Pay Rates – Basic
Truck drivers, depending on the company, can be paid several different ways. In addition to the driver’s basic pay, drivers can be paid bonuses or for extra services. Different companies will use different combonations of basic pay and extra pay. Some payments are available only to company truck drivers and others are normally restricted to Owner/Operators. Some companies may make payments to both. It is important to understand the company’s complete pay program before you sign on. Understanding how, when, why and what you will be paid in advance will prevent you from feeling used and abused by your company.
Some of the basis calculations used to pay truck drivers are
- Per Mile – All,
- Per Mile – Loaded,
- Percentage of Load,
The of course, there are ways to fine tune with in those general terms.
Per Mile – All
Some companies will pay drivers for all miles they drive for the company. It does not matter if the truck is loaded, unloaded or even Bob-tail (no trailer). This can be an important consideration depending on the number of unloaded miles the driver is working. All truck drivers will have a percentage of unloaded miles. Unless you are strictly running terminal to terminal and never empty, there will be unloaded miles. Every company has a different mix of loaded to unloaded miles. You may be unloaded short distances or even 100s of miles. It just depends on where your company can find loads. The driver may also be required to bob-tail (drive with no trailer) substantial distances after dropping a loaded trailer at one location and then having no empty trailers to use, must travel to a location to get one for the next load.
Per Mile – Loaded
Another common pay method used for truck drivers is to only pay loaded miles. Do not confuse loaded miles with miles pulling a trailer. If the truck is not moving freight for payment, then the trailer is unloaded and you are not paid for it. Do not automatically assume that being paid for loaded miles only is less pay then all miles. Companies that pay for all miles are basically under paying loaded miles to subsidized unloaded miles. Companies paying only loaded miles often (but not required) pay more base male rates. If working for a company that pays only loaded miles and the companies adds more customers, you could end up with few empty miles and be earning more total money.
Percentage of Load fees
This is especially common in Expediting or Fast Freight services, however it can occur in other trucking services such as bulk (gravel/sand), flat bed, heavy haul or specialized. Many times, the companies that are using a Load Percentage calculation do not pay empty (dead head or Bob-tail) miles. One reason for pay by percentage is that some loads will require more work and the drivers that accept the extra work are paid more then the driver that takes the easier load. For example, a HazMat load generally pays more for the same miles/weight/time as a non-HazMat load. The the driver has more responsibilities with HazMat. Thus more pay for the work.
Used mainly for local deliver or union route jobs, hourly pay is the goal of some truck drivers because it is home nightly. Hourly positions are subject to not only Federal Hour of Service rules but also state work hour rules.
Every company has different ways to operate, so check with every company you are considering driving for individually. Making a chart of the information may be useful because you will not be able to directly compare multiple companies with each other.
Happy Trucking – John Carter