Best Trucking Companies To Drive For??

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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So if you want to be treated well by a company there's a simple formula for making that happen. You go in there from day one with a super positive attitude and a willingness to work hard, listen and learn, and pay your dues. You take whatever they throw at you - old equipment, lousy runs, a trainer with a filthy mouth, a dirty hotel room - whatever it is you deal with it safely and professionally and keep moving forward. Wake up each morning with one goal in mind - to safely get through the day and prove to your company that you have what it takes to be a true professional out there and you'll do everything in your power to make that happen.

Once a company knows that you're a safe, hard working, reliable driver that knows how to get along with people they'll put you on that "A list". When you have a problem they'll listen. When you need a favor they'll do whatever they can for ya. When you make a judgment call they'll trust you.

Of course you're dealing with large corporations and from time to time you're going to have to deal with some bad apples and tough circumstances. I've had lousy dispatchers. I've had mechanics make problems worse. I've had slow weeks when the freight just wasn't there for whatever reason. You're going to have that kind of thing from time to time. But don't confuse a bad apple or tough circumstances with a bad company. If you're not getting the miles, maybe it's your dispatcher that's the problem, maybe your company lost a big customer, or maybe freight is just slow right now. If you're in a lousy truck, maybe you just have to convince those who assign trucks that you've earned a better one. If you wind up getting home a day late maybe it's because freight is slow and they had trouble finding a load going past your house.

So often a new driver will misinterpret a situation. They think they're being mistreated when "that's just trucking". They think they're being singled out for something when in reality they deserved to get their butt chewed out for it. They think they're being lied to when they're not. And naturally you're going to make bad decisions when they're based on misinterpretations. You're going to get frustrated, you're going to start lashing out at people within your own company, and it quickly escalates into a huge mess when all you had to do was roll with the punches a little bit and tomorrow would have been a better day.

If you're safe, hard working, reliable, and know how to get along with people you'll do well at pretty much any job you take in trucking. If you're not, you're going to be miserable anywhere you go. The perks are there for the top tier drivers. Focus on proving yourself to be a top tier driver and then you can command the respect and treatment the best drivers get.

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Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
EvanstonMark's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

This is gonna be a longer post. So I apologize in advance if I am rambling on and ranting.

I agree with the moderators 110%. I may be new to trucking, but not new to working. And new folks regardless of what field or occupation always have to prove themselves to their peers and superiors. Trust and respect as a professional is earned. Promotions, increased pay and perks are not a right, they are priviledges you receive only when you have proven yourself to be worthy of them.

Before I looked into trucking, I worked in healthcare as a LPN, and still am and always will be a nurse at heart. I moved up the ladder really quick into Supervisory positions within my first year our of school. It took more than just busting my butt day in and day out, caring about my patients, loving what I did, and treating everyone I came into contact with well... I had to "play the game", and understand the unspoken "rules" of the profession. That "nurses eat their young" meaning that the vet nurses with seniority chew up new grads and spit them out, that there is definite hierarchy in healhcare (doctors vs nurses... and within nursing itself- RN vs LPN vs CNA), and that you are at the bottom rung of the totem pole until you gained senriority and have proven yourself to management and your peers- meaning you get the most difficult patients, the worst shifts, you never get the days off you want, and you work every holiday until you move up the ladder. Now you could take that all in and interpret it as if you are being singled out and picked on. Or you could just accept it for what it really is... that you are new and have to prove yourself. I never took the shift work or holiday scheduling personally. Sometimes it sucked, but I looked at the plus side... I was getting overtime pay and holiday pay (which is double or 2.5x pay if you are in overtime) heck yeah ill take the money working a double on Christmas and make it up to my family by buying nicer presents with the extra money... (no one ever complained about me missing christmas when they opened those gifts LOL). i took all the overtime from the senior nurses and in turn won them over. thats how the system works.

I say all that because I never had the preconceived notion when i switched jobs that when I started at the new place I was gonna be immediately treated like royalty. It was a new environment with new people and dynamic. Yeah grant it I wasnt at the bottom rung, but I still had to prove myself again and show folks that I was worthy of that new position.... I know that will be the same thing when I walk into Trucking as a newbie. Its gonna be a long list of folks I am gonna have to prove myself to.. instructors, the licensing board for my CDL , potential employers, new bosses, co-workers, dispatchers, customers. Even the general public if I want to be treated as a professional. It sucks to have start over from square one, but I am willing to put my pride aside in order to learn and to move up that ladder once again.

