Super Service Introduces Its Ground-Breaking P3 Program

trucks in a row with Super ServiceIncreasing earning power and taking control of their pay is a top priority for experienced professional truck drivers but until now, many struggled to find a carrier that allowed performance to dictate pay.  This is where Super Service has taken its cue in developing its ground-breaking P3 program (Performance Plus Pay) which enables drivers to boost their pay by as much as 6 cents per mile.“We have enormous respect for these driving professionals who have so many factors to contend with on the road. That’s why we want to pay them for their performance – to put the control in their hands,” says Vaughn Yow, Vice President of Operations.

With P3, drivers determine how much more they are paid above base rate based on these incentives:

  • HazMat endorsement (1¢/mile; endorsement reimbursed by Service Service)
  • Safety bonus (2¢/mile)
  • Availability (1¢/mile)
  • Miles per gallon incentive (1¢/mile)
  • Service performance (1¢/mile).

Every month, Super Service drivers will be evaluated on each of the incentive areas.  “If a driver hits all of the P3 incentives, their performance earns 6¢ more per mile. It’s their money to keep or not based on the previous month’s performance,” says Vaughn Yow, Vice President of Operations. “And since it’s evaluated monthly, you can always work toward getting them all next month. No long waiting for quarterly or yearly bonuses – each month their performance will dictate their pay.”

The P3 program, unique to Super Service, goes into effect July 1, 2017, and encompasses all drivers, new and existing.  “We want all experienced, professional drivers to know how much they’re valued here,” says Ronnie Presley, Director of Driver Recruiting.  “Our loyal drivers currently with us deserve this, and those experienced drivers out there who aren’t getting paid for their performance deserve to come to Super Service and get it too.”

For more information on the P3 program or to apply, recruiters are standing at 877-560-7537 or visit driveforsuperservice.com.

 About Super Service, LLC

Super Service, LLC is one of the nation’s leading Regional and Dedicated Full Truckload carriers providing superior customer service in the transportation of general commodities.  Super Service operates regionally in the Southeast, Midwest and Eastern United States and has many dedicated operations located throughout the Unites States. With over 1,000 employees and contractors, Super Service, LLC provides solo and team service to a diverse group of customers, many of whom are Fortune 500 companies. Super Service is committed to safety and customer service ensuring we are delivering on our promise to both employees and the companies we serve.

Pay Scale for Dry Van Truckers in the US

Dry van CTI truckFinding dry van truck driving jobs in the US is a breeze, as this is one of the most common haul types. A dry van load doesn’t require you to tarp or strap your load. You might even get away with a hook and drop load, which means you won’t even have to get out of your cab to load it. Dry van trucking loads are one of the easiest haul types. But what do these pay? Check out the latest news on the average pay scale for dry van truckers in the US.

National Van Rates for OTR Truck Drivers

Over at DAT Solutions you can pull up the latest rates for trucking jobs. As of the week of July 17 to 23 these are the rates:

  • Truck driving jobs in Atlanta, Georgia for dry van trucks pay $1.89 per mile
  • Dallas, Texas dry van loads pay $1.58 a mile
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania dry van loads pay $1.58 per mile
  • Truck driving jobs in Chicago, Illinois for dry vans pay $1.88 per mile
  • Los Angeles, California trucking jobs for dry vans pay an average of $2.11 per mile

According to these figures the pay scale for dry van loads ranges from $1.58 to $2.11 a mile. The rate for dry van loads has decreased for this period by a single cent with the national average at $1.65 per mile. Two weeks ago you could earn an average of $1.70 per mile.

If you are a company driver then you don’t have much of a say at all about how much you are going to earn for dry van trucking jobs. However, that doesn’t mean you should avoid understanding how the market looks. By noting what the national averages are for dry van loads you are a step ahead in the industry. You will be prepared for upcoming rate declines due to the decrease in the pay scale. It’s all about the market, which is something you have zero control over. Neither does your trucking employer, so it is best that you understand the average national van rates yourself.

Using the Pay Scale for Finding Trucking Jobs

On the other end of the trucking spectrum are owner operator drivers and independent truck drivers who are searching for the best dry van rates. When you are looking for trucking jobs with dry van trailers you have to consider the pay per mile in your region. For example, if you are hauling out of California then you can expect to earn more than most any state in the nation. Texas and Pennsylvania have the lowest paying dry van rates. Meanwhile the busiest hubs of Atlanta and Chicago are paying middle of the road rates. Where you are based out of will affect your dry van rates, as you are lead by the local economy. Also, if you are back hauling from California you can expect to earn a lot more money.

Keep in mind if you are hauling dry van loads out of California you must be top notch when it comes to emissions standards and equipment. Inspectors in California are fierce, some of the strictest in the US. That’s part of the reason why California trucking jobs pay so well for dry van truckers. Most truck drivers, particularly those who are OO or independent, are unable to afford the latest gear and emissions control technology that is mandated by CA truck drivers.

