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The Local Thread

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6 string rhythm's Comment
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I've thought about starting a thread like this for a while now. Frequently enough, people inquire about local driving opportunities. I thought it'd be a good idea to have a general thread about local truck driving to satisfy these questions, and also to show how many different local driving jobs are available. Most folks are inquiring about local driving jobs because they need to be home more often for their families. Some prospective drivers like the idea of driving for a living but don't like the idea of being OTR. Whatever the reason people pursue local driving jobs, there is a wide variety of gigs available out there, but opportunities will depend on two things: experience and location, more on that later.

I think it would be great to have all our local drivers here contribute by sharing their experiences with their local driving job. I already started a thread a few years ago about my linehaul job in LTL (LTL Trucking: My linehaul job). This new thread could become an ongoing discussion that would provide a wealth of information on local truck driving by having multiple people talk about their own local driving job.

I'd like to provide a framework by defining "local." I think it'd best serve the thread to say that a local driving job is any job that gets you home more often than weekly, or at least a couple times a week besides just a 34 hour reset at home. Obviously, most local driving jobs are home daily, because the driver is driving locally. But there are gray areas where some driving jobs get the driver home every few days, or definitely more frequently than a regional gig that advertises being home on the weekend for just a 34 hour reset. In this regard, "local" becomes more of a term for frequency of home time, rather than a geographical area covered by the driver. A few examples of local jobs would be intermodal , shuttle runs for truckload companies, food service and grocery chain drivers, fuel and tanker drivers, waste management, construction, and LTL jobs like P&D and linehaul.

Some will advocate that it's best for a new driver to go the path of OTR and then to local. I understand the reasons behind this suggestion and agree to a certain degree.

One reason is risk vs. reward, because if a student driver goes through a company-schooling program, they are all but guaranteed a job after successful completion of schooling, and that company has a vested interest in seeing the new driver succeed, which translates into perhaps more grace during the bumpy beginnings of a new truck driver. This route is less risky but takes longer to achieve the end goal of local, if local is the end goal. Alternatively, going directly into a challenging local delivery job after private truck driving school could put a lot of unnecessary stress on a new driver. In this situation, a new local driver could wind up making multiple rookie mistakes, and if terminated, find it difficult to land another driving job with minimal experience that is tainted with accidents or mishaps. OTR in particular is an 'easier' way for a new driver to hone their driving skills, simply because there aren't as many backing situations for the OTR driver when compared to a local delivery driver. I say 'easier,' because no truck driving job is 'easy' to the beginning driver. Even with local driving jobs, there are varying degrees of difficulty. Hopefully some other local drivers will make this clear through their shared experiences.

A more practical reason to get OTR experience first is simply because some local opportunities are only available after a certain amount of verifiable OTR experience. However, nowadays it's becoming more frequent to see as a requirement "verifiable truck driving experience," which means that specific OTR experience is not required (JB Hunt is one example of such a company not specifying OTR experience anymore).

This leads us back to something I mentioned earlier in regard to local job availability - the twofold criteria of location and experience. Between the two, I'd say that location is more important, because the location will dictate the supply and demand of local job opportunity, and this will have an affect on the amount of job experience required for consideration. Some places in the country don't even have local opportunities because of being in a remote area. Other places, like a metropolitan northeast location, might have lots of local driving opportunities for even a student driver without any driving experience.

I was able to land a linehaul job with an LTL company right out of private truck driving school. I intend to stay with this company until I retire - one and done. I already went into detail on my driving experience, now I'm hoping others will join in on this thread. I know Errol does shuttle runs for a large truckload carrier, Daniel B. hauls fuel locally in CA, I believe G-Town gets home a few times a week if not daily, and we also have at least one member here who does intermodal work. I know I'm forgetting some drivers. Hopefully these guys will chime in and help get this thread started.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Having one thread for "Local" type jobs is a good idea. You can always put "local", "shuttle" or "home daily" in the search box. But a new driver may not know of the different possibilities that get them home on a daily or near-daily basis.

I've been driving a shuttle job for Swift for about six months now.

My schedule: Show up by 3pm, get my (slip seat) day cab , hook up to the assigned trailer, and drive from Memphis to near St. Louis (256 miles). At a truck stop, I swap trailers with a driver who comes from Kansas City, KS, and we both go back home. The whole trip takes about 12 hours. I drive the same route every day. Another driver thakes "my" day cab and does the same thing the other half of the day.

We are scheduled four days driving, two days off. A six day schedule with a seven day week means my days off are mostly during the week. I get a full weekend, like "normal people", once in about five weeks.

A benefit from Swift: If my trip is cancelled because there's no trailer going, or the weather is bad, I stay home and Swift pays me $100 (about less than half my daily pay.) Think about this: If an OTR driver has an ice storm between them and their destination, they do the best they can, including shutting down until it's safe to drive. On a shuttle route, If there's an ice storm even on my parther's route, we both can stay home, in our own house for the duration. And get paid (a bit) for it.

