What is the difference in pay between empty miles and loaded miles?

Many companies will pay the same rate of pay regardless of whether the truck is loaded or empty, but drivers must be careful when researching potential trucking companies because some companies have decided to pay the driver a lower rate of pay when the truck is dispatched empty. Companies that pay less when the truck is empty ends up hurting the drivers overall pay.

For example, a company might offer .46 CPM for loaded miles and only .40 CPM for empty miles.  The difference in pay makes it tough for potential recruits to determine what their effective rate of pay will be which makes it more challenge to compare offers between trucking companies.  This is due to the uncertainty in empty miles.  In any given week how many miles will the driver operate empty?   For example: Let’s say a driver ran 2500 miles for the week.  2000 miles were loaded and 500 miles were empty.  Since 20% of the drivers miles were empty it means that 20% of the drivers pay will be at the lower rate.  In this example the drivers overall pay would be:

2000 * $0.46 = $920

500 * $0.40 = $200

Total gross pay is $1,120 for 2500 miles which equals an effective CPM rate of $0.448 CPM.

Carriers will justify the lower rate of pay because the company is not making money for empty miles in-between loads.  They might also say that they make up for the lower empty rate of pay by offering a higher loaded rate of pay.  Whatever the case, it is not the driver’s responsibility to determine how a loaded/empty split pay package will affect them.  It you are thinking about working for a company that offers this type of pay package be sure to estimate what your overall effective rate of pay will be.