The Overall Trucking Economy

Looking at the current pay scale for dry van truckers in the US is one thing. But you also have to look at the average fuel costs during that same period. For July 17 to 23, 2016 the national average fuel price declined by 2 cents to $2.38 per gallon. Holding somewhat steady this is a benefit to trucking fleets. As long as the fuel costs do not spike the pay scale for dry van loads will be satisfactory. However, when we see fuel expenses go haywire this greatly affects the amount a driver can earn per mile. This is why truck drivers and company owners alike get all excited when the fuel prices dip and climb.

If you are searching for dry van trucking jobs in the US that pay the best, start by understanding the market. Once you know what the regional market is paying per mile you will know if upcoming trucking loads are priced effectively. This is key to owner operators. In order to increase your profitability for your trucking business you need to understand the market. Choose to take fewer dry van loads when the market for these is sour, sticking to other haul types, such as reefer trucking jobs or tanker loads. Go with the market and you’ll be able to be smarter about choosing trucking types depending on the current state of the economy.

How Much Do Armored Truck Drivers Get Paid?

Brinks armored tuckGetting to haul around millions of dollars and standing as an armed guard over your deliveries, does that sound like the world’s best trucking job to you? If so, consider what it requires to get started in the armored trucking job market. Then take a look at what you can expect to get paid. Weigh those factors before you decide whether or not you will become an armored truck driver.

How to Become an Armored Truck Driver

To get behind the wheel of an armored truck you will need to take a completely different route for becoming a truck driver. You do need to get your CDL, but you will likely only require your Class B since these jobs are typically regional trucking jobs. A Class A CDL is for long haul truck drivers. From there the similarities cease.

First find out if you need to be a certain age to become a licensed armored truck driver in your state. Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles or a technical school offering truck driver training, or go to your state’s website to find out the age limit. In order to haul goods in an armored car, you should not have anything on your record, especially not anything related to money laundering, robbery or theft. Your driving record must also be spotless. You will also have to complete a background check and criminal background review, so get ready to be fingerprinted. Drug testing will be required by most companies who hire armored truck drivers.

Next you need to get your license as a security professional. This involves going to your state’s licensing authority for more information. In all states, you must be 18 to be eligible and have a driver’s license. Certain states will also require you to attend courses on law enforcement topics. Once you have that license, you’ll need to get a firearms permit. You will not have to carry a weapon for all armored trucking jobs, but all companies will require you to be permitted.

Finally you will be able to look for armored truck driving jobs. Keep in mind that once you become an armored truck driver you will most likely have to complete continuing education aka ongoing training in order to keep your armored truck driving licenses.

Types of Armored Trucker Jobs

The most common types of armored trucker job are those for the Brink’s trucks you see in downtowns throughout the US. At Brink’s armored truckers are hired as driver-messengers. This is a type of courier situation that typically involves money for banks or financial institutions. You can also drive a Brink’s truck for mining jobs, retail stores and other businesses with an interest to protect their resources.

In addition to hauling valuable loads, armored truck drivers have to be on their guard during their deliveries. Most drivers even work as team drivers to increase their ability to stay abreast to any danger. Since there’s a much greater likelihood that there will be danger for armored truck deliveries, you have to be up to snuff on the proper protocol for what to do in an emergency and after the incident is over.

Since you are hauling valuables you will almost always be hired for regional trucking jobs as an armored truck driver. Furthermore, unless you have a Class A CDL you won’t be eligible for over the road trucking jobs even if they are for armored services.

What Armored Truck Drivers Make in Salary

Dunbar is another carrier company that hires CDL drivers who serve as guards. If you drive for Dunbar you can get hired with just your CDL, and you will earn $12.50 per hour as of 2016. Remember, this is a regional trucking job so you will be home most every night. If you have your CDL and have successfully completed a lethal weapons training program in your state, you will earn $13.50 an hour.

In terms of what other armored trucking companies are paying their drivers, PayScale reported that drivers earn an average of $12.17 per hour, with the high end of the scale at $17.50, the low end at $10.03. You can earn overtime in this type of work since you are a regional driver paid by the hour. That type of increase can boost your hourly wage to up to $22.75.

The annual salary for an armored truck driver ranges from $21,103 to $40,753. For those starting out in the industry, you can expect to start at the bottom of the salary scale. Over time and with more than 20 years of experience, you’ll be earning more at the top end of the spectrum. You can also increase your earnings by getting the Physical Security Professional (PSP) certification, which shows you have a minimum of 6 years as a licensed security guard and a clean record.

