Over-the-road (OTR) trucking takes drivers across the country. Unlike other types of jobs, you won’t report to the same location every morning. There will likely be times when you wake up in a different state each day. However, the motor carrier you work for will typically have one or more trucking terminals. If you’re looking for a driving job, it’s important to understand the impact of your distance from the nearest terminal on your life as a trucker. This can help you make an informed decision.
What Is a Trucking Terminal?
Before we can discuss how the location of your company’s trucking terminal(s) affects you, we need to define what a terminal is. This is a location where a motor carrier has offices, maintenance shops, and other facilities for their essential business functions. Many terminals also have amenities for the company’s drivers.
How Often Do Truckers Visit A Terminal?
Different motor carriers have different policies for where drivers can leave their trucks during home time. In many cases, truckers are able to park their vehicles at their residence (if there is space to do so safely) or nearby (with permission from a local business or property owner). In these cases, you wouldn’t necessarily need to park at your closest terminal unless it was nearby and convenient. In other circumstances, companies may require that trucks be left at the closest terminal for home time.
If you aren’t required to leave your truck at a terminal during any home time, you’ll likely need to stop at a company terminal for required maintenance or repairs. There may be other options for where to stop depending on the company, especially if there is urgent maintenance.
All in all, how often you stop at a terminal can vary significantly depending on your company’s policies and your own preferences.
Do You Need To Choose a Company With a Terminal Near You?
There are multiple benefits to choosing a motor carrier with a terminal near your hometown, although this is not a requirement.
Some benefits include:
- Indicates Freight In The Area: When you request home time, your motor carrier will try to find a load that brings you back to the area. If the terminal is near your home, this is a good indication that they have regular freight in the area.
- Makes Parking For Home Time Easier: While you don’t have to park your truck at the terminal for home time, this is often easier and safer than trying to find suitable parking on your own. Many residential areas don’t have space for a semi-truck, and even if you have permission to park in a business’s lot, it may not always be the safest or easiest option.
- Allows You To Get Repairs During Home Time: If you need repairs or maintenance and live near a terminal, you can drop your vehicle off and head home while you wait. Otherwise, you may need to stay in an area away from home while you wait.
Why Do Some Truckers Work For Companies Without Nearby Terminals?
Although many truckers prefer working for motor carriers with terminals nearby, others choose to work with companies without terminals in their area. One reason for this may be if a driver lives in a rural area. Another could be if a driver finds a company that matches all their preferences otherwise, but which doesn’t have a terminal nearby. As long as a company is hiring drivers based in your area, you can apply for a job even if there isn’t a terminal near you. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons first.
Earn Your CDL
If you’re interested in starting your trucking career, HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) can help you get started. You can earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks with our program and we offer job placement assistance.