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Pros and Cons of Over-the-Road and Local Trucking

Choosing Between OTR and Local Driving

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

OTR stands for “over-the-road” and it is just another way of saying long-haul trucking. OTR drivers can go all over the country, and even into Canada, hauling goods.

OTR Advantages

  • 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 will 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.

OTR Disadvantages

  • Away From Home: Long-haul truckers can spend weeks or months away from home. It takes planning and adjusting to make it work with your other obligations.
  • 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 will change week to week.

Local Driving

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.
  • Set Routine: Your route will usually be the same every week. This provides stability in your workplace. 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.


Whether you want to drive OTR or locally, we can help answer your questions and get you your CDL. Contact us to get started in your new career.

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