How many miles will a trucker cover in an hour, a day, a week or a month? These are always unknowns. We can estimate miles in a day, but it is still a guess. There are many variables that can affect how many miles a driver can cover in a day, including weather, construction, accidents etc. On the other hand, time is always there: when the truck stops rolling, time still marches on and on and on.
So don't get caught up in the revenue-per-mile game because at no time will it give you a true picture of your revenue needs. Cost per mile is an important factor, but it's only one factor. What a driver really needs to know is his cost per day and his revenue needs per day. And a day is a measurement of time, not miles.
Cost per day? What factors contribute to this number? The first is cost of ownership. To figure this cost you must add any expense category that is paid while the truck is sitting still and the engine is off. The second is cost of operation. These are all the expenses that begin adding up as soon as you go into operation mode. For owner-operators this includes any activity pertaining to driving, such as loading, unloading, PTI, breakdowns, paperwork, talking to dispatch, looking for loads, contacting shippers/receivers, etc.
The third factor is variable costs. These are expenses that aren't consistent with each shipment or load, but that occur from time to time for a specific shipment. Some examples are tolls, special handling, and extra labor for loading or unloading. This list is both shipment and industry specific.
Rather than trying to figure out how many miles you're going to drive in a week, ask yourself how many hours you're going to be paid in a week. Just think about it. If you're stuck in traffic for hours, or the weather slows you down, or you're waiting to unload or load, are you being paid for that time? Not if you're being paid by the mile.
You've only got a finite amount of time in your 8-day/ 70-hour week; you've only got a finite amount of space in which to place tonnage. If you're being paid by the mile, how many miles can you make each day?
Unless you've got a crystal ball, there's no way of knowing. There are too many variables. If you are an owner-operator it's even worse: For each short or no- mileage day you can come up short on making enough revenue to cover those your costs. Proper math formulas don’t lie. To put simply, if your costs aren’t figured into what you receive as compensation for your work, how do you know if you’re making a profit? You may not even be covering your costs.
Each company must create an environment where the driver has enough revenue to cover costs and have a reasonable opportunity to make a profit. It’s the responsibility of drivers to know what their costs are so they can determine how much they need to earn to be profitable.
Contact Timothy Brady,
Author: Driven 4 Profits