Ice Road: $250,000

Some might do a double-take at how much this job makes. But when you consider the risks, it might still seem low. As various TV shows illustrate, driving a heavy rig in terribly cold conditions where one patch of ice can send a few tons of metal flying off the road is one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.

They also have to handle being in remote areas with little communication, blizzards, and even an occasional avalanche. No wonder so many drivers see so much reward for that much risk.

1 Tow Truck:$70,000

Tow truck driver salaries can vary depending on the state and the company. But the reason they’re so high is because of how it’s more complicated than it seems. Just yanking a car onto a truck isn’t a good idea as the driver has to be extremely careful not to damage it further since they’re liable for any additional harm.

There’s also whether the driver works for a company or himself. But given how often folks need tows, these drivers are in very high demand, which is why they can earn nearly seventy grand a year for their work.


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