Route Types for Professional Truck Drivers

Truck driving route type vary within the industry and are dependent on several factors including interstate trucking requirements, route planning, type of cargo hauled, hazardous materials restrictions, driver experience, etc.

Driving routes most often referenced in the industry include Dedicated Routes, Local Routes, Regional Routes and Over the Road (OTR) Routes.

What is a Dedicated Route?

These routes are most often assigned to specific drivers who drive the assigned routes and no others. Dedicated route drivers are often regional or local and have more opportunities for home time. They are also frequently reserved for drivers who may find OTR routes more difficult.

Dedicated routed driving is similar to local driving; however, routes for dedicated drivers are normally regional as opposed to local and typically require a Class A CDL. Dedicated Driver jobs typically offer routine miles, regular pickup and delivery times, consistent pay, and regular, if not nightly, home time. Like with Local Drivers, companies often look for long-term employees for dedicated routes as they provide perks that drivers with experience seek.

Dedicated drivers normally work a 40-hour work week, although “weekends” may fall in the middle of the week. You’ll most likely drive the same truck daily. With time, you’ll learn shortcuts and other ways to improve efficiency along your routes, making for more timely deliveries and serving as an ambassador for your company.

Dedicated drivers work for a single customer. The customer maybe a carrier, a company, or a customer of a carrier or company.

Schedules or routes seldom vary unless a change results when a company gains or loses a customer along a specific route area. Look to online and print recruiting advertisements as well as company or corporate websites. Also touch base with area terminals and distribution points, as they may be responsible for hiring drivers working from their locations.

What personal characteristics are needed by a Dedicated Route Driver?

A high-level of interaction with customers required Dedicated Drivers to have interpersonal skills that build lasting relationships. Self-motivation and a customer service mentality are necessary to remain on schedule and ensure clients have the products they need before they sell out.

How much money can I earn as a Dedicated Route Driver?

The average driver salary for a dedicated driver, or a driver of “light” trucks, is highly variable and dependent on the company, driver experience, and area of the country being driven. Annual earnings typically range from $25,975 – $58,542, with the average approximately $37,000. Click here for the most updated information.

What payment arrangements are typical for Dedicated Route Drivers?

Normally, by route, although salary or hourly wages may be paid. Some companies may pay by mileage, but with consistent miles driven, the pay should be relatively steady. Raises and bonuses are frequently offered to those drivers who perform efficiently and establish lasting relationships with customers.

What is a Local Route?

Drivers of local routes are normally home every night and have a regular daily route including several stops to offload cargo. Companies servicing restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, and high-volume retail outlets are frequently included in a local route on a daily or semi-regular basis.

Local route drivers are those that typically operate within a specific city, area, or region in a state. Many local drivers are home every night, or at least far more frequently than OTR drivers who remain on the road for weeks at a time.

Many transportation companies hire local drivers, most at the company-specific level; however, if a carrier is involved in distribution through regional or urban terminals, it probably hires local drivers to deliver to various destinations within the terminal’s operating region.

Often, the trucks used for local deliveries do not require a Class A license; rather, drivers are expected to operate “box” trucks, single-unit tankers, or even smaller delivery vehicle. Examples include companies like Best Buy, Sears, and Factory-Furniture Outlet, all of which might make deliveries between distribution centers and retail locations or simply between retail locations. These same companies frequently use the same trucks for home deliveries. Federal Express, UPS, Amazon Prime, and even the U.S. Postal Service use trucks requiring Class B CDLs on a daily basis.

What are pathways to getting a Local Route Driver job?

Some jobs will be advertised in local newspapers or online job boards. Often, the best place to inquire about a driver position will be at the terminal or distributor location nearest you. Also, you should check the corporate website, as these often include opening across the country.

A point to keep in mind is that many companies reward long-time drivers who do not want to retire but do want to work a “semi-regular” week with local driving jobs. This perk and special consideration a driver might receive will frustrate you during your job search; however, at the end of the day, a carrier or company offering this level of respect to long-term drivers is likely one you’d find appealing to work for as a regular driver.

Is there an up-front financial investment required by Local Route Drivers?

No. Never. Ever. No.

What personal characteristics are needed by a Local Route Driver?

Local route driver characteristics are no different than those any other driver needs to exhibit to be successful. As local drivers often follow the same route, however, it is important that be outgoing and establish rapport with everyday customers.

How much money can I earn as a Local Route Driver?

Local or delivery driver salaries range from $19,400 – $54,992 annually. The average earnings for such a driver are $30,617. If a company uses a local driver position as a bonus to a long-term driver, it is likely that pay rates will be higher, as the more experienced driver has earned the privilege.

What pay structures apply to Local Route Drivers?

Local driving jobs more frequently pay an hourly wage or a salary than other types of driving jobs. In some cases, you may be paid by completing deliveries within an assigned route. For instance, you may deliver a specific product to retailers like grocery and convenience stores. The route may take eight hours to complete each day, or if you are more efficient, 7 hours. On the other hand, depending on your working style, it may take 9 or 10 hours a day. In any event, you are paid by the route, so the time involved doesn’t impact your paycheck either way.

What is a Regional Route?

These routes employ drivers who work in specified regions. The region may be as small as a few counties in a state, a state itself, or a number of states. Regions are often divided geographically in typical ways including the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest Northwest, etc.

What is an Over the Road (OTR) Route?

Over the Road (OTR) Routes are likely those that most people with minimal knowledge of the trucking industry envision drivers working. OTR routes can be regional with occasional outside of region assignments or they may be cross-country to make one delivery or several along the way. OTR drivers are paid by the mile and are on the road for much of the year with limited home time.