3 things I have learned in the workplace are:

1- take everything with a grain of salt. my first job as a LPN out of school was with a facility that was supposedly not a good place to work for. I did my due diligence, and although it wasn't the greatest place, it wasn't nearly as bad as people said it was. Taking a chance on that place was the best way to start my career off because I took advantage of the fact that it had some turnover issues, I was able to gain seniority quickly and get promoted. I took a supposed negative and turned it to my advantage. Now I won't lie I ended up leaving that job after 18 months to take a better position elsewhere, but I would have never had the opportunity to jump into another supervision job so soon after school, if I didn't make that calculated move to start off in a place where I knew if I stuck it out I would move up quickly. My classmates I graduated with didn't have the same opportunities I did because they relied to much on hearsay and drama when making their professional choices. I have a feeling that when looking for a trucking company to start off at, we have the choice to listen to all the hearsay, or make the right decisions for ourselves and realize that the potential "negatives" of a company may actually be opportunities if you let them be.

2- i have read it time and time again on here.... you gotta build a relationship with your support team (dispatchers, customers etc) because they are the ones who are gonna hook you up with miles etc. same thing in nursing. my job was way easier cuz I had the support of my assistants answering call lights etc. It is amazing how treating people well can get you far at work and make life easier.

3- proving yourself and building strong professional relationships doesnt happen overnight. and folks have to realize that... you can't just have one great week and expect to have access to the best of everything.. you need be great week every week consistently... thats how you win trust respect and move your career to a better place.

Sorry for the long post but I had to throw my 2 cents in. Folks... no company is perfect, no job is either.. and that is in every industry. Even if they were giving away free money someone somewhere is gonna complain about having to fill out the paperwork to get that free money... Some folks are never satisfied. Outlook and attitude is everything when starting a new job. Thanks! LOL

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Jimbo's Comment
member avatar

I totally agree. I've worked 5 jobs in my "working" career. Changed industries and had to relearn new skills 2 times. I had to grow from the ground up and push through alot of BS during some of those changes. There's not one job out there that you walk into and start out at the top without paying some sort of dues. Trucking is no different. Good days, bad days, goes with any job you get.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

EvanstonMark - that was absolutely stellar! Every word of it was right on and very much appreciated.

I'll add this also....when you're new to a career, do not assume you understand the situation you're in and what's going on. Let me give you an example....

Company-Sponsored Training Programs will bring in a ton of people knowing only a fairly small percentage will go on to be successful drivers for their company. So from the time you get off the bus every moment of your life is one long job interview. They're testing you all the time to see if you have the personality, attitude, and dedication it's going to take to make it out there on the road. But there's one small catch when it comes to that testing....a lot of times you won't know you're being tested.

Companies will do all sorts of things to test you. They might change your schedule for the day three different times just to see if you'll start crying and complaining about it. Maybe they'll let you learn in a really nice truck one day and then throw you into a finicky piece of garbage the next day to see if you'll handle it ok. I've even heard of places that will put "Do not walk on the grass" signs in front of the buildings and then watch to see who follows the rules and who doesn't.

I know a lot of people have reported that Prime Inc is extremely stringent about showing up on time for everything during the schooling and orientation. Hey, maybe you don't think five or ten minutes late is a big deal, right? They're just on a power trip and they like to belittle people, right? Well often times in the refrigerated business you'll be forced to sit overnight if you show up ten minutes late for an appointment. Those grocery warehouses don't play around. Do you have any idea how much money that costs the company when that happens? Too much! Showing up ten minutes after the appointment time is really forty minutes late in my book. In fact, someone from Prime just said in another thread, "on time is late and early is on time" and that's not the first time I've heard that phrase from a Prime driver so I expect they preach that at school. But that's why they make a big deal about being on time...not because they're a bunch of jerks on a power trip, but because it will cost the company a lot of money if you show up late sometimes.

So when you show up for schooling or orientation, don't assume you know how things should be done or that you understand the whole picture based on what you know. Chances are there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes you're completely unaware of. These companies need to figure out quickly who they're going to keep around and who has to be sent home. They're going to test you from day one. So have a great attitude, do whatever is asked of you, and just take it one moment at a time. Someday you'll be an experienced driver and you'll understand what they were doing any why. But right now you're new to the industry so you really have no clue about much of anything. You might think you're aware of what's going on, but I promise you there's almost always more to it than meets the eye.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Indy's Comment
member avatar

I appreciate all that Brett is saying, and have taken it to heart. Regarding that other site... There is some company bashing going on there, but TruckingTruth has taught me to be very skeptical of that sort of thing. I think these sites compliment each other in a very useful way.

