Finding the best trucking company to work for could be one of THE most important things you’ll need to do in your truck driving career.
It can also be one of the most challenging decisions you’ll ever make in your professional trucking career.
It’s one of the biggest factors for success in trucking, choosing the right carrier to work for. This is true for both owner operators and company drivers.
How Do I Know Which is the Best Trucking Company?
When you start your research, you’ll soon discover that there’s no shortage of negativity about the various carriers and trucking jobs.
Disgruntled drivers and people with nothing better to do, will leave their comments and opinions on internet websites, sometimes as retribution due to their own negative experiences with companies, or because they have serious shortcomings and well, they need to blame someone for their mistakes.
However, in spite of the heavy criticism you read regularly, there are good trucking companies out there. But it’s up to you to find them.
Take the time to seek out the good carriers. The time you spend asking the recruiter questions and doing your investigation will pay off.
It’s time well invested.
Finding the Best Trucking Company to Work For – The Professional Driver’s Greatest Challenge
We’re here to help you with this.
You must be diligent and do your homework.
If you do, you will find a good trucking company to work for, that will treat you well, pay you fairly and get you as much home time as you need.
Follow these tips to make your career in trucking, the best it can possibly be.
Let’s do this!
1. Big Trucking Companies, The Mega Carriers – Friend or Foe?
Most all my truck driving jobs with carriers were positive, other than one.
I worked for a huge Canadian trucking company as an owner operator. It lasted for only for a couple of months. The driver recruiter had misled me.
I quickly found out I was truly just a number when I called in to my dispatcher each day.
That mindset did NOT work for me. The miles they had promised also weren’t there.
There are big companies which provide paid CDL training with a job afterwards.
Sounds like just the ticket, doesn’t it?
Well, yes, this method of getting CDL training can be a good deal, if you’re prepared to stay with the company after you’re trained for the required time period.
These companies usually offer notoriously cheap wages to the driver during the training period (which can be about one year!)
On the other hand, you can learn the ropes, get some seat time (experience) and learn to drive on their equipment.
Remember, the first year of your professional driving career will be the toughest.
- Use the big trucking companies as you need to.
- Can’t pay for private CDL training? Go to a mega carrier for training, a job and experience. Then get the heck out if things aren’t going your way after you have fulfilled your contractual obligation.
- There are excellent ‘big trucking companies’ which are well managed and treat their drivers well and pay their drivers fairly. Make it your business to find out who they are and check them out if working for a big company suits your individual needs.
Check out our list of BEST TRUCKING COMPANIES TO WORK FOR
2. Medium Sized Trucking Companies To Work For – Can Be a Good Choice
In my truck driving career, I’ve had excellent luck with medium-sized carriers. The employer knew my name, who I was and recognized the caliber of my driving skills. They were a small enough company to recognize the day to day results of my work.
Usually in smaller companies, the owner of the trucking company is accessible and available.
It’s his money that’s paying your salary. He’s usually smart enough to see drivers as assets to his business, as compared to a dispatcher who may just see a driver solely as someone to be used.
I’ve also found that a medium sized company has a higher, better structured driver salary. They know what it takes to attract and retain good drivers.
This can also be true of some smaller carriers.
But sometimes these smaller businesses lack the manpower and resources to replace a driver, when a driver wants time off or a break or just to cover a load you turn down.
Smaller carriers MAY tend to run your harder and longer than you care for.
I personally look for companies with good quality, well maintained fleet trucks and trailers.
This is because I find it can be an indication that safety and maintenance is a priority to them, as it is to me.
Well-maintained trucks and trailers are an indicator of their focus and how they carry on business.
They don’t expect you to be fixing their junk equipment on the side of the road.
BOTTOM LINE? A medium sized carrier can be a good choice.
3. Evaluating a Trucking Company
The first truth you should understand that trucking is first and foremost a business.
The second truth you should understand is that the priority for all trucking companies to turn a profit.
Some carriers make much of their profit, by taking advantage of their drivers. They do not pay their drivers fairly and sometimes even cheat them on their pay.
There are a few simple steps to take to help determine if the carrier you are considering working with, is an honest one.
- The Driver Recruiter – Most trucking companies, particularly the larger ones, have specific staff designated for the recruiting process.
Unfortunately, the large majority of recruiters actually know very little about the trucking company itself, or how the pay system works, or are capable of answering most pertinent questions a potential driver may have.
Some large trucking companies even out source their recruiting to a third party.
Most recruiters are ‘bottom level’ employees who are paid to repeat what they have been instructed to say. Some don’t even do that very well.
When interviewing for a driving position, record the answers to your questions.
IF the recruiter is vague, or doesn’t know an answer, ask to speak to someone higher up the ladder, to ensure the answers you are getting are correct.
- Payroll – Ask to speak to someone of authority in the payroll department. Your goal here is to verify that the payroll information and rate of pay, frequency of pay etc. info you have received from recruiting is correct.
- Drivers – One of the best resources you have to evaluate the carrier you are checking out to work for is an honest one is to talk to other drivers. Speak with drivers who currently are working for the carrier and former employees.
