Local Truck Driver vs. OTR Driver: The Pros and Cons

Which Driving Position is Best for You?

So you are done with your training, excelled in the CDL test, and you are ready to begin your career as a truck driver. The field offers plenty of job opportunities, and among the first decisions you will need to make is choosing whether to work as a local or over-the-road (OTR) driver. Since each of the career paths comes with its distinct pros and cons, you need to understand the drawbacks and benefits associated with each of the two.

Local driver

This group typically comprises of drivers working for a particular company. They mostly work within a specified regular route and usually operate 250 miles within their home terminal.

Pros

  • More home time – If you work in this category, chances are you will be leaving for work in the morning, then join your family again later in the evening.
  • Less time behind the wheel – This opportunity lets you move frequently and take regular breaks from behind the wheel.
  • Set routine – Since you work on the same route each week, you can be sure of stability while also creating familiarity and friendly terms with businesses on your route.

Cons

  • Lower pay – Generally you will make less as a local driver as opposed to when working as an OTR.
  • Possibly fewer job opportunities – Truck drivers may be on demand, but it is harder to find a local gig, especially if you are fresh from training.
  • Loading and offloading – This job may require you to take part in the physical loading and unloading of delivered freight.
  • Relatively longer working hours – You may go back home every night, but most shifts usually begin at 4 in the morning and end at 6.00 pm.

Over the road driver

Here, you may be charged with covering the lower 48 states, but the freight and routes to follow largely depend on your employer. You may work as a regional driver or travel from coast to coast.

Pros

  • Higher Salary – The pay for an OTR driver is relatively higher, and you will enjoy additional financial packages
  • Paid off days – Most employers offer paid days off that correspond with how long you have been away.
  • Travel – Here, you can enjoy traveling and seeing the entire country and earn from it.
  • No-touch freight options – As opposed to a local driver, companies on your delivery schedule usually have their dedicated staff for the job

Cons

  • Less home time – You must be ready to sacrifice your time and spend approximately one day every two weeks with your family
  • Driving hours & Hours of Service – The DOT regulates the number of hours a trucker can drive per day. Working hours per week are also regulated. Truckers must take appropriate time off of driving to avoid being out of compliance and facing fines.

CDL holding truck drivers currently enjoy a job market with loads of opportunities! Depending on your preferences or circumstances, you can choose between the two pre-hire options. If you are ready to begin your career as a truck driver, contact us today for guidance on how you can succeed in the trucking industry! 651-528-8994