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Why is My Truck Driver Paycheck Late?

February 21st, 2024

Samantha Dwyer

Samantha Dwyer

Samantha joined the Anderson Trucking Family in November of 2012 as a specialized driver manager and managed a fleet of mixed company and contractor drivers. In the spring of 2014, she transitioned to the driver administration department and began working in contractor services. While in contractor services, Samantha familiarized herself with all processes, procedures and information in regards to driver contracts, pay and settlements. She is currently the operations support manager and oversees both the contractor services department as well as the driver settlement department and leads both of her teams to ensure our drivers receive the highest level of service required to help navigate their accounts and settlements on a daily basis.

Did your trucking company pay you later than they were supposed to? Understandably, you’re probably pretty upset. You need that money to cover your expenses, support yourself, and maybe support someone back home. If my check didn’t hit my account on the first and the fifteenth, I’d be a frustrated lady over here too, so I get it.

Maybe your mind is reeling…what does it mean? Is the company in trouble? Will you be without a job soon?

Let’s take a few steps back. There could be a number of reasons you didn’t get paid on time or didn’t get paid at all. 

No matter what’s going through your head, I’m here to help you dive into the issue further so you can get clarity and know where you stand. After all, your finances are a big deal; you need to know if you have to make adjustments to ensure you get paid on time or find another company to drive for. 

As the manager of the settlements team at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), I know exactly why drivers can be paid late sometimes. In this article, I’ll start by listing the reasons you might be paid late (or not at all) at your trucking company and then I’ll provide a tip for resolution. I’ll finish by covering signs of financial trouble within your company. 

By the time you reach the end, you’ll know whether you simply need to make a change to your load paperwork or find a new carrier. 

5 Reasons You Might Have a Late Paycheck in Trucking

If you have a late paycheck, your immediate instinct is probably to get angry or worry that the market has caused your company to be on the verge of financial ruin, but consider these reasons first. 

Reason #1: Incorrect Paperwork 

Delayed payment often comes down to incorrect paperwork. There are a lot of ways paperwork can be filled out or turned in incorrectly. It’s usually an honest mistake (that plenty of drivers make).

For starters, you may have submitted the wrong paperwork for the load you just delivered. Perhaps you submitted paperwork for an old load or the one you’re under right now. You could also submit something you think is a bill of lading (BOL) but it’s actually a weight ticket. 

Some carriers require you to fill out additional, carrier-related forms. These forms aren’t required by the Department of Transportation (DOT). For example, ATS drivers have to fill out an expense form. If they do it incorrectly or don’t fill it out at all, they could be paid late. 

Tips for Resolution: When you’re expecting payment during a specific timeline and you don’t receive it, instead of jumping to conclusions, ask questions, including: 

  • Why wasn’t I paid? 
  • What could have held up my pay? 
  • Did I miss a pay deadline or forget to send in the load paperwork? 


A little self-reflection can help you determine what may have gone wrong. Approach the problem with curiosity rather than animosity; this can help you and the company’s pay team come to a solution sooner. 

Once you notice a late paycheck, your first call should be to your driver manager. They may be able to troubleshoot the problem for you or they’ll direct you to a pay or settlements team. 

To settle the load, your pay department needs all the correct information; if this information is delayed, your pay will be too. For instance, without signatures and dates, the question of whether or not the load was delivered comes into play. Once you correct the details, you’ll get paid soon after. 

Stack of paper clipped paperwork.

Reason #2: Late Paperwork  

During driver orientation, your carrier should outline pay schedules, and, consequently, load paperwork deadlines. You should leave orientation with clear expectations of when you need to have your load paperwork turned in to get paid on time.

Every company has different payment schedules, so you’ll need to become well-versed in yours, as well as your pay frequency. 

Here at ATS, company drivers are paid weekly. They must have their load paperwork in by Sunday night at a set time to be paid for the loads they hauled that week. ATS independent contractors can choose daily or weekly pay. If they don’t meet a deadline, the date they’re settled moves back. 

As you well know, drivers cross the country (and time zones) all the time, so it’s easy to unintentionally turn in paperwork late. ATS is in the Central Time Zone, so when you’re turning in load paperwork, you have to consider that. 

Are you hanging 10 on the beaches of the West Coast? If load paperwork is due by 10 p.m. for next-day pay Central Time, you’ll need to submit it by 8 p.m. your time. Are you getting a history lesson in one of the oldest cities on the East Coast? Remember that you’re probably an hour ahead of the Midwest.

If you didn’t submit your paperwork late, there’s a chance there was some miscommunication regarding settlement frequency. You could have signed up for daily pay but it hasn’t been communicated to your company yet. 

Tips for Resolution: Chances are, if you were paid for a load a day or week later than you thought you’d be, the load paperwork was turned in late. A quick call to your carrier will provide clarity. 

If your paperwork was late because of conflicting time zones, set a reminder for yourself so it doesn’t happen again.

Reason #3: The Load Wasn’t Delivered 

To settle a load, the load obviously has to be delivered first. Without that communication about the load being delivered, the settlement process can’t begin. Most drivers have a computer in their trucks and a way to communicate about picking up and delivering a load. 

Sometimes those computers fail or don’t send the signal that the load was delivered. Or maybe the driver was in a dead zone in the middle of nowhere so the signal got lost in space. We all know that technology sucks sometimes. 

