Short Haul VS. Long Haul Trucking

Trucking is one of the most popular jobs in the U.S. If you want to pursue a career as a truck driver, you will first have to figure out what type of trucking you want to do. For one, you can either choose short-haul or long-haul trucking. Both of these jobs come with certain benefits and drawbacks. Discover the difference between short haul vs. long haul trucking, as well as the pros and cons of each below.

Time on the Road

The first thing you should consider is how much time you’re willing to spend on the road, far away from your friends and family members. As a trucker, you have to stay organized and plan every trip in advance. Long-distance trucking means that you’ll spend more time away from those you love. Sometimes you’ll get the chance to spend the weekend with your family; other times, you’ll spend weeks and even months on the roads across the US.

Long-haul trucking is paid more, but it requires a lot of personal sacrifices on a daily basis. You’ll spend time away from the people that mean everything to you, and you will often miss important dates and anniversaries. On the other hand, if you opt for short-haul trucking, you will come home to your family every night.

Job Description

The job description is also very different between long-haul and short-haul trucking. As a long-haul trucker, you will spend most of your time on the road, driving long distances across the entire country or region. You will deliver cargo every few days after driving for thousands of miles in one direction. Once you get to the final destination, you will also have to unload everything and complete the paperwork needed to finish the delivery.

On the other hand, short-haul truckers have a much more dynamic workday. Instead of spending days on the road, you will pick up and deliver packages to multiple locations every day. You will drive short distances, and most of your duties will focus on loading, unloading, and coordinating deliveries directly with customers.

Average Pay

The reason why most long-haul truckers choose that job is because of the average pay. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the average pay for long-haul truckers is $43,680 per year. On the other hand, short-haul drivers earn around $38,640 every year.

With that said, the best long-haul truckers earn well over $60,000 a year, which is much more than you can earn with short-haul trucking. Also, some long-haul cargo needs special handling, which is paid even more. In other words, if money is your primary motivation, then you should choose long-haul trucking.


There’s a saying that you need to spend more money to make more money, and that’s also true when it comes to trucking. Short-haul drivers have more free time, and they spend every night at home. As a short-haul driver, you won’t have to think about expenses such as meals, showers, booking hotel rooms, and so on.

However, since long-haul truckers spend most of their time in their rigs, many of them live in their trucks. They don’t spend money on maintaining a residence, so they usually rent an apartment to cut down on their spending.

Quality of Life

The quality of life is one of the most significant differences between short-haul and long-haul trucking. If you’re someone who likes to finish your daily tasks and go home, then short-haul trucking is the best option. Keep in mind that your job description or pay won’t change much in the future.

However, if you want to become an independent trucker, you first have to spend a lot of time on the road until you earn enough money to buy a truck and lower your overall costs. Once you open your agency, you will cut down on your expenses and earn more money in the long run.

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