The Secret of Making Money in Trucking: Keep the Driver's Door Closed

The Secret of Making Money in Trucking: Keep the Driver’s Door Closed

Grind Up The Miles

Over The Road (OTR) drivers get paid by the mile. The more miles you drive, the more money you make. It is easy to drive 10,000 miles in a month. Top producers drive 11,000 miles per month. If you work hard and keep the truck moving, you can occasionally drive 11,500 miles per month. This results in 15% more money in your pocket, over someone that drives the minimum.

If you keep getting out of the truck, you won’t be driving a lot of miles. To make money:

  • Stay in the seat.
  • Keep the truck moving.
  • Keep the driver’s door closed.

There is really no secret as to how to make more money as a driver:

  • Get up earlier.
  • Drive 10–11 hours a day.
  • Make your stops as short as possible.
  • Let dispatch know when you are available.

Avoid distractions and other things that hamper productivity, such as:

  • sitting in the driver’s lounge watching TV
  • playing video games
  • long lunches in the truckstop
  • getting up late
  • stopping early

For hints on keeping food in the truck and making your lunch stops short, please read “Truckers: Meet Peanut Butter and Spam™”.

Not Paid By The Mile

Productivity of non-OTR drivers is measured in other ways:

  • how many deliveries made
  • total number of stops
  • hourly
  • retail sales (Some specialty, vocational drivers operate as part of a retail/display team. Drivers sell/demonstrate product off the back of the truck—e.g., catering trucks, tool trucks, souvenirs, events, games, amusement/carnival rides, etc.)

Even if your pay isn’t directly affected by productivity, management is tracking how much work you accomplish.

Making the Company Money

The company has hired you to make them money. You need to bring the company more value than you are costing the company. Safely delivering cargo is the best way to keep the company making money and the best way for you to keep your job.


Staying in that seat, keeping the truck moving, and keeping the driver’s door closed are your chief methods of making the company money, keeping dispatch happy, and receiving higher pay.

Additional reading:

For notes on a driver’s career path, please read “What CDL jobs Pay the Most?”.

For notes on getting your first driving job, please read ”Aspiring Truckers: How to Get “Six Months of Experience”.

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