Shane S.'s Comment
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I have a question about atds cause thats where i will be going to school can anyone tell me what to expect when i get there the school is in elmott tx

Jessica A-M's Comment
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I'm not sure how this ended up in the top of the list but there is some damned good advice in here for newbies.

Brian J.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi! I'm Brian. Just got my authority and insurance. I own 53' Dry Van fits for vegetables and fruits and a 22' Reefer. Can you please advice me any good to carry for Broker in California?

Appreciate any advice!

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Hi! I'm Brian. Just got my authority and insurance. I own 53' Dry Van fits for vegetables and fruits and a 22' Reefer. Can you please advice me any good to carry for Broker in California?

Appreciate any advice!

Hey Brian. We help new drivers get started in trucking. We don't discuss the business side of trucking here. Your best bet is to find someone like OOIDA that specializes in that kind of thing and get help from them.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

OOIDA:

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

Who They Are

OOIDA is an international trade association representing the interests of independent owner-operators and professional drivers on all issues that affect truckers. The over 150,000 members of OOIDA are men and women in all 50 states and Canada who collectively own and/or operate more than 240,000 individual heavy-duty trucks and small truck fleets.

Their Mission

The mission of OOIDA is to serve owner-operators, small fleets and professional truckers; to work for a business climate where truckers are treated equally and fairly; to promote highway safety and responsibility among all highway users; and to promote a better business climate and efficiency for all truck operators.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Greg H.'s Comment
member avatar

I wanted to bring up a point I don't believe has been brought up yet, well, sort of. Even though, I do want to than Bret for scaring the mess out of me, ha ha. They watch to see if you walk on the grass 'eh, lol... man, good thing I've always been the type to not walk on the grass when I see a sign telling me not to.

Unfortunately, I can no longer speak on behalf of this company, because I worked for them so long ago. That wouldn't really be my point though. I worked for JB Hunt back in the 90's. And they, along with Schneider were the drivers/companies most picked on I believe, for their poor driving skills. I think it was a back and forth deal. For awhile JB was being laughed at, and for awhile, Scheider was being laughed at.

Anyway, I was new to trucking. I'd gotten my Class A through a trucking school, which I'm not going to mention here, because it was also so long ago. I went to work for a company they'd gotten me on with after getting my certificate. I only worked for them for a bout a week and a half and decided the company wasn't for me. I then picked up the news paper at home and found the ad for JB Hunt. I didn't think anything about it.... I wasn't up on the in's and out's of trucking. I didn't know who was bad or good. I didn't know who paid more or less. I was young, needed a job, and well, just flat down right simply needed a job. I had no idea really. I didn't have trucker A over here saying, Nooo, you don't want to go to work for them or Trucker B over there saying, yeh, their the champs of the industry. I didn't have the internet flashing all this great information we have available now days. I had me, a prayer, and the urge to driver for a living. That's it.....

So, I went to work for JB Hunt, and let me tell you, I got the miles. Very few times do I ever remember being laid over much. I personally had to shut the truck down for a couple of days once because I'd reached the maximum hrs that could be driven in a, uh, 7 or 8 day period (I forget which). Not to mention, JB Hunt had these great color coded maps with locations to fuel, eat, rest, etc.. Some not so great, and some better than the others, all color coded to let you know which had what. I had and have no compaints.... I got the loads, it was easy peazy.... I never had to go looking for anything... it was all laid out by this huge company. And I didn't think twice about new truck, old truck.... all I knew is that it was a big rig Y'all, ha ha.... it was my dream job, at the time. And it ran great as far as I knew. Yeah, sure, it was a cab over, and it bounced around a little more than some others, but it was mine. As for pay, it was not that great, but it also wasn't that bad. Starting out, poor pay was expected. My trainer told me to stick with them for a year, it will get better. Unfortunately, I did not stay for a whole year, and for one reason or another, I'd decided to end my trucking career. A long story, personal decision, for another time.

But, my whole point is, don't over think it. Don't listen to what everyone else says. Yeh, JB was well know for being laughed at. But, the first time another driver saw me back, he hollered over the radio, ' I'm impressed JB '. So, it's not the company that makes you you. You are you and it's what YOU do that matters.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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