In The News

Making the Right Call When Choosing a Carrier

By Brandon Baxter - Staff Writer
Posted Aug 28th 2023 8:00AM

Whether you’re a seasoned owner-operator or an independent contractor looking for your first (or next) opportunity to get into the expedite industry, choosing the right carrier to run for makes all the difference in the world. And seeing as expedite is but a niche to the overall trucking industry, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got all the information you need before making such a decision. Especially before you even get into the driver’s seat.

Here are several thoughts and rules of thumb to consider when looking for that coveted expedite opportunity.

Do Your Research

Drivers are often led to a potential job opportunity through word of mouth, such as those riveting conversations at a truck stop, but that shouldn’t be your only source of information. Out there in the world is something called the internet. In fact, you’re probably reading this article on the web right now… wild concept, right?!

Any number of online resources, such as company websites, Google, LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, Facebook and Instagram, can provide vital information about the companies you’re interested in. Something you’ll definitely want to be sure of is that the companies you are applying to possess similar values that line up with your own.

It’s also not a bad idea to have some of those riveting truck stop conversations with drivers who are currently working with the carriers that hold your potential interest. Testimonials can certainly carry a lot of weight in this industry!

Ask Questions

They say that money talks and BS walks, which couldn’t be truer when searching out the right fit in an expedite carrier. And perhaps the best thing an independent contractor can do is to address all aspects of a job opportunity, top to bottom.

Don’t be afraid to discuss pay rates and pay structure, bonuses, deductions, and potential benefits. Most expedite carriers are going to offer up the independent contractor model anyway, so make sure you’re getting all that’s being offered before you decide if it’s the right carrier for you.

Also, temper your expectations. If one of your personal requirements is that you get regularly scheduled home time, then be prepared to run over-the-road a little less. Something like this can put a cap on how much revenue you and the truck will generate. But if it’s a work-life balance you’re looking for, be up front about it before taking the job. Nothing will smack you harder than when you’re expecting to be home on the weekend, but you’re down in Laredo after taking a run on Monday. Expedite is a different animal.

Believe What You See

A carrier’s image can be deceiving. The way a company is portrayed to the general public isn’t always a great indicator as to how that company operates on a day-in and day-out basis. Not to mention, it’s not always wise to believe what you hear through the grapevine.

Here are a few items to consider looking for in a carrier. What is the condition of the trucks you see on the road representing that carrier? Does it appear that the carrier is using new equipment, or perhaps only leasing on a certain make and model of truck? Do the company logos appear to be new and exciting or old and uninspiring?

These seemingly minor visual aids are being singled out because they happen to be legitimate proof that you can see right in front of you. No need to dive too deep on a company when they’re putting their best foot forward from the get-go.

Execute for Now & Plan for the Future

Keeping in mind that driver turnover in the trucking industry remains high, the same can be said of the expedite realm as well. But consider that not every driver leaving one company for another is a job hopper. More often than not, drivers move from one carrier to the next because there is something that just doesn’t fit right, and the driver didn’t notice until they were already a part of the truck.

There are plenty of red flags drivers should be aware of when choosing a carrier to drive for, but those red flags are mostly evident to the individual as opposed to the trucking population.

The best thing a driver can do is to have a plan in mind when starting with a new carrier. If it’s working out from the start, then expand that plan from a one-year to a five-year plan. If it’s not serving its intended purpose from the get-go, then there’s no shame in moving on down the road again. Figure out what works best for YOU!

These are all just simple suggestions that drivers can consider and use, each time they enter or re-enter the driving workforce. If you’re going in with a plan from the start, then you’re already better off than the driver who’s just winging it.