Just A Thought Or Two On Success With Mileage Pay.

Topic 34009 | Page 1

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Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

This was from a discussion I was having with some drivers at work. My thought was that this is why unions need to embrace piecework pay as well as hourly.

This is an age old debate. To be successful being paid by the mile, which is piecework, meaning paid by the unit of measurement, you need to have a deep understanding of piecework and extras. It's really advantageous if you have been a business owner or worked previous jobs that were piecework such as most of the trades.

We're much closer to a micro business than an employee. The TM and DMs are basically your customers. You have to effectively "bill" for every action you can that is not driving. Layover, detention, repairing trailers, double drop and hooks, multiple stops, etc. Some items are included in the rate per mile, such as fueling, pre trip, etc.

Like any customer to business relationship, you have to provide exceptional service and communication to keep the customer and to get more work from them. You also need to justify your additional costs and document them. There is always a balance that needs to be struck. All customers (the company) obviously want to pay out as little as possible, its just business. All of us micro businesses want to bill as much as possible, it too is just business, nothing personal. The art of negotiation comes into play and a balance between the two is achieved.

Hourly is a fixed income. You will only consistently make a certain amount per week. Many prefer this because they don't have to think about the administrative side of things. It's understandable but it limits your earnings.

Piecework on the other hand, while having more risk, rewards those who hustle, those who can negotiate terms. A piecework employee can earn more than their hourly counterpart, but it takes more effort.

In piecework pay systems, the unit is what's important, not the hour, not the time. The more loads completed per week along with accurate billing for additional items will produce very lucrative results. The relationships with your team and the load planners by proxy through your DM are vital, as is completing the max amount of loads possible. I thrive in this environment. I have great relationships with my team, get fed a lot of work, and have no problem negotiating payments for additional work, in fact, I've found Knight to be very generous with them provided that I consistently perform safely and productively.

I ran a successful business for decades prior to driving, there are many similarities to that here, but you really have to have that mindset to succeed being paid by the mile.


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hey Davy,

Amen to all that! I agree with every word.

As a union steelworker, my father earned wages based on piecework. He loved that job.

What I have always loved about mileage pay or piecework is that the goals of the workers and the company are in alignment. It's easier to start with the hourly example first.

With hourly pay, workers feel motivated to do as little work as possible. It's to the worker's advantage to do little or nothing for their pay because they're not being paid for their work but for their time. So why do any work? Just put in the time if you can.

The company, on the other hand, wants the opposite. They would like to squeeze as much work as possible out of the worker each hour to get the best return on their investment.

So, with hourly pay, the workers and management have opposing incentives.

With mileage pay or piece work, the company and the workers make or lose money together. The more work the workers do, the more money they make, and the more money the company makes. So, everyone's interests are aligned, and they work together toward the same goal: maximum productivity.

We've often discussed the relationship between driving a truck and owning a business. In many respects, the job duties of a truck driver align closely with those of a business owner. A driver must account for a wide variety of variables at all times, including traffic, weather, logbook hours, parking, personal responsibilities outside of work, relationships, and more.

It's rare for an employee to have so much responsibility and so much control over their working domain. It's an opportunity to outperform your peers, but it can be overwhelming. Poor decisions will cost the driver and the company money.

We live in a competitive world, and trucking is one of the most competitive industries in America. It's an outstanding career for ambitious people. Motivating drivers to become more efficient with mileage pay has contributed to tremendous gains in efficiency, keeping freight rates low through the years and helping our economy stay strong.


A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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