If you’re thinking of getting into the trucking industry, you may be wondering how much you will be paid per mile.
Even if you’re already in the business, you may want to find out if your pay rate is fair, or below average.
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No matter the case, it’s important to remember that the average truck driver pay per mile will vary greatly depending on:
With that said, you can get an idea of how much you should be making by looking at recent salary data from top employers and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Understanding the Trucker Pay Scale Per Mile
Unlike other industries, truckers are paid by the mile – not hourly, or on a salary basis.
Some companies are making the shift towards other compensation models, like hourly or even profit percentages. But the vast majority still pay by the mile. Why is that? And is it beneficial?
The pay per mile model is considered “piecework” pay.
Under this scheme, workers are paid a fixed rate for the unit produced regardless of how long it takes. In this case, the “unit produced” would be miles.
This model works well for the trucking industry – at least it did for many decades. But if the wheels aren’t turning, drivers aren’t making money.
And in a world full of traffic jams, delays and inspections, drivers are donating more of their time than they did in the past.
To be clear, your pay per mile will not account for time spent:
- Waiting at border crossings/customs
- Sitting in traffic jams
- Scaling and weighing a load
- Performing a circle check on your trailer and truck
- Waiting for DOT scales and inspections
- Waiting on delays with unloading and loading
- Waiting for repairs to be made on your truck or trailer
As you can see, drivers spend a lot of time waiting, and they’re often not compensated for it.
Some truckers say that in a 70-hour work cycle, as much as 10 of those hours may be unpaid because the truck just isn’t moving.
That’s why it’s important as a trucker to work for an employer that offers above average or, in the very least, fair pay per mile, so this can offset the extra time you spend “off the clock,” so to speak.
Truck Driver Pay Per Mile
So, how much do truck drivers make each mile?
On average, drivers (with some experience) are paid between $0.28 and $0.40 per mile.
Some companies pay more. The jobs that pay between $0.40 and $0.45 per mile are typically given to drivers with many years of experience and have exceptional driving skills.
Most drivers will get between 2,000 and 3,000 miles per week.
Based on the averages above, pay per week can range anywhere from $800 to $1,350.
But again, compensation per mile and the number of miles you get per week will vary greatly depending on who you’re working for, and your experience level.
Drivers who haul sensitive materials or have a lot of experience may earn $1,350, but don’t expect that kind of pay as a rookie.
Rookie wages are lower, typically between $0.27 and $0.29 per mile.
At 2,500 miles per week, you may earn between $675 ($35,100/year) and $725 ($37,700/year) each week. Compensation is rather low for rookie drivers, but pay rates usually increase after 6 months to 1 year.
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