Have you been wondering which is the best trucking company to start out with?
You aspire to become a truck driver, but can’t figure out where to start! You know truckers are in demand – the industry is facing rapid changes with the amount of hauled goods expected to surge by 3% over the next five years. And the career appeals to you, but how do you find out who is the best fit for you?
Trucking companies are looking for reliable, committed individuals who work well without supervision. It’s about being confident, safe and energetic on the road. It comes with a lot of responsibility, but also a lot of opportunity. At the same time, you want a company that suits you. One that offers the things you need to be motivated, supported and to take pride in your work. Whether you are newly out of school, embarking on a career, or just looking to make a switch in life, consider the following features when searching for a great trucking company.
The most essential thing to look for when starting out as a truck driver is a company that offers paid on-the-job training. The importance of safety cannot be stressed enough, and a company that values their reputation and sustainability will ensure you are competent and capable on the road. Most major trucking organizations will offer programs where you will be placed with an instructor, or experienced driver, as a trainee. Learning the laws, best practices and industry norms are the keys to success when on the road. Simple tips like knowing which routes to take, obstacles to avoid, local considerations like congested roads, hills, tolls, what lanes to use or avoid, etc. help save time on hauls, especially with the ELD (Electronic Logs Device) mandate in place.
GOOD PAY & INCENTIVES
Pay is one of the most attractive elements of being a driver. New drivers should always find out how their miles will be calculated. Are miles calculated from PC Miler, (mileage calculating software) or as ‘Hub Miles’, meaning exact miles driven? Another key factor are rates for pick-ups, drops and wait times – which are typically paid by the hour, but important to confirm as they can vary.
Similarly, inquire about pay being offered while you wait for loading of a backhaul. As the rest of your life is based off a regular and reliable income, you will need to find out how many hours/miles per week can you expect. Similarly, how often will you be home, and how are holidays handled? How much control do you want over your schedule, and how flexible can a company be? Everyone likes bonuses and pay incentives. Exploring a company’s structure to earn rewards can be motivating and beneficial for all.
All trucking companies want their drivers to be safe on the road. To encourage that act they will usually have some kind of safety bonuses in place. Additionally, some companies will have mileage bonuses where if you reach certain miles safely, you get topped up in addition to base pay and other bonuses.
Health benefits are another form of incentives, asking about this is also important. Finally, keep in mind incentives come in many different forms, companies can easily set themselves apart by offering unique incentives not discussed here.
Enquire with a company what kind of fleet they have and the age of it. Maintenance and repair regimes are also important. Knowing you are handling a reliable, sound rig will bring peace of mind on the road to avoid breakdowns or handle them if they occur.
What are company policies round driver use of trucks? Can you take the truck home at the end of the week? What kinds of fuel cards are provided? (Fuel cards that work everywhere allow you to accumulate more points and use them as needed – showers or meals at well maintained truck stops, etc.) What speed are the trucks governed at? Working for a company with correctly set speed is important when working towards mileage bonuses.
HEALTHY CORPORATE CULTURE
A great trucking company will help foster better relations between employees and keep morale high. They give their employers something to be proud of when out on the road, and feel part of the overall success of the company. Great company culture also entails good management and friendly ties between drivers. While not everyone may want to be a part of these ties, it makes for a welcoming, cohesive environment.
Amrit is the founder of GetTruckDrivers.com and a Trucking Consultant who has helped North America’s largest trucking businesses to grow exponentially. His area of expertise lies in driver recruitment and customer acquisition for ethical fleet owners.