Can You Make Good Money As A Local Truck Driver?

Topic 7750 | Page 1

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John W.'s Comment
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Hi, my name is John and I'm considering a career as a truck driver but I want to be home every night. My main concern is the pay. Does the pay scale continue to climb with experience for local class a drivers? Are raises common? How much might someone make working in the San Francisco bay area as a local driver after 1, 2, or 5 years? I appreciate any input.

Heavy C's Comment
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Not sure about that particular area but I can tell you local jobs can provide some of the highest pay in trucking. Be prepared though because most (not all) local jobs will require some heavy lifting in the way of delivering product of some kind. And of course there are linehaul jobs to which are a great option as well that you'll just pull talkers from one removal to another usually. Just stay looking at the job boards for the area and make some calls.


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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Welcome John.

I can't quote you figures from that area, but local trucking jobs can pay a decent wage for sure. As Heavy C mentioned it will often depend on the type of freight you're hauling. Loads that require driver unloading, like Sysco foods for instance, pay really well but require a lot of hard physical work.

Other jobs, like LTL jobs, pay great and don't require any loading or unloading but are tough to land most of the time without some experience. In fact, most local gigs require experience.

Generally when I come across people looking to get into trucking that want to get home every night I tell them to consider other careers first. Trucking is a great career if you love to travel. But the money alone really isn't worth the headaches in my opinion if you don't want to travel. The perks of the travelling lifestyle are what made trucking priceless to me. Without that it's just a difficult, dangerous job with mountains of regulations and scrutiny and no room for advancement. The days, even for local drivers, are usually very long. Remember, a trucker can be on duty up to 70 hours every 8 days. That's almost two full time jobs. And believe me even a lot of local drivers put in 60 hours a week. It can be gruelling.

Now I'm certainly not saying you should avoid trucking. But compare it to a career as an electrician for instance. Most electricians will be home every night unless they're on a travelling crew of some sort. They make good money, they have nice benefits, and they're in demand. So far the same goes for trucking.

But an electrician can advance a lot further than a trucker can in both title and salary. An electrician can also make money working on the side and has the option someday of going into business for himself. A trucker isn't going to make money on the side and almost certainly will never get anywhere in his own trucking business.

So there are more opportunities in many other stay at home careers than there are in trucking. That's just something to think about. I ran OTR for many years and I did some local work for a few years. The travelling lifestyle running OTR was priceless. But being local to me was just another job with long hours and tons of scrutiny that ate up my life and paid a wage but didn't get me very far otherwise.


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


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.


Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

T.W.'s Comment
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Brett good post.

In fact, years ago when I was in telemarketing in Florida ----- a truck driver came in and sat right next to me to take some calls. We were talking on our break and he told me he was a truck driver and quit because he was tired of not being home. He said after going across the U.S. back and forth a few times he couldn't take it anymore. He wanted to be home every night and not drive a truck anymore.

He chose telemarketing over trucking. Not being home every night can be a deal breaker for some.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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