Jun 29, 2009

My List Of Bad Trucking Companies

First things first, This IS NOT a list on bad trucking companies. This will go over some basic facts about trucking, and personality. I will comment on some companies I have heard stories about, and on the flip side, I will also tell you about some great stories I've heard about.

When you get into trucking, I believe just about the worst thing anyone can do, is get online and read forums, and do research on every company that hires students, or people with no experience in this industry.


It's practically common sense, when you have a large group of people changing careers, or moving out of a comfort zone, quite a few of them will hate it, and reject the change that's happening in front of them.

Trucking is about attitude, first and foremost. I'm not going to advocate that everything that happens is a persons fault, and I'm certainly not going to tell you that truckers are angels in disguise. There are crooks in trucking, just like there are people who think they own the road and don't play by the rules when it comes to log books. However, I'd like to state that most people who drive trucks like their jobs, and are generally nice people. I can't tell you how many times I've been able to just start talking to another driver at a truck stop about nothing in particular.

So, Onto the heart of the matter, What defines a company as a "bad company".

Some drivers believe that a company who doesn't consistently give them 3000+ miles a week is a bad company. Some argue the ones who don't pay right suck. Then there are those who claim they can never get home when they want, and they miss every occasion because they weren't allowed the time off. Then there are a few who would argue that they can never contact anyone at the company.

Legitimate Complaints? Hardly, More like excuses.

Why? Because most of these things can be sorted out if drivers simply follow company policy.

  • No Miles? Chances are freight is slow.
Right now, as of 07/03/2009 freight is slow everywhere, this is because of the recession. Flatbed has no freight to haul, because they haul a lot of building materials, and you have several companies competing over the same small market share, such as Swift, Knight, Arrow, BTC Flat, McElroy, and the list goes on. Your best chance for miles right now is to be hauling Reefers, or get on some type of dedicated account. This will ensure more consistent miles across the board.

  • Trucking Companies That Don't Pay Right.
There are a few companies who are shoddy, but that's part of the game. I've found the majority of people who do not get paid on time, do not play by the rules. Logbooks and Paperwork isn't sent in correctly, or on time. Most drivers who complain about low pay are the ones who deliver late or spend too much time not doing their job, such as hanging out in truck stops or blowing money in casinos. A trucking company will usually respect a driver if the driver respects the company.

  • Hometime or Missed Hometime
This is a touchy subject with a lot of people, and this is one subject that can clearly go both ways. I've found that as a truck driver I plan events out in advance, I guess, call it job instilled. If you plan ahead, and request time off when you come back to work from being off, your dispatcher or freight manager can usually make it happen. I'd suggest that any driver really try to go the extra mile the first year, because they are really proving themselves, and after that a few mess ups won't significantly affect mileage or pay with the FM because trust and reliability is already earned. Remember, It doesn't hurt to confirm or remind, they people on the other end are human too.

  • Not Being Able To Contact Anyone?
I've occasionally heard complaints about not being able to contact anyone at the company, which can be frustrating. Most communication is done with a Qualcomm, and you need to take things into perspective here. If you drive for a MASSIVE carrier like Swift, who has over 19,000 trucks. You're going to have congestion. If you drive for a smaller, established carrier like KLLM, who has around 2000 trucks, chances are you won't run into problems with that as much. I can sympathize here more than anywhere else, Sometimes you need to contact someone, but due to the nature of the job, you need to expect waiting.

I've heard complaints of people who don't like to be a number. I don't know about this really, because I've never cared. I got into trucking because I was tired of my boss knowing my name and shadowing me. I found that freedom and anonymity in driving a truck, and the other end of the situation was I never really knew the name of the person I was talking to when I did contact my carrier, so I never held them to knowing mine.

With all that being said, what works for you, may not work for someone else. Which brings us back to why you shouldn't read forums and try to find your perfect company through someone else.

Some of the more common complaints about companies
  • Swift Transportation - Lack of Contact
  • C.R. England - Lack Of Miles, Lack Of Contact. C.R. England seems to be facing these problems for years. Most of C.R. Englands problems stem from the driver trying to do a trucking lease with no experience.
  • Werner Enterprises - Banged up Equipment, and Poor Driver support. I've found a lot of these complaints stem from Students who don't like the trainers they have.
I could go on and on with this, But you may not run into these problems with these companies.

I know a Swift driver that loves them because he doesn't have to talk to anyone there, and they keep him loaded all the time.

I talked to a guy that liked C.R. Englands dedicated route, however, I haven't heard many positives about their OTR division, or lease purchases for that matter.

I know a few Werner Drivers who love the fact that they can take animals with them on the road, and the frequency of the home they get with Werner.

Trucking can be your friend or your worst enemy, what makes it that is your ability to accept change along with the ability to keep a positive attitude through the crappy times. Don't let your emotions get the best of you.