How Truckers Get Paid

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Truck drivers may be paid in a variety of different ways.  Each is distinct, and depends on both the company you work for and the type of driver you are.

Pay Per Mile

Being paid per mile you drive is the most common basis for determine how much a driver gets paid.  In this method, drivers are paid for each mile driven.  In many cases, the rate per mile is dependent on a variety of factors including driver experience, length of haul, type of load, and area of the country being delivered to.  Each carrier sets their own rates with their drivers.
Owner operators often are paid on a per mile basis when they are leased with a carrier.  Owner operator per mile rates will be more than company drivers because they are paying for truck expenses.

Percentage of Load

Some drivers who own their own truck are paid a percentage of the shipment they are hauling.  In this case, miles do not matter; the driver gets paid a flat rate for the trip.  Many owner operators or independent truck owners are paid as a percentage of the load.


Some local drivers are paid on a salary for their work.  For example, a driver who works in one city will usually be paid on an hourly basis for the work they perform.


May trucking companies pay a variety of bonuses, which depend on various factors.  These bonuses may be based on idle time, on-time delivery, sign-on, referrals, or many other factors.  It is important for all potential drivers to understand the bonus structure of the company they are thinking about working for to completely understand the potential impact of the bonuses on their salaries.

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