Illinois CDL Truck Driver Salary Information
The name Illinois comes from a Native American word meaning “tribe of superior men.” If you include women, that meaning could describe the trucking industry in Illinois. Chicago is the largest city in the state by far (2.7 million) and pays some high salaries.
The average truck driver salary in Illinois is $46,970 and the mean salary is $45,470 while the mean for the U.S. is $41,340. Mean salaries (50% are higher, 50% are lower) broken down by cities are as follows (SOURCE):
- Chicago $48,360
- Rockford $46,610
- Danville $45,750
- Champaign $45,490
- Springfield $40,100
- Decatur $36,700
Illinois is bordered by six states: Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Kentucky, and Missouri. If driving interstate, these places have lots to see and do. Projected growth for trucking jobs in Illinois from 2014 to 2024 is 8%. For the U.S. as a whole the percentage is 6% according to that same source as above.
Tips To Start Your Own Trucking Company In Illinois
If you’re just starting out in your career, starting your own company is not an advisable first step. However, if you have plenty of experience working as an owner-operator then maybe you’re ready for the next step. You know the industry, you see a need in your area, and you know you can give customers top-notch service. So how do you get started building your own small trucking company?
Pay Off Your Equipment
Pay off as much as you can. Ideally, you don’t want to start a company when you still owe on your truck. You will need to buy trucks and hire drivers, that’s a big enough expense right there. The less debt you have, the more prepared you’ll be for repair costs and unexpected expenses that can add up fast.
Put Away Savings
There are always going to be unexpected expenses – you can count on it. In the beginning owning a truck company will be difficult. Business ebbs and flows, and that means the money will, too. You may be without a consistent paycheck for a while. Even if you have regular customers, you’ll get your money from them on a 45-day pay cycle yet need to pay your drivers on a 14-day cycle.
If something happens to a truck, you have to pay to get it repaired quickly; otherwise you are losing money. Don’t forget insurance! For small companies, insurance can be costly. Before starting your company know that money will be a challenge and save, save, and save some more. Having a hefty savings account will mean less stress and an easier adjustment to life as a business owner.
Create a Financial Plan
Spend time creating a budget and a financial plan, and then stick to it.
Include expenses such as: employee payroll, truck payments, repairs and maintenance, business taxes, insurance, and anything else you can think of.
Don’t Underprice Yourself
Just because your rates are cheaper than other carriers does not mean you will automatically get more customers. You might even find that setting prices too low can drive away large companies and any customers you do get with your low rates may abandon you once you try to raise your rates.
You can avoid this situation by conducting market research to find out what other companies are charging and set fair rates that allow you to reinvest in your company. As with any major life change, starting your own trucking company is a challenge, but with enough thought, research, and hard work you can do it.
Illinois CDL License Information
To operate a CMV intrastate (within the state of IL) you must be at least 18 years of age to apply for a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) or a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). If you want to work in interstate commerce or transport passengers you have to be 21.
- To obtain a CLP, you need to show a valid Illinois CDL or non-CDL license.
- To obtain a CLP or transfer a CDL from another state you need to show Proof of Legal Presence documentation.
- You must self-certify your intrastate or interstate medical driving status. If you are declaring as a non-excepted interstate (NI) driver provide an acceptable medical certificate.
- Pay the appropriate fee for a CLP or to transfer an out-of-state CDL.
- Pass the General Knowledge written test, the Combination Knowledge written test (Class A), the Air Brake Knowledge written test (if you’ll be driving a vehicle with air brakes) and any applicable Endorsement Knowledge written test(s) required to operate the desired vehicle. Tanker (N), Passenger (P) and School Bus (S) are the only endorsements permitted on the CLP.
- Vision screening and the basic car written test are also required for out of state CDL transfers.
After all required/desired written tests have been completed, you’ll receive a temporary CLP. After the necessary research has been conducted to ensure your identity, you’ll receive the permanent CLP within 15 business days via U.S. mail.
You must pass the skills/drive testing in a properly classified, representative vehicle, based on the desired vehicle class, restrictions, and endorsements (SOURCE).
Illinois Trucking in the News
In April of 2017, the event called Trucks, Traffic & Teens took place in Decatur. More than 700 driver’s education students from local high schools attended the 3-day event. There is no charge to the schools or students for attending. Local sponsors took care of the cost:
- Coziahr Harley Davidson
- Decatur Memorial Hospital
- HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital
- Macon County Farm Bureau
- Marvin Keller
- McLeod Express
- Miles Chevrolet
- Pilot Flying J
- Quality Trailer Sales
- Skeff Distributing
- Tommy House Tire Co
- Truck Centers Inc.
The goal of the program is to include commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in the discussion when teaching high school students to drive. Every student that came through the program sat in the driver’s seat of a semi tractor with a 53-foot trailer attached.
Along the sides of the tractor-trailer were several cars and motorcycles, but students couldn’t see most of them once they were in the truck. This gave a real life example to the students about the importance of not driving in a truck’s blind spots and the potential dangers of doing so. There is a planned event for Joliet later in the year. In 2016, 500 students participated in the program. For 2017 that number will double (SOURCE).