Note: I know I'm verbose, and you don't actually have to read my entire post! If you read "the short of it," and can recommend a good company, that would be nice. If you read "the long," and you disagree with anything I am looking for, please kindly tell me why it's unreasonable. I didn't come here for insults, but for elucidation. Thank you.
I have been driving for nearly 2 years, have tried many different things, and have worked for 4 companies. What I thought I wanted when I went in has changed over time, and been honed to something a lot more specific. Sometimes when I express to others in the industry what I am looking for, they look at me like I'm being a princess, and say/imply that my wishes are unrealistic. I don't feel like they are. I think what I want should actually be common, and should basically be the way most of the industry is run, or at least a good portion of it.
The short of it:
***Please list any decent companies here who fit the above. If they fit the below, even better!***
- 48 states (or *thereabout)
- 53' Dry Van
- Mostly dealing with 24hr Drop & Hook yards
If I could find the company who fit all of the above, I would be such a great driver for them, and would stay with them for the... well, long haul. I know it sounds like a lot, but each point has a good reason attached, and I can't figure out why this is so hard to find. I honestly think everyone - both companies and drivers - would do better if what I wrote above was the industry norm. Does any such company exist?
- *thereabout = it doesn't have to be all 48, but I just don't want to do the same runs all the time, or do regional only. I want to get out into the country.
- A company who is large enough to have trailers at yards all over the country, not having to rely on Live Loads. BUT! A company who isn't so humungous that they are evil (<cough> CRST <cough>).
- A company who is large enough to have enough business to keep you running, not sitting and waiting for a load. I don't mind a short wait, even a few hours, but CRST used to park me and my co-driver at Love's for days at a time. (AND they refused to ever send us home. Pick one! If you don't have work, send me home! If you have work, let's roll!)
- I do NOT need a new or even newer truck, but I DO need a truck that isn't in the shop all.the.time (or at least a company with a decent breakdown pay structure). I would need either a good inverter so that I can run my microwave and coffee pot, or an APU (I've never had one, but I hear they're all the rage). I would prefer a company who isn't strict on idling, but I can generally live with it as long as their rules on it are reasonable.
- A company who is willing to let you change Dispatchers/FMs if the one you are assigned isn't a good fit. We all know a good or bad Fleet Manager/Dispatcher can make or break your job/life/experience at a company, and sometimes people just don't click, even if they are both good people/employees. A good fit is essential.
- A company who generally will allow your record to speak for itself, not micromanaging you for the sake of micromanagement. A previous company I worked for, though actually a decent company that I enjoyed working for, was pretty into micromanagement, even though I was never late to any appointment/window, except in cases I had no control at all over, like an accident closing the road in front of us - in which case I was in constant communication with Dispatch. Honestly, if I were an FM, and I had to constantly reach out to my driver to make sure they were on top of things, because they weren't if I didn't, I would look for another driver! But that's me. I am self-managing, and expect other adults to also not need to be babysat. I do worse when micromanaged. But I'll tolerate a bit of it.
- Though I do NOT need any sort of regular home time - I don't even need to be home often, and almost never need to be home on a weekend - I do need a company who will respect my home time when I have requested it, and get me home when I need to be there.
- A company who trusts their drivers enough to not have mandatory UNsafety features installed on their trucks. Though I suppose I can see how they might be useful for some, I have found every one of them to make me a less safe driver, and honestly I also feel like if you are the kind of driver who needs these "features," you shouldn't be operating a semi. But maybe I'm being judgy...
- No inward facing cameras. I'd prefer no company cameras at all - I've got my own - but no microphones, or inward facing cameras. Also, no stupid rules not allowing you to wear a bluetooth headset (Schneider). I am a great driver, and an intelligent, discerning person. If I'm talking to someone, and things get dicey where I'm at, I tell them I need to hang up. But oftentimes, the reason I call someone is to help me stay alert. It makes me SAFER, not less safe. My driving record should speak for itself. My dash cam proves how many times I have kept someone else alive when they did something stupid in front of me. I am attentive, and have appropriate reflexes and great judgement.
