When you first get your Class 1 (or CDL equivalent), and start looking for your first trucking job, you will likely be searching the internet for some opinions of various trucking companies. What you’ll find is a lot negativity about almost every company. Actually this scenario can play out at any point of your trucking career. You might be left asking, “Are they all really that bad?”
The short answer is, no. Most are pretty decent. Bad companies don’t stay in business very long in this era of the transportation industry. This is a big industry with plenty of opportunities. Every trucking company has their area of expertise and operates in their own way in order to best serve their clients. Your goal should be to find a good fit for you.
Even if you think you’ve made your decision interview with all companies who are interested. Ask questions about the company and their operations. You need to know how you’ll be running (trip length, regular lanes, any type of specialty freight etc), how you’ll be paid, quality of equipment, safety policies, etc. If you don’t know these things you may be getting into a position that isn’t right for you at this time in your career. Quality drivers know what they’re getting into. It will seem odd if you don’t ask questions.
If you see some of their drivers at a truck stop, talk to them. Check the companies out online too. Companies who can attract experienced veteran drivers and can keep drivers for many years are probably treating their drivers well.
Take note of the condition of their equipment if you see them on the road. Late model company trucks, trailers in good condition, Owner Operators, and clean trucks are good indications that the company takes care of their equipment. This goes deeper than just what you’ll be driving. Companies who invest in quality gear and pay attention to detail are probably well run and on the ball in all aspects of their business.
Remember that you are interviewing a potential employer. You can find out an amazing amount about a company by their online profile. You can set up an interview(s) and go and speak to them in person. You’ll get a good feel for them as you go through this process if you pay attention and ask questions. Know and communicate what you are looking for in a trucking company.