* Image Source: Creative Commons license /

Breakdown of Operational Costs for Owner Operators in Trucking

Whether you are new to the trucking business or a seasoned pro, becoming an owner operator has likely crossed your mind a time or two. While taking full control of your trucking business offers the greatest potential for making money, it comes with a lot of costs. Your time is the biggest cost, as owner operators spend a lot more of it on running their business. After all, OOs are their own boss. You are also going to be spending a lot more money, to compensate for that extra income coming your way. Here’s a breakdown of the operational costs you can look forward to as an owner operator. Use this information to plan your budget and organize your expenses.

Overview of Operational Costs

Cost Breakdown written on road pictureFor starters, let’s look at the categories of operational costs you will incur when running your own trucking business:

  • Operating income
  • Fixed expenses
  • Variable expenses

In addition to these categories, you also want to keep track of the following:

  • Total number of loaded miles you ran in the past year
  • Total number of empty miles for the last year
  • How many gallons of tractor fuel you purchased over the last year
  • How many gallons of reefer fuel you bought in the past year

From this information you’ll want to calculate your MPG (miles per gallon) and the average price you spent per gallon. Now let’s break down the categories of expenses.

Operational Income

This category is pretty self explanatory. You are taking into account the amount of money you earned as a trucker over the last year. Start by calculating your total gross earnings. Then look at other sources of income, such as escrow funds, cash and investments. Finally, tack on any additional sources of income, such as part-time trucking jobs or side projects. Adding all of these together you will get your total operation income for the year.

Fixed Expenses

As noted by the name, fixed expenses are those that are going to remain the same throughout the year. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Your truck payment
  • Trailer payments for any and all trailers you rent, lease or purchase
  • Escrow
  • Collision and/or comprehensive insurance
  • Bobtail and/or deadhead insurance
  • Accidental insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Licenses
  • Permits
  • Accounting services
  • Garage expenses
  • Parking expenses

Add all of these expenses up for your total operational fixed expenses for the past year.

Variable Expenses

These expenses include all of those purchases that are necessary for your business, but that are likely to fluctuate in amount throughout the year. Some expenses will be a one-off thing, while others will occur more frequently but at varying amounts. Here’s an idea of what these expenses might include, noting that for your trucking business other expenses might qualify:

  • Tractor fuel
  • Reefer fuel
  • Tractor tires
  • Trailer tires
  • Tractor-trailer maintenance
  • Tractor-trailer repair
  • Truck washes
  • Personal showers
  • Laundry services
  • Telephone service
  • Sirius radio or other satellite radio
  • Lodging/accommodations while on over the road trucking jobs when you can’t for some reason sleep in your cab, i.e. cold weather, long layover, etc.
  • Per diem meals, which are based on the annual per diem rate of the IRS
  • Loading and unloading fees
  • Tolls
  • Fines
  • Scale fees
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Taxes (road, fuel, fed, use, etc.)
  • Personal care items, such as hygiene products or laundry detergent
  • Clothing and apparel purchased for the job, such as work boots, safety glasses or gloves
  • Tools
  • Fluids for the truck
  • CB radio
  • Entertainment items, such as DVDs, TV set, DVD player, gaming console, etc.
  • Legal services
  • Dispatch and/or broker fees
  • Factoring fees, such as selling accounts receivable
  • Uncollectible receivables
  • Miscellaneous expenses

You will want to add up these expenses, which will be added to your fixed expenses for a total cost of your total operational expenses.

Calculating Your Operational Costs

At the end of every month you will want to calculate the above income and expense reports. This saves you a ton of headache at the end of the year when trying to figure out your total operational costs. Why do you need this information? Two reasons. For starters, this information, particularly the expenses, will be vital when filing your taxes as a trucker. Getting all of this information down accurately can save your tail in a tax audit. You’ll also want to keep a paper trail of all of your income and expenses just in case you are in fact audited by the IRS.

Secondly, if you go to a bank or lender and try to secure a loan for a second truck or trailer to add to your trucking business, they are going to want to see proof that their investment in your business is safe. Your annual operational costs is your trucking business’s financial statement. It will provide the banker or lender with the information they want to see to verify that your business is worthy of expansion.

The Definitive List of the 10 Highest Paying Trucking Jobs

The truck driving industry offers a wide range of possibilities in terms of how much you can earn with trucking jobs. Depending on the types of hauls you are willing to take, and the experience you have with different trucking loads, you can increase your take-home pay substantially. Here is a list of the top 10 best paying truck driving jobs to get you started. Keep in mind that you will need to gain on the job experience with these trucking haul types before you will earn the most money possible.

1. Tanker Hauls

Peterbilt truck hauling carsTruck drivers who take tanker trucking jobs are going to be able to make more money. However, there is a catch. As you can imagine this type of load is more dangerous than flatbed loads or dry van hauls because the liquids are not stable and slosh around uncontrollably. That’s why you have to get your CDL endorsed to be able to haul tanker loads. A tanker trailer endorsement allows you to get into liquid hauling, i.e. hauling water or dairy products. If you are interested in getting started with tanker loads consider your CDL endorsement a good investment for your truck driving career.

