At A Crossroads

Topic 32733 | Page 1

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Pothole's Comment
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I’ve been driving a year and have learned the hard way that if a recruiter’s lips are moving he’s lying. When I hired on I was pretty much guaranteed to make $100K a year. Well, that didn’t happen. I drove about 136,000 miles this year and will gross about $75,000 as a company driver.

Not a bad salary if I were home everyday, but I usually go out for 2 months and come home for a week. But, my view is that if I’m going to live on the road then there should be a premium paid to do so.

Lately, I find my self waiting a day or two for loads if I don’t get back to the terminal at the right time of the week because of our particular lanes.

I believe that part of the income equation should include being an owner/operator. But I’m really beginning to rethink that as I don’t want to be stuck making truck payments, paying maintenance and other costs then my salary and payroll taxes on about $1.30 a mile. Doesn’t seem like a lot of meat left on the bone for the risk taken.

I’ve heard that if I decide to go with a lease purchase I should do it with a company that doesn’t have company drivers since the idea is they will give the O/O’s the lower paying loads because they make more money off the company drivers.

Can anyone suggest a good company to do a lease purchase through where a driver doesn’t have to worry as much about getting miles?

Also, I’m open to any other advice anyone is willing to share.


A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Steve L.'s Comment
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When I hired on I was pretty much guaranteed to make $100K a year. Well, that didn’t happen. I drove about 136,000 miles this year and will gross about $75,000 as a company driver.

Define “guaranteed.”

Your post says you’re experienced. If that’s your one year, I’d be pretty damned happy. 🤣

What, about the current economy, makes you think leasing, will bring more $$?

Merry Christmas!!!

Pacific Pearl's Comment
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You'd think with all the companies offering leases there would be entire websites run by drivers telling how they made their first million driving as a lease op. Leases benefit the company offering the leases, not the driver. It's just a way to structure the transaction to push all the risk and uncertainty inherent into this business onto the driver and pay as little as possible. You get to pay the truck lease, the insurance and all the other expenses the same as an actual owner op BUT you don't get to use load boards and earn market rates for your loads. You must get your loads from the company leasing you the truck and their rates aren't even close to what you'd get on a load board. The driver gets 100% of the risk and expense of running the truck but the company he leases the truck from takes their slice right off the top. Over the years I've known several drivers who have walked away from leases, most owing money, after they realized the game was rigged. I can't remember a lease op who made more than I did.

So how can you make consistent high earnings in this business?

LTL - Most runs are home daily. As you gain seniority your earnings will increase. Many of the jobs are union and offer paid insurance and retirement.

Dedicated - Usually the same run every week. Consistent miles. You show up to the DC on Monday at 1 pm to a waiting trailer and take it to the next DC over or the one on the other side of the country. You get back late Friday or early Saturday then go back to work on Monday.


Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier


Operating While Intoxicated

BK's Comment
member avatar

Pothole, your situation is very similar to mine. I’ve been driving almost 18 months and my pay this year will be about the same as yours. I would never consider a lease because I like the security of being a company driver and the simplicity of it. Keeping my life simple and stress free is my number 1 goal, and leasing would not help me in that regard. Plus, I get a $.04 per mile raise in March, so my net income is probably higher now than if I messed things up with a lease agreement.

But the pay is only half of the issue. The other half is what we spend. If you live in your truck, like I do, you eliminate so many expenses. No mortgage, property taxes, utility bills, property maintenance, lawn upkeep, snow removal, etc.. I have a car and 4 wheel truck, but rarely need them so I’m not putting up daily commute miles on them and paying for fuel. Just too many savings and advantages to mention. So if you are trying to evaluate your financial condition, don’t forget to factor in what you save by being a company driver and living out of your truck.

Ryan B.'s Comment
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You believed a guarantee of $100k/year? So, either you were greener than green and didn't do your homework on the trucking industry before starting or you got a small bit of experience and bought into a sales pitch that had you sold on greener pastures.

$75,000 for a first year is solid. Let's look at the numbers:

1) Congrats on averaging over 11k miles/month.

2) 136k miles times an average entry mileage rate of $.45/mile is $61,200. So, let's say you made $75,000 with $61,200 coming from miles. That leaves $13,800 in accessorial pay. Only 18.4% of your pay is from accessorial pay. That puts you in the category of a top performer. Guess what you would have to run in order to reach $100k at an entry level per mile rate? Well, with 18.4% accessorial pay on $100k, you would have to run 181,334 miles a year to reach $100k/year. 15,112 miles/month and 3,487 miles/week. That's not realistic, especially in the current trucking industry climate.

3) Exposing yourself to more risk in the hope of more reward is definitely not going to get you where you want to be.

4) There is a way to get to $100k/year as a company driver. Put in your time. Stay incident and ticket free. As the years of a proven driving record increase, your worth as a driver increases. You can then look at many more opportunities with high pay potential that were out-of-reach to you when first starting out.

5) There is no short cut. There is one path and one path only to high pay potential as a truck driver:

Put in your time and prove yourself with a clean record.

Banks's Comment
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I'm home daily and I made about 90k this year. Freight slowing down killed my momentum. I agree with what's already been said here.

People don't consider the cost of being home and commuting. I put a little over 2k into my personal vehicle about a month ago. I spend about 45/week on gas. My utility bills are high because electric everything and it's winter.

If I didn't have a family, I'd choose OTR over home daily and live in my truck. I'd also never lease or try to buy a truck. I was outraged over the 2k price tag for my car, imagine my response to truck maintenance. It wouldn't be pretty.


Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.


Operating While Intoxicated


When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Stevo Reno's Comment
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Agree on the above. I was pretty much staying out 3-6 weeks, then home a few days. Last company before I retired at 62, I was at 60 cents mile (2nd year), where I was able to save up just over $20,000 nest egg to leave the country. If I'd stayed (before this economy crap) I was in line to make at LEASt $80-85k a year, IF my 3000+ miles a week remained constant. But we KNOW, in trucking, NOTHING can remain the same too long, with the way the economy can nosedive at any given moment, like it currently has over the last 9 months or even more for some trucking companies

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