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How are Truck Drivers Paid?

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

Money, mileage, hourly rate
A Truck Driver's Pay and Salary

Truck drivers are paid by an hourly rate, mileage, stop-offs, and other categories.

Which type of payroll a driver has depends a lot on the company they drive for and what categories their company sets.

These days women truckers get paid by the same standard as the men.

Which type of salary or pay a driver receives depends a lot on the company they drive for and what type of driver they are classified as.

First, I will discuss a few general classifications for truck drivers, keep in mind it is a generalized classification. In another post I will go more in-depth concerning what types of trucks and trailers a driver may operate.

Second, I will provide a general overview of the different ways a driver's salary is calculated and why a driver may be paid with all them.


Truck Driver General Classifications

A truck driver can be classified as a Yard Jockey or Yard Dog, a Local Driver, an LTL Driver, a Regional Driver, or Over the Road Driver.


Truck Driver Yard Jockey or Yard Dog

Female Drivers, Women Truckers, Yard truck, rig
Yard Jockey or Yard Dog

A driver who is called a Yard Jockey or Yard Dog moves trailers all day, from the dock doors to a staging area. Usually a Yard Dog drives a single axle day cab with a sliding door between the seats. By having a door behind the driver, it is easier for them to quickly open the back door, walk out on the cat walk and hook up to a trailer.

The cat walk is a metal deck plate that spans the frame of the tractor, providing a place for the driver to safely stand while attaching their airlines to the trailer.

After the driver hooks up the airlines, they then lift the front of the trailer off the ground, release the air-brakes, then move the trailer to its new position on the yard.

Yard Dogs generally do not drive on a road, just around the warehouse yard.


Truck Driver Local

A Local truck driver may drive a day cab or a sleeper truck. Local drivers will deliver loads within 100 air miles of their home terminal. They are home every night. A local driver can make up to 10 or more delivers a day.

There are some similarities of a Local driver and an LTL driver.


Driver Pay, Salary, Money, female, women,
Truck Driver LTL

Truck Driver LTL

An LTL or Less Than Truckload driver delivers less than a truck load shipment. They may have more than 30 stops on one trailer. While they may complete their deliveries in one day or it may take several days to complete all of the designated stops.

An LTL driver many be a Local Driver, a Regional Driver or an Over the Road Driver.


Money, salary, pay, mileage
Truck Driver Regional

Truck Driver Regional

A Regional truck driver delivers loads within a certain region, such as the Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, and other designated areas. Regional drivers are usually home within 2-3 days or every weekend.

They can haul regular trailers with a full load or LTL.

If they have to wait on the shipper or receiver to load the products, then they are live unloading or loading. If the driver leaves the trailer that they are pulling and hooks up to another trailer, then that is considered drop and hook.


Truck Driver Over the Road

An Over the Road driver, can work with all of the above, but generally an Over the Road driver deliveries loads across the country. Many times, not coming home for several weeks.

While there are some drivers who actually live in their trucks full time.


Truck Driver’s Salary and Pay rate.

As you can see there are several general categories of truckers. There are also several ways that a truck driver can be paid for driving.


Truck Driver Hourly Salary

Most common to any employee is being paid by the hour. Yard dogs and local drivers are paid by the hour. They usually have a time clock that they punch in and punch out at the end of the day.


Truck Driver Mileage Pay

Salary, money, cents, pennies
Truck Driver Mileage Pay $0.45

While LTL, Regional, and Over the Road Drivers are generally paid by the mile. Some are paid by the amount of air miles a computer determines.

Yeah, how the crow flies, not how the truck drives.

Others are paid by driven miles.

Both air miles and driven or hub miles, the driver makes a certain amount per mile. The going rates today range from $0.35 cents a mile up to and over $0.50 cents a mile.


Truck Driver Hourly Pay

Similar to a Local Driver, LTL, Regional, and Over the Road Drivers, can be paid an hourly rate on top of the mileage rate. Most companies require the driver to give up the first 2 hours on the clock, while loading, unloading, or on duty not driving. After the first 2 hours drivers then start getting paid by the hour.

There are companies, especially those centered around exhibit freight and convention centers that require the driver to provide the first 4 hours of waiting time free.


Truck Driver Stop Off Pay

Local Drivers and Yard Dogs do not get stop off pay, they are paid by the hour.

However, LTL, Regional, and Over the Road Drivers may have more than one stop. Many companies pay an additional set amount for each delivery after the first one.

Amounts can range from $10 a stop up to and above $50 a stop.


Truck Driver Unloading Pay

Money, Salary, dollars
Truck Driver Unloading Pay

Local Drivers and Yard Dogs do not get stop off pay, they are paid by the hour. I have heard of a few companies paying local drivers to unload freight and break down pallets, but not very many.

However, LTL, Regional, and Over the Road Drivers, who have to help unload, break down pallets, or any other physical labor are paid a set amount, from $25 and up.

Over all, Yard Jockeys, Local, LTL, Regional, and Over the Road Drivers are paid in different ways, different amounts and with different stipulations. Including hourly, mileage, stop off, unloading, and detention.


I know there are more categories that drivers are put in when money is considered. If you know of any I didn’t mention, please leave a comment.

I may receive a small commission for purchases made through links in this post, at no cost the buyer.

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