Posted July 13, 2020

What's Your Route?

By Grace Tino

It is no secret that trucking is one of the most in-demand jobs in the country. Drivers are in high demand with all sorts of transportation companies, meaning that this is the perfect time to search and even get a little picky with finding the right fit! There is a wide scope of opportunities available to drivers depending on their skillset, lifestyle, preferences, and interest. Even the routes themselves vary between positions. The availability of different length routes is a fantastic aspect of the trucking industry that creates a lot of flexibility for drivers in need of different schedules. Narrowing down what type of driver positions you want to apply to is a key first step in your job hunt; start off by considering what route type (driving distance) is going to be the best fit for you. Finding the position with a route that fits your needs and lifestyle will help you ensure you find a job you love and a company you are proud to work for. There are three main route types a prospective driver is going to come across when searching positions: over-the-road (OTR), regional trucking, and local trucking.

The three driver route types work like tiers, each encompassing a certain general length of route and getting larger with each one. The route type with the least travel distance is local. Local drivers typically work for smaller or regional companies in the transportation, supply chain, or manufacturing industries. Although the exact radius of "local" may vary between companies and positions, local drivers typically remain in-state and often can stay within a single county. Local driver jobs, since they require less travel, are typically on the lower end of the pay scale when it comes to trucking. However, if you prefer to stay close to home and family, or do not like sitting for too long, this position will be a good fit. Local drivers will be getting in and out of the truck more often, due to both the shorter routes as well as the loading/unloading of hauls. You will often be home every night and weekends as well! Whether you are a seasoned trucker looking to slow down and spend more time at home, or a rookie that prefers maximum work-home balance, local driving is a great option.

A regional driver is the middle ground of the three trucking route types. Regional truckers, true to their name, drive in specified regions from their companies. These regions can vary between companies much like local driver routes, but they can indicate anything from a state to a general area, such as the Northeast. Regional drivers should expect longer hours on the road, with home time often weekends after several days on the road. Given the longer time spent on the road, regional truckers will typically earn a greater pay than local drivers. These hauls are often very routine and provide a lot of stability in schedules for drivers. For the driver looking to get a little more pay than local but does not mind spending a few days on the road, this route offers the perfect balance. Note that regional drivers often are paid per mile, so factors such as traffic can affect your pay- keeping to schedule is important to getting the most out of this position.

OTR drivers are the classic cross-country truckers we often envision when thinking of the industry. OTR drivers are literally in it for the long haul. They are responsible for transporting loads across the country in one trip. These trips often require drivers to be on the road for weeks at a time depending on the miles. To compensate for a long time on the road, OTR drivers will then get a period off before the next trip that is a few weeks in a row. Though these trips are the longest out there, OTR drivers are usually the highest paid in the industry. OTR positions offer rookie drivers a great opportunity to start off with competitive pay as well as gain miles of experience. The long trips also allow more freedom to the driver to choose how to break up the driving each day. For the trucker that loves to travel, does not mind being on and off for weeks at a time, and wants to gain miles of experience, long haul routes are a perfect fit.

Local, regional, and OTR driver positions all have their pros and cons; when considering what positions to look for, make a list of what is most important to you. Compare that list to the strengths (and compromises) of each position, and you'll find a lasting and rewarding fit. No matter which route type you choose to focus on, the trucking industry offers a wide array of well-paying positions with respectful companies that offer plenty of benefits. You will spend your days exploring new places, meeting new people, and literally driving the success of the transportation industry across America. JobsInTrucks offers thousands of driver positions for every route out there with top companies in the industry. To get started with a general search of the amazing opportunities JobsInTrucks has to offer, click here. See you on the road!