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

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