Here's How Much Ice Cream Truck Drivers Really Make

If you were lucky enough to grow up somewhere where ice cream trucks made their rounds on warmer days, you know the iconic jingles and excitement that come with their arrival. Those drivers do way more than drive a truck. First arriving as carts selling ice cream sandwiches in the streets of New York in the 1860s, according to Mental Floss, now, driving an ice cream truck is its own career. The Mister Softee franchise has a fleet of more than 700 trucks in 15 states alone.

One driver, who goes by the name Pineapple XVI, published a book called Lessons from an Ice Cream Truck, which is all about what he learned as an ice cream truck driver. According to Inc., some key lessons from the book include how the driver "sells people a memory" and knows that their "business is as much part of the entertainment industry as it is the food service industry." Truly, ice cream drivers take on the roles of a server, cashier, driver, and entertainer all in one, which brings us to our next question: How much do they really take home at the end of the day?

The average annual pay for drivers in the US

How much an ice cream truck driver makes can vary and depend on a few different factors, like whether or not you own the truck yourself, if you're working for a corporate company, and where your routes are (via Bloomberg). Let's say you've been driving for a bigger company for a few years; you'll likely get rewarded with the best routes along the soccer and baseball fields or right near the middle school. With a better route, you're looking at a better shift. On the other hand, if you're driving on a rainy day and are given routes more removed from populated areas, you might not have as much luck.

One Bronx-based ice cream truck driver told Gothamist that he earns 25 percent of what he sells in a day, according to a YouTube video. "If I sell $800 in one day, I stay with $200," he adds. That said, the average annual pay for an ice cream truck driver in the US is $34,579. "Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $16.62 an hour," according to ZipRecruiter. "This is the equivalent of $665/week or $2,882/month." ZipRecruiter also reports that cities like New York City, San Mateo, and Boston are the highest paying cities for ice cream truck drivers. New York-based drivers, for example, earn $40,359 a year on average.