How To Manage Your Payroll For Trucking

trucking payroll

What people outside of the trucking industry don’t know, and those who are inside of it understand too well is that this line of work comes with its own unique set of challenges. 

Not the least of which is payroll. For instance, besides paying a driver per mile, there are several ways to accomplish that.

If you are new to the trucking industry or are about to enter into it, this will be a good place to start. When you approach your payroll, you will have to do it through the eyes of the trucking industry.

Types of Pay

1. Pay hourly or set a salary

In most businesses, you will have the choice to pay hourly wages or a set salary. But trucking isn’t like most businesses. It needs to be noted that truck drivers can certainly be paid by the hour.

This might be an ideal option if your drivers are transporting loads over a short distance. Imagine a cement truck driver who stays within a small geographic area (like a few towns). Another example would be a local delivery driver (packages, food, etc), who frequently loads and unloads trucks. 

It should be noted that this form of payment usually comes with overtime.  This can be highly beneficial if you have a seasonal trucker with a considerable amount of work during certain times of the year. Paying one driver time and a half is more efficient than two drivers at full pay.

2. Pay by the Load

Another type of pay, but usually the least common, is paying by the load. Drivers will get a predetermined, flat rate based on what they are transporting rather than how far they are moving it.

3. Pay by the Mile

CPM – This is where we begin to deviate from traditional payment methods found in other businesses. Paying drivers by the mile—or as it is often called, “Cents Per Mile,” or CPM—is very common inside the trucking industry.

As mentioned above, there are a few different ways that you can run payroll if you choose to pay per mile. 

Practical Mileage – is when the mileage for the route is determined by the most efficient route. 

Actual Miles, by contrast, is when the miles are recorded electronically by the truck. These advanced systems can account for everything that occurs in between points A and B.

HHG miles –  Household Good Miles is the shortest possible distance between the starting and endpoints. Think of it as the distance between one edge of town to the other and not necessarily the actual location. It’s the distance between zip codes rather than the distance between addresses. 

Sliding Pay Scales –  Shorter distances can be paid a higher or lower CPM when compared to drivers doing longer hauls. The specifics of the pay scale would be determined by you and who you want to incentivize.

Additional Pay

Businesses can pay employees—in addition to their base salary or wage—in several ways. Bonuses, commissions, and overtime pay are three such examples.

We’ve already addressed that hourly drivers can earn overtime, and they can certainly earn bonuses as well. Your bonus structure will be built around what you want to impel your employees to act. Maybe you offer bonuses for safety, getting yearly physicals, or reaching a set amount of time with the company. 

Like bonuses, drivers can earn additional money or incentive pay when they carry larger loads or hazardous materials (which usually require specialized training). This can also extend to routes.

For instance, I would think traveling through the Midwest would be significantly easier than driving through New York City. If you’ve ever seen traffic on the George Washington Bridge, then you’ll understand why I am saying this. 

One last, important note: truckers who get paid by the mile might be subject to frequent stops. They could be loading/offloading, perhaps they end up waiting for a delayed shipment. 

Be empathetic to the idea these delays prevent the drivers from logging miles and getting paid. When they have a delayed shipment, they could be held in one location with no other option but to wait. 

Detention and Layover Pay is a means to offset the money your drivers are potentially losing. 

Payroll Tax Withholdings, and Deposits

Apart from paying your drivers, you will be also responsible for withholding taxes and deductions from your employee paystub. These withholdings have to be deposited on-time to both the federal and the state agencies. 

The Most complex tax to handle would be the Withholding Tax. Being a trucker you have to keep your trucking business moving forward. It’s not easy to do the math on your own, as a simple error might lead to a huge penalty. Also, it would be highly troublesome for trucking businesses to do payroll calculations in accordance with the current tax rates.

That’s where the professionally built payroll providers like PayWow can help you keep moving your trucking business forward. PayWow takes the complexity out of your payroll and provides you with a simplified solution.

Payroll Tax Filings

And there are both quarterly and annual tax filing requirements. You are responsible to report the tax form 941 every quarter and file W-2, 1099s with the IRS and must send copies to your drivers and employees at the year-end. 

When deciding how your business is going to manage payroll, consider providers like PayWow who could make taxes and filings easier for you.

PayWow, Your Trucking Payroll Solution

Now that you understand the different ways to pay your trucker drivers, PayWow can help you the rest of the way. Whether you pay your drivers by load, by mile, or by hour, PayWow can run your payroll—accurately and quickly for you.

This includes precise calculations for your employees’ deductions and withholdings. As an employer, you will also benefit from PayWow handling all your federal and state tax payments and filings. 

PayWow provides a payroll solution exclusively for trucking companies and is developed by one of the industry leading e-file providers, ExpressTruckTax.

With PayWow by your side, your drivers can see their pay statements from the road, upload documents, even request time off, and view their W2s or 1099s. The trucking industry is complex; running payroll, however, is as easy as you choose it to be. 

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Contact us over 704.234.6000 or email us your requirements to Our team of experts are ready to help you with meeting your trucking payroll obligations. For more details, Visit

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