Calculate Your Cost-Per-Mile
The most important number you should be able to calculate is the average cost-per-mile. We’ve created a list of each expense to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay and ways you can plug in your own numbers to calculate the cost for your own trucking company.
Learn more about why this number is so important down below.
Want the Help of a Coach?
We’d be happy to help walk you through this calculator or go through anything else you may need help with, when it comes to starting your trucking business. Get in touch!
- (866) 739-2032
Understanding your company’s cost-per-mile is an important tool that will help you make better business decisions in several different areas. After I explain what the cost-per-mile is, I will give you the “so what” and show you how to use it. Your cost-per-mile calculation can be simple or a little bit complicated. The more complicated version will give you greater detail and help you make even better decisions.
When calculating cost-per-mile, I like to say there are three methods:
- A good method
- A better method
- A best method
Let’s take a look at all three by analyzing Haulin Assets’ first three months of operation to determine its three-month cost-per-mile.
During that three-month period, I drove 31,307 total miles.
For the simplest cost-per-mile calculation, you merely divide the total expenses from your profit and loss statement by the total number of miles you drove. You can see the Haulin Assets’ profit and loss statement in the show notes for episode 17 of the podcast. The math is simple: $52,440.37 / 31,307 miles, which equals $1.67 per mile.
This number will get you close to your actual cost-per-mile, but it is not exact. The biggest reasons being:
- Some expenses like lumper fees are not true expenses, because they get reimbursed.
- Some expenses like your full truck payment are not fully accounted for on the profit and loss statement.
If you don’t have a profit and loss statement, shame on you, but you can just add all your expenses together and divide that by the number of miles you ran during the same time period you used for expenses.
If you want a true representation of what your cost-per-mile is, you need to list each expense individually. Here is how I did it:
|Driver pay||$13,885.92/31,307 =||$0.44|
|Truck insurance||$4,979.16/31,307 =||$0.16|
|Worker’s compensation insurance||$414.00/31,307 =||$0.01|
|Truck payment||$1,480.06/31,307 =||$0.05|
|Trailer payment||$896.84/31,307 =||$0.03|
|Maintenance and repairs||$4,167.67/31,307 =||$0.13|
That makes a total cost-per-mile of $1.64. Even though the overall cost-per-mile using this method is only $0.03 different than the good method, over 10,000 or more miles a month, that adds up to several hundred dollars.
Let’s point out some of the things you need to keep in mind.
1. These numbers are three-month totals for May, June, and July.
2. Most of the expenses listed above came directly from the profit and loss statement. Here are the exceptions:
- The truck and trailer payments. Your entire truck and trailer payments don’t show up on the profit and loss statement, only the interest portion does. I account for that by not including any of the interest listed on the profit and loss statement in my cost-per-mile calculation, but I use the actual truck and trailer payment amounts. (Three months totaled together)
- IRP. I did not make an IRP payment during May, June, or July, so I took the total amount I paid for the year and divided it by four to get three months worth.
- Categorized expenses. To simplify things I categorized several expenses together:
- Subscriptions include: my cell phone, pre-pass, and QuickBooks.
- Misc/overhead includes: bank fees, compliance costs, ELD, parking, permits, scale fees, taxes, tolls, and washouts.
Don’t put startup costs into your cost-per-mile calculation, unless you are paying off a loan you used to pay for your startup costs.
If you really want to get the most out of your cost-per-mile for decision making, you need to understand your variable costs versus your fixed costs.
Fixed costs are expenses that don’t really change much based on how many miles you drive. Your truck payment is a perfect example of a fixed cost; it stays the same whether you drive one mile or 20,000 miles in a month. Insurance is another good example.
Variable costs are expenses that vary based on the number of miles you drive. Fuel is a great example; the more miles you go the more fuel you will have to buy. Driver pay and maintenance/repairs are more good examples of variable costs.
You want to add all your fixed costs together and all your variable costs together so you know the total of each. Here are what I considered my fixed costs and variable costs. Note, some of my misc/overhead costs were fixed and some were variable, so I have some in each category.
- Truck insurance
- Worker’s compensation
- Truck payment
- Trailer payment
- Misc/overhead (Bank fees, compliance, ELD, and parking)
- Driver pay
- Maintenance and repairs
- Misc/overhead (Permits, scale fees, tolls, taxes, and washouts)
My total variable costs for Haulin Assets were $1.33, and my fixed costs were $0.31.
There are three key areas where knowing your cost-per-mile will put you ahead of the pack.
1. It will help you know if you should take a load or not.
Because I know my overall number, when a broker gives me a rate for a run, rather than taking a load on a wing and a prayer, I’ll know if I can make money at the price they are willing to pay.
With an overall rate of $1.64, I don’t want too many loads under that rate and I will usually want to be well above that, so I make a profit.
Knowing your variable costs and fixed costs will help you be even more accurate. I use those numbers at times when I take a load into an area where I know the load coming out is going to pay crappy. If I am covering at least my variable costs, I know I am not digging myself into too deep of a hole.
2. It can give you a good idea whether or not you will be able to make money based on current rates brokers and shippers are paying.
This is even before starting your trucking company.
If you are going to run a reefer like I am, you can use this calculator and a lot of my numbers to help figure out what your cost-per-mile will be. You can just swap out your numbers for mine as you start getting an idea what your costs, like what your truck and insurance payments will be.
