Every company is unique. Just like every driver is unique. Everybody has different goals for their career. Different visions for their life. Spend some time sifting through the driving jobs out there, and you’ll find the variation in offerings is endless. Some companies focus on higher starting pay. Some on better raises over time. Some focus on pushing big miles and others on getting their drivers more home time. The list goes on and on.
Simply put, no company will be a perfect fit for every driver. That is one of the reasons so many drivers end up bouncing from company to company. Like sitting in the shoe store with 8 boxes of sneakers trying to find the one that fits the best. But unlike your favorite pair of shoes, there are some things you can learn up front to help find the perfect company for you before trying the shoe on.
Think about the long term.
It is easy to get hung up on how much you can make on a week by week basis. Or even mile by mile. A lot of companies will use these short term numbers to paint a picture of endless possibility. But there are a lot of factors that could keep those great short term numbers from turning into the big paycheck you’re expecting.
When talking to the recruiters, ask what their average driver earns in a year. This will give you a much better picture of how the numbers actually shake out. A company may have a great per mile payout, but a lower average yearly payout. Maybe due to lack of miles, or short runs with long load times. But knowing that average up front can save you the frustration of finding out later that the “big pay” just doesn’t add up.
Look for stability.
Now that you’ve narrowed down your list a little bit. It would be good to get an idea of just how stable they are. No use in committing for the long haul just to find out there is no load to pull. To do that, you need to know that the company has solid foundations. Some great questions to ask recruiters that can give a good idea of stability include:
- What types of freight do you haul?
- What are your typical driving hours/delivery schedule?
- What areas of the country do you run to?
- How much of the freight is drop and hook? No-touch?
- What was your driver turnover last year?
- How many drivers is a dispatcher responsible for?
There are so many more great questions you can ask the recruiter. But the very best thing you can do is to know what your goals are. A company can never live up to your expectations if you don’t know what they are to begin with. Before you start looking, know what you want to find. Then you’ll know the questions you need to ask to determine if the company fits your goals.
Get a second opinion
Don’t just talk to recruiters. It’s no secret that recruiters can be… misleading… from time to time. After all, they are paid to convince you to work for their company. The good ones will give you honest answers, but there is nothing wrong with doing a little extra follow up. There are many great online forums and/or Facebook groups you can check out and find a friendly fellow or two to talk to. Get out there and find some of the drivers that work for the company you are considering. This can be a great way to get a good idea of what a company is really like.
So what are you waiting for? Get a plan. Get informed. And get yourself a company that fits you.