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Monster trucks have fueled many fantasies over the years, and not just the ones that involve a monster living in a truck. Like NASCAR, it’s a competitive circuit that has followers. Drivers who compete in monster truck events not only get to live the dream of driving one of these massive vehicles but if they perform well, they have the opportunity to earn money.

Some drivers have turned competing in competitions into a full-time career. Before you announce your intention of becoming a professional monster truck driver, you’ll want to sit down and figure out how much one of these incredible vehicles cost.

A monster truck launches off of a jump.
Monster truck Grave Digger during a freestyle competition | Hector Vivas/Jam Media/LatinContent via Getty Images

The cost of the monster truck

There’s no set price for a new or used monster truck. Some drivers opt to purchase a brand new or used truck that they use in monster truck competitions. Drivers and teams who decide to build a truck on their own rather than purchase one can save some cash, but will invest a great deal of time into the project.

The average cost to get the vehicle competition ready is about $150,000. The engine alone costs about $40,000. The advantage of purchasing a new truck is that the driver can hit the circuit right away. The advantages of building a custom truck is the ability to add unique features to the vehicle and having an intimate knowledge of how the vehicle runs, which can make diagnosing and repairing problems easier.

Keeping the truck operational

Life on the monster truck circuit isn’t easy on vehicles. The tricks the trucks do in the arena are hard on the vehicles which means they’re in a state of constant upkeep. Some drivers report that the cost of keeping their vehicles operational each year is nearly as much as the initial purchase price.

Doing their own mechanical work is one of the ways that drivers can reduce operating costs, but many prefer to work with a team so that the work gets done quicker.

Another expense that is rarely considered is the cost of a tow vehicle and trailer to haul the monster truck from one event to another. It’s easy to see how the hidden costs can add up quickly.

How much do monster truck drivers earn?

While there are some monster truck drivers that earn a substantial living each year, they are few and far between. Most survive on a modest salary.

Simply Hired reports that the average annual salary of the drivers is only $29,000. That’s not much money when you consider that they often put on fifty performances a year and are seldom able to spend much time with their friends and family.

While many monster truck teams and drivers do have sponsorships, little of that money goes to the driver’s salary. It is used to cover the cost of keeping the truck operational, travel expenses, and other expenses connected to traveling with the monster truck circuit.

Getting started on the circuit

Few of the drivers currently competing on the monster truck circuit woke up one day and decided they wanted to be a driver. Many started out volunteering at events, working in the pit crew, or they knew someone who was looking for a driver.

This is a business that is all about connections. Not only did most of the current drivers use their connections to match themselves with a truck and team, but they also rely on those same connections to procure sponsorships.

It’s not unusual for a driver to start quite young. Some of the drivers on the circuit are driving in competitions even though they’re not yet old enough to have a valid driver’s license.

If you’re considering becoming a monster truck driver you have to be prepared to make many financial and personal sacrifices.