3. Knowing how much your maintenance and repairs will cost can help you see trouble before it starts causing you lots of problems.
If your normal cost-per-mile in maintenance/repairs is $0.15 and then all of a sudden it starts getting significantly higher, you might either be paying too much at the mechanic shops or you might have a truck that is getting too old and costing too much. It might be time for a new truck.
Also, if you see I am paying around $0.53 per mile for fuel and you are paying $0.58 per mile, a 10 percent increase, you might need to ask yourself if you are buying fuel at the right place or if your fuel card is not getting you very good discounts.
Wow, that is a lot of info. Cost-per-mile is not easy, but understanding it is important and will help you be a better business owner. It’s one of those important changes in your mindset. I recommend calculating your cost-per-mile for your first three months, again after your first six months, and then at the year mark.
After your first year in business you should calculate your cost per mile every six months. Good luck!
Back to Calculator
To calculate your cost per mile, simply divide your total expenses for the month by the total number of miles you have driven that month. For example, if your expenses totaled $3,000 and you drove 10,000 miles, your cost per mile is $0.30.What do most trucking companies charge per mile? ›
The average going rates for trucking per mile are: Average van rates: Between $2.30 and $2.86 per mile on average. Reefer truck rates: $3.19 per mile on average.How do you calculate price per passenger mile? ›
Cost per passenger-mile calculated by: (Capital cost + Operating cost) / passenger-miles.What is the average per mile cost of trucking? ›
Average Motor Carrier Cost Per Mile 2021 (NPTC)
|2021 Cost||% of Total|
|Equipment and maintenance||$0.57||20%|
If you are handling a small delivery operation, you should charge between $0.8 to $1.2 per mile to cover the truck expenses and an additional $0.5 as your profits. You can also estimate delivery jobs based on the vehicle type you want to use and your profits.How do you calculate hauling costs? ›
Trucking rates are calculated on a per-mile basis. First, take the mileage between the starting and destination points. Then divide the total rate by the number of miles between destinations to get your trucking freight rate.What are current freight rates? ›
Flatbed Freight Rates – October 18, 2022
National average flatbed rates are currently $2.89 per mile, $.
To calculate a freight charge you must first determine which weight break to use based on your shipment weight. Then you divide your total weight by 100 to get your number for 'per hundred pound'. Take this number and multiply it by the applicable CWT from the rate scale.How do you calculate miles per mile? ›
Get the miles traveled from the trip odometer, or subtract the original odometer reading from the new one. Divide the miles traveled by the amount of gallons it took to refill the tank.What is a good price per airline mile? ›
With most frequent flyer programs, it is reasonable to expect to get at least 1.4 cents per mile value. The actual value you get from your miles will vary depend upon how the miles are used. Please also see: What are oddball airline miles worth?
For 2022, standard mileage rates for the use of cars, vans, pickups or panel trucks will be: 58.5 cents per mile driven for business use, up 2.5 cents from 2021. This ties the highest safe harbor rate the IRS has ever published, which was a midyear increase in July 2008.How much have freight costs increased in 2022? ›
Year-over-year changes in freight rates in 2022
Shipments, freight moved by companies, increased by 0.4% year over year, according to the report, but declined nearly 2% month over month.
To calculate your minimum cost per mile – this is the rate you need to charge to break even – add up your fixed expenses for the month and divide by the number of miles your trucks drove that month. Do the same for variable costs and salaries and add them together to get your total cost per mile.Why are shipping costs so high 2022? ›
The primary reason for this increase is the world's nemesis: COVID-19. The pandemic has destroyed the global supply chain since 2020. And the recent rise in shipping prices is a direct reflection of that.What are the 4 basic costs of transportation? ›
- Line haul.
- Pickup and delivery.
- Terminal handling.
- Billing and collecting.
Miles' Equation calculates the square root of the area under the response curve, providing us with the GRMS value. - Response Parameters - Miles' Equation can also be used to predict other response parameters such as stress or displacement. For example, the displacement equation for YRMS is given here.How do I calculate gas cost per mile? ›
Gas rate = price per gallon divided by miles per gallon = price per mile.Can Google Maps estimate gas cost? ›
The feature allows people to pick the type of vehicle they're driving -- whether it be gas, diesel, hybrid or electric -- in Maps and get an estimate on how much fuel or energy will be consumed on a given route.How much is 500000 miles worth? ›
It's about the places and adventures that the miles unlock. You can see the world with 500,000 miles or use them for over 20 domestic round-trip flights (Estimated Value: $8K).How much is 80000 miles worth? ›
80,000 United miles are worth about $960. How much are 100,000 United miles worth? 100,000 United miles are worth about $1,200.
75,000 Capital One miles are worth up to $525 when redeemed for Travel. You can also redeem Capital One miles for a statement credit, a check or gift cards, among other options, though the redemption value will likely be lower.› watch ›
How to figure your COST PER MILE TRUCKING
Trucking rates per mile 2022 — Method
Trucking Rates Per Mile
Gas rate = price per gallon divided by miles per gallon = price per mile.How do you calculate cost per? ›
Cost per unit = (Electricity + Rent + Labor + Raw materials) / Number of units.How much is 1000 miles worth of gas? ›
|MPG||$2 per gallon||$4 per gallon|
To calculate this cost, you start with production expenses that include all overheads incurred, materials, staff, and incidentals. You then add to this the shipping costs from the warehouse to the client's premises as well as your profit margin to arrive at landed cost per unit.