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What Can I Earn As An HGV Driver?

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Whether you’re moving into a new career or just starting out in the world of work, pay is probably a big part of your motivation. Whenever you move into a new industry, you want to know that you can afford to pay the bills and live comfortably. So it’s not really surprising that we get asked how much you can expect to get paid when you start your new job. Unfortunately, just like every other job, there is no definitive figure we can give you – but there are some guidelines and trends we can use to give you an idea of what you could earn.

The Statutory Minimums

The HGV industry is governed by many of its own rules, but ultimately things like legal wage minimums still apply. That means you are still covered by the National Minimum Wage, the National Living Wage, and even the Apprenticeship Levy. To meet the National Minimum wage, you can expect a minimum per hour wage of:

  • £7.38 if you are aged 21-24
  • £5.90 if you are aged 18-20
  • £4.20 if you are aged 16-17 (though you may not be driving at this stage)
  • £3.70 is the apprentice rate, which is subject to a few conditions.

The National Minimum Wage is the absolute minimum you can expect to be paid in any job. But many employers recognise that it isn’t always enough. The National Living Wage is designed to provide secure, liveable wages for employees of all ages. The National Living Wage is for employees aged 25 and over with a level originally set at £7.20 in 2016. This increased to £7.50 in 2017, £7.83 in 2018 and from 1 April 2019 this will become £8.21, which is an increase of 4.85%.

The Apprenticeship Levy came into place from 6 April 2017, for firms with a gross payroll cost above £3m who have to pay 0.5% of gross payroll. Levy payers can claim back their payment only through approved training – England, Trailblazer apprenticeships. Adult educational funding has been devolved and each country has its own system or is working on such a system.

Agreed Industry Scale Rate

One of the things that makes the HGV industry different to other jobs is that many drivers will be required to work and sometimes sleep away from home. Naturally, this means drivers who are being separated from homes and families as part of their job should be appropriately reimbursed. The scale agreed on by the industry was agreed many years ago, and no changes have been made since 2013.  For drivers with a sleeper cab, this is £26.20, and for drivers without a sleeper cab it goes up to £34.90. Employers can choose whether to reimburse actual costs or use this scale to roll into pay, so you may need to check with your employer to find out how it will work for you.

Driver Subsistence

Paying and reimbursing drivers hasn’t always been a simple thing, and for many years the rules around it were confusing and complicated. This led to a lot of extra work, limited pay and frustration for drivers and employers, which eventually led to new rules coming in around September of 2017. This new system laid out size options for employers that enable them to reimburse and pay drivers in a consistent manner across the whole industry. These are:

  • Benchmark scale rate payments
  • Agreed industry scale rate (with a lorry drivers overnight subsistence allowance)
  • Bespoke agreements
  • Other allowances
  • Overseas scales rates
  • Direct expense claims

See For Yourself

All of that might sound a bit confusing – especially since we haven’t been able to give you a solid figure. But don’t worry. In general. HGV drivers earn very good money and it’s a stable, in-demand job. According to recent reports, 79.1% of drivers reported getting a pay rise of 2.57% in the last year, with higher numbers in the south. So not only will you get a good wage for your work, but you can expect decent pay raises too. If you want to see exactly how much you could earn, you can view the full report here and go to page 5.


At The HGV Training Centre, we specialise in providing new and aspiring drivers with all the information they need to succeed in the field. That includes letting you know what you can expect from the job, from daily responsibilities to pay. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with us today.

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