Max Kvidera | October 01, 2011

RoadRunner pays by geographic origin, ranging from $1-$1.05 a mile up to $1.80-$1.90, plus fuel surcharge, Pluff says.

Marten has recast its operating model from primarily long-haul to a mix of 40 percent long-haul and 60 percent regional. It now operates with 10 regions and an average length of haul of 630 miles, Norlin says.

Revenue per mile by trailer type

Dry van $1.29 per mile

Flatbed $1.52 per mile

Reefer $1.24 per mile

Large and medium-sized carriers surveyed by the National Transportation Institute report these average pay rates to owner-operators for the 12 months ending in June 2011. Average annual pay and mileage: dry van, $150,630, 116,000 miles; flatbed, $159,834; 104,603 miles; and reefer, $159,030, 127,693 miles.

Health insurance option spreads

Although an increasing number of carriers is offering health insurance plans as a benefit in recruiting independent contractors, the share of the total industry remains small.

Inquiries at TrueNorth Companies about insurance programs from carriers in the first half of the year were double the same period the previous year and sales were up about 20 percent, said Mike Vogel, a vice president. The company serves 90 carriers offering health insurance and related products to contractors.

Because of law that prohibit employers from offering employee benefits to independent contractors, any insurance products for owner-operators must be totally separate from the carrier’s group plan for employee drivers, says Jason Smith, executive vice president of transportation for TrueNorth. A carrier may provide individual products for major medical, limited medical, dental, vision and life insurance to contractors.

Carriers offering individual plans usually lease out to 100 owner-operators or more, Vogel says. “For smaller carriers, it just doesn’t typically make a lot of sense administratively to put a program in place,” he says.

Cost for a major medical plan for a contractor will typically be higher — $500-$750 monthly — because the carrier isn’t contributing to it. A limited medical policy covering pre-existing conditions, doctor’s office visits, minor surgeries and hospital stays might cost one-fourth as much.

FLATBED LEADS PACK Owner-operator net income was stagnant or falling in late 2010 and early 2011, according to averages from clients with owner-operator financial services provider ATBS. Flatbed earnings rose markedly in the second quarter. Because much of that segment’s capacity was wiped out early in the recession, increased demand from governmental stimulus spending and elsewhere produced strong rate increases, says ATBS President Todd Amen.




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