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FAQ: Choosing A Trucking Company

Last Updated: Sep 29, 2016

Choosing A Trucking Company - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to live near a terminal to get hired at a company?

Not usually for OTR , though local or linehaul jobs may require it.

Are there any companies that will train and hire married couples as teams?

If you do not yet have a CDL , you will generally be trained separately, but then teamed up once solo. Alternatively, many couples accomplish it by having one spouse train and go solo, accumulate enough experience to become a trainer, and then train the other. It will all be company-dependent, but you generally won't have 3 people living in one truck.

What trucking companies pay their drivers the most?

There are approximately 1.5 million trucking companies in the U.S., so it's really impossible to know. Most OTR jobs will top out at $55-65k per year.

Do I have to go through company training?

You will be required to go through some kind of company training, regardless of your experience level.

Do I have to go over-the-road with someone else in their truck during training?

In most OTR companies, yes, though there are some that only train during "regular business hours", where everybody goes home at night during training.

How much will I be paid during the training phase?

It varies wildly from company-to-company. Some pay a flat weekly amount, some pay cents-per-mile. Expect between $450-$600 per week in training.

What do company recruiters do?

The recruiters job is to basically sell you on their company, and handle the paperwork. After hire, you normally won't be dealing with your recruiter for much, if anything.

What's the best way to contact company recruiters?

The phone will usually be you first main point of contact. After that, most things can be done through email.

What should I ask trucking company recruiters?

Everything. We have a really good list here: Questions To Ask Trucking Company Recruiters

If a company sends me to orientation, does that mean that I'm hired?

Not necessarily. It's conditional, as some companies wait to do a full background check until then, plus you have to pass a company physical separate from your DOT physical.

What kinds of benefits or perks should I look for in a trucking company?

Most companies will offer the same types of things as far as health insurance, 401k, etc. Some incentives that companies offer include tuition reimbursement, generous pet and rider policies, signing bonuses, referral programs, higher starting pay, etc. It still really comes down to finding the best fit for yourself.

After I get my CDL , when should I apply for a truck driving job?

If you've gone through a private truck driving school, then immediately. Normally, you will already have a few pre-hire letters in hand to get you started.

How do I choose a trucking company?

Very carefully. Actually, just find the best fit for yourself. Smart, dedicated drivers with a good attitude can succeed no matter what the company.

Is there a chance for career advancement as a truck driver?

Good drivers with longevity can transition into more lucrative divisions or jobs within their company. Some drivers go into recruiting or similar when they decide to quit driving. But generally, as a driver staying in the same type of job, you will reach a salary ceiling eventually.

Which companies do hair follicle drug testing?

More and more companies are using hair follicle testing, and very soon, all of them will be using it. So expect it.

Hair Follicle vs. Urinalysis Drug Testing: Breakdown By Company

Which companies use driver-facing cameras in their trucks?

Increasingly, companies are installing cameras that not only watch the road, but also the drivers seat. Expect this trend to continue, as companies are finding it increases safety and decreases their liability for accidents.

Trucking Companies That Use Driver-Facing Cameras

Which companies allow their drivers to bring pets?

There are many companies that offer pet policies. Most will require a fee or deposit.

List Of Trucking Companies That Allow Pets

Which companies allow their drivers to bring riders?

Most companies will have some sort of rider policy, which may restrict the age or relationship of the rider, or require the driver to pay for additional insurance. Keep in mind that regional or local routes will probably not allow for riders.

Which companies will hire drivers that have felonies?

Most companies will have some kind of policy in place for hiring drivers with felonies on their record. Many will review it case-by-case, while some will require a certain amount of time to have passed, or specify what kinds of offenses are completely disqualifying.

Trucking Companies That Hire Drivers With Felonies

Which companies will hire drivers that have DUI/DWI's?

Most companies will hire drivers with DUI/DWI convictions, though some will not. Most will require a certain period of time to have passed, usually 5-7 years.

Trucking Company Policies For Drivers With DUI-DWI

What's the best trucking company to work for?

The best trucking company to work for is the one that best fits what you want out of it.

How do I get to orientation?

Usually, the company will buy you a bus ticket, though there are reports of certain companies that are flying their students in.

Should I drive teams? How does team driving work?

Some companies offer team driving, some use it almost exclusively. Normally, one person will drive while the other is sleeping, and vice versa. It's really about individual preferences, and some companies will team you up if you don't already have a partner.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

DUI:

Driving Under the Influence

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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