Truck Driver Pay – Extra Pay

Trucking companies reward their drivers will basic pay (Per Mile, Percentage, Hourly) and depending on the company, pay for other time or effort may be made. Not every company pays all of these and there are others that I might have missed. Some companies do not pay any of these. And many companies will advertise that they pay – but don’t, at least without a fight.

Detent or Detention Time

Waiting or Detention Time may be paid to drivers who are required to mail to load or unload, if not at fault for the delay. Normally, companies will not pay for the 1st and often the 2nd hour. There is also normally a maximum number of hours the driver can collect for. As such, if the delivery was scheduled for Friday but the driver has to wait until Monday morning, they will not be paid all those hours. Also, companies are seldom generous with Detent Time. Often, the driver will have to make an issue about being paid for it. I never once collected this payment when working as an Expediter, although in a some cases I know the company billed the customer.

Orientation Pay

Nearly every company will require an Orientation. It could be a few hours in a smaller company hiring only highly experienced drivers to upto a week for some companies. Normal Orientation is typically 2 days. Depending on if a company driver or owner/operator, the company may pay mileage to/from training, motel, meals and other expenses. When working for a company that is a Owner/Operator contractor to a larger company, check with your direct employer about payments. Companies may ongoing or additional training which should be paid in some form, but not always. As an expediter, I was required to attend 2 or more drivers’ meetings each year, none of which was paid at all and I lived 60 miles from the office.

Multistop Pay

Occasionally, you may encounter a load that has multiple unloading points. When this happens, the driver is normally paid a Multistop Pay. The initial loading and final unload locations do not count for Multi-stop payments, only intermediate stops. It is also important that get paid for all miles involved, because generally Multistop loads involve more miles then just the distance from the load to final unload points. If you are a percentage driver, this may not be a factor as the load should have higher payments anyway for the extra freight. Also, if you happen to work for a LTL (Less the Trailer Load) carrier, this will not apply. Most LTL companies pay for all miles.

Mileage Variance Pay

Also known as Short Haul Pay, Mileage Variance payments are used during shorter runs. When drivers are paid by the loaded mile, it is obviously more work for the driver to do two 100 mile runs then a single 200 mile job. For this reason, some companies will add to base rate for shorter runs. Like everything else in trucking pay, differences between companies are huge. Some pay for less then 200 miles, some only for less then 100 miles and some – yep – not at all. The pay could be 1 or 2 cents per mile for company drivers or as much as 25 cents or more for owner/operators. Companies that pay for all miles may not pay for short haul.

Over Dimensional Loads

Drivers with Flatbed or drop deck loads may or may not be paid for loads that exceed normal trailer sizes, such as over hanging the sides or the rear of the trailer. The amount of oversize can also be a factor in calculating over sized. A load that 9′ wide may not qualify for payment while a load 10′ will be.

Tarp Pay

Flat bed and drop deck loads on a routine basis are required to be tarpped of covered. Some companies will pay extra for the labor, some do not – so check with the company before signing on.


With 100 companies, you will likely run into 100 different pay structures if you count all the combinations of base pay, extra pay and bonuses you can earn as a truck driver. Making a chart of the information could be useful because you will not be able to directly compare multiple companies with each other.

Happy Trucking – John Carter

Trip Permits

Trip Permits

Trip Permits are (generally) short term special use authorizations for a truck to operate with a state it does not normally operate within or hauling an unusually large or heavy load, even in the base state the truck is licensed in.

Many trucking companies do not pay the registration fees for all their trucks to be operated in all states. They many only establish authority to operate their trucks in a hand-full of states where they do most of their business. However, occasionally they need to send one or more rigs to other states to deliver or pickup cargo. TO legally enter a state and travel it’s highways, it is necessary for the company to obtain a Trip Permit. This can be done several ways. The company can contact the state directly and complete the process or the company can use a 3rd party commercial truck permit service. [If you or Trip Permits, you will get dozens of companies that provide these services.]

The states, for the most part of made the process easy because it is all about revenue collection. To get the permit, you pay money. Now there are exceptions to the easy to do policy. Some states are much friendlier to work with then others. Names will not be named. That is one reason many companies will just turn to a commercial permitting company. Since these companies do this all day long and many have agents on duty 24/7, the extra cost of using them is offset by their ability to navigate the processes for each state and get it right the first time. A permit with errors could result in major fines and problems, including the truck and cargo being seized, until the issues are resolved.

Another common Trip Permit situation involves the moving of large or heavy loads. Loads exceeding 80,000 lbs generally must have special use permits. Key exceptions are that in some states, such as Michigan, truck/trailer combinations may have extra axles and thus authorized proportionately large loads. However, these trucks are restricted to in-state only and also pay substantially higher registration fees in the first place. Regardless of obtaining a trip permit, a truck is not allowed to haul heavier loads without more axles/wheels so it is not a simple matter to get an over weight permit and then put more on your standard 5 axle/18 wheeler.

Special Use Trip Permits may be required for wide and/or tall loads. As a part of the permitting process, the state(s) will identify the routes the load is authorized to take, the hours when the load can be moved (generally not at night) and special equipment/banners/markers that must be attached to the load. Additionally, the trucking company may be required to hire ‘Escorts’ to either precede the load, follow the load or both. Extra ordinarily large loads may have a police escort leading the procession, two private escort cars in front of the load and one of them with a height pole to check for anything not high enough to allow the load to pass under, and then a following escort car to warn drivers coming up from the rear an attempting to pass the load. All these requirements will be noted and specified in the trip permit or authorizations.

In the modern day of computers and online services and the use of the IFTA and IRP, trip permits are not as big an issue as they use to, however, a career truck driver will likely encounter a situation where they will need to deal with them.