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Should You Drive for Walmart in 2024? (And Its Pros and Cons)

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Key Takeaways

  • Walmart offers both commercial driver and independent contractor (Spark driver) roles.
  • Commercial drivers are Walmart employees with benefits; Spark drivers enjoy flexible schedules.
  • Truck drivers need a Class A CDL and experience; Spark drivers need a reliable vehicle.
  • Earnings vary: Truck drivers can make up to $156,000/year; Spark drivers earn $15-$20/hour.

Driving for Walmart can be an excellent way to kickstart your career or augment your earnings.

Working as a commercial driver versus a Spark driver provides two different experiences. As a commercial driver, you’re a Walmart employee, receiving stable assignments and reliable pay.

Meanwhile, becoming a Spark driver means being an independent contractor, where you could earn more if you can pick up many routes.

Still have questions about which career behind the wheel for Walmart is right for you? The guide ahead will unpack each driving role more so you can decide.

What Do You Need to Drive for Walmart?

First, let’s get into Walmart’s commercial driver requirements, courtesy of the Big W themselves.

1. Class A Commercial Driver’s License

You can’t drive commercial vehicles without a specialized license; Walmart requires a Class A or Interstate Commercial Driver’s License to get hired.

You also need a HAZMAT endorsement valid within 120 calendar days after you’re hired. Part of the requirements for getting an endorsement is passing a background check.

2. Class A Driving Experience

Walmart wants experienced drivers behind the wheel to do deliveries. Thus, you need at least 30 months of prior full-time Class A driving in a tractor or trailer over the last four years.

3. A Record Free of Preventable Accidents

Your driving record should be squeaky clean as you proceed with your job application with Walmart.

The big-box retailer won’t hire you if you have preventable accidents on your commercial driving record that resulted in serious injury or death in the last three years.

You also must not have any preventable DOT-recorded accidents within the last 10 years as a commercial driver. DOT-recorded accidents involve situations that lead to injuries or fatalities, such as collisions requiring treatment.

4. A Lack of Traffic and Moving Violations

The ideal candidate won’t have any major traffic violations within the last three years of commercial operation.

You can, however, have up to two moving violations over the last three years of driving, whether commercially or personally.

The Types of Walmart Driver Jobs

Walmart offers two styles of driving jobs: truck drivers and Spark drivers. Here’s an overview of both.

Truck Drivers

screenshot of the walmart truck driver application screen

As a truck driver, you’re handed the keys to a commercial Walmart truck. You’ll be assigned a route with a group of other Walmart drivers; then you’re off.

You’ll have a regular, full-time gig, as Walmart will sign you to an exclusive contract. When payday arrives, you’ll receive your payments through Walmart.

You must have a CDL license and the experience listed above to qualify.

Spark Drivers

screenshot of the spark driver application screen

The other driving role you might consider is being a Spark driver. Although you drive for Walmart, you technically don’t work for it as an employee. You’ll be an independent contractor.

To begin, download the free app and get signed up on the Spark Driver platform. Walmart will then assign you driving tasks when they’re available, and you can choose to accept or decline them.

Since you’re not a Walmart employee, you don’t have to meet the above requirements to drive. Instead, Walmart asks these of its Spark drivers:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a phone number in the domestic U.S.
  • Have authorization to work as an independent contractor in the U.S.
  • Have a mobile device (iOS or Android 11 or up) with GPS, flash, and a camera
  • Have a clean and dependable vehicle
  • Consent to periodic background checks
  • Proof of auto insurance

As you can see, the list is a lot more lenient than working as a commercial Walmart driver.

The Perks and Downsides of Being a Walmart Driver

Before you join the ranks of Walmart drivers, consider this list of pros and cons for working as a truck driver or a Spark driver for Walmart.

Truck Driver

Perks of Being a Walmart Truck Driver

  • Reliability and Job Security: You know you’ll have regular working hours each week, reducing fluctuations in your paycheck and keeping you busy.
  • Convenience: With over 10,000 Walmart stores, there’s likely a Walmart near you that you can begin working for.
  • Employee Status: As an employee, you’re eligible for all the benefits that come with that title, such as healthcare, sick time, and vacation days.

Downsides of Being a Walmart Truck Driver

  • Earnings Cap: Although you’ll be paid generously to drive for Walmart as an employed truck driver, an especially ambitious Spark driver could outearn you in some scenarios, which can be frustrating.
  • Less Schedule Flexibility: You can’t take extended time away from the job without scheduling sick or vacation leave the same way a Spark driver can.

Spark Driver

Perks of Being a Spark Driver

  • Work When You Want: If you want to take a week or a month off, you can. You don’t have anyone to answer to as an independent contractor, although extended time away from the job will reduce your income.
  • Job Flexibility: On that note, you have more control and say over what work you do than a Walmart truck driver. You can decline projects deemed too involved or with a pay rate lower than what you typically accept.
  • Take on Clients as You Can: Since you’re not tied exclusively to Walmart, you can work for other clients if you want to.

Downsides of Being a Spark Driver

  • Sporadic Work: While Walmart truck drivers have reliable work each week, a Spark driver doesn’t always necessarily. Like in many other industries, driving gigs have slower and more active periods. You might have months of huge paychecks, only for work to dry up for a few months, usually right after the holiday rush.
  • No Employment Status: Since you’re not a Walmart employee but a Spark driver, you don’t get any of the employment benefits that Walmart truck drivers enjoy. If you take a day off, you’re losing money. You also have to pay for your own health, vision, and dental insurance.
  • Rely Heavily on Tips: While you get paid an hourly rate to drive for Spark, you can also receive tips that increase your earnings. However, the availability of tips depends on the generosity of your customers. Some might tip you lower than expected, and others not at all.

How Much Can You Earn as a Walmart Driver?

As a Walmart truck driver, you can earn between $51,000 and $156,000 per year, with an average income of $103,291. Breaking that down to an hourly rate, the earnings are between $25.59 and $78 an hour, with an average rate of $34.34.

Spark driver earnings are harder to quantify, as the rates can vary by project. But usually, the pay is between $15 and $20 an hour.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Walmart Offer a $110,000 Salary to New Drivers?

Some Walmart drivers make this healthy six-figure salary within their first year at the company, but it’s not guaranteed. Having past driving experience and a good driving record once you start the job could help you get a raise.

How Hard Is It to Become a Walmart Driver?

It’s not difficult, per se, especially if you have commercial experience. Once you’re hired, you’ll receive the training you need over 12 weeks before you’re sent out for your first assignment.

Which Is Better, Driving for Walmart as an Employee or Through Spark?

That depends on your individual circumstances. Spark can be a great stepping stone for accumulating commercial driving experience so you can later apply as a Walmart truck driver.

You can also stay on Spark, accumulating jobs and making money as much as you want.

Wrapping Up

With two unique ways to get behind the wheel of a commercial truck for Walmart, there are plenty of reasons to drive for this big-box retailer. Walmart drivers enjoy great pay, reliable working hours, health insurance, paid time off, and other job perks.

On the other side, as a Spark driver, you’re not an employee, which means more freedom to take on the projects you want. Your hourly rate is lower compared to being a Walmart truck driver, but you can do as much work as you wish, and you don’t exclusively have to drive for Walmart.

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