Truck Dispatcher Salary: Employee Earnings Vs. Independent Income
What Can You Make as a Truck Dispatcher Working for a Trucking Company?
If you're working as a truck dispatcher for a trucking company, your earnings would likely come as a salary rather than a percentage of the gross revenue of the truck. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average truck dispatcher salary for a truck dispatcher is $46,810. Truck dispatcher salaries may vary depending on factors such as location, employer, type of trucking, education, certifications, and skills. The average salary in the United States ranges from $24,000 to $65,000 per year or $12 to $31 as an hourly rate.
Working as an employee for a trucking company can provide more stability as you are likely to receive a fixed salary, regardless of the number of trucks you dispatch. This contrasts with working independently, where your earnings may be more variable and directly related to the number of trucks you're dispatching and the rates you can negotiate.
Another key difference is in terms of truck dispatcher job responsibilities. As an employee, you may also have responsibilities beyond dispatching, such as managing driver schedules, ensuring compliance with shipping regulations, and coordinating maintenance for the fleet. As an independent dispatcher, while you may occasionally help with some of these tasks, your primary focus will be on finding the best loads for your clients and ensuring they get delivered on time.
Potential Benefits Provided by Employers to Truck Dispatchers
In addition to a competitive salary, many employers offer a range of benefits to freight dispatchers. These benefits can greatly enhance overall full-time pay and job satisfaction. Commonly provided benefits include health insurance, which may cover medical, dental, and vision care. Life insurance and retirement plans, such as a 401(k), are also often included, with some employers offering matching contributions to these plans.
Many companies also provide paid vacation time, sick leave, and potentially personal days, allowing dispatchers to balance their work with their personal lives. Some employers may offer additional perks like tuition reimbursement for further education or professional development courses related to the industry.
Employee assistance programs, which offer support for issues like mental health or financial planning, may also be part of a comprehensive benefits package. Lastly, depending on the nature of the company, trucking dispatchers might have access to performance bonuses or profit-sharing schemes, providing an incentive for exceptional work.
It's important to note that the benefits offered can vary greatly from company to company, so it's beneficial to thoroughly review and consider the entire compensation package, not just the base salary, when evaluating job offers.
Factors that Influence Truck Dispatcher Salary
Several factors can influence a truck dispatcher's salary when working as an employee for a trucking company. Firstly, the size and revenue of the company itself play a major role. Larger companies in the trucking industry with higher revenues generally offer better pay.
The level of responsibility that comes with the position also affects the salary. Reliable dispatchers who manage a larger fleet on a daily basis or handle more complex logistics may receive higher compensation.
Additionally, a dispatcher's experience and skills are important. More experienced dispatchers with a proven track record of efficiency, reliability, and great interpersonal skills are likely to earn more.
Geographic location also impacts salary levels. In areas with a higher cost of living or where the trucking industry is more prominent, median salaries for dispatchers are often higher.
Lastly, the level of demand for successful truck dispatchers in the job market can influence salary. In regions or periods where there's a shortage of skilled dispatchers, salaries can increase to attract qualified candidates.
Remember, while the stability of a regular salary can be attractive, it's also important to consider the truck dispatcher career path, the demands of the role, and your opportunities for advancement when considering a position as an employee dispatcher.
Now let’s discuss if you could make more money as an Independent Truck Dispatcher…
Dispatching Trucks as an Independent Truck Dispatcher
On to truck dispatchers. These unsung heroes of the transportation industry are responsible for charting out and managing the journey of trucks and their cargo between various locations. This role requires them to ensure timely delivery of goods, a task accomplished by liaising with truck drivers, customers, and shipping companies. As the friendly voice answering queries and pacifying delivery anxieties, truck dispatchers also have to maintain an efficient and amiable customer service front. Additionally, they must gather and review dispatch documents like bills of lading, cargo manifests, and shipping permits before drivers hit the road.
How Much Money Can You Make as an Independent Truck Dispatcher?
Let's break down the numbers. We first need to determine how much money can an independent truck dispatcher make dispatching just one truck. After some research, you will find that most trucking dispatchers charge between 3% and 8% of the gross revenue generated by the truck under their management. Once we know the average percentage that is being charged, we need to determine how much gross revenue each truck makes. From our statistics, most semi-trucks generate between $6000 and $10000 of gross revenue every week. Conservatively, your average gross revenue should be around $8000.