Find out how long most of their drivers have worked there.
Plenty of long term, older drivers are a good indication of a good company because drivers have stayed with them for years.
Ask if they often have payroll issues, how dispatch is to deal with and what the job entails. Find out how well they feel the equipment is maintained by the company.
- Dispatch – Speak directly to the head dispatcher. Find out what dispatch expects of you in the performance of your duties. Compare your findings with the information you receive from the recruiter.
- Manager – Meet with the terminal manage in person. The purpose of this meeting is to clear up any inconsistency in the answers you have received to your questions from the company staff. This also gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself to him or her.
A personal introduction is beneficial to both of you. It can establish a line of communication to deal with any later issues that may arise, should you accept a driving job with the carrier. The higher up their corporate ladder you are able to go, the better.
- Calculating Pay – Finally, it is important to determine before starting with a carrier how you will be able to verify that your pay statements will be correct from the company.
If the company is to pay ‘by the mile’, you need to be able to verify that the paid miles are the correct miles.
Almost all trucking companies that pay by the mile, use the PC Miler program or a similar reputable program.
Some companies rather than print a copy with your pay statement make a computer terminal available in the driver’s room that has PC Miler available do driver may, at any time, check their mileages with their pay statements.
If the carrier has no available way to allow you to verify the miles you are paid are valid, and they’re not willing to help you verify the paid miles, walk away and find another carrier.
Shortening the miles paid to drivers is the most widely used pay scam in the trucking industry.
Don’t be in a big rush when you visit a carrier for an interview. Take your time to look around, ask questions and assess the trucking company.
Your time invested can save you a ton of stress and headaches in future. Assess their credibility and honesty. It’s YOUR driving career.
It’s YOUR job to find an HONEST carrier to work for.
4. Seek Out a Company With Major Freight Lanes in Your Favourite Areas
This factor is pretty high on my personal priority list, when I’m looking for the best trucking company to work for.
I know where I like to run. There are parts of the country I do not wish to drive in. I look for carriers which service those areas on a regular basis.
A company can offer a good pay package running LTL freight to New York City, but if you hate going to New York City, you certainly won’t last long at that driving job.
BOTTOM LINE? Save yourself the trouble and do your research first.
5. Types of Truck Driving Jobs You Prefer – Choose Your Trucking Niche
You will have a preference as to what niche you wish to work in.
- Want to do produce hauling?
- Flatbed truck driving jobs?
- Tanker driving jobs?
- General freight?
- Heavy haul and oversize trucking jobs?
BOTTOM LINE? Know what field of trucking you want to work in.
Be sure you are qualified for the type of driving job you want, and just want you WANT from a job.
Don’t waste your time looking at jobs where you are not qualified for nor have the skills for.
6. Look For Driver Focused Companies
Personally, I look for a carrier who treats their drivers like people and as equals.
I do not tolerate being talked down to or verbally abused, just because I’m a truck driver.
I do not put up with that behaviour at all. No one should.
In the present state in our industry with a worsening trucker shortage, no driver needs to tolerate being disrespected.
Carriers which practice treating their drivers fairly will ensure they are fairly paid and get home time when needed.
Choose some carriers you believe to care about their drivers and check them out.
No point in applying for an OTR driving job you really want, only to find out later that they keep you on the road for 5-6 weeks at a time, and refuse to give you the home time you want.
BOTTOM LINE? Look for these carriers.
They are out there. A driver friendly company is worth its’ weight in gold to a truck driver.
Remember, they need you worse than you need them. Seek out the fair carriers.
5 BONUS Quick Tips – Looking For a Good Trucking Company To Work For
- Don’t jump in too soon. Do your research and shopping first. Then weigh your options. Changing jobs often reflects poorly on your driving record. It also costs you money.
- Don’t believe everything you read. Beware of websites or people promoting a particular trucking company. Chances are, what you are seeing is a paid promotion for the company, even if the article doesn’t look like an ad.
- Know what type of trucking you want to do. Flatbed? Reefer? Tanker? Van? Do your research.
- Ask other truck drivers about their personal experiences with a company. First hand experiences can be invaluable. However, you should consider the reliability of the source.
- Research the company. Are there many drivers who have been with the company for over 10 or 15 years? Is there high turnover? How long has the company been in business? Do they constantly run ads for drivers? Check out their credit score. Information such as this will give you an idea of the credibility and strength of the company.
The Rest Is Up to You
There’s no magical, cut and dried method to find the best trucking company to work for.
No one can tell you what the best trucking company to work for is.
What works for one trucker, may not work for the next.
We all have individual expectations of what makes the best driving truck driving job.
But I can say this.
It’s up to you. Do your homework and you’ll have enough information to make a well thought out decision.
When you’ve made a well thought out decision which job to accept, do give the company a chance and give the driving job enough time to see if it’ll work for you.
There’s absolutely no sense in jumping ship after a week or a month, unless there’s something about the company that really stinks.
But that shouldn’t be the case if you’ve done your due diligence and checked out the company very carefully.
It’s time to take what you’ve learned.
NOW GO GET THAT DRIVING JOB !!