I've been with Knight 1.5 years, no experience prior to that. I have no idea how widespread this practice is in the industry due to my lack of experience, However for the last couple months I've experienced this a number of times, and this did not happen at all the first year I was with Knight.
What happens is that I'll get a preplan that picks up 100-300 miles away from the delivery of my previous load. These empty miles usually get added to the next trip, but sometimes I'll get a 2nd preplan for a local load very close to the pickup on the 1st preplan.
Normally any load under 50 miles is considered local, and pays hourly. However the empty miles get attached to the local load, and Knight will then only pay the empty miles with no hourly pay.
For example, last month I drove 200 empty miles, and picked up local load to be delivered in the same city as the pickup the next morning. Then after delivering that local load, I picked up my next 700 mile long-haul load in the very same city.
Got paid 200 empty miles for the local load, and 700 miles for the next load. No hourly pay. In the absence of the local load, the 200 would have been added to the 700 on the long haul load.
I see why Knight is doing this, if they are going to pay empty miles the bean counters would like to be able to get an extra local load in where they basically pay the driver nothing.
The big problem is that this makes time management and e-log managment more problematic, and if there is any BS on the local load (stuck at shipper or reciever), I might end up missing the long-haul load and wasting a day.
This does not happen too frequently, probably as many locations don't have any available local loads to fit in, but the extra complications from these loads are wasting alot of time when they do happen.
Local loads getting attached to empty miles
With a normal load, your time loading and unloading is a small portion of the time driving, so it is considered part of the trip, just like fueling, etc.
A local load has all of the waiting and working, but few of the driving pay, so they pay it hourly.
But a local load done after a long empty run is the same as if you had loaded it in the previous city, and driven it, except you do the load and unload at the same end.
So while you should ask Dispatch about it, I would expect them to say something similar, and I don't see it as being cheap, it just makes sense
I think it is nice they actually pay local stuff hourly, instead of just paying a flat Extra Stop $20 or the like.
That's a old school trick.
Get the OTR driver to do local deliveries for free
Before we give him a OTR Load with some miles.
That day you wasted with that local load you could
Have delivered your next load a day early and kept
On trucking making some real money.
This trick usually works with new drivers who don't
Know any better or drivers with no backbone.
I don't do these and they know it,so they don't
It's never worth the money.
OP, you're getting hosed. Companies like Knight attempt to make your dismal compensation seem "normal." More than likely you'll leave the profession all together while Knight replaces you with someone who will work for less.
Most OTR driving pays a per mile rate that is understood to cover reasonable loading and unloading, with detention to cover abnormal situations.
As far as work performed and time spent, loading, driving 200 miles, then unloading, is the same as driving 200 miles empty, loading, driving 10 miles, and unloading. (actually could be faster, if there are any hills on the trip.)
I expect their policy is to pay local rates for trips less than a certain distance, say 50 miles. In this case, you hauled 1 load for a 200 mile plus trip, then got a good load from there.
While it is understandable to want more money than you actually earn, this is just a company paying fairly according to their pay policy.
Sure I'd hook a hose up and turn a lever IF it was requested of me, why not.
These OTR guys are getting HOSED out the ying yang.
We made more hauling junk freight for any random bottom feeder 15 years ago in our first year than drivers are topping out with today after a few years on the road.