When people think of truck driving, they often think of over-the-road (OTR) jobs first. These careers involve transporting freight long distances and drivers are generally out for several weeks at a time. Although these types of truckers are in high demand, this is by no means the only path available to you once you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). One option that is appealing to those who want to stay closer to home is local trucking. These jobs involve different responsibilities and a different lifestyle than OTR and may be a good fit depending on your desires and goals.
Local Driving Basics
In general, a local truck driving job involves transporting goods and materials within a range of 200 miles or less. This may be one city, a metro area, or a portion of a state (e.g. Southern Arizona). These jobs may be pick-up and delivery (P&D) for less-than-truckload (LTL) freight companies, delivery truck driving, or transporting a specialized type of shipment. In any case, local drivers are usually home every day and make multiple stops on their routes.
Pros and Cons of Local Trucking
If you are interested in a local route, it’s important to understand the benefits and potential downsides of these types of jobs.
One of the biggest reasons truckers are drawn to local driving is that it will typically allow you to be home every night.
Consistent Days Off
Many local jobs offer weekends off. Even if this is not the case, you will typically have consistent days off each week to spend time with your family.
Routine and Predictability
Local drivers usually have a stable daily routine. Although not everyone prefers this, those who enjoy a more predictable job will generally enjoy local driving over OTR.
Whereas long-haul jobs involve a lot of time on the highway, local driving is typically within cities. Additionally, you will usually be making multiple stops a day, which requires pulling into loading docks or parking at businesses or residences. This type of driving can be more stressful for some drivers, especially those who have less experience maneuvering a large truck.
Lower Pay vs OTR
Although this varies based on the trucking company, local jobs usually pay less than OTR, especially for those who are just starting out. This can sometimes even out as you gain more experience and seniority.
Getting a local job can often be more difficult. The truck driver shortage affects mostly OTR routes, whereas local companies often have many applicants for open positions. In most cases, it is easier to get one of these jobs after you have some long-haul experience under your belt. Some companies also hire from warehouse positions within the company, increasing the difficulty of landing an open position.
The First Step to Local Driving
If you are interested in a local trucking job, the first step is earning your CDL. At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we give our students the skills they need to succeed, whether they are interested in OTR, local, or another type of CDL job.