When most people think of trucking jobs, they think of of over the road, long haul jobs. OTR truckers spend most of their time out on the road traveling across the country, or the world in some cases.
OTR drivers get little home time compared to local drivers, which stay in a particular region.
If you’re considering a career in the trucking industry, you may be wondering whether local or OTR would be the better option for you.
Local vs OTR Trucking
If you have a family or just desire to have more home time, you may automatically assume that a local driving job is the better option. But that may not necessarily be true.
The primary difference between OTR and local trucking jobs is home time. Local drivers are typically home every night. Depending on the company and job, you may be home every other night or every third night.
Local drivers usually drive the same route, or they at least have a predictable route.
OTR drivers typically haul freight across hundreds of miles, and because they’re on a deadline, they often drive at night to avoid traffic. Some OTR drivers haul hazardous materials or gas, or they travel on dangerous routes. These drivers get paid the highest salaries – far more than what a conventional local or OTR driver would make.
Local drivers sometimes start their days very early in the morning and end the day whenever they’re finished with their routes (like UPS drivers during holiday rush). Depending on the company and job, you may be required to work weekends. Food delivery companies, in particular, require weekend shifts.
Local routes usually require multiple stops each day, and most also require you to load and unload the freight.
In many cases, local drivers make less than OTR drivers.
OTR Truck Driving Jobs Benefits
There are many advantages to choosing an OTR trucking position.
Get Paid to Travel
Depending on your employer, you may have the opportunity to travel across the country – and get paid to do it.
Many OTR truckers say the best part of working the job was exploring small towns that people rarely visit, and meeting the friendly locals. Some drivers make lifelong friends on their travels around the country.
While you may not always be able to stop for long, you still get the opportunity to at least see many places people will never see in their lifetime.
Enjoy Peace and Solitude
One of the most attractive aspects of being an OTR driver is enjoying peace and solitude. There’s no boss looking over your shoulder. You’re in control of your work environment. No one is telling you how to do your job “better.”
OTR truckers earn great salaries, with opportunities to earn more as you gain experience. Many truckers start out at $30,000-$35,000 per year. Some earn $40,000 or more starting.
If you’re looking for a great-paying job, OTR trucking is a great place to start.
Local Truck Driving Jobs Benefits
Local truck driving jobs also have their benefits.
Better Work Life Balance
The biggest gripe people have with OTR driving jobs is that you’re never home. For people with families or those who simply want a better work/life balance, being on the road for one to two weeks at a time may become miserable.
With a local driving job, you’re home every night – or every few nights. More home time means you get to spend more time with the kids, or focus on things you enjoy doing outside of work.
If you have a family or goals you want to achieve outside of work, a local trucking job may be the better option for you.
Predictable Schedule and Routine
If you’re the type of person who needs a predictable schedule and routine, a local driving job is the better choice.
Most local drivers follow the same routes every week, which means you’ll know where you’re going and when you’ll be there.
Local drivers enjoy great benefits, including health insurance, life insurance, retirement benefit and even dental and/or vision coverage.
Some companies also offer additional benefits that may interest you.
Many companies are now also offering health and wellness benefits, with gym memberships and nutritional support.
Local and OTR driving jobs both have their benefits. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which one is the right choice for you. If you must have regular home time, choosing a local job is a no-brainer. But if you’re more concerned about making more money and don’t mind being on the road for long periods of time, an OTR position may be the better option.
Why Local Trucking Jobs Are Always In High Demand
Local trucking jobs are in high demand for one reason: people want to spend more time at home.
And many trucking companies are looking for more local drivers because many people would rather work OTR.
Whether you have a family or just want to improve your work-life balance while doing something you love, a local trucking job is a great way to get the career you want without sacrificing the things that are important to you.