Regional Truck Driving Jobs
Ok, now regional truck driving jobs are a great option for many people. With regional jobs you are usually out 5 days a week and home on weekends. Now understand something: the freight you will be hauling is usually not predictable. Yes, there will be some customers that your company will have that will provide steady freight from one place to another on a rather predictable schedule.
But the vast majority of it will not be. They will do their best to keep you moving during the week and get you home on time for the weekend but this is not always going to happen. Generally you can expect to get home sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. You will then be home around 36-48 hours. Often times you will bring a load home with you that will deliver on Monday morning, hopefully somewhere fairly close to your home.
Here’s an example:
Say you live in Indianapolis, IN. After driving and making several deliveries all week, you may find yourself delivering a load on Friday morning in Nashville, TN. You then pick up a load Friday afternoon in Nashville that will deliver Monday morning in Chicago, IL. You pick up the load and head for home. You get home 7 a.m. Saturday morning. You live about 3 hours from Chicago, and the load is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday.
You KNOW morning rush hour in Chicago is a nightmare so you want to arrive before 5 a.m. Your best bet is to leave late on Sunday evening, maybe 10 p.m., drive two hours, sleep at a truck stop outside of Chicago, and get up at 4 a.m. to arrive at the customer by 5 a.m. You can get a nap in for a couple of hours at the customer before they begin unloading you. Job well done. You were home from 7 a.m. Saturday until 10 p.m. Sunday. That is very, very typical of your home time schedule on a regional fleet.
As far as pay goes, there isn’t too much difference between over the road trucking and regional anymore. Over the past 10 years or so a lot of warehousing and production companies have divided up the country into regions in order to supply their customers with product faster and to save money on shipping charges. So instead of hauling auto parts say from Texas to Michigan, the factory may relocate part of its production to Indiana. Now the haul is much shorter.
This has opened up many more opportunities for regional driving jobs. The demand for regional jobs has increased significantly, and trucking companies have found a way to attract more drivers with the promise of very good pay and better home time.
The equipment for most regional jobs is about the same as most over the road jobs. You can expect fairly new vehicles that are very well maintained. The level of equipment will vary a bit more in this category though. Some companies will try to push older, less reliable equipment on drivers with the excuse that you will make great money and be home more often.
This is something you must decide for yourself as a truck driver. Test the market. There will be a number of companies in your area that offer the chance to be home each weekend. Sometimes you will have to make a trade-off between higher pay with an older truck or a little less pay with top notch equipment. You should not have to compromise on safety or reliability though.
Ask thoroughly about their maintenance program. Look at the trucks they have parked in the yard. If you see things like loose mirrors, cracked windshields, missing mud flaps, etc then obviously they aren’t spending the time and money on maintenance that they should. I’ll talk more about this later.
As far as job duties goes, there are a few more options when it comes to regional. In some cases you’ll be asked to drive the truck and nothing else. You will simply get paid by the mile like over the road drivers do. Keep in mind that sometimes the miles you get each week can vary tremendously from week to week or from one company to another. Ask about their average weekly mileage per driver. Other jobs will involve a significant amount of unloading. In fact you may make the bulk of your money unloading as opposed to just driving. If you are asked to unload trucks you should be able to make quite a bit more money per week than if you were just driving. This seems obvious, but with some companies it certainly is not the case. Do your homework.
I drove regional for several years. I actually made just as much money as I used to as an over the road driver, and when I took a regional job that involved a significant amount of unloading I made $15,000 per year more than with any over the road job I had ever had.
Regional is also an interesting mix of traveling and home time. You get the fun of living on the road and seeing the sites all week long, but then you get to enjoy your home time each weekend. You will be able to maintain a relationship, a home, a vehicle, and a social life while still making very good money. You wont be traveling as far from home as you would be while driving over the road.
Generally you’ll cover an area within a radius of about 1000 miles from your home. Over the road you may have the opportunity to drive coast to coast. But even an area that large provides an interesting variety of places to go to which keeps it fun. I personally loved over the road when I was younger, but once I decided I wanted a home life regional was the perfect solution. Again, it just depends on what suits you the best.