Many drivers love the shuttle business. It's constant, scheduled, and you get home daily. The downside is the route is the exact same every day. This can lead to boredom. Also, I have joked that although I get home every day (in bed by 3am, and up around 10am), my wife has a "regular" schedule, so although we sleep in the same bed, we never talk (since one of us is sleeping or working when the other gets up/comes home.)

A big requirement is that shuttle drivers need to live near the terminal. In the trucking business, this isn't common. So if you can live near a terminal you may be taken right after completing school (and your training ride) directly into a shuttle assignment. Also, you might want to "volunteer:, and speak up with your DM if you want shuttle driving.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
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I was doing intermodal here in the Norfolk VA area before I came back to Prime. I agree, most local type jobs are all about location.

I was home most evenings and every weekend. But I found running containers in/out of the port here in Norfolk just wasn't for me. The main problem for me was the other drivers. They would cut you off and be down right nasty to each other. Sorry, I'm not going to put up with that in tight spaces every day.

Now OTR has it's own challenges, but not as stressful all day everyday.

Ernie

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

Matt 's Comment
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I really appreciate this thread and I hope it expands tremendously.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Local, home daily hazmat gas tankers if anyone is looking to get into this line of work feel free to post any questions.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

Errol, you were the first person for me that mentioned shuttle runs in a thread you posted on a few months ago. I never knew truckload companies had these jobs. From everything that you described, you do the exact same thing I do as a linehaul driver.

Ernie and Daniel, thanks for posting and making yourselves available. I'm hoping this thread helps some folks out by giving some exposure to all the different kinds of local trucking jobs out there.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
Jeffry T.'s Comment
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I am a local driver home most nights hauling steel exclusively .I mainly stay with in 75 miles of northwest Indiana but i do travel overnight occasionally never further then Cleveland Ohio. I typically run a 5 axle flatbed with a covered wagon hauling steel coils, sheets, and skidded steel products. Recently I started operating what in my area is called a sled its a 6 axle trailer with 3 axles that lift with the flip of a switch from the cab, this trailer enables me to run an allowable gross weight of 134000 lbs.

Covered Wagon:

A flatbed with specially fitted side plates and curved ribs supporting a tarp covering, commonly referred to as a "side kit". Named for the resemblance to horse-drawn covered wagons.

Joseph D.'s Comment
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I'm home daily (day cab, 48ft reefer). I deliver pallets of milk to grocery stores all around the Chicagoland area. Start time around 3-4am and home between 12-3pm depending on the number of deliveries. I make 5-11 deliveries per day. Trailers are preloaded everyday. I am responsible for unloading the pallets at each stop. Some stops without docks will forklift the product off of the back. Other times we unload the milk crates by hand off of the trailer side door that has a hydraulic lift. Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper/7up and the beer guys run similar operations. I usually drive less then 180 miles per day. No logs required. We operate within 100 air mile radius of the milk plant. Driving jobs like this are a great alternative to OTR as long as you don't mind the physical labor.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Chris L.'s Comment
member avatar

I drove a chip truck for about 8 months. Daycab 4 axle tractors and 4 axle trailers 105,500 gross lbs. Home daily and off on weekends with occasional Saturdays. Good job for being home and was mostly out of the city's congestion. It got a little old for me as I did the same deliveries day after day.

I have recently started doing intermodal about a month into it now. So far it's ok home daily off on weekends, but have to deal with city congestion.

In my experience I prefer regional work, pickup today deliver tomorrow, one pick one drop loads.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

I started with Swift. I went to their school. Because I'm a veteran they required only 13 months of me in order to pay for the schooling. After OTR I drove a yard goat (hostler) at a distribution center. It was a Target DC but Swift had the hostling contract. That lasted four months while I found the local job I have now. I do farm pick-up of raw milk. We use double trailers and haul from farms to creameries. Gross weights are frequently over 100k, 105,500 is legal here. Hours per day can range from 5 to 15. We work 5 on 3 off so we get plenty of work and a long weekend. Home every night and the pay is about 15% more than hostling. While at orientation I met drivers with a vast range of experience. Some were fresh out of school, others had 25 years behind the wheel.

I hear some co-workers bashing Swift and the other giants. Then they tell me all their horror stories about when they learned to drive OTR. When I tell them about the equipment, (my Swift tractor had 70k miles when I got it), the chain policy, (Swift says don't chain except to get off the road), and the support, (Qualcomm is light years ahead of the system we use), their tune changes a little.

Local is a lot different from OTR, but now that I've done OTR, local is a breeze. I'm not sure it would be easy if I hadn't already spent a year learning and making all those mistakes :)

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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