Applying this to the 3% and 8% of gross revenue that you could be charging, you will receive a range of $240 per week (if you're charging 3%) to as much as $640 (if you're charging 8%). Multiply this by an average of four weeks in a month, and you will receive an earnings range of $960 to $2560 per month from just one truck.
We recommend you be conservative and plan your business on the lower side of the range. Making $2500 a month off one truck consistently isn't realistic. There will be breaks because drivers take vacations, trucks break down, and there are other variables. If you're just starting out, you probably won't be charging 8% either. So, $1000 per month is a conservative estimate of the money that you can make dispatching one truck.
However, bear in mind that these numbers apply to semi-trucks. If you decide to dispatch smaller vehicles (such as box trucks, hotshots, or cargo vans), they may not gross as much money as a semi-truck, and this could affect your earnings as a dispatcher. Now that we know it's fairly realistic for you to make $1000 by dispatching one truck full-time, we should ask how many trucks you can dispatch. Is it 3, 5, or maybe 10?
How Many Trucks Can You Dispatch Independently?
Is it possible to find five to ten trucks to dispatch? Absolutely! You could potentially find enough clients by targeting small fleet owners or owner-operators. However, you will have to market your services effectively to attract this number of trucks. We have discussed online marketing, direct marketing, and developing your sales pitch in our other posts.
Now, let's assume you have found enough clients and have ten trucks to dispatch. Can you actually manage ten trucks on your own? From our personal experience, as a successful truck dispatcher, you can efficiently manage about five trucks. Anything more than five can make you really busy and potentially decrease your efficiency.
Leveraging Outsourcing and Marketing as a Truck Dispatcher
Here's a hack that worked very well for us: if you have more than five trucks, consider hiring virtual assistants. They can complete tasks like broker carrier packets, freeing up your time for other tasks. In fact, if you train them well, they can even make phone calls and substitute for you when you're unavailable.
Let's circle back to our initial question: How much money can you make as an independent truck dispatcher? From our reviewed numbers, if you manage to find five to ten trucks, you should indeed be able to make that amount. To find 5 to 10 trucks, you will need to utilize your marketing skills. Once you find the trucks, your dispatching skills will come into play to retain them.
This will be a process, and you shouldn't expect to land five to ten trucks right away. It will start with one truck, then two, and so on. If you do things right and retain those clients, you'll be able to grow your clientele to five to ten trucks.
Can you make more money than that? Absolutely. However, it's unlikely you'll be able to do it on your own. You'll need to hire other truck dispatchers.
As we steer towards the finish line of our comparative journey between an employee truck dispatcher and an independent one, it's clear that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to maximizing your income.
As an employee, the safety net of a stable income, coupled with a suite of benefits, can be an attractive pit stop. However, the road to independence can take you on an exciting journey with the potential for higher earnings and the autonomy to steer your business in any direction you desire.
While the trucking company lane offers stability, remember that your role may involve juggling multiple responsibilities that go beyond dispatching. On the flip side, the independent dispatcher route can be bumpier, with variable earnings and the task of business development, but the rewards can be significant.
Keep in mind, however, that venturing off the beaten path isn't for everyone. The off-road terrain of independent dispatching requires a high degree of self-drive, resilience, and a keen entrepreneurial spirit. But for those with the right blend of skills, ambition, and patience, the independent route can potentially lead to a bigger payday.
So, whether you're drawn to the predictability of the employee path or the high-stakes excitement of self-employment, remember: it's not just about the destination, but also the journey. Choose the path that aligns best with your career goals, risk tolerance, and personal preference.
Finally, always remember that success in the trucking industry - whether as an employee or an independent - is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires strategic planning, savvy negotiation skills, a relentless drive for efficiency, and a robust understanding of the industry.
In this race, it's not just about the horsepower but the stamina, and how well you navigate the twists and turns on your path to success. Safe travels on whichever road you decide to tread!
© By Roman Shmundyak July 2023
Are you thinking about becoming an independent truck dispatcher? LearnDispatch offers online truck dispatcher training courses which are suitable for people not familiar with transportation industry. Learn more about our training by visiting Training Details page or choose your course by clicking here.