Truck owners should be trying to maximize their earnings. You’re taking on the burden of owning, insuring and maintaining your rig, so it’s important to seek out the highest paying owner operator jobs.
Which owner-operator company is best to work for?
Mercer Transportation first opened their doors in 1977 and has since grown into a fleet of 2,300 owner-operators. As an independent contractor, you’ll choose your own path and haul goods that include:
- Building materials
- Military freight
When you drive in the open deck or dry van division, you’ll enjoy several perks, including:
- 75% of gross revenue per load
- Fuel discount program
- Quick pay program
You’ll enjoy consistent freight with no forced dispatch. There are no company trucks to compete with for freight, so there are more than enough opportunities to haul loads. The open-door policy is an added perk, too.
Numerous discounts are available, and you can even work with mentors that will help you learn the ropes of operating your own rig.
Indeed.com lists the average salary at $157,000 per year, our numbers indicate that as the high bar and varies down to $87k annually.
Covenant is a company known for their commitment to drivers. Well-paying and respected, the company has started to branch out into owner operator positions with a guarantee of:
- 2,300 miles per week for solo drivers
- 4,000 miles per week for team drivers
- Solo – $1.40 per mile
- Team – $1.50 per mile
Sign on bonuses are $5,000 for a solo driver and $10,000 for team drivers.
Crete first opened their doors in 1966, and has a mix of company drivers and owner operators on the road. Crete pays in a tier option, with 21 days out OTR on a sliding scale. If you work for the company, you’ll be paid:
- $1.63 per mile for the first 1 to 150 miles
- $1.43 per mile for the first 151 to 250 miles
- $1.18 per mile for the first 251 to 700 miles
- $1.12 per mile for the first 701 to 1200 miles
- $1.04 per mile for the first 1200+ miles
Crete also owns Shaffer Trucking, which pays slightly higher at:
- $1.66 per mile for the first 1 to 150 miles
- $1.46 per mile for the first 151 to 250 miles
- $1.21 per mile for the first 251 to 700 miles
- $1.15 per mile for the first 701 to 1200 miles
- $1.07 per mile for the first 1200+ miles
Deadhead is paid at $0.86 per mile.
If you prefer flat rate options, you’ll be able to enjoy weekly or bi-weekly time home, depending on what you prefer. The rates will also vary by which company you opt to drive for. Crete pays:
- 1 – 500-mile trips pay $1.08 per mile for weekly home time and $1.12 if you prefer bi-weekly home time
- 501 – 1200-mile trips pay $1.05 per mile for weekly home time and $1.08 if you prefer bi-weekly home time
- 1201+-mile trips pay $1.03 per mile with weekly home time and $1.04 if you prefer bi-weekly home time
Shaffer Trucking pays:
- 1 – 500-mile trips pay $1.09 per mile for weekly home time and $1.15 if you prefer bi-weekly home time
- 501 – 1200-mile trips pay $1.06 per mile for weekly home time and $1.11 if you prefer bi-weekly home time
- 1201+-mile trips pay $1.04 per mile with weekly home time and $1.05 if you prefer bi-weekly home time
Stop-off pay is $30 per stop. You’ll be guaranteed detention pay after two hours of wait time.
CRST is a solid company to drive for with a robust lease purchase program that provides low truck payments and a $0 money down option. You get to choose your home time, and there is no forced dispatch.
As a specialized driver, you’ll earn an average of:
- $1.50 CPM loads; $0.90 CPM unloaded
- $0.12 discount on fuel
- Tolls and bridges paid
As a CRST flatbed driver, you’ll earn between $4,000 and $4,200 per week on average. Pay includes:
- 75% to 75.5% line haul rates
- 100% fuel surcharge
- Detention pay
- Tarping pay
Share your experience with student drivers and get the opportunity to earn $2,000 a week to share your knowledge. Pay is:
- 70% gross revenue per load, averaging $1.30 CPM
- 97% fuel surcharge
- $0.04 per mile extra for Haz-Mat placarded loads
Sign-on bonuses are also available.
J.B. Hunt is one of the leaders in transportation. The company is known for treating their employees great, with a slew of extra perks and good benefits. As an owner-operator, you’ll find that there is decent pay with no forced dispatch and consistent freight.
Newer trailers are provided.
You’ll need to talk to a recruiter and view positions in your area. Positions in my local area offer the following:
- Home time every two weeks
- $165,000 to $250,000 annual projected gross
- Scale reimbursement
- Discounts on fuel, parts and tolls
Gross pay is provided as an estimate basis, but the company does require that you pre-qualify and talk to a recruiter.
Weekly settlements are provided, and there are positions across the United States.
Owner operators can choose:
- Percentage-based compensation
- Mileage-based compensation
While J.B. Hunt is a good company to work for, you will not find any owner operator jobs paying $3.00 a mile here.
National Carriers claims that you can earn $175,000+ driving as an owner-operator. Little information is provided on the company about pay per mile, but they will pay for:
- Stop pay
- Fuel surcharge
Indeed.com also states that the average owner-operator earns $174,000 working for the company. A key benefit if that you’re home daily, but the work environment is intense.
USA Truck has increased their pay for owner-operators, and while not the highest-paying company, they do provide you with great home time, self-dispatch, no forced dispatch, ample miles and load boards to keep you on the road.
- Up to 67% of load revenue, or
- $1.08 per mile
If you take a safety-first approach, you can earn even more money as a driver.
Schneider is another trucking company that hires a mix of owner-operator and company drivers. The company does pay differently depending on location, so you’ll want to spend your time on their site and look for the pay in your area.
The company hires all current owner-operators and pays an average of up to $175,000 per year.
- 65% of linehaul revenue
- 100% fuel surcharge
You will also have access to all of the company’s facilities as an added bonus. As part of the company’s power program, you will be able to save on everything, from insurance to fuel, tires and maintenance.
Owner-operators have a lot to take into account when contracting with a transportation company. You’ll need to consider which company offers you the highest pay, freedom and ability to earn money on a schedule that you’re comfortable working with.
Driving as an owner-operator is all about maximizing your earnings. While revenue of $150,000 to $175,000 may sound great to you, it’s important to remember that you’ll also take on the task of paying for your own insurance, maintenance and other costs that you would not have to consider being a company driver.