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Over-the-road trucks transport everything from food to electronics to construction equipment. Truckers get their loads from companies and brokers, even other truck companies. Regardless of where the load comes from, the company must set a reasonable rate for the load. When trucking companies are asked to transport a load, they often quote a per-mile rate. For example, if a broker states that she has a load from Miami to Los Angeles, the trucking company will state that they need $2 per mile to run the load, while the shipper will quote an overall price for the load. Trucking rates are calculated on a per-mile basis.
Calculate the mileage between the starting and destination points. For this example, the trip begins in Atlanta and ends in Miami.
Divide the overall rate by the number of miles from the start to destination. The rate in this case is $3,100, and the mileage between Atlanta and Miami is 680 (3,100 / 680 = 4.56). The per-mile rate is $4.56.
Calculate the cost of transporting the load. On average, the truck gets 5.5 mpg. The truck will use 123 gallons of diesel for the 680-mile trip, and $3 is the cost per gallon of diesel (123 x 3 = 369). The transportation cost is $369.
Multiply the truck driver's hourly rate by the length of time needed to complete the trip. The truck averages 60 mph. The 680-mile trip will take about 11 hours (680 / 60 = 11.33). If the driver pay rate is $12 per hour, the cost for the driver is $132 (11 x 12 = 132).
Add the gas cost and the truck driver pay ($369 + $132 = $501).
Divide the total cost of the trip by the number of miles in the trip (501 / 680 = 73.7). The cost of the trip is 74 cents per mile.
Subtract the per-mile cost of the trip from the per-mile rate to arrive at the per-mile profit of the trip ($4.56 - $0.74 = $3.82). The per-mile profit is $3.82.
If the truck is leased, include that bill in the cost of the load along with the costs of insurance and maintenance. There are sites on the Internet to help calculate rates automatically.
Hunter Taylor has been a freelance writer since 2005. She has authored articles for the "The Social Contract Journal," as well as newspapers, legislative magazines and e-newsletters for state legislators and organizations. Taylor holds a Master of Business Administration from Shorter University.