Line haul trucking is one of the industry’s most desirable positions. Drivers enjoy competitive line haul driver pay (more on that next), but they also enjoy being on a set route every day. If you have a family or plan on having one in the future, a set route and daily home time can be very desirable.
Line Haul Driver Salary Information
Entering a career in line haul trucking comes with great pay, too. Gathering data from our 3rd-party salary databases, we found the average driver earns $62,562 per year. The salary pay range for these drivers is from $37,000 – $90,000+.
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Most drivers earning the average salary listed above will earn $30/hour in salary.
Keep in mind that pay does depend on the city you’re hauling in. You will earn much more in larger cities and in high-demand areas, such as:
|New York City, NY||$73,000||$6,080||$35|
|San Mateo, CA||$70,800||$5,900||$34|
|Daly City, CA||$69,600||$5,800||$33.5|
Higher wages are attractive points for drivers, but keep in mind that many of these locations have an exceptionally high cost of living. If you live in an area where you’re paid the average salary of $62,500 but the cost of living is much cheaper than NYC, you may have more in your pocket at the end of the week as a result.
Experienced line haul drivers who have been with the fleet for years can earn as much as $43 an hour in their position.
However, just 10% of truckers will reach $81,000 or higher salary as a line haul driver during their career. You will need to be committed and remain with the same fleet for a long time to earn this pay bump.
Line haul drivers are required to travel a set route daily, often to the same cities. You may have daily home time, and you have the opportunity to build relationships with the companies that you routinely deliver to multiple times a week.
You must adhere to the same stringent requirements that all tractor-trailer drivers must meet.
Job responsibilities will include:
- Loading and unloading freight, so you may need to meet stricter hiring requirements
- Route planning and optimization skills to ensure cargo reaches its destination on time
- Paperwork reviewing and signing
- Securing goods so that they make it to their final destination undamaged
You’ll also benefit from being a skilled communicator who reaches out to dispatch when they have issues that they need to solve.
Many truckers that are line haul drivers enter this position because they want to haul for shorter trips and benefit from consistent routes.
Line Haul Driver vs. Long Haul Truck Driver
Line haul and long haul truck drivers are different. The two will be responsible for hauling goods and the pay is different, but the main difference will be the distance in which you haul items.
Long haul drivers are on the road for longer and will:
- Travel longer distances per day
- Stay on the road longer
- Lose daily home time
As a long haul driver, there is a lot of opportunity to make money, but you will have a hectic schedule. You may be on the road for 6 – 7 days or more, and your job will not resemble a 9 to 5 in any sense.
However, for anyone who wants to enjoy a 9-to-5 trucking career, the closest that you can come to is landing a position as a line haul driver.
Line haul drivers can plan out their days and have a better overall home life. Due to the routine route and home time, line haul jobs often receive a lot of applications and are highly sought.
You can become a line haul driver following the same trajectory as any other CDL A holder.
Becoming a Line Haul Driver
The process of becoming a line haul driver is no different from the process of becoming an over-the-road driver. You will need your CDL A license, and you may need to meet other requirements from individual employers.
If you’re considering a career as a line haul driver, you can follow the path below:
Obtain Your Driver’s License
The first step is to get a standard driver’s license (if you haven’t already). Having experience driving a standard motor vehicle will serve you well when training to drive a commercial truck.
Earn Your High School Diploma or GED
Companies that hire long haul drivers typically require their drivers to be at least 21 years of age. Most will require you to have a high school diploma or an equivalent (GED or similar).
Enter Truck Driver Training
The next step is to attend a truck driving school or obtain the training you will need to take the CDL exam. Some carriers offer training for students and may even cover the cost of tuition if you agree to work for them for a year (or however long they require).
Get Your Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP)
During training, you will obtain your CLP, or you may be required to obtain your permit before you start training. In either case, obtaining your permit will be the first step to getting your CDL.
Pass Your CDL Exam to Get Your CDL A
After completing your training, you will be ready to take the CDL exam. Every state has different requirements for its CDL exams.
Some carriers will require line haul drivers to have some experience, so you may need to work OTR or gain experience elsewhere as a driver until you meet the experience requirements.
Line Haul Transportation Jobs
There are many trucking companies offering job opportunities for line haul drivers. Estes, for example, is hiring local drivers across the country. Pay rates range from $24/hour to $33/hour in some locations.
Like other line haul drivers, Estes pays local drivers hourly.
Estes is the largest privately held carrier in North America, and they have been in business for more than 90 years. All drivers enjoy excellent benefits, too, including:
- Paid vacation time
- Medical, dental and vision insurance with premiums as low as $0
- Life and disability insurance
- 401(k) with company match
The benefits offered by a company are often the deciding factor when choosing an employer as a line haul driver.
Benefits Offered in Line Haul Trucking
When working as a line haul driver, you’ll find that most employers offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes:
- Medical, dental and/or vision insurance
- Retirement accounts, such as 401(k)
- Paid time off
Some also offer life and disability insurance, wellness programs, rider programs and other perks that make life on the job more enjoyable.
If you’re interested in a career as a driver, line haul trucking has many advantages. Having a local, set route makes work life more predictable. Being home after your shift or regularly throughout the week helps make life on the road easier if you have a family at home. There are many employment opportunities in this field and opportunities for growth.
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