2. Hazmat Loads

If you are getting into tanker trucking jobs, you would be smart to go ahead and get your hazmat endorsement on your CDL, too. A hazmat endorsement allows you to haul hazardous materials, such as chemical waste or gas. For truckers who are hauling tanker loads, a hazmat endorsement is often necessary since the majority of tanker hauls are considered to be hazardous. Again, once you have your special endorsement on your CDL to haul hazmat loads you will be able to make even more money. Not all truckers have this endorsement, which when combined with the tanker CDL endorsement gives you the special combo endorsement. That means you are placing yourself in a specialized category that automatically leads to the better paying trucking jobs.

3. Oversized Truck Loads

An oversized load can be something as simple as a load that is only an inch over-width, or a load that requires you to pull doubles with an escort. Either way an oversized load is automatically going to pay you more. While you don’t have to get any special CDL endorsements to pull oversized loads, you will be expected to do more work. Oversized truck loads require special permits that you must get from local transportation departments. Also, you aren’t allowed to drive when it is dark, so your hauling times are limited to after daylight and before dusk. This means you will have to spend more days over the road while delivering most oversized loads. However, for most truckers the extra pay is well worth the effort.

4. Ice Road Trucking Jobs

If you are a fan of the History channel, then you are well aware of the show “Ice Road Truckers.” Based on the Dalton Highway in Alaska, this show has spent nine seasons highlighting the careers of several ice road truckers including the tough yet sensible Lisa Kelly, Hugh the Polar Bear Rowland, and the Preacher Man Alex Debogorski. These trucking jobs are the real deal, however, and truck drivers who handle them bring home the big bucks. Truckers earn up to $75,000 annually, while the ice road trucking season only lasts for a few months at most.

5. Car Haulers

If you are an auto hauler you are going to make great money. That’s because this is a niche trucking job that is so difficult to get into. For starters, the national trucking companies like Swift Transportation, Werner Enterprises, and US Xpress don’t handle specialty car hauling jobs. You will need to find a local trucking employer that offers this specialized service. Additionally, you will have to learn on the job with hands-on training that isn’t included with truck driving school. In the end you will get to haul cars ranging from factory dealerships to luxury rides, which pay a pretty penny.

6. Mining Jobs

In the world of mining truckers are needed to haul everything from oil and water to coal and rock. Finding a mining job as a trucker sets you in a good position to make a great living. The hours are long and the hauls are dirty, but the pay makes up for it.

7. Team Driving Jobs

As a team driver you are working with a co-worker in your rig. The two of you keep the wheels rolling, which allows you to make the most money possible. Since you sleep in shifts and only stop to fuel, while rests are handled in between driving shifts, you stand to make a ton of money.

8. OTR Trucking Jobs

Over the road truck driving jobs involve long haul trucking. These are over the interstate, from coast to coast, and require you to be at least 21 years old. However, being able to drive over the road as a trucker ensures you will make a great living as a trucker.

9. Trucking School Instructor

If you are ready to slow down while still making a good living as a trucker, check out the instructor positions at your local truck driving schools. You get to go home every night, while avoiding the hazards of the road, and yet you are still paid for your experience as a trucker.

10. Trucking Job Recruiter

In order to fill those trucking seats truck driver recruiters pound the pavement to scout out newbie truck drivers. Use your trucking experience to place rookie truckers on their way to a successful trucking career as you get paid in the process.

What You Need to Know About a Trucking Compensation Package

If you are looking for a better paying trucking job, then you want to be aware of one of the perks of new truck driving jobs. The trucking compensation package grants you a whole lot more out of your job than just a paycheck. Depending on the company you are applying to as a trucker the compensation package might be meaningless, or it could tack on several thousand dollars’ worth of benefits to your annual salary. Before you choose your next trucking job be prepared to ask the right questions and scout out trucking companies offering the best compensation packages.

Why You Should Ask the Right Questions

Truck drawing with dollar bill on trailerTypically, once you apply for a trucking job at a major trucking company like Schneider National or Werner Enterprises, you will be required to attend a truck driver orientation program. This is your time to ask questions regarding any trucking compensation packages. You may feel it’s too soon to start asking about benefits when you haven’t even been hired yet. However, it is your right and responsibility to find out about what perks and benefits will be provided to you if you are hired on.

In fact, trucking company recruiters who are open and knowledgeable about the compensation packages are a good sign. Those recruiters who lack this information or answer your questions with, “That is a good question, but I don’t know the answer,” are a red flag for you. It is your trucking job that you are looking out for, and if your future trucking employer is unable to provide you with the information you need about benefits during the orientation, then you may want to move on quickly. You want to work for a trucking company that is well organized, knowledgeable and transparent regarding all benefits and compensation for their drivers. It is a great indicator that they will treat their truckers with respect.

