Which Carrier Should I Choose?

semi tractor trailer driving on the highway in the evening

I was surfing through Facebook one day when a question came through one of the group chats. A driver had just finished his driving course and was looking to find out which carrier he should choose to go work with. Apparently he had pinned it down to two strong carriers but couldn’t decide further as to which one to choose. I applaud this driver to getting his list down to two candidates out of the many trucking companies available. I always tell new students to create a list of their top ten carriers and then start applying two to three companies at a time. So whether this person only had the two companies on the list or they had been applying for a while is unclear but he was trying to decide between Transport Carrier 1 (not real name) and Transport Carrier 2 (not real name)

Now I know both of these carriers very well and have worked with them for years. If a new person asked me in the streets I would tell them to choose either one as they are both solid choices. A couple of us chimed in with comments on the chat with very basic suggestions. Another driver suggested Transport Carrier 2 as they have a one year agreement for new drivers instead of the two year requirement requested from Carrier 1. I told him to just get a job with either carrier, stay there for two years and gain experience as both companies are good. There are many other reasons to decide on one carrier over another. Although most carriers are happy if you stay two years I know drivers who have been with one carrier for twenty years or more. Choose the best carrier for you at the time and if you stay there for a decade, great! If I had to decide the difference between the two carriers above I would be adding a few more questions to my query. I have outlined them for you below but only the person looking for a job can decide on what’s right for them and writing things down on a piece of paper can be helpful in a format like the one below. 

Personal Questions to Answer:

Q:Do you live within 75 kilometres from the terminal?

A:If you live too far from the terminal it may be hard to get home on a regular basis. 

Q:Do you live along routes that the company operates on? 

A:Similar to the question above living along the lanes a carrier travels helps you get home more often allowing for a balanced life style. 

Q:Does your company have a good training program? 

A:Both of these carriers have strong finishing programs however Carrier 1 has one of the best in the industry. You want to ensure you are not pressured to go on your own too early. 

Q:Does your company hire new drivers? 

A:Not all companies take new drivers due to insurance reasons. Make sure the carriers you apply with take new drivers. 

Q:Is there room to expand into different areas of the industry?

A:If you have interest in various areas of the industry then ensure there can be opportunities down the road to move around. For instance Carrier 2 has several divisions from van to refrigerated to flatbed, and oversize. Carrier 1 is strictly van freight. 

Q: Do they have a high safety rating? 

A: Both of these carriers have great safety records, but not all do. Signing on with an unsafe carrier can cause you to have incidents early in your career causing it to come to a screeching halt. If you have a bad record then many carriers will not be able to hire you in the future. 

Q: How much do they pay? 

Who cares! When you are new don’t worry about the money, that will follow if you do a good job. Your focus should be on the training program, carrier safety, and learning how the trucking industry works. Most carriers pay mostly the same anyway. You will be slower than an experienced driver and enrolled in a training program so the pay won’t make a difference. 

So there are a few questions I would be asking. You may want to add more questions to your list based on type of freight they might haul, how long they keep you on the road, or other training requirements. Good luck with your search and see you at the next job fair.