As a truck driver in today’s market, you are constantly bombarded with ads and calls from recruiters from a plethora of different trucking companies across the country. They all claim to offer the highest pay, the best home time, the newest equipment and everything else you’ve heard before. If you really are considering making a change, figuring out how to choose a trucking company that meets your needs and is trucker friendly can be overwhelming.
So, how do you separate the good companies from the bullsh*t? We don’t have all the answers, but we did talk to some of our long-term drivers and team members about their experiences and to get their recommendations on what to look for in a truly driver friendly trucking company.
“It’s very important to work for a company that understands and respects the responsibility on a driver’s shoulders and has a safety-first culture. Before accepting a job with a company, look up their FMCSA safety scores and ask them about their safety and training programs. For example, make sure the company supports their drivers with proper training on pre and post trip inspections and emergency preparedness to make sure their drivers can be as safe as possible when they’re out on the road.”
Bob Sprague, ITS Logistics Driver
“Before accepting a job with a company, look up their FMCSA safety scores and ask them about their safety and training programs.”
Do they prioritize maintenance and new equipment?
“Your truck is your home when you’re hauling freight out on the road, so the quality and maintenance of the equipment says a lot about a trucking company and really shows you how much they prioritize the drivers’ daily experience. Ask about the average age of trucks and trailers and what kind of features they include, such as heated and cooled seats, satellite radio, refrigerators, mattress quality, etc. It’s also important to verify that preventative maintenance is up to date with all equipment. The last thing you want is to get pulled over for a roadside inspection with faulty equipment and get a violation. A good trucking company that truly prioritizes their drivers will invest in safe, comfortable and newer equipment.”
Dan Dutra, ITS Fleet Maintenance & Asset Manager
Home time? Lots of miles? Get what you’re looking for.
“Depending on your lifestyle, you might want to be home with your family as much as possible-or out on the road getting a lot of miles and making as much money as you can. No matter what you’re looking for, it’s important that the company fulfills the promises they’ve made you. You don’t want to end up on a lane that only gets you home every other week when you were promised a home daily position or vice versa. Sometimes companies have the ability to offer you dedicated lanes that provide you with a regular schedule and the same days off every week to give you exactly what you are looking for.”
Sanford Graves, ITS Logistics Driver
“No matter what you’re looking for, it’s important that the company fulfills the promises they’ve made you.”
Dedicated freight = consistent schedules and stability
“When you work for a company that has dedicated long term contracts, it’s easier to get a consistent schedule and have stability. No matter what kind of lane you are looking for, it’s still important to have routine in your life and dedicated freight is a way to get that. During the interview process, make sure the company has the lanes and schedules that will work for you and negotiate them upfront.”
Brandon Congdon, ITS Senior Operations Manager
Benefits, benefits and more benefits
“With every company in the trucking business claiming they have the best benefits, it can be hard to decipher what’s real and what’s just talk. When vetting out new companies, ask to see the details of their insurance plans, costs and providers (make sure it’s national coverage!). It’s also good practice to ask about retirement plans, paid vacations, holiday pay, and rider and pet policies. Some companies also offer things like wellness programs and discounted gym memberships, so ask about additional perks too. Companies that really value their drivers want to make sure you are taken care of on and off the job!”
Angie Mendoza, Driver Recruiting Specialist
“When vetting out new companies, ask to see the details of their insurance plans, costs and providers (make sure it’s national coverage!).”
Rider and pet policies
“Driving a truck for a living is more fun when you can take a friend with you (furry or human)! If you are interested in having the ability to take a rider with you, make sure you ask about the rider and pet policies before you accept a truck driving job.”
Ricky Wesley, Operations Manager
Driver pay: read the fine print
“Pay is always an important part of the equation. Many of the best trucking companies offer similar pay packages to each other, so be sure to take a closer look at the fine print. Do they pay you for activities like chaining, accessorial pay, deadhead pay, or when you’re stuck waiting at the dock? Do they pay you weekly? And if there’s an issue with your pay, do they have helpful people and an easy process to help you get it corrected?”
EJ Schmidt, ITS Logistics Driver
“Many of the best trucking companies offer similar pay packages to each other, so be sure to take a closer look at the fine print. Do they pay you for activities like chaining, accessorial pay, deadhead pay, or when you’re stuck waiting at the dock?”
A dispatch team that truly supports their drivers
“Unfortunately in the trucking industry, most drivers know what it’s like to not feel respected by their dispatchers. A company that values its drivers will coach their dispatchers to be authentic and supportive, and make sure they are available to you whenever you need them (24/7/365). They should know your name, the details of your route, and work hard to help you solve any problems that come up when you’re out on the road. As an example, if extreme weather pops up and you don’t feel safe driving, does your dispatch team have your back?”
Adrian King, ITS Logistics Driver
“The most important thing to look for in a trucking company: respect. The right trucking company respects your skills, and your experience and treats you like a valued member of the team. Before you sign on the dotted line, ask to speak to people at multiple levels in their trucking operation: a dispatcher, the director of operations, even the CEO. Have a real conversation with them, and you should be able to get an understanding of how drivers are treated at a trucking job. This is extremely important and can define your whole experience at a company.”
Tim Aboussleman, ITS Senior Director of Fleet Operations
“The right trucking company respects your skills, and your experience and treats you like a valued member of the team.”
Make sure your company offers the whole package
“Truck driving can be a tough job, so make sure you work at a company that makes your life easier and don’t waste your time at a company that doesn’t value you. Make sure they have plenty of work to keep you busy, a good pay scale and that they provide safe and clean equipment. It’s also important that you work for a company that gives you a great driver manager who is responsive and respectful, because you deal with them every day.”
Carla Bismark, ITS Logistics Driver
Company culture at ITS Logistics
We feel like we are a legitimate, hardworking transportation company that respects our drivers—so give us a chance to prove it to you.