So what questions should you ask during trucking compensation? Start with these, and branch off depending on your personal needs:

  • Will I get any healthcare benefits, and if so do you have information, such as a brochure or flyer, that tells me more about these benefits so I can go over them with my family?
  • Does your company offer any retirement packages, such as profit sharing or 401K plans, and do you have any paperwork I can read through regarding these packages?
  • Will I receive any reimbursement for expenses required over the road?
  • Do you offer truck driving school tuition reimbursement, and if so, what is the time frame in which I would need to start driving for your company after graduating trucking school?
  • Is deadheading paid for, or do you pay drivers more for time spent on the road to make up for deadheading time? How long are your drivers typically required to deadhead? Is this a frequent occurrence, i.e. once a week, or once a load?
  • Do you provide truckers with services, such as health and wellness programs like smoking cessation, weight loss programs, gym access or counseling services? Are these free or do I have to pay a fee?
  • How much will I get paid for trucking jobs? How will I be paid, i.e. cents per mile, percentage pay, etc?
  • Do I get reimbursed for hotel accommodations if I am required to stay over for more than one night?

What Can Be Expected for Benefits Packages

Any trucking company worth their tires will offer some sort of compensation package to new truck drivers they hire on. After all, in this day and age the trucking industry is in dire need for truck drivers. Most of the best paying trucking companies with nationwide locations are pulling out all of the stops to recruit and retain truck drivers. This is great news for truckers looking for jobs as it affords you the best perks and benefits in terms of employee compensation packages. You should expect the following:

  • Health insurance coverage as required by the Affordable Care Act
  • Retirement plans
  • Competitive pay rates, i.e. 4 cents per mile
  • Reimbursement for mandatory expenses, such as safety boots or gloves
  • Personal time off with pay
  • Regular home time
  • Truck driving school tuition reimbursement
  • Recognition for commitment of employment, such as bonuses for long term drivers

As you apply to trucking companies and attend trucking company orientations, be aware that you should have some sort of compensation package offered to you. This is becoming a must-have in the trucking industry in order to retain truck drivers for the long haul. If you aren’t receiving any sort of benefits at all, then move on. There are too many trucking companies out there that are making trucking a lot easier and financially stable for truck drivers through benefits packages. Take advantage of these benefits when you can and make your trucking job worth your while.

Best Paying Cities and States for Truck Drivers

Red big rig truck hauling moneyIf you are on the hunt for the best paying truck driving jobs, you have a lot of variables to play around with. For starters, depending on your preferred haul type, i.e. reefer loads, tanker trucking jobs, and boat haulers, you will be able to increase your pay rate by choosing better paying trucking loads. The more variety and experience you have behind the wheel, the better you are as this gives you leverage and confidence to ask for raises and better paying trucking loads. But that’s not all. You can also move to a city or state where truckers are earning more money than their neighbors. Check out the top paying cities and states for truckers.

New York Trucking Jobs

In the state of New York, you will find jobs for truckers in the highest paying city in the US. Truckers hauling trucking loads in New York City earn more than $109,000 a year on average. This amount varies depending on your haul type, trucking company employer and experience. However, you stand to make more money as a truck driver in NYC than any other city in the US. Keep in mind the living expenses of New York City are outrageous, so if you plan on living in the city limits you’ll want to budget accordingly. Balance your expenses and income to determine if you are truly making more money as a trucker in New York. An option for most truckers is to live in the suburbs and outskirts of NYC so that you are in close proximity to these great paying trucking jobs, while maintaining a lower cost of living that helps you financially.

Chicago Trucking Jobs

The Windy City has historically been a great place to work for truck drivers. After all, this is one of the largest and busiest import and export hubs in the continental US. Between the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, consistently the busiest airport in the world, and having the largest number of US highways, Chicago is a hot spot for truckers. This city is also the leader in railroad freight, showing the strength of the city in terms of transporting goods. If you are a trucker here, you should have no problem finding truck driving jobs in Chicago.

Better yet, according to PayScale data, Chicago is experiencing a 19 percent increase in the amount of pay truck drivers earn compared to the median pay rate across the nation. If you want to earn 19 percent more money, while keeping yourself busy with trucking jobs, then consider relocating to Chicago. As the third largest metropolitan area in the US, second only to NYC and LA, you will have to contend with the high rates of crime and traffic. However, by choosing a home in the suburbs you are in a prime position to make more money than typical truck drivers in the US.

Seattle Trucking Jobs

Over in the Pacific Northwest, in another major port city, trucking jobs are paying well for truckers. Seattle, Washington is famous for being a fishing port and midway stop between California and Canada. It is also a huge tourist town, as well as bustling cultural capital. For truckers, though, the true attraction is the pay boost you’ll get when working on truck driving jobs in Seattle. Truck drivers here made 16 percent more than truck drivers on average in the rest of the US. If you are interested in hauling manufactured aircraft parts, consider driving for trucking companies hauling for Boeing, which is based in Seattle. The Emerald City is also huge among technology companies; after all, Amazon and Microsoft are headquartered here. Trucking jobs hauling tech products pay very well, so if you have a knack for tech goods, this could be a profitable niche for you to get into.

