Podcast: Are Major Carriers Nothing More Than Starter Companies?

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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Thanks so much G-Town and Willyis40!

I think we have different ideas of starter companies. I am referring to Starter as in new business or "smaller" business not the beginning of a new driver's career out of training.

Hey Donald, the phrase "starter company" as used in the trucking industry is indeed referring to the largest carriers in the country, most of whom train brand new drivers. They're often referenced as a good place to start your career, but then you should quickly move on to a smaller company. That's the notion I was trying to debunk.

The basic premise to this podcast, as i see it, is that There is No Such Thing as a "Starter" Company.

∆_Danielsahn_∆, that is the basic premise indeed. There is no such thing as a company that's only good for getting your career started. The large carriers have the infrastructure and resources needed to train drivers, but most smaller companies do not. That means the large carriers also have the infrastructure and resources needed to offer their experienced drivers all sorts of other perks and opportunities that the smaller companies simply can not.

6 string rhythm's Comment
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I've always appreciated the conviction this forum and some others in the minority have taken in regard to debunking certain trucking myths, viz. in this context the myth of mega carriers being nothing more than starter companies. There are many reasons why some people refer to said companies as starter companies. This industry is rife with misconception and misinformation.

In the context of earnings, some purported starter companies pay about the same as some other companies that might require more experience. Shaffer / Crete and Prime are two examples of mega carriers that pay well in the truckload sector. Then there are some mega carriers that pay up to 10 cents or more less than Shaffer / Crete and Prime. 10 cents per mile certainly makes a difference in earnings. All things being equal (miles), a driver making .45 cpm and churning out 2500 miles a week will earn $1000 more a month than a driver making .35 cpm. That's a significant difference. Of course in the real world miles will vary, this was just an example to prove a point. Productivity is emphasized on this forum as the key to maximizing one's earning potential, but cpm also plays a large part in that equation. Perhaps some of the reason these lesser-paying mega carriers have acquired the starter company misnomer is simply due to their lower cpm. In that context, maybe it isn't so much a misnomer.

As with many of the conversations on this forum, most center around the truckload industry. Despite some existing difference with cpm among truckload carriers, I think that it's fair to say most top-tier company drivers in the truckload sector who are being paid some of the higher cpm will make roughly the same amount of money. Because at the end of the day, it's productivity and cpm. But you certainly do have some specialization in the industry that will lead to greater payout. An example of such specialization is LTL , which is something of a different niche than specializations that occur in truckload like tanker, heavy haul, etc.


Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier


Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

USMC AAV's Comment
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Brett recommended I listen to this Podcast a few hours ago. I'll tell you Brett, this really opened my eyes!!

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Brett recommended I listen to this Podcast a few hours ago. I'll tell you Brett, this really opened my eyes!!

Hey, that's great! I'm glad to hear it.

It really is one of the many misconceptions in trucking that the largest carriers are only "starter companies." I've been hearing this for 25 years and to be honest I never could figure out where that came from or what perpetuates it.

Why would the largest, most successful companies in the nation be a bad place to work for experienced drivers? When you consider the pay and benefits, equipment, variety of opportunities available, and all of the little perks you'll find the major companies hard to beat.

G-Town's Comment
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Brett recommended I listen to this Podcast a few hours ago. I'll tell you Brett, this really opened my eyes!!

Reading all the comments might add to your enlightenment.

ad356's Comment
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My Werner trainer was terrible, he had only been driving for two years, he was actually 23 years old. What made him qualified to be a trainer when he only had limited experience himself. I was really just lining his pockets with my miles. Did I learn something, of course, I do every time I drive. When I left Werner I did dump truck for a while, which is probably easier then tractor trailer but you still gain some relevant experience.

When I went to Walton I was given 3 weeks of GOOD training, allot of it with the owner himself. He has been driving almost 40 years, a top notch driver. Sorry to say but I think i learned more from him. He truly knows to drive and is a good teacher. He also has a driver that was former Werner trainer and he also helped me, he has been driving 20 years.

Walton has 40 some trucks, but the point is sometimes smaller companies do have some training abilities, but the insurance companies and industry is not setup to allow them to take people straight from school. I had 1 year roughly of driving class A and class B trucks before I went there.

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