Is Long Haul or OTR Right for You?

When it comes to new truckers, most have questions about long haul versus short runs. This article from TLC covers the benefits and downsides of both. If you’re looking to enter the trucking industry and have questions, or want to apply, contact us today! Long haul trucking can be hard for the driver and their family–being gone for weeks at a time is difficult for anyone. But there are some unlikely benefits (more time off, time alone, job stability) that make it an alluring position for many new truckers.

Lines of work that require frequent trips away from home aren’t suitable for everyone, and in fact can lead to a strain on families or even affect the driver’s personal health. For some carriers, you are only allowed to request working your way back home after you’ve been on the road for 10 consecutive days.

As such, long haul operators tend to be significantly better compensated. But who is suited for this kind of career? Other than the paycheque, what should you be basing your career choice on?

Being on the road comes with its own expenses. Room and board, food, and other amenities are not typically reimbursed by the operator’s employer. Some long-haul truck drivers choose to reduce expenses and opt for temporary housing in the city they call home. A permanent residence accounts for housing costs that aren’t going to benefit them when they’re working and away from home.

For self-employed drivers who want to keep all the profits of their work and bearing the expenses of running their own operation, insurance and fuel will represent a smaller cost for local truck drivers. Some carriers provide their operators with built-in sleeper compartments in their trucks in order to offer a mobile place to sleep.

Short haul operators usually don’t have to spend two consecutive days on the road to complete one delivery, which makes them available to their families at night after work. Although they are paid less than long haul drivers, there is still quite a bit of skill involved in short haul trips.

Drivers are often required to deliver cargo to warehouses or manufacturing facilities with a loading dock, so backing up is an important skill, especially since making four delivery trips in one day is not all that unusual.

Many of these warehouses are located on smaller, winding roads, so being able to navigate tricky turns will prove useful. Being able to maneuver heavy cargo is also important for short haul truckers, since loading and unloading cargo will be a part of your daily tasks.

If you’re deciding on a long haul or short haul career, there are several areas you need to assess. Where are your strongest skills as a driver? Do you have a family you want to stay near, or are you comfortable being away from home for weeks at a time? Does pay play a big part of your decision? Thoroughly assess the answers to these questions and you’ll have an obvious answer as to what your best choice is!