Similarly, in the hundreds of tasks you have to complete each day, it’s pretty easy to forget to communicate you’re empty or finalize a delivery. It happens; we’re all human and forget things from time to time. 

Tips for Resolution: Technology isn’t perfect, just like the humans who created it aren’t perfect. Sometimes there are issues with it that can’t be avoided. If you encounter this issue, give your carrier a call to notify them the load has been delivered. They’ll be able to backdate the delivery to the correct date and time and get you paid as soon as possible. 

Two folders stacked. One is green and says PAYROLL. The other is black and says SALARIES. They sit on a stack of papers near a calculator and magnifying glass.

Reason #4: Internal Issue or Error 

Carriers work with customers and they’re bound by those customers to obtain paperwork with specific details, such as proof of delivery, date of delivery, times, and signatures. With that paperwork, the carrier can bill the customer. 

If any part of that process gets held up — for example, a signature, date, or weight ticket is missing — your carrier may delay your pay. This typically only happens if the customer hasn’t paid their bills and doesn’t have credit built up with the carrier. 

Not all carriers do this. For example, ATS doesn’t withhold pay from our drivers if this occurs. It might be a different story for a smaller, newer carrier though. 

Tips for Resolution: This is usually out of the driver’s hands, but you need to have a conversation with your carrier to talk through it. Your carrier will work to pay you as quickly as possible.

Reason #5: Bank Issues 

If your pay unexpectedly hasn’t come through yet, it could be an issue with your bank. There’s a chance that the account or routing number for direct deposit was transposed — whether a form was filled incorrectly or someone on the pay team mixed up the numbers. 

If this happens, your funds are probably in limbo. They’ve been sent but not received. 

There may also be a delay with your bank depending on the day you’re paid. If you’re settled on a Friday afternoon with direct deposit, it might not hit your account until the next business day. If the following Monday is a bank holiday, it may not go through until Tuesday. 

Tips for Resolution: A quick phone call to your driver manager and the pay department will resolve this issue with an incorrect routing or account number. 

If the money is pending in your account, it’s just a matter of waiting a day or two. Be sure you talk to your bank to understand if they process direct deposits on the weekend.

Is Your Trucking Company Struggling Financially?

If you’ve worked through all the possible scenarios above, as a last resort, you may consider your company is going through financial difficulties. 

If you call your carrier and they say they simply don’t have the funds to pay you, that would be pretty concerning. Immediately, you’ll probably want to start looking for other carriers to drive for. 

There are state laws in place that require companies to pay their employees and contractors within a specific timeframe. Review your state’s paycheck laws and review your contract or employment papers with the trucking company. 

Then work with that company to ensure you have a conversation and understand when they’re going to pay you. It certainly won’t be a fun conversation to have, but it’s important. 

In a down market, unfortunately, these conversations are happening a lot more frequently. Smaller carriers are finding it tough to operate with increasing operating costs and decreased freight rates. 

There’s a healthy limit on giving your carrier the benefit of the doubt, but nothing is stopping you from being your own advocate. Call with good questions in a level mindset and get to the bottom of what the pay issue is. 

The key here is to have an open mindset and to come at the issue calmly. Fixing the problem will take longer if there’s any sort of yelling, threats, or otherwise rude behavior. Trucking companies are made up of humans — none of whom are perfect. Again, coming at the problem with curiosity rather than animosity or anger will make a solution come faster. 

Related: 4 Factors Influencing Pay in 2024

I’m a fan of the three-strike rule. People make mistakes, so it’s a good idea to give your pay department the benefit of the doubt the first time a pay delay happens. But if you continuously aren’t paid on time and a solution isn’t immediately provided to you in a way that helps you satisfy your financial responsibilities, that’s cause for immediate concern. 

I’m not implying late pay or errors three times should send you running to another carrier, but if they simply aren’t paying you, that’s a sign of financial distress you can’t ignore. Coupled with failure to fix equipment or maintain facilities, you may be working for a company in financial duress. 

It’s a good idea to have a healthy driver community within the carrier you’re driving for. If you hear a lot of confusion and concern about not being paid on time and you’re also having the problem, it may reinforce your concern. 

A date on the calendar circled that says "Pay Day" in purple. A stack of $100 bills sits nearby.

Drive for a Financially Stable Company

Experiencing delayed or late payments from your trucking company can understandably evoke frustration and concern. However, before jumping to conclusions about the company's financial stability or your job security, it's crucial to consider various potential reasons for the delay.

Factors such as incorrect paperwork, late submission of load documentation, delivery issues, internal errors within the company, or even bank-related issues could be contributing to the delay in payment. Take a proactive approach by communicating with your carrier, clarifying expectations, and addressing any issues quickly.

While occasional delays may occur due to genuine mistakes or unforeseen circumstances, unresolved pay issues could signal underlying financial troubles within the company. In such cases, it's vital to advocate for yourself and understand your rights under state laws.

By staying informed, proactive, and mindful of any red flags, you can navigate payment challenges effectively and make informed decisions regarding your pay and overall trucking career. 

If you’ve begun your search for a stable company after reading this article, review the five signs a trucking company is financially stable.

You can also check out the best trucking companies to work for in the current market.

ATS is a debt-free, family-owned company that’s been in operation since 1955. We have diversified freight to keep you moving even when one market is moving slowly. Check out our job openings in your area.