The trucking industry is one of the largest sectors in the United States since it’s responsible for most of its overland freight movement. The market is worth over $790 billion, providing ample opportunities for those looking to start a career as a truck driver. Getting a job at a well-respected and honest trucking company significantly impacts a trucker’s career, as these firms allow them to score generous compensations, bonuses, and job satisfaction.
The demand for truckers is on the rise as many positions go unfilled every year due to an ongoing shortage of truck drivers. However, despite the increasing demands, the standards of entry are high. After all, it’s an industry that highly focuses on safety, and most companies are wanting to hire someone that’s a good citizen of the road so that they can leave their truck and company’s name in good hands.
The expectations are high, but this career path is an enjoyable and rewarding way of life. If you’re considering working as a truck driver, we’ve listed the best trucking companies to work for to help you start your career confidently, safely, and profitably.
The Top Trucking Companies to Work For
The following are well-known and rated trucker companies that offer some of the best incentives and opportunities for aspiring truck drivers.
United Parcel Service
If you’re looking for a fast-paced environment with reasonable pay, a fair promotion system, and generous benefits, the United Parcel Service (UPS) truckers company is a great choice. They are the biggest recruiters of truck drivers in the United States and give you the chance to go home at the end of every day. However, all these incentives have a catch, and that’s you’ll be under pressure continuously to deliver your routes on time and deal with heavy traffic, regardless if you’re cruising down country roads or the busy streets of Midtown Manhattan.
You can find this parcel delivery empire at your nearest UPS transit center, and you can apply for a part-time sorting job. Once you get in, you can work your way up to delivery jobs. However, the UPS requires you to have your commercial driver’s license (CDL) and previous driving experience.
Food distribution is a massive part of a country’s economy, and one of the biggest names in the industry is Sysco. With the actual salary and bonuses, a driver can earn more than $87,000 annually with the company. When working for Sysco, you get the chance to take 100% local routes, allowing you to go home every day to your family.
The company offers daily routes, allowing truckers to enjoy the nightly home time. Besides those, Sysco also offers stock discounts, paid vacations, and retirement plans for their workers. Sysco is also very responsive to their truck driving teams and regularly makes an active effort to improve driving morale and efficiency.
H.O. Wolding, Inc
H.O. Wolding, Inc has been around for 75 years. It’s a dry freight carrier that’s privately owned and situated in Wisconsin. The company has a low driver turnover rate, which proves the quality of their trucker jobs. The company has a reputation of being a well-managed carrier that treats its truck drivers well.
FedEx is one of the most extensive parcel delivery services globally, providing truck drivers with ample opportunities to grow. It has a fantastic reputation for being passionate about its service and gives employees the chance to establish their own work time, making it ideal for drivers with families. A driver working for FedEx can earn between $40,000 to $80,000 annually.
Old Dominion Freight Line
Old Dominion is known to reward its workers well, boasting one of the nation’s lowest driver turnover rates. It offers a slightly higher salary, with its average annual wage coming up to $75,000. The trucking company has been shipping out cargo for eight years, serving the entire country from its humble base in North Carolina through its network of more than 200 distribution centers.
Although Walmart isn’t a trucking company, they have an impressive private fleet. Last year, the retail company announced that they’d be paying their drivers up to $90,000 annually to recruit only the best of the best. The average full-time driver working for Walmart can earn up to $85,000 annually, working five and a half days per week.
Walmart will pay for CDL training, mileage, activity, and a safe quarterly driving bonus. When driving for the retail chain, you can go home once a week and reset hours off the road. You can also apply for a 401(k) plan to secure your future. The private fleet is one of the best flatbed trucking companies anybody can work for, but there’s a catch – you’ll need to have some form of truck driving experience for them to consider hiring you.
XPO Logistics is one of the fastest-growing supply chain companies in the nation, having contracts with more than 50,000 companies, so you’ll never have any issue getting enough hours. The company invests in its workforce to keep time and benefits competitive, allowing them to recruit only the best. You can earn up to $68,000 annually with XPO logistics as a driver.
Acme Truck Line
Acme trucking comp has over 2,900 trucks and handles operations in seven states. They haul more than 9,000 truckloads of freight weekly, so you can ensure you have a stable job. Acme has an excellent reputation for always paying workers on time, so if you haul for one week, you can expect to get paid the next. The company also offers its drivers cash advances, fuel cards, and affordable physical or bobtail damage insurance.
Acme offers numerous driving job opportunities for rookies and experienced drivers alike. Their qualification requirements are relatively simple and straightforward, leaving you no to worry about jumping through hoops just to get employed. However, they don’t offer paid CDL training.
J. B. Hunt
J.B. Hunt has been in the trucking industry since 1961, specializing in semi-trailer trucks that ship throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. They boast a massive fleet of 53-foot trucks, and partner with numerous major rail providers, making them a lucrative company to drive for if home time is essential for you. Besides that, they offer competitive wages and benefits.
GP Transco is relatively new in the industry. Still, they’re already offering one of the best benefits packages for their drivers and have one of the lowest driver turnovers in the sector. This company’s average base salary is around $84,000 per year, allowing you to score a ‘true’ lifetime career.
What Type of Driving Job Do You Want?
Before you choose a truck company to start your journey on the open road, it pays to know what you want to get out of the job. There are plenty of trucking driving jobs that anyone can pursue, and here are some of the most common ones:
- Company Driver
Company drivers usually directly work for a firm and are on payroll. Depending on the company, a driver can enjoy various benefits, including paid CDL training, health insurance, paid vacations, safety bonuses, and advancement opportunities. The longer you stay with a trucking firm and the safer your driving record is, the more options you can get. Although working directly for a company can give you plenty of benefits, tons of regulations are imposed by them, making it an unpleasant work environment over time.
