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Guide to company truck driver pay

Navigating the world of trucking compensation can be complex, with various pay structures and bonuses to consider. This guide aims to demystify this landscape, providing crucial insights into how company drivers are compensated.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the industry, read on for valuable information to help you understand your earning potential. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to evaluate job offers and maximize your income on the road.

What is a company driver?

A company driving job involves working as a truck driver directly employed by a transportation or logistics company. Unlike an owner operator, who owns their own truck and runs their own business, a company driver operates a vehicle provided by their employer. Typical responsibilities include transporting goods over long distances, maintaining logs of travel, and ensuring the vehicle is in good condition.

Salary and compensation can vary. For those wondering how much money truck drivers make, it can depend on factors like distance, the type of cargo, and the company’s pay structure. You might be paid based on per mile pay for truck drivers, or in some cases, an hourly rate which could be part of the average CDL driver salary statistics.

Company drivers usually receive truck driver benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. These benefits are one of the key differences when comparing owner operator vs company driver positions. While owner operators have the potential to earn more, they also have to cover their own operating costs and benefits.

Company drivers vs owner operators

When comparing a company driver vs owner operator driver, the fundamental difference lies in employment structure and responsibilities. A company driver is employed by a trucking company, driving the company’s trucks and following its guidelines. An owner operator, on the other hand, owns their truck and essentially runs their own small business, often contracting with larger companies for work.

Company driver

  • Salary: Generally, their income is more stable, with different payment options like per mile pay for truck drivers or hourly rates contributing to the average CDL driver salary.
  • Benefits: Company drivers often receive truck driver benefits like healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off.
  • Costs: Lower operating costs, as maintenance, insurance, and fuel often get covered by the company.
  • Work-life balance: Typically have more structured schedules, although long-haul jobs can still require significant time away from home.

Owner operators

  1. Earnings: Owner operators can potentially make more money, depending on the contracts they secure. Their income is often variable.
  2. Expenses: They bear all operating costs, from truck maintenance to insurance, which can significantly impact earnings.
  3. Flexibility: They have more control over their schedules, routes, and the kinds of jobs they take.
  4. Business management: Beyond driving, they must handle administrative tasks, from bookkeeping to customer relations.

Both roles have pros and cons, and the best choice depends on individual preferences for stability, control, and risk. 

The key takeaway when evaluating owner operator vs company driver positions is that company drivers trade some potential income and flexibility for more stability and fewer responsibilities, while owner operators opt for more control at the expense of greater risks and costs.

How are company drivers compensated?

Understanding the compensation of truck drivers often depends on the type of driving they do: national, regional, or home daily fleet. Here’s how each category generally gets paid:

National drivers

  • Per mile pay: Often compensated by per mile pay for truck drivers, which can lead to higher earnings for long routes.
  • Bonuses: May receive additional pay for difficult conditions, hazmat loads, or hitting certain mileage thresholds.
  • Benefits: Usually receive truck driver benefits like health insurance and retirement plans.
  • Payment frequency: Often, the question of how often do truck drivers get paid for national drivers is weekly or bi-weekly.

Regional drivers

  • Mixed pay: A blend of per mile pay and hourly wages, especially if the job requires more frequent stops or loading and unloading.
  • Weekend premiums: May receive extra pay for weekend or holiday work.
  • Home time: More likely to be home on weekends, offering a better work-life balance compared to national drivers.
  • Benefits: Also typically receive truck driver benefits, but these may vary depending on the company.

Home daily fleet drivers

  • Hourly pay: Often paid an hourly wage, which could answer the question of do truck drivers get paid hourly for this category.
  • Overtime: Eligible for overtime pay, especially if work exceeds a certain number of hours per week.
  • Home time: Generally, these drivers are home every night, offering the best work-life balance.
  • Benefits: May have a different benefits package that may not be as comprehensive as those for national or regional drivers.

Each category has its own pros and cons when it comes to compensation and lifestyle. National drivers often earn more but spend extended periods away from home. Regional drivers balance between earnings and home time, and home daily fleet drivers usually prioritize being home over high earnings.

