You’ve completed your training, passed your CDL test and you’re ready to go. Now what? Find the job! CDL drivers are in high demand these days and trucking jobs are out there and very plentiful. There are a few things you need to know when looking at jobs and deciding which one is the best fit for you. The locations that you will be driving to vary depending on which type of driving you will be doing. The three most common types are OTR, regional, and local.
OTR (Over-the-Road) Trucking
Over-the-road driving requires the driver to drive all of the lower 48 states. From the east to the west and the south to the north, you will drive over state lines. Generally, drivers that are OTR stay out anywhere from seven (7) days to three (3) months.
- Many companies will give paid days off the longer you are out if you are a company driver. For example, you can accumulate one (1) day paid off per every seven (7) that you are working.
- The pay is very good. Generally, OTR drivers can be paid up to .50 cents a mile and drive about 2,500 to 3,000 miles a week.
- You can travel while making money. If you have always wanted to travel, this is a great way to get paid for something that you already love to do.
- Limited family time. If you have a family at home, you may not be able to see them as often as you want.
- Little time outside of the truck. With driving OTR you may start in California and end in New York throughout the week with little time to get out of the truck and have some downtime.
Regional Trucking Jobs
Regional drivers are confined to one specific area. For example, Northeastern drivers could drive throughout the entire East Coast. These drivers can stay out weekly and come home on the weekend or choose to work the weekends.
- You get more home time. If you live in the region that you work in, you’re normally able to get by your house more often. This makes having a family a little more doable as you get to see them more.
- You get good pay. While the pay is not as high as an OTR driver, regional drivers can still make a good bit of profit.
- You can still travel. You can still see the country and be a regional driver. Many people have not even been out of their state. So driving regionally helps keep you close to home, yet still able to travel.
- Sometimes you might have to run a lot to get good pay. Regional profit depends on the number of loads that you get. While you are close to home, you may not get by your house due to having to run hard.
- The quick turnarounds of the loads can prevent you from being able to get out of the truck much. For people that like to get out and stretch, it might prove to be a little more difficult on those busy weeks.
Local Driving Positions
Local drivers rarely drive more than 250 miles from their home terminals. They usually are company drivers and generally have dedicated routes that they follow.
- Very good home time. Local drivers can be gone in the morning and back home at night with the occasional overnight stay. Many local drivers enjoy weekends and holidays off, leaving plenty of families and social time.
- Time to get out and stretch. Many local jobs give you enough time to stretch those legs every now and then on the routes.
- The pay is not as good compared to OTR and Regional pay. Local drivers do several turns a day and can average about $500- $700 a week, compared to the potential $1200-$2000 a week of the OTR drivers.
- Missing out on family activities. Even though many drivers are home every night, they may have to wake up early to go to work. A driver can get home at 6 pm and have to leave again at 4 am.
For each type of trucking jobs, there are both pros and cons. Drivers know which one will suit them the best. Do not let a potential con scare you away from a great career opportunity.