Tips on transitioning from OTR to Local


Transitioning to Local Dirver

By: Steve Irick

You’ve made the decision to go local. Now how do you find that job?

Start by determining what it is you want to do because there are a lot of choices and sometimes you may need additional qualifications to do them. Do you have a HAZMAT? Are you licensed for tankers? Doubles/triples? If not, are you capable of and do you want to get these endorsements?

Another thing to consider is your capability to work outside of the driver’s seat. Some local jobs can require very extensive physical labor, while others are strictly drop and hook. Even within one company these demands can vary, so know your physical limitations and each company’s requirements before you start filling out your applications.

There may also be a union presence where you want to work, so consider whether or not you are willing to drive for a union shop. This can be a very personal issue to some drivers, so if it matters, call up the local Teamsters office and ask what companies are represented by the union in your community.

If you’ve been driving for a while and you have a good CSA score, that’s great. Most companies won’t consider a driver that has more than a few blemishes in their record and has at least a year of verifiable driving experience. But if your record is not so good or you are just starting out, expect a job that isn’t going to be as desirable – often that means it will pay less and be more physical. Just remember to take it in stride, because a better opportunity will be available down the road.

Once you’ve determined what you are qualified for and what you want to do then start looking. A quick search on the internet is a great place to start. Various routes are available, but the first step is to see what’s available in your area.

Type “career search engines” and you will get a list including sites such as, and There’s a lot more than just those three. Each one will ask you for your job title – truck driver, and the location you want to search. Don’t bother signing up; the information is easily accessible and best of all its free. Some of the “mom and pop” companies don’t list on these sites, so remember to visit Craigslist too.

If you are having trouble finding what you want with the career search engine, type in “truck driver staffing agencies” and again you will find a list of organizations. These companies get money for their work – from either you or the employer, but they can have resources that were unavailable to your search. They can also be an asset to a person with a tarnished record or less experience.

Don’t overlook the temporary agencies on the driver staffing list; many larger communities with a large trucking presence have organizations that specifically cater to temporary and part time driving jobs. As a new driver, the qualifications can be a little bit more relaxed and you can get great experience doing different jobs and driving a variety of equipment. Permanent positions are often offered as well.

Part 1: Tips on Transitioning From OTR to Local Driver 

So What Kind of Jobs Out There?

Everything comes by way of a truck, and local delivery handles it all:


There are several major freight carriers with depots across the country. Working freight can entail pickup and delivery and LTL line haul. It will be necessary that you have a HAZMAT endorsement at a minimum and doubles/triples are desirable.


Every community has a grocery store as well as a few restaurants and convenience stores. Specialized carriers deliver to all of them. Additionally, there are beer and liquor distributers, soft drink, bakery and snack food providers.


Not only do tankers deliver to gas stations, they also supply Industrial gasses hospitals and production facilities as well as bulk liquids such as tar to road construction sites. Tanker and HAZMAT endorsements are required for these jobs.


UPS and FedEx are the big ones, but there is also the U.S. Post Office and the contractors that run local and regional routes. This can be seasonal, but that also means that certain times of the year will offer temporary opportunities that can lead to full time positions.


Construction suppliers and industrial rental companies are in every community. Roofing materials, hardware, concrete and heavy equipment delivery are only a few areas to seek opportunities driving.

Specialized carriers

Retail outlets can have their own distribution network or will often contract with a major carrier for local delivery.

© 2014 CDLLife | News and Entertainment for Truckers


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