How Much Does Swift Pay New Drivers?

If you’re interested in becoming a truck driver, one of the first questions you probably have is how much you can expect to earn, especially as a new driver. Swift Transportation is one of the largest trucking companies in the U.S., so it’s a common choice for those entering the industry.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down exactly how much Swift pays new drivers so you know what to expect.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: New Swift drivers can expect to earn $700 – $1,000 per week, on average, in their first years with the company.

Pay Structure for New Swift Drivers

When considering a career as a truck driver, one of the primary concerns is often the pay structure. For those interested in joining Swift Transportation, it’s important to understand how much new drivers can expect to earn. Swift offers a competitive pay structure that includes several components.

Per-mile rate

The per-mile rate is a fundamental aspect of a truck driver’s pay. Swift offers new drivers a competitive per-mile rate, which varies based on factors such as experience and the type of trucking they are involved in.

It’s worth noting that the per-mile rate can fluctuate depending on market conditions, so drivers should stay updated on industry trends and adapt accordingly.

Minimum pay guarantees

To provide stability and peace of mind to new drivers, Swift offers minimum pay guarantees. This means that even if a driver’s mileage falls below a certain threshold, they will still receive a minimum payment.

These guarantees can vary depending on the driver’s experience and the specific details of their contract.


Swift also provides various bonus opportunities to incentivize and reward their drivers. These bonuses can be based on factors such as performance, safety, and meeting certain milestones. By going above and beyond, drivers can earn additional income on top of their regular pay.

Detention pay

Detention pay is an essential aspect of a truck driver’s compensation. Swift understands that delays can occur during loading and unloading, which can eat into a driver’s valuable time. To compensate for these delays, Swift offers detention pay to ensure that drivers are fairly compensated for their time spent waiting.

Breakdown by first years

During a driver’s first year with Swift, it’s important to understand that pay may increase as they gain experience and prove their reliability. It’s common for new drivers to start at a lower pay scale and gradually work their way up as they become more proficient and demonstrate a strong work ethic.

It’s crucial for new drivers to approach their first year with dedication and a commitment to improving their skills.

Factors That Affect Your Pay

When it comes to determining how much Swift pays its new drivers, there are several factors that come into play. These factors can have a significant impact on the amount of money you can expect to earn as a driver. Here are some of the key factors that affect your pay with Swift:

Miles driven

The number of miles you drive is one of the primary factors that determine your pay as a Swift driver. The more miles you drive, the more money you can expect to earn. Swift offers competitive mileage rates that can vary depending on factors such as the type of load and the region you are driving in.

It’s important to note that mileage rates can also be influenced by factors such as fuel prices and market demand.

Type of truck/trailer

The type of truck or trailer you are assigned to can also impact your pay as a Swift driver. Different types of loads require different equipment, and some types of equipment may come with additional pay incentives.

For example, hauling specialized freight or operating a refrigerated trailer may offer higher pay rates compared to driving a standard dry van.

Experience level

Your experience level as a driver can also play a role in determining your pay with Swift. Generally, drivers with more experience and a proven track record of safe driving are more likely to earn higher pay.

Swift offers various pay incentives and bonuses for experienced drivers, including performance-based bonuses and tenure-based increases in pay.

It’s worth noting that pay rates and incentives can vary over time, so it’s always a good idea to stay updated with the latest information on Swift’s website or by speaking with a Swift representative.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that factors such as the overall state of the trucking industry and the economy as a whole can also influence pay rates.

Expenses to Expect as a Swift Driver

Fuel Costs

As a Swift driver, you can expect to spend a significant amount of your earnings on fuel. The exact amount will depend on factors such as the distance you travel, the type of vehicle you drive, and the current price of fuel.

It’s important to budget for fuel costs and plan your trips efficiently to minimize expenses. Swift provides fuel cards and discounts at certain truck stops, which can help offset some of the costs.


Insurance is a necessary expense for all drivers, and Swift drivers are no exception. As an independent contractor, you are responsible for obtaining your own commercial truck insurance. This insurance can be quite costly, especially for new drivers or those with less experience.

It’s important to shop around and compare quotes from different insurance providers to find the best rates for your specific circumstances.


Maintaining and repairing your truck is another expense to consider as a Swift driver. Regular maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations, is necessary to keep your vehicle running smoothly and avoid costly breakdowns.

In addition, unexpected repairs can arise, such as engine or transmission issues, which can be expensive to fix. It’s important to set aside a portion of your earnings for maintenance and repairs to ensure you can cover these costs when they arise.


