How do trucking companies calculate the # of miles owed to a driver per trip assignment?

We have already talked about the various ways that trucking companies configure their pay packages to compensate drivers for the miles they drive. The most common is straight mile pay, sliding pay scales, and banded pay scales. However, what we have not discussed yet are the methods that trucking companies use to calculate the # of miles each load will pay out for based on distance of the trip. This is one of the most overlooked aspects of a drivers pay, especially when it comes to lease purchase drivers and owner operators. Many drivers fail to get answers to these questions before hiring on with a new company. Often times they find out in orientation or after they have started driving which may cause them to find themselves wishing they would have done more research.

Let’s look at a general example of a driver getting pre-planned on a load assignment to see the differences in routing options:

Pick Up:
Walmart Distribution Center
1201 SE Moberly Ln
Bentonville, AR 72712

Walmart Supercenter
1326 Bush River Road
Columbia, SC 29210

According to Google Maps there are 3 different route options that the driver could take to get the load delivered.


routing options 1

The first option is the quickest route in terms of time at 13 Hrs and 38 minutes, but it is not the shortest route in terms of miles.

The 3rd option on the list has the least amount of miles at 922 miles, but this route takes approximately 1 hr and 15 mins longer to get the load delivered over option 1.

In this example, if the driver takes the route with the shortest miles they would actually be taking the longest route in terms of time. So here is the point.  As a truck driver – are you going to take the fastest route – or the shortest route?  In truck driving -time is money – a driver only has so many hours to burn. The answer to this questions may depend on how the trucking company is paying you.  Practical mileage pay & short route miles are the 2 most common calculation methods.We will discuss each option in more detail below, but the general point is that drivers should research how each trucking company calculates their mileage per load assignment.