What Is CPM Trucking?

Are you new in the trucking industry? Do you want to know how much you can make by hauling carriers?

If you have already checked out the various information about this career path, you must have come across the term CPM a lot. Did you know that this will determine how much you get paid each month?

But what is CPM trucking anyway? Why do the websites and forms often put such confusing acronyms without explaining them firsthand?

Before you find things too complicated to handle, we have explained the term in the best way possible. As you can see, there is no plain, straightforward answer to any payment method.

But there is always an easy way to illuminate it to the general public.

What Is CPM

The CPM actually stands for Cents Per Mile. It is one of the best types of base pays in this industry. Some may even recognize it as Pay Per Mile.

Here the trucking company will set a specific amount for every mile the trucker takes. This amount can vary based on the company and the job description. The higher the CPM, the more you get on each mile.

However, there is a trick that many companies use, so you must read the description with the given mileage carefully. As an example, suppose there is a $0.55 CPM job offer.

It seems tempting if you think about all the miles you can cover. However, the company might set average miles coverage on a weekly basis. So, even if the CPM is high with low mileage, the overall payment is somewhat acceptable.

We advise you to aim for high miles to achieve, starting from 2500 per week with a rate of about $0.53. This can aid you to achieve the paycheck you certainly deserve.

Types of CPM

There are different types of CPM calculating systems. This is to ensure all the drivers get their pay accordingly.

Practical Mileage

As the name suggests, being practical indicates efficiency in this option. It starts from the pick-up point to the destination.

The ELD (Electronic Logging Device) is an effective solution to calculate the mileage from the start to the end of the duty. Almost all the carriers have it connected to the engine, which then records duty status in RODs.

This option will allow you to receive the CPM without any foul play since everything is digitally noted.

Actual Miles

The driver notices the mileage change shown in the odometer in actual miles and uses it for the paycheck.

An elaborate explanation is when you begin the drive from the dock to the delivery location – the odometer is proof of how many hours you have worked. This difference will also account for the routes you may have changed or the stops you have taken.

Many companies use the term Hub Mileage instead of Actual Miles, but they are the same system.

HHG Miles

The CPM in HHG (Household Goods) miles is calculated based on the zip codes. Hence, it is also familiar as Zip Code Miles.

Companies that follow this option calculates the routes from the base city post office to the appointed area’s post office zip code. Generally, they pick the paths with the direct/shortest distance possible.

Sliding Scale

This is for the drivers who haul short distances. As you can already understand the CPM system, short-haulers cannot earn much even if the CPM rate is on the average side.

So the trucking companies opened this opportunity for such drivers to have a better income. Therefore, this section indicates a higher pay than the regular haulers’ earnings.

Let us give you an example, short-hauls often range from 1 to 500 miles. Does that allow a driver to earn enough? No, so the CPM rate here will be somewhere near $0.50 or $0.55, depending on the company.

However, the same company will pay a regular long-distance hauler (501+ miles) $0.45, $0.50, or $0.53. The rates will be according to the type of trailer he/she drives.

Average CPM Rate

Average CPM Rate

Now the big question is – how much will you get paid for trucking? One can categorize it by various aspects, but we have used this method to help you understand it better.


The CPM rate may differ according to vehicle type or trucking options. If you drive a refrigerated carrier, the CPM might be somewhere between $0.33/m and $0.43/m. The lowest being the local, whereas higher rates include regional or OTR trucking.

How much you may earn per week will be based on the miles you cover within that period. If you drive flatbed trailers, then the CPM changes on better terms. Considering the trucking types above, you can earn about $0.43/m to $0.46/m in a week. The longer the haul, the higher the earnings will reach.

Now, a tanker driver can earn the most each week if he/she is highly experienced. The CPM ranging should be from $0.48/m to $0.52/m. It will, once again, depend on whether it is local, regional, or OTR trucking.

Besides, there are other incentives given by the companies so that your income boosts.


Pairing up with a partner to works together in trucking offers a slightly different CPM than driving solo. It is usually known as CPM split or Pay-Per-Mile split.

Once again, if we divide the trucking carriers into refrigerated, flatbed, and tankers, you will find it easier to grasp.

Driving a refrigerated freight with a fellow driver/partner means splitting the pay in half. So if the overall amount is $0.52/m, for instance, each will receive $0.26/m.

It is similar to the flatbed and tanker team drivers, except the flatbed carriers might earn lesser than the tanker carriers. Of course, there are bonuses at the end of each week/month if you complete certain mileage.


Some trucking companies often hire independent truckers after a signed contract. Here the CPM is calculated from the revenue per freight earned by the company.

A portion of this profit will be given to you in percentage, in most cases. It will be your CPM, e.g., when the company receives the bill, it will give the driver 72% or 70%.

The percentile depends on whether you are driving a refrigerated, flatbed, or tanker carrier.

Other Base Pay

There are other ways a company pays the truckers, in case you are not aware of it. Below are some examples.


It usually covers the short-ranged hauling or delivery trucking. The Drivers might have to stop frequently and assist at unload/load.


Pay Per Load usually consists of jobs in gas, oil, or agricultural industries. It can also be local delivery. The driver will receive payment after each load, no matter how many miles or hours he/she has driven.

Percentage Pay

When the company receives higher gross revenue in a haul, the driver can pocket a greater percentage of pay. It is often negotiated before the haul, including various surcharges.

Final Words

To conclude, our only advice is to read the concealed pattern of what states in the job description. Merely accepting the work based on higher CPM does not always offer impressive monthly/weekly income.

It is essential in a trucking career path to distinguish yourself in what you drive the best. Then apply to a company that has generous CPM with ideal mile coverage. Lastly, always be safe on the road.

Further Read:

What Is Dry Van Trucking?

What Is FSC in Trucking?

What Are Lumpers in Trucking?


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