As an independent contractor, you will be responsible for paying your own taxes. This includes both federal and state taxes. It’s important to keep accurate records of your earnings and expenses throughout the year to make the tax filing process smoother.

Consider consulting with a tax professional who specializes in trucking to ensure you are maximizing deductions and minimizing your tax liability.

How Swift Pay Compares to Other Carriers


When comparing Swift’s pay rates to other carriers in the industry, one notable competitor is Roehl. Roehl offers competitive pay packages for new drivers, with starting rates ranging from $0.50 to $0.55 per mile, depending on experience.

Additionally, Roehl provides various bonuses and incentives for safe driving and on-time deliveries. However, it’s important to note that pay rates may vary depending on factors such as location and type of freight.

CR England

Another carrier worth considering when comparing pay rates is CR England. CR England offers a comprehensive pay package for new drivers, including mileage pay, safety bonuses, and performance incentives.

Their starting pay for new drivers typically ranges from $0.35 to $0.40 per mile, with the potential to increase over time. Additionally, CR England provides opportunities for career advancement and additional training.

Knight Transportation

Knight Transportation is another well-known carrier in the industry. They offer competitive pay rates for new drivers, with starting rates ranging from $0.40 to $0.45 per mile, depending on experience and location.

In addition to mileage pay, Knight Transportation also provides bonuses for safety and on-time performance. They also offer a variety of benefits, including medical insurance and retirement plans.

Heartland Express

Heartland Express is a reputable carrier that offers competitive pay rates for new drivers. Their starting pay typically ranges from $0.42 to $0.47 per mile, depending on experience and location. Heartland Express also provides various bonuses and incentives, such as performance bonuses and fuel efficiency bonuses.

They also offer a comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance and retirement plans.

It’s important to carefully consider the pay rates and benefits offered by different carriers when deciding which company to work for. While Swift may have its own unique pay structure, it’s always a good idea to compare and research other carriers to ensure you’re making an informed decision.

How to Maximize Your Earnings Potential

As a new driver with Swift, there are several strategies you can employ to maximize your earnings potential. By taking advantage of bonuses, minimizing downtime, considering different routes, and getting certified on different equipment, you can increase your income and make the most of your time on the road.

Take advantage of bonuses

Swift offers various bonuses to their drivers, which can significantly boost your earnings. These bonuses may include sign-on bonuses, referral bonuses, performance bonuses, and safety bonuses. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the bonus structure and requirements, as meeting these criteria can greatly increase your paycheck.

Additionally, keep an eye out for any special promotions or incentives that Swift may offer, as these can provide an extra financial boost.

Minimize downtime

Downtime is the enemy of earning potential. The more time you spend waiting between loads or sitting idle, the less money you are making. To minimize downtime, it is important to plan your routes effectively, communicate with dispatch regularly, and be proactive in finding your next load.

Utilize technology, such as load boards and mobile apps, to stay connected and find available loads efficiently. By maximizing your time on the road, you can maximize your earnings.

Consider OTR vs regional routes

When deciding on your routes, it is important to consider the difference between Over-the-Road (OTR) and regional routes. OTR routes typically involve longer distances and more time on the road, but they often come with higher pay rates.

Regional routes, on the other hand, may allow for more frequent home time but may have lower pay rates. Analyze your personal preferences and financial goals to determine which type of route is best for you.

Keep in mind that some drivers choose a combination of both to strike a balance between earning potential and work-life balance.

Get certified on different equipment

Expanding your skillset and becoming certified on different types of equipment can open up more opportunities for higher-paying loads. For example, obtaining certifications for hauling specialized cargo or operating specific types of machinery can make you more marketable as a driver.

Additionally, being able to handle a variety of equipment can increase your chances of getting assigned to higher-paying loads. Research the certifications that are in-demand in the industry and invest in your professional development to boost your earning potential.

By following these strategies, you can maximize your earnings potential as a new driver with Swift. Remember to stay informed about any changes in bonuses or company policies, stay proactive in finding loads, and continuously work on improving your skills and certifications.

With the right approach, you can increase your income and find success in the trucking industry.


As a new Swift driver, you can expect to earn around $700-1,000 per week on average. Of course, your pay will vary depending on miles driven, route efficiency, and other factors. The keys to maximize your earnings are to take advantage of Swift’s bonuses, minimize downtime, consider OTR vs regional options, and get certified on different equipment.

With hard work, many Swift drivers see their pay quickly increase after the first year. We hope this guide gave you a better idea of what to expect as a new driver with Swift Transportation!

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