Truck Business

What to consider when choosing between driving local or OTR

11.20.2019 - 7:04 PM Comments: 0

When it comes to choosing between being a local or OTR driver, truckers need to take a multitude of factors into consideration. 

Whatever your reasoning, finding the right fit for you and your lifestyle is important. Here are a couple of factors that can help you decide which option to go with:

Family Time

Being a local driver or going over the road (OTR) is a decision drivers have to toil with, but at the end of the day, the decision they make is based on one important factor: their families

As an OTR driver, you’ll likely be away from home weeks at a time. While that situation is not ideal for many, it does lend itself to making more money for some.

Being constantly on the road means you’ll miss birthdays, graduations, and other moments, which can be hard for many. Nevertheless, if your family situation calls for greater monetary need, then OTR may well be the best option for you. 

While many drivers prioritize family time over monetary gain, it’s important to remember that not all drivers are in similar situations. Some do have the benefit of not having to worry as much about money, which is why they can afford to have more home time.

There’s nothing wrong with choosing OTR to make more money, especially if you need to do it in order to make ends meet.

Nonetheless, it’s also important to remember to balance your work and life. When you’re on the road for so long, extra effort is necessary to maintain your relationships with children and significant others. 

As a local driver, many of these family issues caused by being on the road are mitigated. By virtue of just being home more, it’s easier to manage relationships with your family. 

Finding the balance between work and life will likely be one of the hardest aspects of going into OTR driving, which local drivers feel less of an effect of. 


Money makes the world go ‘round, which may actually be truer in the trucking industry

There is an abundance of individual examples on either side of people making more money as a local driver or as an OTR driver, so let’s start with a fact.

Pay in trucking varies a lot, as it depends on a driver’s situation. Owner-operators may earn more than company drivers, and local drivers may earn more than someone who’s leased on to a company. 

Because of this variance, along with different pay scales among regions, there really is no concrete way to weigh the differences in pay between being local or OTR.

Nonetheless, according to Truck Drivers Salary, OTR-CDL truck drivers earn the most median pay with salaries averaging $51,158. Of course, that number will change depending on your situation, as stated previously. 

As an OTR driver, you may have the ability to earn more depending on what your per-mile pay is and what kind of freight that you haul. On the other hand, you may be a local driver that found a company with competitive pay and solid over time, which allows you to make a boatload of cash. 

In the end, each driver needs to go through the proper channels and research which situation works for them. 


This factor in choosing between local and OTR is more for those of you who may not have family time as a priority. 

Speaking with drivers, many will tell you that they enjoy/enjoyed the freedom that comes with being on the road for weeks on end. 

Because many drivers have to start driving OTR when their career begins, they get a taste of what the OTR life entails. Many drivers are attracted to the fact they get to travel and see new places, which is why young drivers tend to gravitate towards OTR.

Many end up staying OTR, as it allows them to continue being independent. Nonetheless, once drivers begin to form families, they’re likely to begin finding ways to be home more often, which naturally leads them towards driving locally. 

The excitement that comes with being independent may be nice at first, but after traveling everywhere for so long, many tend to want easier schedules. 

So, what do you think about OTR or local driving? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

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