*** This page was last updated on Monday 15th of January 2018 ***
What Can You Expect to Earn?
Most jobs that can be obtained with little to no advanced education typically come with lower salaries.
The average forklift driver salary definitely fits this trend.
While you can get into the forklift driver field rather easily and you do not need to go to college to learn to drive this type of equipment, you also cannot expect to strike it rich while driving a forklift in any type of environment.
It must be noted upfront that salaries for those with forklift driving certification can vary significantly.
The state of Hawaii pays the most at $19.14 per hour where as Puerto Rico pays $10.05 per hour. Check out Forklift Driver Wages to see the pay scales of all States as at May 2011.
Those who learn how to drive forklifts as part of a larger job with other duties may make more or less than the average forklift driver salaries listed here.
This is because driving a forklift is not their primary job, but is one aspect of a larger job. In that case, the salary is determined by the overall job title and level of responsibility for that job.
If you are a forklift driver making your living primarily from the operation of forklift equipment, then you can use the average forklift driver salary as a prediction of what you may make in the field.
You may start out making a bit less and progress as you gain more experience. This is the standard rising pattern of careers in any field, though there is not as much increase over time for forklift drivers.
Average Hourly Pay
According to payscale.com, the national average for forklift driver hourly pay is between $9.54 and $17.13.
For a full time forklift driver, this could equal out to an average salary in the range of $20,000 and $44,000.
There is a big difference between the higher and lower end of that range, and this reflects the variety of optional income streams that some forklift drivers may enjoy.
In addition to their hourly pay, some forklift drivers can enjoy additional income through the following streams, depending on where they work and how long they have been working there:
- Overtime Pay
- Profit Sharing
When you work for a company that offers profit sharing, how much you receive will depend on how long you have been with the company and what position you fill.
Not all forklift drivers will have access to profit sharing, but it is something to consider as you determine what company to take a job with in the beginning of your career.
Most forklift drivers will be offered overtime pay if they work for a company that allows overtime. This is standard for employees that work for an hourly pay.
Most forklift drivers do not enjoy an annual salary, so they depend on collecting the overtime hours to beef up their total earnings.
Many forklift drivers will be eligible for some type of performance or safety bonus as well. Many commercial and warehouse environments offer these bonuses to encourage forklift drivers to abide by safety rules and work as productively as possible.
Forklift drivers earning more toward the lower end of the average forklift driver salary will not receive large bonuses and typically will not be eligible for profit sharing.
They may not even be eligible for overtime hours. Those earning toward the higher end of the average salary will typically receive all of these extra income streams.
Part time forklift drivers may make substantially less than the averages listed above.
Determining Your Salary
If you are considering a forklift driver position in the future, make sure you ask about all of these optional income streams when you go in for interviews.
Ideally, you will find a position that makes overtime hours, profit sharing, and safety bonuses available to all employees. This will earn you more money over the course of the year.
The longer you stay with one company, the more you can expect to make as well.
Many forklift drivers will receive raises and promotions as they work with one company over a period of years and prove themselves to be an asset to the company. They are more likely to earn the higher hourly pay.