Truck driving jobs that that pay the most

When it comes to truck driving jobs, not all positions are created equal in terms of compensation. Here are some of the highest-paying trucking jobs:

Ice road truckers

  • Earnings: These drivers can make a year’s salary in a few months due to the high risks involved in driving on icy, dangerous roads.
  • Hazards: Due to the high-risk nature of the job, pay is considerably higher than standard driving roles.

Heavy haul/specialized trucking

  • Earnings: Specialized hauling of oversized or heavy loads can pay exceptionally well due to the skills and certifications required.
  • Additional pay: Drivers may receive extra compensation for loading and unloading, on top of high per mile pay for truck drivers.

Tanker jobs

  • Earnings: Tanker drivers, especially those hauling hazardous materials (hazmat trucking jobs), can earn a premium over regular freight hauling.
  • Hazmat certification: Having a Hazmat endorsement on a CDL can significantly boost earnings.

Team driving

  • Earnings: While you split the pay, team drivers often make more money because the truck is on the road almost constantly.
  • How do team drivers get paid: Payment can be per mile but is divided between the team members.

Owner operator

  • Potential earnings: Trucking owner operators have the opportunity to make more money by choosing higher-paying contracts, although they bear higher expenses.
  • Freedom: The ability to select contracts and control schedules can lead to increased earnings, making it a lucrative option for some.

OTR (over-the-road) drivers

  • Earnings: These drivers usually receive high per mile pay due to the long distances covered.
  • Additional pay: Bonuses for mileage milestones or safe driving can add to earnings.

While these roles can offer higher earnings, they often come with trade-offs like longer time away from home, higher stress, and greater safety risks. When pondering how much money truck drivers make, it’s important to consider these factors along with the potential pay.

What to consider in a company driving job offer

When evaluating a company driving job offer, various factors come into play. Here’s what to consider:

Salary and compensation

  • Per mile pay for truck drivers: Understand how you’ll be paid, whether it’s per mile, hourly, or a mix.
  • Bonuses: Look for sign-on bonuses, safety bonuses, or performance incentives.
  • Average CDL driver salary: Compare the offer to industry standards to ensure it’s competitive.


  • Truck driver benefits: Evaluate health insurance, retirement plans, and any other perks like paid time off.
  • Home time: The frequency with which you’ll be home can impact work-life balance.

Job structure

  • Routes: Are you comfortable with the driving routes, whether they are regional, national, or local?
  • Equipment: Check the quality and condition of the trucks and equipment you’ll use.

Company culture

  • Company reputation: Research the company to gauge its reputation within the industry.
  • Work-life balance: Get a sense of how the company views work-life balance through reviews or talking to current drivers.

Contract terms

  • Commitment: Some offers may require a time commitment. Ensure you’re comfortable with that.
  • Termination clauses: Understand conditions under which you or the company can terminate employment.

Additional considerations

  • Advancement opportunities: Check if the company offers training or pathways to higher-paying roles.
  • Payment frequency: Clarify how often truck drivers get paid, whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Taking the time to scrutinize each aspect of a company driving job offer can help you make an informed decision that aligns with your career goals and personal needs.

Maximize your truck driver earnings

You’re now equipped with the information you need to make informed decisions about trucking jobs. Whether you’re a company driver or an owner operator looking for drivers, the next step is to evaluate offers carefully and negotiate your terms.

Knowledge is power in the trucking industry, especially when it comes to how much you earn. So use this guide as a starting point in your quest for the best trucking money. Don’t settle for less; aim for the best compensation package you can get.


How much do truck drivers make a month?

Truck drivers can make between $2,500 to $5,000 per month, depending on experience, location, and the type of freight. Factors like bonuses can also affect monthly earnings.

Do truck drivers get paid weekly?

Many truck drivers are paid weekly, providing a steady income flow. However, the payment schedule can vary depending on the employer’s policy.

How do truck drivers get paid?

Truck drivers are commonly paid per mile, but hourly and salaried positions also exist. Additional pay like detention time, layover, and bonuses can supplement their income.

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