How To Choose The Right Trucking Company To Start Your Career with
When you begin researching trucking companies that hire inexperienced drivers, the first thing most people notice is how overwhelmingly negative the majority of the opinions are of pretty much every trucking company. You're so excited about the prospects of starting a new life and a new career, but can't seem to find anyone with anything positive to say about the companies you're considering. How do you sort through all of the negativity, find some genuinely helpful opinions, and find the right company to work for?
What is so bad about Trucking?
I've had a long list of people tell me that they had wanted to get into trucking for years but always shied away from it. Why? Because the opinions they read on the Internet about various trucking companies were all so negative that they figured trucking was a miserable place to be. Well, it can be at times no matter how well suited you are to the industry. Life on the road can be harsh, and the job is relentlessly challenging. But for those who don't have what it takes to make it in trucking, it's usually complete debacle right from day one. For them, the trucking industry was pure misery and they wind up out of trucking in no time. Unfortunately those types can't seem to get enough of the various trucking forums and make it their personal mission to convince everyone to stay away from trucking. But if you've already decided you want to get into trucking, you need to know how to choose a company, not just listen to people cry the blues. So how do you differentiate between companies and find information that's truly helpful?
What Sets Trucking Companies Apart?
The thing is, all trucking companies make money the same way - hauling as much freight as possible as safely and efficiently as possible, right? They all use the same highways, the same types of trucks, the same fuel, often times the same customers, and operate under the same laws. So there are very few ways for a trucking company to differentiate itself from the rest. And in fact, when you've been around the industry long enough and worked for a number of different companies, you realize that many aspects of the various companies are pretty much the same.
The main differences between companies lie in the type of freight they haul, their home time options for your area, and their pay & benefits. What you want to do first is figure out what type of freight you'd like to haul (dry van, flatbed, refrigerated, or tanker) and then how often you'd like to get home (daily, weekends, every few weeks). That will narrow it down to a select group of companies.
At that point you'll want to speak with several current drivers, face to face, from each of the companies you're considering. You want to hear how they feel about the company and find out more details about life on the inside. After gathering opinions from a company's current drivers, you then compare the pay & benefits that each company are offering and you'll come up with a list of the companies that seem to suit you the best.
So at this point you have maybe 3 or 4 companies at the top of your list, right? But as you've already found out from the anonymous knuckleheads online, every single company is lousy, they're all a scam, they're all out to abuse you, and you'll end up a slave that's broken and beaten down, right? That's what a lot of people would like you to believe it seems. So how do you choose?
Finding The Best Opportunity
The truth of the matter is actually pretty simple and encouraging...any of those companies at the top of your list are equally good opportunities for getting your career off to a great start. So far you've determined that each one hauls the freight you'd like to haul, gets you home on the schedule you wanted, and pays pretty well. But one of them has to be "the best company", right? Actually, no. You see, here's the part that everyone who is new to trucking fails to understand...the most important factor in determining the amount of happiness and success you find in trucking is you...not the company you work for.
What these companies all do in the very beginning is test you. A trial by fire you could say. Sometimes you'll sit around waiting on loads too long, sometimes you'll run so hard you can't remember your own name. Sometimes they'll send you into really tough places, sometimes they'll try to keep you out past your scheduled home time, and sometimes they'll just do whatever comes to mind to push your buttons a little bit. Why? Because trucking is a really tough way to make a living and they want to know if you're the type that can hack it or not. This is the stage where most people quit if they do not belong in trucking or they aren't committed to their company. They figure they're being abused or taken advantage of or whatever. But the truth of the matter is those people wouldn't have made it in trucking anyhow. They're simply not tough enough nor committed enough to make it out there, and you have to be both to make it in this industry. You have to be committed to getting the job done safely day in and day out to be a successful driver. Not many people have that in them.
Understanding A Company's Strategy
Trucking companies will weed out the weak, and at the same time determine which drivers are the hardest working, most reliable, and most resourceful. They want drivers who are committed to getting the job done safely no matter what it takes. Those drivers become the ones who get a ton of freight, fair treatment, enjoy the company they work for, and enjoy their trucking career. The rest wind up out of trucking and troll about in various trucking forums trying to save face by blaming their former company for their shortcomings and scaring people away from trucking.
That's one of the big reasons we speak with several current drivers from whatever company you're considering, and do it face to face. You want opinions coming from drivers who are out there getting the job done successfully day in and day out. You want them looking you in the eye when they speak to you. That in itself is a game changer. You do not want your opinions coming from some anonymous knuckleheads hiding behind some made up persona in a forum somewhere. You have no clue who they are or whether or not their opinion is of any value at all.