When most people think of the trucking industry, they envision tractor-trailers and drivers who are out on the road for weeks at a time. But there’s more to the industry than just OTR driving. Straight trucks offer potential drivers the opportunity to get into a driving career without having to worry about getting Class A CDL.
What is a Straight Truck?
Encyclopedia Britannica describes a straight truck as a truck “in which all axles are attached to a single frame.” Simply put, the truck needs to have cab and a body that consists of one unit. The vehicle must be 26’ in length or less.
Examples of straight trucks include waste disposal trucks, delivery vehicles and city buses.
To drive a straight truck, you only need to have a special Class B CDL. In some cases, you don’t even need a Class B license.
Straight Truck Jobs Benefits
Driving a straight truck offers several benefits, and there are many reasons why drivers like this specialty versus a traditional OTR path.
#1 – Daily Home Time
One of the main benefits to driving a straight truck is that drivers are home every day. Maybe you love the idea of driving for a living, but you still want to sleep in your own bed at night. If you have a family, you may not want to be on the road for days or weeks at a time.
Drivers no longer have to “pay their dues” in the long-haul lifestyle before moving on to a job that gives you daily home time. Driving a straight truck allows you to enjoy this perk right from day one.
With long-haul drivers, home time varies greatly from one carrier to the next and from one season to the next. But many drivers stay out on the road for anywhere from 2-4 weeks at a time.
#2 – No Class A CDL Required
Many trucker jobs require you to hold a Class A CDL, but not a straight truck one. Depending on the truck and the job, you may not even need a CDL. And there are many jobs that only require a Class B CDL.
#3 – Customer Interaction
Long-haul truckers may enjoy freedom on the open road, but the lifestyle make you feel isolated.
Straight truck drivers enjoy a more balanced work life.
They enjoy independence on the road, but they also interact with customers, terminal workers and businesses throughout the day. For some of us this may not sound great but you might be surprised how many drivers like to interface with the public each day.
#4 – Growth Potential
Many straight truck driving jobs involve delivering over-sized items, like appliances and furniture. With more people becoming comfortable making these larger purchases online and paying for delivery, the industry is projected to see growth.
#5 – Employee Benefits
While many employers pay by the hour, straight truck drivers still enjoy benefits, like medical insurance and 401(k). Some also offer additional perks, such as bonuses for safe driving.
Straight Truck Driver Pay
Driving a straight truck offers attractive benefits, but is the pay worth it?
According to PayScale, the average straight truck driver earns:
- $16.16 per hour
- $24,638-$49,108 per year
Drivers are typically paid hourly rather than by mile. And many earn quite a bit in overtime.
Job listings on ZipRecruiter also give us an idea of how much these drivers earn.
- $16/hour in Charlotte, NC
- $17-$19/hour in Austin, TX
- $15-$17/hour in Aurora, CO
- $1,500 weekly in Union City, CA
- $18-$21/hour in Patterson, CA
- $44,000-$52,000/year in Oaks, PA
ZipRecruiter also estimates that the average annual pay for straight truck drivers in the U.S. is $37,455 per year. On the high end, drivers may earn $53,500 per year. On the low end, drivers may earn $26,000 per year.
ZipRecruiter says the job market in this industry is very active, which indicates that there are plenty of jobs and, hopefully, growth will continue.
We regularly get questions about how to drive in the transportation industry but still have a “normal” home life. In our experience, this is the best option for those looking for that balance.