The trucking industry has a lot of standardization. The rules are the same, the pay scales are similar, the equipment is almost identical. So, how do you choose the right company to drive with?
Well, you have to look a little deeper to really find the differences. What truly separates trucking companies is how they are managed and how they work with and treat their employees. Being treated as “just another warm body” or a “truck number” is no way to develop a relationship or build a career.
Start by Asking the Right Questions
From the outside, a lot of trucking companies can appear to be the same, but internally they are all very different, and not every company will be a good fit for you. In order to understand what the job will be all about, you will need to start by asking the right questions.
# 1 Ask About the Company
Asking questions about the company will give you a lot of insight into their internal operations. Things to consider asking:
- How long have they been in business?
- What are their safety policies?
- Do they have a safety manager?
- What is the equipment maintenance schedule like?
#2 Ask About the Freight, Lanes, and Trips
Asking questions about the freight, lanes, and trips will inform you about the basic requirements you will have to commit to.
- Where does this company run?
- Do they frequently move freight to or from unusual locations?
- What is the average trip length?
- What type of freight do they move?
- What additional responsibilities are expected from you for specialized freight?
# 3 Ask About Driver Relationships with the Company
Asking questions about how you will be treated will let you know if you are part of the team, or just a warm body filling a truck number.
- What is the driver turnover rate?
- How many long-term employees do they have?
- What is the average home time?
- What is the company’s policy on asking for time off for important life moments (Vacations, birthdays, the birth of a child, etc.)?
Where to Ask These Questions
Knowing the right questions to ask is just part of the battle. Knowing who to ask and where to look for answers is the next part.
# 1 Start by Finding the Company Online
The easiest place to start is online. Before you even apply for a job, you should have answers to some, if not all of your questions. Most trucking companies today have a website that will provide you with tons of information. From there, you can dive deeper by checking into their social media accounts.
#2 Talk to Drivers Who Work for the Company
Drivers like to talk, so if you see a driver from a company you are interested in working for, start up a conversation. Just be warned that some drivers can be very negative, no matter how good a company is. They may be having a bad day, or perhaps they just got dispatched on a crummy lane that they hate taking, there are a plethora of reasons for the negativity. We always suggest talking to more than one driver from any company so that you can weigh the good with the bad, the positive with the negative.
# 3 Talk to the Recruiter
Talking to the company recruiter is the place to go to have any remaining questions answered and to fact check what you have discovered from talking to drivers and researching the company online. Now, of course, talking to recruiters needs to come with a warning of caution, as not all recruiters are created equally. Some recruiters are paid based on the number of recruits they bring in. These recruiters will say anything to get you into an interview, even a truck, chances are, once you’ve signed the dotted line, you will never see them again, so it doesn’t matter that they lied. Other recruiters serve dual roles with the organization of a company, these recruiters are the ones you will see on a regular basis because they are part of the dispatch team, or the safety team, or some other internal operations of the company. These recruiters tend to be upfront with you about the details of the job; after all, you will be seeing them again, and no one enjoys dealing with angry truckers.
Last Words of Advise
Most trucking companies today, are great to work with, you just need to focus on finding the right fit for you, because not all companies are the same. Just as you will be interviewed, you must interview your potential employer. Whether you are a company driver or an owner-operator, you need to know what you are looking for in a company and what you want to accomplish in your career. Knowing what your priorities are will help you find a company that will fit your expectations.