- It would be GREAT if the company had a transponder that allowed me to pass scales. I got really spoiled having that at Interstate.
- It would also be GREAT if the company had good terminals around the country for drivers to park/shower/do laundry at. (CRST had this, but they charged for laundry, and their showers sucked. Interstate had this, and everything was free, and was pretty nice. It felt a lot more like home-away-from-home, and I liked that.)
Additional details: At this point, I would prefer to drive solo. I have done both, and I am open to doing both again in the future, but what works for my life right now is to drive solo. And I am a night driver, so that makes what I am looking for (24hr D&H) nearly vital. It's really hard to be a night driver, especially solo, and have to work by appointment/Live Loads, especially when those often are daytime only. And I can't even imagine how on earth one might drive solo, working around Live Loads, with the regs in place. If every shipper/receiver allowed "overnight" parking, that would help, but that isn't realistic. Another reason Live Loads are hard for a night driver is that even if I'm driving on a team, and the appointment is during the day when my co-driver could handle it, some Shippers/Receivers don't allow anyone to stay in the truck during the loading/unloading. And even when they do, the jerking around of the truck during Live Loads can be incredibly interruptive to sleep. Frankly, I think Live Loads should almost entirely be Local or Reefer.
I have worked for a Reefer company who had to work by appointment, or at least work within the operating hours of the produce warehouses they were dealing with. That was a huge problem, because if we missed the window by even minutes, it would set us back more than half a day. We lost 17 hours once for arriving 15 minutes after closing. I was a serious newbie back then, or else I would have pushed to make it before they closed, but the base of my argument remains the same: Working around operating hours is a time waster, and you can't run miles if you're wasting time.
The best company I ran for was Interstate. I actually loved my job, and was mostly happy there. My truck was in the shop too much, and my FM was a b**** who seemed to have it in for me (even though the night Dispatchers I actually worked with loved me, and thought I did a great job). But it fit a lot of what I listed above. I hear it's almost completely ruined now that Heartland took it over. That makes me sad. I would have considered going back, but into a different fleet, but I guess it's not there to go back to.
Anyway. That's all I can think of. I've been wanting to write this for a long time, but wanted to make sure to do it well, and didn't forget anything. I'm sorry if it was overwhelming. The next time I change companies, I want it to be for good, or at least for many years. Simply: the right move to the right company. I hope this is an appropriate place to gather together a list of good companies to look into.
Does the company I want to work for even exist?
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@Chinatown knows this one I believe. You may need to make live unloads part of your list.
Great plains in Nebraska big miles.
And Holland in Nebraska big miles.
Both companies are different family members. I've talked to Great plains drivers and they haul ###.
Haha, yeah CL and Indeed. But ads don't tell me if the company is actually decent. In fact, the opposite. Many ads sound SO GREAT until I come here (or Glassdoor, or other review sites) and read about how they really are.
I have a job now, so it's not that I need a job. I just really want to find that right company, and stay with them for a good long time.
It's usually the reefer outfits that have the fancy trucks.
I don't know if Nancy Baer Trucking is no-touch or not. Dry vans & reefers. Their website leaves a lot to be desired. They do hire on the west coast and require 2 yrs. experience.
It is partly because I'm coming up on the 2-year mark that I'm wanting to really spend some time looking for the right company. I'm okay with the 2-year requirement. In fact, I imagine/hope the companies with a requirement of more experience will treat their drivers with the respect they have earned... (but maybe that's too much to hope for?)
There are trucking companies that may fit your requirements......
terminal to terminal for the Less than load carriers. YRC, L & M, Fed-Ex........
run terminal to terminal for freight consolidation company. Variation of LTL This place may be worth checking out..... Combined Transport thinking the refer side.
Or think about all those Bread trailers you see rolling every night...
Class A Driver - Seattle-Franz Bakery
A relay operation. Not sure of any currently, but met a guy that would hang out in Coburg, OR, He would run an empty/low priority trailer down to Medford. Swap empty for loaded with a driver that had swapped in Sacramento.... Run the loaded to drop in Portland then snag an empty/low priority back down and sleep in Coburg.
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