So it turns out that he was desperate to get all the money coming in he could get in order to save the company. But he had a good thing going with me and ruined it. Don't you make the same mistake. Don't run so hard you'll damage your mind, your body, or your license. Think long-term and make smart choices.
Just be aware that small companies will count on you far more than large companies will. There will be advantages and disadvantages to any company you work for. It's always somewhat of a compromise. It's just a matter of finding what works for you.
One of the best ways in my opinion to really find out what life is like on the inside of a company you are considering applying to is to talk with some of the drivers and mechanics that work there. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the honesty you'll get.
Now please be aware of one thing though... often times a company will offer a referral bonus to any employee that refers a driver to the company. The referral bonus can be quite significant.. in the area of $500 or more.
So when you begin talking with a driver or mechanic make it perfectly clear that you are looking for an honest opinion, not a sales pitch. If you were looking for propaganda you could simply talk to their recruiting department.
If they want to give you their name and truck number so they can make money for recruiting you, simply thank them for their time and try to find someone else.
But most of the time you will get a brutally honest opinion. Drivers often tend to look out for other drivers. We all live the same kind of lives and face the same difficulties, so the last thing we should want to do is make life difficult for one another.
I've been asked many hundreds of times about my experience working for a particular company. I have never once given out my truck number or name, nor have I ever received a nickel in referral money. Often times guys were so appreciative of my time and honesty that they asked ME for the info knowing I would get paid for the referral and I politely declined.
I told them there was no way they could be sure I was being honest with them if I knew I was going to get paid to promote my company. I've gotten plenty of good advice for free over the years so I just considered it good karma to give some back.
Make sure you talk to at least five different drivers from any particular company. One or two could by coincidence be happy or unhappy with a company at any given time but if you can get a pretty consistent group of opinions from several different drivers then you know you've probably gotten a good feel for the way drivers are being treated there.
Ask them if they're getting the mileage they would like to be getting, whether they get home when they are supposed to, and whether or not the trucks are well maintained. That's the three most important things a company must do well.
Also talk to one or two mechanics. The biggest thing you'd like to know is if the maintenance program is a good one. Ask them if the trucks are well taken care of and especially if a driver's requests for small things like new wiper blades, faulty mirror heaters, and blown fuses are handled promptly and without debate.