Although a company driving job may not be the one you’d want to have for the rest of your life, it can give you the necessary experience, opportunities, learn, and growth for a better trucker career.
- Solo Driver
Solo truck drivers usually haul and deliver loads, ranging from an entire truckload or half a full load. It’s a good fit for individuals that like working alone. However, the disadvantage of being a solo operator is that you can only rest during your off-hours.
- Team Driver
Team drivers are two individuals that work together to move freight faster. For instance, one can operate the wheel while the other rests behind the cab, allowing them to have one well-rested driver at all times to ensure the freight doesn’t stop for 10 hours, meeting federal safety requirements. Team drivers usually get more priority over solo drivers because they handle urgent or rush loads, resulting in them getting better pay and miles.
- Truck Driver Apprentice
If you don’t have CDL yet but want to start trucking to start your career early, you can achieve this by applying for a truck driver apprentice job. Companies structure this program differently, but most would assign you to load and unload trucks for a month and expand from there. An advantage of this job is that you get to have the training you need to get a CDL, alongside special license endorsements.
There are many requirements to qualify as an apprentice, including eligibility for a CDL, meaning you need to be drug-free, a clean criminal/driving record, and pass an intensive background check.
- Local Driver
If you’re looking to start a career but don’t want to stray away from family, operating as a local truck driver is a fantastic choice. You get to explore your city while being able to go home. Working in this trucking niche allows you to enjoy the benefit of having a regular home life and predictable hours. A downside to this is that you may receive a lower wage than long-haul drivers.
How to Find the Best Trucking Company to Work For
Looking for the best trucker company to work for is one of the most important things that you need to do in your career and is also one of the most challenging decisions you’ll make. To help you narrow down your choices and pick the best one for a successful trucking career, here are the things you need to do when searching for the best trucking firm you can work for:
Research the Company First
Before signing any papers, it pays to do your research. Here are some of the things you need to consider:
- How many drivers does the firm have been working for them for more than 10 or 15 years?
- Do they have a high turnover rate?
- How long have they been in business?
- Do they regularly post job ads for drivers?
- What is their credit score?
Knowing the answers to these questions will give you a clear idea of the company’s strength, reliability, and credibility.
Make Sure The Companies Offer Reasonable Benefits
Most trucking companies, regardless of their size, offer the same job benefits to some degree. However, the kind of incentives you’ll get will depend on your experience as a driver or how long you’ve worked for the company. Generally, full-time trucking operators receive the most benefits than part-time or contractual ones.
It’s wise to ensure the trucking company you plan on working for offers the benefits you’ll need to get the respect, pay, and rights reserved. Most firms will list the job benefits on their website, but to give you an overview, here are the most common job benefits offered by truck companies:
- Driving performance bonus
- Fuel savings bonus
- Paid orientations or training
- Annual pay raise
- Detention pay
- Major medical insurance
- Dental insurance
- Life insurance
- 401(k) retirement savings plan
- Paid holidays or vacations
- Guaranteed home time
- Sign-on bonus
If the firm you plan on applying for doesn’t offer any of these incentives, it’s time for you to reconsider your choices.
Evaluate the Trucking Company
Trucking is a business, and like most companies, they aim to make a profit. Some carriers make most of their profits by taking advantage of their drivers, with some not paying their drivers fairly.
To help you see if the carrier you’re considering working with is a reliable one, here are a couple of things you need to consider:
- Recruiter – Most trucking companies designate specific workers for the recruiting process. A majority of them know very little of the industry itself, leaving most of your questions unanswered. If you notice the recruiter is being vague or can’t answer your questions, ask them if you could speak to someone higher up to get the answers you need.
- Payroll – When applying, it’s wise to speak with someone with authority in the company’s payroll department to verify the payroll information, rate of pay, frequency, and more.
- Drivers – The best resource you can use to evaluate a carrier you’re interested in is a reputable one in its drivers. Speak with those currently working for the company and former employees to get a better insight.
- Manager – If you want to ensure you’re only joining a company that’s reputable, honest, and one of the best, it’s wise to meet with the terminal manager in person. Talking to them can clarify all the information you need to know about the company.
- Calculating Pay – Finally, it’s essential that you know if they’re paying by the mile, hours, etc. Knowing this helps you see if they are willing to be transparent with you.
If the carrier can’t verify any of these essential pieces of information, it’s best to walk away and find a different company.
Go for Driver-Focused Companies
Finally, only the best companies treat their drivers like people and as equals. You can determine if the carrier you’re interested in is a driver-focused company by asking them about their operations, incentives, and how detailed they explain the payment system and schedules. Although they’re scarce, they still exist. That’s why it’s best if you look for these carriers instead of settling for less to ensure a successful trucker career long-term.
How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?
A trucker’s salary and career prospects depend on several factors, including the trucking company you’re working for, experience, and type of driving job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, self-employed contract drivers that haul loads across the nation earn the most out of all truckers, earning up to $191,000 annually. Meanwhile, working as a CDL driver for trucking firms can earn you around $40,000 to over $80,000 per year. Generally, experienced drivers make more than novices as they stick to employers they’re content with, giving them incentives as repayment.
Is Being a Truck Driver a Good Job?
Working a trucker is a job anyone can jump into as it doesn’t require any educational degree, but you need to have the training, a keen eye, and time-sensitive. Despite minimal requirements, driving a truck can help you earn a good living also. An individual with a clean record, have driving experience, and hard-working can earn over $65,000 per year, while entry-level drivers can earn up to $40,000 annually.
We hope this article helped you narrow down your choices when choosing the best trucking companies to work for, allowing you to start your truck driving career with confidence and ease.