Comparison: Assesorial Pay Versus Other Trucker Compensation Types

Posted on March 25, 2022 by D&D Sexton

Are you an OTR or regional trucker considering what pay structure will earn you the most? In this blog, we make a complicated topic a little clearer. This week we’ll be comparing the different types of compensation plans that will earn you the most for the valuable work you do as a trucker!

When looking at the different types of pay available to you, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. For instance, one kind of payment scheme may have the potential to add up to a very high income, but it also may have the greatest amount of risks. Be sure to always assess your needs and personal risk tolerance before choosing which OTR or regional trucking payment plan is right for you.

Per Mile Pay or CPM

Per mile pay or CPM (cents per mile) is a straightforward calculation. As long as your truck is moving, this pay structure often works out just fine. On the other hand, if you’re stuck waiting for a load for a long time, you may find yourself out in the cold. If this is your trucker payment plan, you’ll want to manage your personal finances to give you significant margins. You need to be able to weather it out if there are significant delays. CPM is also often combined with guaranteed pay in order to offer more security.

Guaranteed Pay

Guaranteed pay is a base rate usually combined with another payment type. For instance, if combined with CPM, your guaranteed pay may be $1,000/month, and your number of miles driven will be added above that. That way, in a bad month where you spend too much time in a parked truck, you’ll have the advantage of knowing your bills are still covered.

Percentage of the Load

Percentage of the load trucker pay structure is common among owner-operators. This payment system is a negotiated percentage of the shipping value of the load you’re carrying. Assuming you are carrying valuable freight over short to medium distances, this payment type can add up to large sums.

Accessorial Pay

Accessorial pay is one of the most stable pay structures and over the road trucker can have. This type of pay compensates you for all the work you do, not just the driving. You will be paid for things like:

  • Loading and unloading
  • Tying down tarps
  • Using a forklift
  • After-hours deliveries
  • Tolls
  • & more


Don’t forget to pay attention to the bonuses offered! Decent bonuses can majorly add up over the course of a year, so it’s important not to discount them when comparing offers.


Benefits are also an essential part of your compensation package. Adding up the healthcare benefits and vacation days offered will often change the balance between competing offers.

See D&D Sexton’s benefits package.

Other Payment Concerns: 1099s v. W-2s

Another financial consideration is whether the company you’re considering working for uses 1099s or W-2s. While companies that distribute W-2s and don’t withhold taxes often boast high CPM pay, you may be surprised at the end of the year when you will pay a lot of that back in income tax.

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