The Great Lie from every trucking company is that they value their drivers. While not entirely untrue but it is also not actually actually as the websites and the recruiters are implying.
Please understand, companies do value their drivers. They also value dispatchers, maintenance, safety/compliance and accounting personnel. And like every industry, some companies that do a better job then other others at caring. There are some companies who specialize in hiring new/trainee/driving school graduates. Other, these companies have less generous pay and benefits packages and also offer less home time (per month) or require more time spent running in a team truck when you want to run solo. As these companies hire 100s of drivers each year – you may appear to be less important to them then you would like. But even in these driver mills, the longer you are with the company, normally the better you will be treated.
As your experience grows, the more opportunities and often more respect will be available to you. This could include being higher up to get a new truck, more pay, the option to get preferred loads/routes. And the longer you are with the same company, the more opportunity to receive company awards (safe driver, etc) which will be your acknowledgement you are not just a number.
There are also many companies that will only hire you if you have multiple years of experience. These companies may be smaller and you may have the opportunity to develop a relationship with your dispatches and other co-workers. This is give you the impression that you are more then just a number, even if you are.
For all trucking companies, the driver is an important part. But trucking companies are a team environment. In college sports a solo event is wrestling, however, it is still a team event that requires multiple people to win individual matches for the team to take the trophy. Baseball, basketball, volleyball and football need the coordinated efforts of numerous people at the same time.
Trucking is no different. Even a small company may have a person that handles load scheduling, paying the bills, processing load paperwork to get paid by shipper and paying the drivers. As the company grows, the more specialized each department will be. When a company hits 100s or 1,000s trucks, the departments will multiple employees. Additionally, there will be other departments such as Safety/Compliance, Payroll, Maintenance/Fleet Management and Personnel.
It is not a Great Lie that companies do value their drivers. It could be more about the driver not being as important as they think they are. Nearly every company will state “you are more then a number”. Sorry, no matter what, you really are a number. An employee number. A truck number. A load number.
You are part of the total process to provide quality service. Dispatch receive the load and determine which driver/truck should move it. The driver must pick up and deliver it as required. Billing must process the paperwork and collect payment. Payroll will disperse your cut, while accounts payable will pay for fuel, insurance, truck payments and other company expenses. Are you important as a driver? Of course you are. But so is dispatch, accounting, sales and the maintenance department.
Many times drivers take the Great Lie meaning they are the most important person in the company. Thus what is important to them is important to everyone. Get over yourself. You are one member of the team. And need to understand that. That is not to say that you should allow yourself to be pissed on or treated like garbage. But you must understand the bigger picture of a large trucking company. The newer you are to the company (less seniority) and the larger the company – the less the boss is likely to know your name.
If you think you are going to find the perfect trucking company – give up now, there are NONE. That is correct, no perfect company to work for. Every company has issues. You must find the one that has issues somewhere you don’t care about, or care about the least. If you are young in good health and with no kids, the health plan may not be as important. If you want to haul long haul, look for a company that specializes in long haul rather then work for a company that does a lot of local work. If you want to be an Owner/Operator with the opportunity to lease-purchase, then how the company drivers are paid should not be as important to you. Each company functions slightly differently but they all also operate the same. All trucking companies have shippers, consignees, truck maintenance, drivers, dispatchers and other employees – each with their own personality, their own needs and their own priorities.
If you research where you will work with great care and select a company that meets your needs and desires, then focus on being a team player for that company, very likely you will have a great time and you will feel like you are an important part of the team – and you are. When that company no longer meets your needs (pay package, routes, types or loads, etc.) carefully review other companies for a new position.
Happy Trucking – John