Low Pay In Trucking

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Truck Driver Training School Money Saving TipHi my name is Bryant from ca {city name removed} and i work for an expedited van company {name removed} in ca {city name removed}. i am a company team driver started the middle of August last year had 12yrs experience but 6yrs gave up and the company started me at 22 cents a mile is that right for them to do that even though i just needed a refresher course with 12yrs otr/local driving from different trucking companies so please let me no how to handle that plus iam almost done with my 8 month contract have one more month then iam on my own hope you write me back soon bryant thanks hope we can meet for coffee at a truckstop ok.

Response from Vicki:

Hello, Bryant,

Thanks for writing. We will try to guide you.

If I correctly understand what you wrote, you had 12 years of experience as a professional truck driver, did not drive for 6 years after that, but are now driving professionally again — as a team driver for your trucking company. I am going to base my response on this.

First, when a truck driver leaves truck driving for a period of time longer than a company’s requirement (say 1 year of verifiable OTR driving in the last 3 years), he/she usually has to undergo some kind of evaluation or refresher course. The second time that Mike wanted to go back to work for Epes Transport, he did not have enough recent verifiable OTR driving experience for them to re-hire him. So, after an evaluation, Schneider National hired him. He was with Schneider for 13 months and then made the switch to Epes. In fact, it was during Mike’s second driving time with Epes that he became a driver trainer for a period, so it wasn’t a matter of his experience or expertise. It was just a requirement.

Second, when a driver hires on with a company, he/she agrees to be paid on the basis stated. I took the liberty of looking at your company’s website and noticed two things right away:
* on my end, there is absolutely no information on their Driver page; and
* there is no mention on any page I looked at that said how much they pay drivers, not even on their Benefits page.

This is a problem, in my opinion. At the very least, I would have expected to see a pay range depending on the number of years of experience. It may not include all of the years that a driver has in the field, but it should be a decent range.

Third, since you are a team driver, the compensation may seem like less than if you were a solo driver. However, a team driver’s truck travels more miles each day than a solo’s truck, so you have to know if you will will be paid your rate times all of the miles that the truck rolls or just on your miles alone. The pay you cited — 22 cents per mile — seems very low to me if you’re being paid for your miles only. When Mike and I started in trucking with Swift, I think we were split paying 21 and 20 cents respectively, but that was in 1993! Is there any way you can compare what you’re making with what other drivers for that company are making?

Fourth, you’re evidently under an 8-month contract. While we advise you to finish your contract, you will most likely need a minimum of one year verifiable OTR experience before you will be considered by many trucking companies. Some companies require 2 or 3 years of OTR experience before they will look at you. Do not quit out of frustration. Consider all of your options carefully before making a switch.

Fifth, evaluate very carefully the trucking company you drive for. Some trucking companies are notorious for exploiting their drivers (which we warn drivers about on our website). Do your due diligence in researching companies. Some trucking forums are places where drivers ask for and get advice.

Sixth, there are some things more important than money, such as comfort on the road and items that drivers can have in their trucks. If a company refuses to install APUs in their trucks or forbids drivers from idling (where they can) to stay comfortable during their rest breaks, that could be a problem. (We dedicated the idling section on our site to Gary, a driver Mike met whose company punished drivers for idling for comfort.) Also, if a trucking company refuses to let a driver use an inverter or have a portable toilet in his/her truck, that could be a problem, too.

Seventh, depending on what kind of experience you have, there may be other opportunities for you. Mike has pulled vans, refrigerated vans, doubles, tankers and flatbeds. Each type of trailer presents its own challenges. Some companies pay drivers more for certain types of trailers or certain types of loads. In your quest for something to transition to (assuming you are looking), don’t forget to search social media sites for listings. Mike drove OTR for a long time before the Lord opened the door for him to become a local driver. There are local driving jobs available, but you need to look for them.

I hope that this has been helpful to you. FWIW, I’m going to adapt your query and my response for a page on our site to help other drivers, but of course, I will not include your personally identifiable information.

We wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.

Best regards,
Vicki Simons


Follow up:

Bryant contacted us on March 12, 2012, but the day after Vicki responded, he wrote (among other things): “since my anniversary past on february 18th 2012 am now at 31cent per mile”.