Updated September, 2020
When you become a truck driver, a lot of opportunities become available to you. One of the first decisions you will have to make is whether you want to be an OTR driver or a local driver. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of each option will help you to make an informed choice.
OTR Truck Driving
When most people think of truck drivers, they envision OTR trucking. OTR stands for “over-the-road” and it is just another way of saying long-haul trucking. It’s not uncommon for OTR drivers to spend days or even weeks on the road without returning home. OTR drivers can go all over the country, and even into Canada, hauling goods.
- Higher Pay: OTR truck drivers often receive higher salaries than local drivers. The average pay for an OTR driver is $62,000 a year, but it may take time to build up to that.
- Seeing the Country: You will get to visit locations you may not have otherwise been able to see.
- Job Security: OTR truckers will always be needed; Amazon alone shipped over five billion packages in one year.
- Away From Home: Long-haul truckers can spend days or weeks away from home. It takes planning and adjusting to make it work with your other obligations. The time spent away is too much for some, especially those with a spouse and/or children.
- No Set Schedule: OTR truckers are bound to specific laws regarding the amount of driving time they can do in a set period. Therefore, many trucking jobs start at the end of the mandatory rest period, which means your schedule can change week to week.
Local truck drivers haul goods in their own areas, usually for specific stores. As a local driver, you will report to the local hub to pick up the materials, deliver them, and then report back in the evening.
Advantages to Local Driving
- Home Every Night: After a day of driving, you get to turn in your rig and return to your family every night. Local trucking suits individuals with families or those that cannot or do not wish to spend time away from home.
- Set Routine:Your route will usually be the same every week. This provides stability in your workplace and routine. Additionally, you will get to be on friendly terms with the stores on your route because you will be a familiar face.
Disadvantages to Local Driving
- Lower Pay: Local drivers typically do not make as much money as OTR drivers. The average salary for a local truck driver is $45,000 a year, but it will take some time to get there.
- Harder to Find a Job:While truck drivers are always in demand, it’s harder to find local jobs than OTR jobs. Therefore, you may have to wait a bit or do some OTR driving before landing a local gig.
The Best Options
It’s hard for someone to tell you which type of trucking job is best for you. There are multiple factors that go into the decision-making process and what exactly works best for each individual. Some drivers want to be home daily while some like longer times away seeing the country. This is one of the great things about getting your Class A CDL, you get to choose what works best for you.
At United Truck Driving School, we are ready to help you find the best career opportunity. Our Job Placement team will help you along the way as well as seeing the pros and cons of each type of job that presents itself to you. United’s campuses also host visits from some of the nation’s top trucking carriers, as well as local trucking companies. With United Truck Driving School, you will soon be on your way to a great career in trucking!