I've read more than just few posts suggesting that life OTR might be easier if a driver works for a smaller carrier. Can anyone help me identify these good, smaller carriers? Also, is it reasonable to expect that the smaller carriers will have benefit packages comparable with those of the larger carriers?
Thanks to any and all who can help this wannabe!
Small carriers and bennies?
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I work for an affiliate leased to Quality Carriers . My boss has about 50 employees , best people I ever worked for , best pay and bennies I ever had . Quality has over 100 terminals , many operated by affiliates . Some are good , some not so good .
Another good company I worked for is Eastern Seaboard Packaging . They have branches in MA , MD , GA , and FL . They have the contract for supplying boxes to U-Haul stores . They have mostly single axle day cabs and pay for hotels if drivers are out overnight .
I often see Sperry Rail Service advertising for CDL drivers . This is good job with specialized training inspecting railroad tracks .
There are plenty of opportunities that are much better than the OTR companies .
I have a couple uncles that drive for Quality Carriers or someone leased to them. I'm not sure which it is. I know they haul a lot of silicone products. Gone 4 days a week most trips. I think they drive to Elizabethtown, KY every week, thats where they have to leave the trucks. They both seem to really enjoy it.
I moved to smaller carriers back in the 90's I have experienced equal or better benefits overall. You have to do your research on smaller carriers before choosing one. The smaller carriers that concentrate on a solid customer base that tends to be more regional than 48 state, tend to be better to work for. Not always, but most times. When I was running 48 and Canada, I could not do better than about 130,000 miles a year average. With the two smaller carriers I have been with, I average 140,000 miles a year, am home all holidays, and all but a handfull of weekends a year, and have benefits that were comparible to anywhere in the industry. The good smaller carriers have higher standards for hiring than bigger carriers, so having a good record is a must.
My latest, Fremont Contract Carriers out of Nebraska, is a pretty good outfit. You have to ask a lot of the right questions to determine a good small carrier. Try to find out about their business model, what core clients they are servicing, etc. Check out their SAFER rating at the FMCSA website. You need to look at them as if you were a business executive trying to find the right business to team up with. Of course, they will not tell you everything about their operation, but if they are not willing to discuss their basic operation, business model, and safety compliance, then look elsewhere. It is hard to determine a good carrier if you just ask the "truck want ad" type of questions. The big boys will never give you more than the standard boiler plate answers. The good smaller carriers are more willing to share who and what they are all about with a driver.
I have followed this method of determining who I wanted to be with. It has worked well for me. I was with my last small carrier for almost a decade, and am now with this one for two years. Smaller carriers, overall, are more responsive to a driver's needs regarding medical appts, family issues, etc.
"My latest, Fremont Contract Carriers out of Nebraska, is a pretty good outfit."
I downloaded an application from Fremont. I perused their sight first. I won't be qualified to drive for them for at least a couple of years. What I like about the site was the total lack of "glitz" and "look at how great we are". I really like the simplicity of that.
I'm gonna keep their application in my "paper file" to remind me to think of them when the time comes. They seem to be a pretty straight-shooting company.
Thanks for the lead,
I think you are in the same boat as I am... we have to pay our dues and get some experiece before we can get a job with a good small company.
Alot of guys on here will say things like "Under no circumstance should you work for (INSERT ANY LARGE COMPANY)!!!" But the bottom line is that you can't start at the top in any industry. What I have found is that you have to start at one of the big "starter" companies to get some experience and then you can look for something better.
For example, I would like to try IWX... but they won't hire me until I have at least a year OTR experience.
Good luck to you Oldnewbie!
The best companies my husband ever worked for were small companies. The first small carrier he worked for taught me to drive a big rig. Taught me to drop a tranny and driveline from a truck and replace it, taught me to handle dispatch in pinch, and allowed me to handle a jerkoff reciever.
Second small company was wonderful. The owner went shopping for the kids for Christams and you can tell the man had a BLAST doing it! He always had drivers kids running around the offie and even tried to move us to a mobile home that was out on the yard (rent free!)... but I couldn't see moving a very active, very NOSEY 7 year old boy onto a very busy truck yard..
Third guy was great while it lasted. If he came back with the same money Guy was making with all the same bennies for the same prices, we would seriously consider going back, but I doubt it would happen. He even called several times while William was in surgery, and sent home video games for him while he was recovering... Guy went back to the second company I mentioned. And so far, he is happy.
Nothing against kids, but not at the office.
Smart move keeping your 7 year old away from a busy yard and out of harm's way. Not a safe place. Good job Mom!GuysLady Thanks this.
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