Houston Trucking Jobs

In the heart of Texas, you’ll find plenty of trucking jobs in Houston. Here you are closely connected to Galveston Bay, which is a major port in the lower part of the nation. Imported and exported goods regularly flood the bay area, offering you loads of opportunities for trucking loads. Houston is also near to the NASA astronaut training and flight control base, which provides trucking jobs in aviation and aeronautics. It’s not usual to see truckers hauling parts of rockets and space shuttles out of the Space Center Houston. So how much more do Houston truck drivers make compared to the rest of the country? You are looking at a 10 percent pay raise by being a Houston trucker. It’s worth looking into if you are interested in becoming a resident of the Lone Star State.

How Truckers Earn a Living: Per Diem, Straight Pay, Percentage and CPM

As you search for the best paying truck driving jobs, your top priority is to find the trucking company that will pay you the most money. Earning a living as a trucker involves driving to and from your destination in order to deliver loads of everything from pencils to pickled peaches. However, trucking companies have different routes for delivering paychecks for truckers. You can earn your pay through per diem, straight pay, percentage pay or cents per mile. Let’s break these down to figure out which one is better for you as a truck driver.

Per Diem Pay Rates

If you are a trucker who files your own taxes you’ve seen per diem regarding how many days you were on the road with OTR trucking jobs. Per diem is defined as “per day.” For tax purposes this rate includes reimbursements for lodging and meals while working as an OTR truck driver. For instance, in 2015 the per diem rate for food for truck drivers was $63 per day. This would be the amount you would report on your tax return in order to count it for a work-related expense.

However, when dealing with getting paid as a trucker, you need to look at per diem in a different light. For trucking companies that pay per diem for truck drivers, the most common method involves the following:

  • A truck driver is paid a lower cents per mile rate
  • Part of this pay is untaxed and listed as a separate item on the paycheck stub

If you are getting paid per diem by your trucking company, then you are not eligible to deduct the per diem rate on your tax return. You can’t have both per diems. The benefits of getting paid per diem by your trucking employer is that it reduces your gross income. This means you won’t have as much taxable income even though you will get a bigger paycheck. When should you avoid per diem pay:

  • If you hope to get a generous tax refund, then you would want to avoid per diem pay.

Another thing to note is that most trucking companies require you to pay a small fee for the ability to get a per diem pay rate.

Straight Pay for Truckers

For truck drivers receiving a gross pay rate each week or month, this is referred to as straight pay. You are given the same rate of pay each week no matter how many miles you run, or how many hours you are behind the wheel. Generally this is not applicable to over the road trucking jobs. However, for regional loads and dry van trucking loads that are drop and hooks, you will be able to make good money with straight pay.

After all, with these trucking hauls you are moving from Point A to Point B and then back to Point A, never having to deal with loads or new customers. You are home every night, which is much different than the life of an OTR trucker. However, if you want to make more money or have a greater control over your ability to get ahead, straight pay for truck drivers isn’t the best idea.

Percentage Pay in Trucking

Each load you haul as a trucker comes with a price tag. This is negotiated by the trucking company and the customer. In general, each trucking job has a different pay rate. Some may pay a gross of $5,000, for example, while other negotiated rates are paid by cents per mile. Every haul is different.

For truckers who are paid by the percentage of their loads, they are given a portion of the money earned by a trucking company. Typically the percentage rate is set across the board. For example, you might receive 10 percent of the total fee received for every load you haul. This means you will receive that same portion no matter how many days or miles it takes you to deliver a load. If you are working for a trucking company that has solid connections with good paying customers, then you can make great money with percentage rates.

Cents Per Mile

The most common and most popular way to get paid as a trucker is by cents per mile (CPM). For truckers with good experience and working with a top paying trucking company, they can earn approximately 40 cents per mile. This pay rate lets truckers get paid for as many miles as it takes them to deliver loads. Therefore you have to have a sound reputation for making deliveries on time and without getting lost in order to earn CPM. The downside for CPM pay is:

  • You don’t get paid to sit, unless you receive detention pay.
  • You aren’t getting paid if you are deadheading since you aren’t hauling a load in the process.

As you can see each type of pay comes with its own pros and cons. Finding the right pay type for you as a trucker requires you to take a look at your job status, experience level, trucking employer and pay expectations.

Worst Paying Cities and States for Truck Drivers

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When it comes to finding a place to call home, truck drivers want to live where the action is, trucking action. Being close to the place where you park your rig after a long haul over the road is ideal. You also want to live in or near a city or state where plenty of loads are hauled to and from, such as Chicago, IL — or bask in the sunshine of truck driving jobs in California. What you don’t want to do is live in a city or state where truck driving is at its lowest. Here are some of the worst places to live as a truck driver interested in making the big bucks.

