Long Haul Vs. Short Haul: Which Driving Career Is Right For You?

13 October 2015
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Being a truck driver gives you the freedom to go to work every day without having to sit behind a desk or wear a suit and tie. If you are considering different types of truck driver careers, you may be wondering if long haul or short haul trucking is right for you. Both options exist in the shipping industry, and the option you choose ultimately depends on your preferences. Here are a few things you need to know before you make a decision.

Work-Life Balance

Long-haul truck drivers have a less predictable schedule than short-haul drivers, which can make a big difference if you have a family. Short-haul truckers can usually be sure that they will be home every night, while long-haul truckers can spend days or even weeks on the road. Short-haul truckers or delivery truck drivers often have the option of a fixed schedule with set days off every week. Long-haul drivers can choose their own hours in some cases, but they are typically needed to be on the road whenever there is a load that needs to be delivered. If you have young children, a short-haul driving career might be the better option, at least until the children get a little bit older.

Driving Routes

One of the perks of being a long-haul trucker is that you get to see new places as you drive across country. With advanced GPS systems and electronic displays on your truck's dashboard, it's easier than ever to navigate to exciting locations as you haul a load for a shipping company. Some drivers, however, prefer the predictability of short-haul routes. Driving to the same locations each day makes it easier to find shortcuts and predict what types of obstacles might come your way as you drive. If you prefer a less adventurous but more dependable daily route, choose short-haul trucking. If the excitement of the open road and the unknown call to you, go for a long-haul driving career.

Pay Scales

The pay for truck drivers varies widely. It can depend on the type of license you carry, how much experience you have and what type of driving you do. The pay general freight truck driver is approximately $40,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Light truck or local delivery drivers, on the other hand, average about $29,000 per year. The way you are paid is important as well. Long-haul truck drivers are paid by the mile, while short-haul or local delivery drivers are typically paid by the hour. Choosing a short-haul career means you'll be paid the same amount no matter how far you drive, making the pay more predictable.

Shipping companies have a need for both types of truck drivers, and there are plenty of opportunities to work for a company or on your own as a owner/operator. Take some time to weigh the pros and cons of each type of driving career before making a decision.