Regional/Local Routes For New Drivers

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Just Nate's Comment
member avatar

Hello all. I'm looking at getting my class A CDL in January of 2024. I'm trying to consider if a job in this industry is right for me and my family. My girlfriend and I just got engaged and will be planning our wedding for the same year. Considering I am going to be fresh in my marriage, home time is very important to me, as I am sure it is important to all who work in the industry. I've been looking up jobs in the area to see what is available and what I can expect (I live in Columbus Ohio for reference). I know for example that Dollar General has local and regional routes and is openly hiring new drivers. I know that starting out in long haul trucking is often recommended, but is it possible to start your career working local or regional routes? Money is not an issue, so I am not as worried about signing a contract with a company to pay off the cost of the CDL program. Thank you to anyone willing to take the time to answer my question and share your advice; I very much appreciate it.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

Scott's Comment
member avatar

Nathan,

Columbus, OH is a trucking mecca so you're in a good spot. I'm not sure what your financial situation is but you may be able to contact "Ohio Means Jobs" for assistance. If you qualify they may pay for your training so you can not have to work under a contract. OMJ will assist those who need employment or need to get better employment. I understand Roadmaster Drivers School is in Columbus and if you contact them or any drivers school they can help you with the process. It can't hurt to give them a call and see what they can offer. You may be able to take your training on nights or weekends and get your CDL before 2024. You're definitely a faster hire if you have your CDL in-hand.

Wish you the best as a driver (and as a husband). good-luck.gif

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar
You're definitely a faster hire if you have your CDL in-hand.

I'm not trying to totally refute your comment, Scott, but be careful here and consider this if you would... While that may be true with some companies, it is not always the case with every company. Most companies prefer hiring drivers who have gone through their CDL program.

Another thing to consider is that by going through a company sponsored program a driver is guaranteed a job as long as they pass their tests and make it through training.

Just as important, also consider the fact that a company that provides training to a driver has a more vested interest in that driver becoming an asset for the company. Therefore they may be more forgiving when it comes to rookies getting into minor fender-benders.

There are many examples of new drivers joining Trucking Truth whose first topic goes something like, "I earned my CDL but no one will hire me. What can I do?"

I'm not saying it is impossible to earn a CDL through a private school and find a job. We have drivers here who have done just that. Your chances improve if you go through a company sponsored program though.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Papa Pig's Comment
member avatar

Local routes can be hard coming in with some very tight backing. Also you can tend to work longer shifts and 6 days a week. I also agree that company sponsored training might be your way to go. A lot of regional flatbed companies have you home on weekends and also pay to get you a cdl. Maverick/tmc/ for example. Good luck!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

Company Sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar
home time is very important to me

Many local routes will say they'll get you home everyday, but it might barely be for your ten-hour break. I know drivers that'll finish their day back at the terminal and need to be back in the truck ten hours later. Consider the commute home, shower, bed, up in the morning and commute back and suddenly you find your "ten-hour break" felt more like six hours.

Not sure if this is still true, but Schneider used to drive Walmart dedicated out of Washington Courthouse, OH. I did those runs quite often and they were great. Even though I ran into West Virginia stores, the unloading was all done by Walmart employees and I just had to pull barcode stickers. There might be 2-3 stores on one trailer and then it was back to the Distribution Center for the next load.

It's important to know exactly what will be expected of you. When I drove for Schneider, they said the "Regional Driver" position meant you had to go out on Monday, even if you didn't get home until Saturday afternoon. I was an OTR Driver, but had five days off per month. If I didn't get home until Saturday and was supposed to be off for two days, I got Sunday and Monday off, back out Tuesday. Also, they were very flexible with me on when I took that time off.

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
awaiting deletion's Comment
member avatar

Ok, typical doom and gloom about local work. A few things above I agree with, some maybe a little less. I do like the idea of Maverick regional work. It's where I started my career and at the time, they had some nice dedicated work out of Ohio, and they had regional home every weekend there too. May have changed over the years, but it's a great place to start. Now, I did go to a private school and while Maverick was willing to put me on a bus literally two days after passing the road test, driver hiring is slower now and that may no longer be the case-going through their school (if they still have it) would probably be simpler. Two things to think about though, that I never regretted about going to a private school-if I had gone the company school route, I would have had to get the auto restriction off before even applying for something like my current local job (a lot of local is still manual.) That's not a huge deal, but the invaluable part, is my instructors were local to the region, some had driven or were still driving for local outfits-they knew the lay of the land and the best and worst fleets. My current job is with an outfit I'd never heard of, doing a job I never knew needed doing, but was a recommendation from the head instructor who brought up the company as one he'd look at if he were starting over. That recommendation dropped me into the best job I've ever had.

