After earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL), there’s a wide range of different jobs that might interest you.
In most cases, over-the-road (OTR) trucking is the first one that comes to mind. It’s what most people think of when they think of CDL jobs. OTR involves longer times on the road, but features the freedom, excitement, and variety that come with this type of career, making it a great fit for CDL school graduates.
However, some new drivers are looking for more predictability. In these cases, less-than-truckload (LTL) might be a better fit. An LTL job has different responsibilities than OTR and if you’re looking for a different way to use your license, you might want to consider this field.
What is LTL Trucking?
OTR truck drivers usually make a range of one to a few stops per haul, traveling long distances to deliver goods and materials. OTR customers usually have full or nearly full truckloads they need transported.
For LTL, customers get the same truck, but only pay for part of the space. This means multiple clients split the cost of an entire trailer space. Drivers bring the freight to terminals and the freight is sorted. It continues to travel between terminals and checkpoints until it reaches its destination.
Types of LTL Jobs
There are two types of jobs under the LTL umbrella.
Linehaul drivers are responsible for taking the freight from terminal to terminal. This is usually the same route every time. The length of the drive varies and some linehaul truckers are home every night whereas others may spend more time out on the road.
Pickup and delivery (P&D) drivers pick up freight from the terminal and take it to the customer, or vice versa. P&D jobs will typically get a driver home nightly and involve a lot of city driving and multiple stops each day.
3 Signs You Should Choose an LTL Job
You Prefer a Reliable Schedule
OTR trucking can be exciting, but part of this excitement is that it is more variable. LTL jobs, whether they are linehaul or P&D, come with more predictability. You will get to know the route(s) you travel and the people you typically interact with. Pay may also be more consistent from week to week, although regional jobs often pay less than OTR overall.
You Want to Stay Close to Home
A P&D job can get you home every night and even longer linehaul routes will usually get you more home time than OTR. If you prefer to stay close to your friends and family, LTL may be a good fit. However, it is important to consider the companies you are interested in and their actual home time policies rather than relying on general trends.
You Don’t Mind Night Driving or City Driving
For linehaul jobs, drivers often need to drive at night. For P&D jobs, you are more likely to drive during the day, but may need to navigate areas with more traffic such as cities. If you are interested in an LTL career, you will need to be comfortable with one or both driving circumstances. Starting with an OTR job may be helpful to get experience if you’re not as confident in these skills.
Start Your Trucking Career
Whether you are interested in LTL, OTR, or another type of CDL job, Phoenix Truck Driving Institute can help you get started. We offer job placement assistance for our graduates and can help you get on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.