Cities to Avoid as a Trucker

Let’s start with cities. Detroit, MI pays truckers 3 percent lower than the national average but, considering the bankrupt economic situation, Detroit is on the skids. Plus you have to worry about finding somewhere safe to live and park your rig when you are home. Detroit isn’t exactly a thriving metropolis, so being a trucker here isn’t the best situation. However, if you are a native of Detroit you have come to understand how the city operates and are aware of the downfalls. Plus, if Motor City makes a come back this would be a great place to set up shop as an owner operator or trucking company startup. But surprisingly Detroit isn’t the worst city for truckers.

In Columbus, OH truckers make 4 percent below the national average. This is a strange scene since Columbus is the largest city in Ohio; you would think that would make it a great place to live as a truck driver. Furthermore, in 2013 Columbus earned an A by Forbes as a top city for US business, as well as the designation as one of the nation’s Best Places for Businesses and Careers. Columbus wasn’t as drastically affected by the recession, either, thanks to the wide diversification of the city’s job market. So why are Columbus trucking jobs paying less than Detroit trucking jobs? That’s a great question that begs an answer given the booming economic situation here.

Now for the lowest paying city for truck driving jobs in the US. Phoenix, AZ trucking jobs rake in 5 percent less than the rest of the states. This is on par with the lowest paying states in the US as discussed later in this article. As with Columbus, Phoenix is the largest city in the state, and it has a strong economy. Why trucking jobs pay lower here than in any other city is truly baffling. Here are some of the other close matches for lowest paying states:

  • Los Angeles, CA is 3 percent lower
  • Charlotte, NC trucking jobs earn 2 percent less
  • Salt Lake City, UT and Dallas, TX truck drivers earn 1 percent less

For Los Angeles to be a low paying city for truck drivers is problematic considering the amount of traffic that goes through LA on account of the trucking industry. However, living in LA may present some challenges, such as a lack of truck parking. This may be part of the reason why truckers make less, as a reflection of the lack of truckers who actually live in and work out of Los Angeles, CA. If you do find yourself living in these cities, don’t pack the moving truck just yet. Consider driving for trucking companies in nearby cities or towns where you can rank higher in salary expectations. Also, be aware of the lower salaries in your city, such as those truckers living in Phoenix, so you can bargain appropriately with trucking companies as you look for better paying trucking jobs. While you may think you are making a lower salary than you should, chances are most of the companies in your area are paying the same, so there’s little chance of requesting a raise.

States Paying the Least to Truck Drivers

Now let’s look at the bigger picture, of those states that are paying truck drivers the least of all. Here’s a list to start:

  • Truckers in Hawaii earn the lowest at $40,000
  • Alaska truckers make $42,000 a year
  • Truck drivers in Wisconsin earn an average of $44,000 a year
  • In Idaho and Nebraska truckers make $45,000
  • Truck drivers living in Arizona and Colorado earn $46,000 a year
  • Truckers in Washington State, New Mexico, South Dakota and Pennsylvania make $47,000 a year
  • The median average salary for truck drivers in Nevada, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and North Carolina is $48,000

If you live in Hawaii you are automatically limited in the number of trucking jobs you can take. Furthermore, the best paying trucking jobs for OTR truckers aren’t going to apply to your situation. Life on an island will equate to lower annual salaries as a trucker. As for Alaska, the rough terrain, short driving season and low population levels account for the reasons why truckers make less money in this northern territory. If you are interested in making some serious cash while living in Alaska, check out ice road trucking. You have the opportunity to work only a few months a year while bringing in some plump pocket change, in the tune of a top salary for truck drivers. Check back with the lowest paying cities, and you’ll see that the only city on match with the lowest paying states is Phoenix. Ohio, Michigan and California are not on this list of poor paying states, which should give you some hope if you are looking for trucking jobs in Los Angeles, Columbus or Detroit. For those in Phoenix, however, Arizona is a state notorious for paying truckers in the lower range, so consider this your wake up call if you live or are planning to move to that state.

Lowest Paying Haul Types

While your geographic location has some bearing on how much you can anticipate earning a year as a truck driver, you can improve your situation by choosing hauls that pay more. In line with the topic of this article, here are the haul types that pay the least:

  • Boat haulers make $34,000 a year
  • Vocational truck drivers earn $35,000 annually
  • Dry van trucking jobs bring in $44,000 a year
  • Reefer trucking jobs offer a little more at $46,000 per year

If you are interested in boosting your income, while living in a low paying city and/or state, avoid the trifecta of taking these haul types. Instead look for the better paying trucking jobs, such as tanker loads, oversize loads, car haulers, and team driving jobs. These are going to help you balance out the low median salary you might be earning as a trucker.

