What do you need if you’re a driver looking for a truckload carrier employer? The answer goes far beyond a decent hourly or by-the-mile rate or percentage of revenue.
While you’ll need to know how much mileage is available to you—ideally enough to pay all your bills in after-tax revenue–there are many other important questions to ask as you select the best-fit truckload carrier for your new job.
- Fair Compensation. If you have enough hours on the road, does the company also offer decent benefits? Look at the entire compensation package, along with opportunities for bonuses and career advancement.
- Safety. Is the equipment safe? Talk to drivers at your potential employer’s business, asking their thoughts about equipment maintenance and the company’s on-the-road support system. Also, be sure to ask about the company’s record on routine, scheduled maintenance.
- Home time and work-life balance. A better carrier employer will maximize truckers’ home time, offering special programs to get over-the-road drivers home for more extended periods. They’ll also strive to provide regional routes that are better for drivers supporting families or even part-time options.
- Equipment. Trucks and technology impact a driver’s quality of life and livelihood. If everything else is good, but your tractor keeps breaking down, you’ll end up frustrated. Worse, poorly maintained equipment can negatively impact your CSA score. The best carriers continually invest in new equipment and have a track record of technological innovation that will ensure your safety, comfort, and productivity.
- Communication. Does the company welcome—and act on– driver feedback on vehicle condition? How do they respond to problems: Do they provide accurate, timely information or procrastinate? Do they bring drivers into the communication loop? Open, honest communication creates a positive sense of community and helps lower driver turnover.
- Recognition. Does the company recognize truck drivers for their contributions and accomplishments– whether that’s accident-free miles, acts of bravery on the road, acts of kindness, being involved in the community, or charitable acts? If so, they care about their people.
- Career advancement. Truck drivers all have goals and changes in their lives. Will your new employer support your move to take a job inside the business? Do they ask drivers for input on specific truck specs? Do they let you know what is happening inside and outside the company and their perspective on the future? The best carriers provide opportunities for advancement and movement to meet your work-life balance needs.
A few more pluses and minuses to consider when working for a truckload carrier
Big truckload carriers. If you are easily bored, larger carriers may be the place for you, with their variety of freight lanes, divisions, and flexibility. Big carriers often have pre-loaded freight trailers at their customers and drop-and-hook freight, both of which help drivers avoid dock loading delays. And with lots of equipment, there’s never a truck or trailer shortage. Further, a significant driver pool means it’s often easier to schedule time off. And easily accessible repair shops, hotel chains for driver layovers, accounts at major truck stop chains, terminal facilities, and comprehensive personal health benefits packages all make life more pleasant for drivers. But you probably won’t be recognized as the guy who always delivers on time or who never turns down a load. Big carriers are dealing with massives amounts of freight, so when you do your job and even go above and beyond, you’ll probably go unrecognized.
Small to medium-sized truckload carriers. Working for a small to medium-sized truckload carrier means you will work with a handful of people you will know. If you’re doing a great job, the more accessible owner will most likely know it, and if a regular freight lane becomes available or a new truck arrives, you could be the first choice to drive it. Small to medium-sized truckload carriers tend to have lower overhead expenses and general overall costs. As a result, they can share more money with their drivers–their most significant and most valuable assets. If you work for a small local carrier, you’ll benefit your local community. On the other hand, smaller trucking companies with limited equipment resources don’t have the equipment to spare to drop at a customer. Live loading is often necessary, and you may not get paid to sit and wait while the customer loads the freight.
There’s a lot to consider in your choice of a truckload carrier employer. Take your time deciding, and you’ll be sure to make a good choice.
Truckers need to be smart about choosing a truckload carrier employer. Look for carriers with high integrity, fair compensation, low turnover rates, well-maintained equipment, and a focus on driver lifestyle. Top-quality, truckload carriers use the Axele TMS to find the most profitable loads. The Axele TMS automates day-to-day manual tasks for truckers, saving time and streamlining operations. Contact Axele today.