This is a make it or break it thing for you to understand.
Truck drivers are NOT paid like “normal” employees nor is truck driving a normal job. It isn’t – not by a country mile.
Yet most CDL truck drivers treat driving a tractor trailer for a living just like any other job, and it costs them dearly for thinking like that too. I strongly suggest that you look at it another way from today on. If you are new to trucking – then great – I am about to save you years of wasted time and help you make tens of thousands of dollars more!
Even if you are an old hand and have been at this for a long while already (even if you have been doing it all wrong) it is never too late to change things starting now – and finally, start getting ahead more often vs just getting by week to week and year to year.
Study and Learn How You Really Get Paid
Typically you are being paid based on your productivity. Not just time at a job like many other people are paid – but based on what you actually produce.
For a driver that typically means moving freight.
How you get paid is likely going to be based on;
- Mileage pay
- Accessorial/special pay
You may get one of these, some of these, or all of these types of pay depending on what company you drive for. There may also be additional pay you can earn such as ;
- Account bonuses
- Fuel/performance bonus
- Safety bonus
- Trainer pay
- Recruiting/Referral pay
Do not discount these other sources of pay either – some of them have the ability to exceed your primary pay! All of them will increase your total pay when you have access to them and use what is available to you wisely.
Drivers are conditioned to focus on mileage pay like it is the be all end all. Yet it isn’t.
For example Trucking Company A may offer you two cents more per mile than Trucking Company B does and at a glance A seems like the wise choice.
But Trucking Company A does not have steady freight – and that means you sit more waiting between loads. Sometimes for hours. Every hour that goes by is gone forever and you can’t get it back. Those missed miles are missed income production opportunities.
On the other hand, Trucking Company B has more freight than they can handle and most of it is drop and hook – so they can keep you moving as much as you want to move and it is consistent. Company B is a better choice…
Another thing to think about is how you can get your total compensation. If you are on a dedicated account that pays a combination of load, miles, and stops – then simply going after the longer loads might be a mistake! Remember you are being paid based on three different things – not just miles. So you need to do the math and run the scenarios and see where the max money is for what you are doing.
There is one account I am familiar with that if you go for the miles only as a new driver you will earn $125 to $200 per DAY LESS than if you run a combo of a midlength multi-stop load AND an additional shorter 1 stop load with a special pay option. Max pay $450+ per day… and that is a HUGE difference in pay. Especially when you add that up over a quarter and then over an entire year.
On the same run – if you just sit back and act like an employee and just take whatever gets assigned – without intentionally working with your planner/dispatcher to get specific runs – then you lose, and you lose big time.
That is the difference in mindset and in specialized information that matters.
Want to learn how to make more and get home more and never have to own a truck – keep reading my posts!
Until next time, be safe!