Now, on to the local doom and gloom. Some of it is accurate, get a couple years of driving under your belt before looking for local. Yeah, there are companies that will hire you off the street with a brand new cdl , but those outfits will almost always be the horror shows you'll hear about. You'll start nights, working your seventy every week, driving stuff held together with duct tape. The bottom of the barrel in local work is not good at all for any kind of long term future. It can be done, I've seen it done, but it's a serious risk to your livelihood. A couple years experience though, and while you still can't write your own ticket, it opens up a ton of doors, and doors most guys not in a local field don't even know about. Take my company for example, they won't even return your call with less than two years experience, they don't advertise, heck, this is the outfit I only knew about from my former instructor. And (BY CHOICE), half my terminal does work fourteen hours days five days a week, it's the turn and burn schedule the above posters were talking about. But they also enjoy that 130k a year paycheck. The other half literally works a forty hour week, still makes a living wage, and spends all the time they want with their families. I personally know dozens of local drivers at other companies who work banker's hours-is the paycheck massive? No, but money isn't always the most important thing to these drivers.

Two bits of advice, your driving skills better be on point before taking a local job if you want a long term future in the field. And secondly, don't live hours away from the job. I know, it's not always possible, but a two hour commute on top of even an eight hour day dealing with local traffic will burn you out. (An example of a not so doom and gloomy local job is again my company-decades ago, they realized that a ton a drivers don't prefer to drive hours into a city to work, so they plunked down a terminal in the middle of the boondock's amish country, and another in the heart of the local city-this way, the country boys have a short commute to work as do the city boys.) You've got to network to find opportunities like this though.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

Mast Trucking, based in Millersburg, OH has a trucking school to train drivers. They offer 6 different driving options: Regional with 3 optional regions of Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast. Ohio Local. 5 on and 5 off. Part-time driving. Big Apple (NYC driving). 19 tour (OTR driving with at least 19 days in a row dispatched).

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.

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.

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

We are now owned by Heartland Express, they also own Millis and Smith. Heartland and Millis have many regional routes and a terminal in Columbus. You could check with either of them. They will train you as well.

You could also look at LTL companies, Like ODFL, Central Transport, and others. Many have dock to driver programs. Those would have you home nightly.

CFI is mostly OTR with a great home time policy, however you may be best to look for the most home time.

Good luck to you.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
You could also look at LTL companies, Like ODFL, Central Transport, and others. Many have dock to driver programs. Those would have you home nightly.

It's definitely worth looking into but not likely to yield results at this time. Fed Ex Freight has furloughed drivers due to lack of freight, and Bobcat has mentioned at his terminal for ODFL in Chicagoland there's a severe lack of freight. It may still be beneficial to get in as a dock worker. At SOME of the companies your seniority working the dock would count towards seniority as a driver and in the LTL world seniority is what determines your schedule and route which ultimately determines your paycheck, vacation time and even what your assigned truck is.

I've noticed a huge decrease in LTL trucks pulling doubles at night.

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.

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

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jason T. (JT)'s Comment
member avatar

Hello all. I'm looking at getting my class A CDL in January of 2024. I'm trying to consider if a job in this industry is right for me and my family. My girlfriend and I just got engaged and will be planning our wedding for the same year. Considering I am going to be fresh in my marriage, home time is very important to me, as I am sure it is important to all who work in the industry. I've been looking up jobs in the area to see what is available and what I can expect (I live in Columbus Ohio for reference). I know for example that Dollar General has local and regional routes and is openly hiring new drivers. I know that starting out in long haul trucking is often recommended, but is it possible to start your career working local or regional routes? Money is not an issue, so I am not as worried about signing a contract with a company to pay off the cost of the CDL program. Thank you to anyone willing to take the time to answer my question and share your advice; I very much appreciate it.

Hi Nathan, I'm new too. I got my CDL A only a few weeks ago. Man I thought I was on top of the world. To be honest, why wouldn't you think that with all these advertisements, "get your CDL A, see the world! What a joke. I thought I knew a few people, whom promised me a job. As soon as you say just got out of CDL school, you're like the plague ! Now I'm finding out I have no choice then to go OTR. So that's where I'm at and my girlfriend's having a fit. Between the money we spent for school and getting endorsements, is unbelievable. Now I'm gonna be taking a job, paying .35 a mile. Granted they claim they'll reimburse me for school, which helps. But wow, what a rude awakening. Oh and don't plan on seeing anyone you love for about 3 weeks while you're going through "their training". As far as I'm concerned, I made my bed and now have to sleep in it. I'm excited to be a part of the trucking world. I'm trying different ways to come to terms with it. I know there's a lot of great Truckers out there to meet. I just pray I do my job as well, and be SAFE ! And thank God for Truckingtruth. And good luck to you in your situation. Jason T LI/NY

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

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.

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