Veteran truck drivers know the good trucking companies from the bad. New drivers just starting out have no idea which trucking company is considered a good one and which companies should be avoided. A big problem among truck drivers, both newcomers and even many veterans, is that we all have a tendency to develop tunnel vision when it comes to choosing employment with a motor carrier. There are those big name carriers out there that we all know and our single-line vision will cause us to see only those companies.
The trucking companies that are most well known for training and accepting recent CDL graduates are what I call the “starter companies.” There are good trucking companies which offer their own CDL training program and who hire CDL graduates, but they are few and far between. They are not considered “starter companies” in my book of trucking terminology. The real starter companies are those that we all know and which have become known through-out the industry as the bad trucking company.
Despite their eye-catching advertisements, drivers who have been in the game long enough fully understand which trucking companies are truly the bad ones. The sad part about this is that the newcomer to long haul trucking will have to find out the hard way by paying their dues for at least one year, until they have accumulated enough driving experience in order to leave the starter company and move on to better employment.
Without these starter companies, new CDL graduates would have no way of entering into truck driving as a career. With the exception of a few companies, most of the well known good trucking companies do not hire nor accept new, inexperienced drivers. The only way for a recent CDL graduate to land a job in truck driving is to be accepted by one of these starter companies operating in over the road. With very few exceptions, this is how a career in trucking will begin. Because of this, these starter companies do have a place in trucking employment although most have the reputation of being a bad company. As a new driver just starting out in a career of truck driving, you most often will have no choice but to accept your first truck driving job . . . with one of these “bad” starter companies.
Bad trucking companies are known for:
- Dispatching poor miles
- Paying a low cents-per-mile rate
- Cutting your miles down so far until you have no choice but to quit
- Forcing a turn-over of drivers in order to maintain a driver pool of cheap labor
- Continually hiring new, lower pay drivers to receive Government subsidies with no intentions of keeping them on as employees . . . and many other scams.
I am always being asked, “How can these companies keep getting away with this?” The answer is simple and is the reason for this post. This is how OTR trucking works and it will always be this way because the bad trucking companies will never change their mode of operation. Therefore, it is time to fully address this question and explain why bad trucking companies will never change.
Before the recession hit, truckers were known for job hopping from one company to the next. This turn-over rate had increased to 128% among drivers and as the recession unfolded and jobs became more scarce, the turn-over rate dwindled and settled around 56 percent. There are hundreds of thousands of trucking companies across the U. S. and not just the well-known starter companies are bad. I worked for a small company out of Ocala, Florida for three months, running on 3-4 hours of sleep per day. My last day there, I ran for a straight 36 hours with the understanding that it was my responsibility to make the logbook accurate. In a five day period, I had worked a total of 91.25 hours, received a pay check for $540.00 and turned in eleven days worth of logs for work done in five . . . bad company.
Many truckers will believe that the grass is always greener on the other side, but the problem is that there are many bad trucking companies out there and the reason they will never change is because they do not want to change. This is how they operate and is how they have their business model set up. There mode of operation is to abuse the driver in anyway possible in order to increase their profit margin. They have no concern if the driver quits because there are always drivers waiting in line, looking for that next and “better” job.
As one 2006 article pointed out:
“Even though trucking companies are in desperate need of good truck drivers, trucking companies that don’t live up to their promises will always exist. These trucking companies might as well have revolving doors because truck drivers are signing on and quitting on a regular basis. The fact is, these trucking companies really don’t care. They have recruiters in place whose job it is to hire new truck drivers on a regular basis.”
The best thing truck drivers can do for their careers is to understand that these companies will never change because what is being done to drivers is intentional. Be prepared to stick it out for one or two years, build up the driving experience needed and then accept the fact that these bad trucking companies will never change their operation and move on to a better company that treats their drivers as professionals.
© 2010, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.