Is There A Top 5 Or Top 10 List Of The Best Trucking Companies “to Start” With?

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Nick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello. I’m Nick. I’m new to this group.

I was wondering, is there a top 5 or top 10 list of the best trucking companies “to start” with, when one is a brand new Truck Driver with a Class A license, with no experience?

I live in Los Angeles, and I just wanted to see if there were any recommendations for some great companies that a newbie should consider to start with, with a newly issued Class A license and no experience?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hello, again, Nick. It sounds like you have a spanking new California CDL license! Great!

Don't worry about any "top five" newbie companies. You can go through our list of Trucking Company Reviews. And check these links out:

If you Apply For Truck Driving Jobs on this link, you'll get plenty of job offers. Good luck!!

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.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Any company that provides schooling to get your own CDL is a good place to start.

These places will vet you beforehand, so as long as you pass the school and obtain your CDL (and they want you to), you will be offered a job upon completion.

Private schools will take your money no matter what kind of character you have, or background problems, with really no guarantee of getting your CDL, nor basically a sure thing for employment afterwards.

We recommend company-sponsored CDL training for almost everyone.

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.
Blair's Comment
member avatar

Nick, there are many wise members on this forum. I surfed for years before making a CDL commitment and am positive TT set my expectations for success.

"Starter" companies can easily be a career stay if you invest in learning the trade and develop relationships. I started with Swift 3 months ago, 2 months solo and have zero complaints. I am always pre-planned and have a great support network. On the "big picture" side, inquire about benefits beyond simple CPM (cents per mile). Swift offers an opportunity to earn free bachelor's degree from SNHU after 6 months full-time driving online. Free education that can open doors of opportunity is more valuable than an extra $.04 each mile.

As stated above, paid CDL is the way to go. Turnover is crazy high, especially in the first few months. Invest in a company that will invest in you. Take your time to gather info and pull the trigger. Good luck!

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

Unfortunately, what the private CDL company didn't tell you is that you will have a hard time finding a company to take you on....especially those Top 5 or Top 10, since you don't have experience. Some will want a minimum of 1 yr and others 2 yrs driving time.

So the guys recommending you read the links are giving you good advice.

Laura

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Nick, trucking is very much a completely misunderstood career. Many people attempt it while only a small percentage of those aspiring to be road warriors ever make it. A major component of the confusion about trucking is this idea that there are certain companies out there that would be the best ones to start/work with.

The whole concept of success at trucking begins and ends with the individual. Drivers create their own fate. I started my career at Western Express, a trucking company well known for giving people their first shot at trucking, but also having terrible online reviews. We have to ask ourselves, "Who writes those reviews?" If we're honest with ourselves the answer has to be, "The greenhorn rookies who don't really know anything about trucking." That's right, how can we trust those reviews? They are penned by people who failed. They are produced by people who don't have the slightest understanding about the trucking career.

Making the transition into trucking is challenging on so many levels. One of those is getting accustomed to the concepts of "performance based pay." In trucking you get paid for how much you can accomplish. There's way more to this than just being able to drive long hours. Being able to accomplish way more than your peers is what sets you at the top of the food chain in trucking. It puts you at the top of the pay scale, and elevates your satisfaction with the career to a level unknown by most of those who just slog it out continually hoping it will get better when they find "the right company."

I hear my dispatcher asking me questions like these all the time...

"How did you manage to get unloaded at that customer after hours?"

"How did you get that customer to unload you in the middle of the night when they tell us the receiving cut-off is at 1500?"

"How do you always have the phone numbers of critical contacts at these customers when our other drivers can't seem to make any connections with them?"

"Can you explain to me how you managed to get that customer to move your appointment time forward? None of our other drivers can seem to do that."

There's a lot of important little nuances and details to this job that most people overlook. Properly executing the details is what makes the difference out here. Being a top performer takes a lot more than driving skills and know how. People skills are generally what's lacking in most truck drivers. Knowing how to effectively communicate puts a driver way ahead of the game.

None of this is given to you by any top 10 company. In fact, the name on your truck doors has nothing to do with your success at this. I was extremely successful at Western Express, and was one of the two people out of my orientation group of 50 plus drivers who actually went on to a successful trucking career. These days I work for Knight Transportation, yet I still see new drivers come and go here on a regular basis. They tell me they are leaving because they can't make any money working for this company. They say that to me! I'm earning twice the average truck driver's pay while working here.

Trucking is competitive. People simply don't get that. You have got to put up some impressive numbers if you want impressive rewards. The real question a newbie like yourself has to be asking is, "How can I perform this job in such a way that I am part of the top 10 percent or maybe even the top five percent of drivers?" Once you discover the answer to that question, you are well on your way to success as a road warrior.

What It Takes To Be A Top Tier Driver

One Out Of Five Drivers Does A Great Job

Are Major Carriers Nothing More Than Starter Companies?

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rookie Doyenne's Comment
member avatar

Old School, I don't see cut & paste in your posts, which leads me to respect the time (isn't time the most infinitely precious commodity of all?) that you take to write.

Please know that the effect for me in reading these is transformative psychology. I'm more than grateful I have the advance time to prepare for this career and absorb these aspects over a period of time beforehand. Although I think I already pretty much bring the needed attitude, I can only wonder how resilient it would have been or how long it would have survived under challenge without cultivating the depth of this awareness ahead of time.

thank-you-2.gif

..........

The whole concept of success at trucking begins and ends with the individual. Drivers create their own fate......

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Please know that the effect for me in reading these is transformative psychology.

Rookie Doyenne, you just made my day! Seriously, you put a broad grin of satisfaction on my face with that comment. It's incredibly rewarding when I realize someone is "getting it."

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

I think the contributions of Old School are priceless...we probably don't say it enough to him... "thank you!" I know how difficult it is to post on a regular basis.

In keeping with the Starter Company theme...here is a link to an article I wrote a while back about my starter company. Yah know the one...I'm still committed to them and have zero interest in going anywhere else.

The Starter Company as a Long-Term Career Path

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

I couldn’t agree with you more Doyenne! I have been a Trucking sponge since October. Having been hanging around here studying the high road, asking questions and reading all the conversations and blogs I have learned so much valuable information to be truly ready. The ride along with G-Town really helped put the fear of the unknown to rest and made me want it more. I feel I have been given the tools to succeed and I am very prepared to take the leap and apply them. My jump time is approaching quickly, had originally planned to apply for training last week but some unforeseen delays with my family and sale of business have jammed me up some. Cant wait to get this ball rolling and start a training diary in the spring

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