Dedicated Lanes vs. OTR Trucking

As I try a dedicated route for the first time in my truck driving career, I'm finding myself remembering my travels across the continental United States and the fun of cruising down the highways from the East coast to the West coast. The excitement of OTR truck driving certainly has its benefits as well: traveling through beautiful areas out West, enjoying a break from winter down South, and constantly moving and seeing areas you have never seen before.

I'm just getting adjusted to running a dedicated route, but I can see the advantages it has compared to OTR trucking already. In the rest of this blog, I would like to discuss the benefits of both types of truck driving jobs.

It’s Your Choice

When I first graduated from truck driving school, I had a veteran trucker and safety employee tell all of us "newbies" that we would have to make a choice once we got our year in. He told us trucking is full of choices and those choices would directly impact our paycheck. For example, if home time is the most important thing to you and you and want to be home 2 days a week, it will certainly affect your paycheck. You are basically giving up one day a week for the entire year. At 500 to 600 miles a day, the money can really add up, or subtract. It's a choice all truck drivers will make at some point in their career.

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OTR Trucking Jobs

In the OTR (over-the-road) world, you can run 3 weeks to 3 months at a time if you so choose. When I was flatbedding, I once spent 2 months on the road, took 4 days off, and then promptly spent 3 months on the road. So in 5 months, I had 4 days off. It was tough, don't get me wrong, but wow did the money roll in.

We have all seen the advertisements about how you can make up to $50,000 in your first year trucking. I did. But I also spent a majority of my time rolling down the highways, learning my new craft. I had a lot of fun ou there. Even at the lower cents per mile the first year, I did just fine. I took a job one time that paid me quite a bit more per mile than any other company I had trucked for, but they couldn't keep me running. I have found the secret to my success has always been the balance between cents per mile and the ability of a company to keep me running.

There is nothing better than crossing the United States in the Spring. The OTR men and women can tell you this. The blooming in Georgia on a sunny warm spring day near Augusta will open your eyes and make you wonder if there is any other place in the U.S.A. more beautiful. Then you head west on I-70, hit Denver, cross the Vail Pass and once again you wonder if there could be anything more beautiful. It's a wonderful world out there.

Dedicated Trucking Jobs

I will have to get used to the dedicated route I took with PAM Transport. It's definitely going to be a change comparted to what I am used to with OTR trucking (which is almost all of what I've done in the past). While I love the open road and traveling all over, I know that dedicated trucking has its advantages over OTR driving for some drivers. Maybe the simplest benefit to dedicated trucking is just that: you're route and pickups are dedicated. They run on a regular schedule. You also get to become familiar with the shippers and receivers, and you get to know your route and traffic flows. Things become easier as you get more in tune with the entire route. You also get more home and family time on a more consistent basis.

As I begin my own adventure on this dedicated route, I hope you are also enjoying your runs, whether they are dedicated, OTR, Flatbed, Intermodal or Reefer. Be safe, and have fun out there!

About The Author

Wayne got his start in trucking by going through the Driver Solutions company paid CDL training program back in 2012.  Since then, he has traveled over 300,000 safe miles and counting! After seeing his photos and reading about his adventures, we knew we had to share them on our blog. Join Wayne on his journey for a first hand look at life on the road!

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