How Do Truck Drivers Get Paid? The Answer And More

Truck drivers are paid one of three ways: by the mile, hourly, or by percentage of load. By the mile means that the driver is paid for each mile they drive, this is usually specific to OTR (over the road) drivers that drive long distances. Hourly pay is usually for drivers that drive a distance of 200 miles or less or local truck drivers that go home each night. Percentage of load pay means the driver is paid a percentage of the gross revenue of the load being delivered, it’s the least common method of payment.

One of the most common questions that is asked by someone who is considering a career in the trucking industry is, “How much money do truck drivers get paid?”

The trucking industry is booming, which means trucking companies are looking for qualified truck drivers.

There are different ways a truck driver can get paid, and it is different with each company.

It can be a struggle for new drivers to understand the different ways a truck driver can get paid.

Every truck driver should understand and know the definitions of different ways a driver will get paid. Keep reading! (source)

Hourly Pay

Hourly pay is when you get paid by the hour.

The hourly pay is usually offered to drivers who will be driving within a distance of 200 miles and less. These are usually called local drivers because they drive within a fixed range near where they live .

The driver will transport merchandise from the company’s home base to different warehouses and locations.

Popular grocery chains, UPS, and FedEx is companies that provide an hourly pay to their drivers.

There will be several stops with the route, and the driver may have to unload or load the merchandise.

The hourly pay will vary from each company and the experience the driver has. If you don’t want to drive long distances and want to go home each day then driving local and getting paid hourly is the path for you.

Paid By The Mile

When a driver is paid by the mile it means that they are not being paid by the hour, but by the mile that they drive.

The paid by the mile rate will vary as it will be determined by the driver’s experience, the company that they will be driving for, and the type of driving that will be expected.

The paid by the mile can range from as low as $0.27 per mile up to $0.60 cents per mile.

A truck driver can safely drive from 2,000 to 3,000 miles in a week.

Usually, a truck driver that is paid by the mile will make more money that a truck driver that is being paid hourly.

In the trucking industry, being paid by the mile is the most common ways that truck drivers get paid. These drivers are called OTR (over the road) drivers. If you want to know all there is to know about OTR driving I wrote this excellent article about it. 

There are three different ways that trucking companies can pay their drivers by the mile, and they include:

Practical Mileage: Practical mileage is determined with satellite that provides the most effective route. It’s similar to using Google Maps, and drivers can see the satellite’s route when they log onto their ELD (Electronic Logging Device) that is in every semi-truck.

• Hub Mileage: Hub mileage is the miles that is on the odometer of the truck that the driver is driving. The hub mileage will also include any HOS (House of Service) miles that the driver accumulated for any rerouting and stops for unloading or loading of the freight.

• Household Goods Mileage: Household goods mileage (HHG) is also referred to as short miles or zip code miles. The HHG miles are determined by adding the shortest distance miles from the start of one zip code to the last zip code.

Percentage of the Load Pay

When a truck driver is being pay with the percentage of the load pay, it means the driver will be earning a percentage of the gross revenue of the load that is being delivered.

Being paid with a percentage of the load isn’t just for owner operators, and many companies are offering this type of pay to their drivers too.

The percentage of the load pay can range from 30% and up, which depends of the company and the driver’s experience.

The percentage of the load pay is one of the highest types of pay in the trucking industry.

There are other ways that truck drivers can add to their wages, and they include:

What About Bonuses?

Truck drivers can add additional money to their wages with bonuses. Every trucking company varies, but most companies offer bonuses. Some of the bonuses include: (source)

Sign On Bonus

Many trucking companies that are looking for new drivers to join their company will offer a sign on bonus.

Each company offers a different sign on bonus amount, and the driver will get that sign on bonus usually after the first paycheck, then a couple months later the rest of the sign on bonus will be paid to the driver.

Fuel Bonus

Every trucking company try to keep fuel costs down, and they will offer their drivers a fuel bonus if the driver reduces fuel costs.

How can a driver reduce fuel costs? One way is to not leave the engine running all night.

For example, if the temperature outdoors is hot, but not enough to run the air all night, then this is a way to lower the fuel costs. Is this always practical though? Not really. Sometimes you just want to be comfortable regardless of the amount of bonus you are going to get.

Safety Performance Bonus

Trucking companies will appreciate their drivers safety performance.

The safety bonus will reward a driver by delivering products damage free and safe.

The trucking companies will also give their drivers a safety performance bonus for not being injured on the job.

Passing DOT Inspections

Most trucking companies will give their drivers a bonus when they have passed any DOT (Department of Transportation) inspections.

The DOT inspections could include having your E-log current and/or having the truck clean and maintained.

By the way, if you are wondering how you can avoid a DOT inspection legally then be sure to read this article I wrote recently.

Layover Pay

Many trucking companies will pay their drivers layover pay when the driver arrives to their destination and they are unable to have the trailer unloaded.

The trucking companies also provide layover pay if the truck has broken down and the driver is stuck waiting for the truck to be repaired.

The layover can rage from $15 an hour and up.

Additional Pay

Some trucking companies will provide additional pay to drivers for additional services, which include:
• Loading and Unloading the Trailer
• Paying for Tolls
• Delivering After Hours
• Delivering Non-Dock
• Flatbed Tarping
• Driving a Forklift to Remove Freight

Truck Drivers Benefits

There are many benefits that trucking companies offer their drivers that will go along with the drivers pay.

Before you start working for any company, you will want to know what type of benefits they are providing their drivers.

Some of the benefits are:
• One Week to Two Weeks of Paid Vacation
• Sick Time Pay
• Medical Insurance
• Dental Insurance
• Life Insurance
• 401k
• And more…

Final Thoughts

You have just read the different ways truck drivers get paid. The trucking industry is a thriving industry with more than six million jobs currently. If you are considering a career in the trucking industry, you will not be disappointed with the pay that most trucking companies offer their drivers.