More Ways to Increase Your Salary

Besides packing up and moving to a state like Mississippi, Wyoming or New York where truckers make the best salaries in the nation, there are things you can do as a trucker to improve your job salary. Start by looking at your credentials. What are your endorsements, and if you don’t have any, why not? Getting a CDL endorsement for tanker loads and hazardous materials hauls will grant you an immediate boost in your paycheck. These types of trucking jobs are exclusive to those with endorsements, which means you are specialized in your field. Specialization means more money.

If you have been hauling the same type of loads for months, or years, it’s time to find some variety, particularly if you are strictly a dry van hauler. We know that dry van trucking jobs are the easiest as you don’t have to worry with tarping and strapping. However, you are losing money because of your desire to drop and hook on every haul. Look for trucking jobs that force you to get out and move a little, and your paycheck will thank you for it. Also, having more varied experiences as a trucker places you at the top of the list when it comes to taking off the wall loads.

Trucking jobs that require a trucker with a proven ability to think on your feet will come your way, helping you find those hauls that are worth more money. Team driving jobs are another way to boost your basic income. Since the wheels on a team’s truck are almost always moving, you are going to make more money. You have less time spent with layovers and in between hauls, meaning you will work more but your wallet will get fatter because of it.

If you have struggled with being alone while on the road, being on a team has the added benefit of giving you a permanent work partner. You’ll need to learn to live with someone again, which might be difficult at first, but as your paychecks grow you’ll get over any discomfort. The key thing to take away from this is that even if you live in a city or state that has a low pay scale for truckers, there are ways to make the most of your income.

Make the Most of Your Time: Back Hauls

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Whether you work for a carrier or for yourself, empty miles means lower pay or even empty pockets in trucking jobs. So instead of hauling an empty trailer home, find back hauls or re-loads. A back haul is a load for another distributor going in the same direction as your home base or to another pickup. A re-load is a load from the same company you just hauled for.

Many carriers and drivers offer to take re-loads and back hauls for less than their going rate per mile since they were going to be empty anyway. This is a win-win for the distributor and the carrier or independent driver, and depending on what you’re willing to accept, could open the doors to additional contracts with certain distributors.

Drivers and carriers could even pick up more than one back haul or re-load. For example, if a home base is in Seattle and the original load is going to Miami; and a distributor in Miami needs a load delivered to Charlotte, a driver could pick up the back haul in Miami and deliver it to Charlotte; and could then pick up another back haul to Seattle or any destination in between.

Even if the destination isn’t all the way to the home base, the trailer is not empty for most of the trip and the carrier or independent trucker is earning more money for a trip that would have cost in fuel and on-the-road living expenses.

Think Outside the Box

To increase the possibility of a back haul, a carrier or driver could sign up for a service such as Ghostruck. This mobile app links those who need their things moved with truckers and carriers who may have an empty load or a partial load. The app finds a driver or carrier willing to pick up the items the person is moving to take it to the same city or area the truck is already traveling to. That way, the driver gets paid for a full load instead of a partial load, or gets paid for a back haul.

If you are an independent driver or a small carrier with a few distributors you could also use several available apps to find additional back hauls – and these just may lead to large contracts with distributors.

Stop Deadheading: Make the Most of Your Time

Whether you are a large carrier or a small independent trucker, use your down time to find distributors who often have back hauls available. Keep a log with these companies’ names and numbers so that you can give them a call while you are on the road. You may have a partial back haul that was unexpected, but if you have the ability to call another distributor, you may get another back haul for the rest of the trip.

Create relationships with additional distributors so that they are more willing to give you extra and unexpected hauls. These relationships could have the distributor calling your carrier to see if any trucks are going along the route for the distributor’s load.

Things to Watch Out For

If you’re new to the industry, whether you’re an independent or a small carrier, be sure that you know the cost of running your truck when figuring back hauls. For example, if you normally charge $2.30 per mile and your truck costs $1.10 per mile to operate, you could take a back haul for the $1.10 per mile so that you’re not costing yourself for driving back to headquarters; but you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by hauling a load that is less than what it costs for operating costs unless you absolutely cannot find anything else. Don’t forget to figure in your meals, insurance for the truck, gas and anything else that costs you while you are on the road.

Other things to watch out for are distributors who require special handling or require you to unload or help unload the truck. You’ll definitely want to be sure your pay is enough to cover the extra labor.

Increasing Your Bottom Line

When you are able to pick up re-loads or back hauls, you’ll not only be more productive, but you’ll increase your bottom line. An increased bottom line, whether you work for trucking companies or you are an independent, gets you to your goal a lot quicker. An employee may be further on his or her way to becoming a carrier and an independent could be well on his or her way to that second truck, the repair shop or even additional drivers and more trucks.

Keep all of this in mind when determining what you’ll accept for back haul, re-load or using a service such as Ghostruck; especially whether the load increases your bottom line, keeps you even or may cost you because of problems associated with the distributor or the load itself.