This report lists the best trucking companies to work for if you have a career as a professional truck driver. It looks at the largest national trucking companies to determine the best ones to approach for potential employment. To be employed at a reputable trucking company can make all the difference in a trucking career that nets you great compensation, benefits and job satisfaction. Some of the top truck companies we list in this report should be no surprise, but some will.
If you are seeking truck driver training you will have priorities that focus on getting certified at the most reasonable cost. Experienced drivers will be looking for the best places to exploit their ratings and endorsements and experience. This report will provide you that guidance.
- 1 Deciding to Become a Commercial Driver
- 2 The Top Ten Trucking Companies
- 2.1 Measuring Corporate America
- 2.2 Counting Down the Top 10 Trucking Companies
- 2.2.1 10. J.B. Hunt Transportation Services
- 2.2.2 9. Crete Carrier
- 2.2.3 8. AAA Cooper Transportation (ACT)
- 2.2.4 7. Old Dominion Freight Line
- 2.2.5 6. United Parcel Service
- 2.2.6 5. Trimac Transportation Services
- 2.2.7 4. Interstate Distributor
- 2.2.8 3. FedEx
- 2.2.9 2. Arkansas Best
- 2.2.10 1. Southeastern Freight Lines
- 3 The Best of the Rest
- 4 Truck Driver Salary of Trucking Companies
- 5 In Conclusion
Trucking jobs are out there, as many positions go unfilled each year due to an ongoing shortage of drivers. However, the standards of entry are high. This is an industry where there is an intense focus on safety. After all, when a company hands you the keys to an 80,000 lb. vehicle, full of valuable merchandise or commodities, they want to be confident that it will get where it is going. They also want to be confident that the truck, with their company logo emblazoned on the side of it, will be a good citizen of the road. The expectations are high but truck driving is an enjoyable and rewarding way of life if you are the right person in the right job.
This report looks at what you can expect from transportation and truck driving companies and what their current and past employees think of them. It looks at career prospects and job availability. It draws on information from hours of research, website sources, reference books and our own careers to create a snapshot of the best trucking companies to be employed at as a trucker and driver.
Deciding to Become a Commercial Driver
There are many reasons to become a professional driver and there are also some reasons why this kind of job is not for everyone. Some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you want to be a people mover or freight hauler?
- Do you see yourself as a short-hop shuttle driver, or long distance road warrior?
- Do you want to work independently or be an employee of a truck company?
As far as lifestyle and work environment is concerned you will enjoy it most if you are an independent minded person who loves driving and likes people too. You are going to be around a lot of different people and personality types as a truck driver and that is one of the things that makes it such a great career.
Another characteristic of the job is that you will never have the same day twice. Whether you ride the same route daily or you are dispatched to different destinations from one day to the next, there will always be something that is different everyday. It might be traffic, weather or the load you are hauling but there will always be something going on that makes the drive different each time.
What Kind of Driving Job?
Companies tend to specialize in the roles that they do best. Hauling single loads is different from moving less-than-truckload (LTL) cargo and the logistical setup of companies to accommodate each has a different process. Dry or liquid bulk loads are something else again.
Bus or Coach driving demands the highest level of customer service skills as you might be dealing with the general public when they are not at their personal best. If you can handle that it might be an enjoyable opportunity even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that the mean annual income for a passenger bus driver was around $33,000 in 2013. And the mean annual salary for truck drivers in the U.S. is just under $40,000.
There are many businesses in the hospitality and travel industries that will hire CDL drivers for shuttle buses and courtesy buses. If there is a major airport in your region there will be driving jobs-a-plenty. Of course they will be local driving work but there might be significant potential for tips when you give great service.
Shuttle Bus driving such as for a rent-a-car company or a parking company will give you a routine with a fixed daily schedule. Delivery and Parcel drivers work hard but get to go home at the end of every shift. For every job description there are pros and cons but the variety means that there is a professional driving job for almost everyone.
Finding Unfilled Truck Driving Jobs
If you have decided to pursue a career in transportation as a driver then that is outstanding! Now What? The first step is to look for a company that will train you or you can head back to school. School options vary significantly from state to state.
Opportunities will likely continue to be good, as there is a growing shortage of drivers. Presently there are a million trucking jobs and 800,000 drivers to fill them. There are predictions based on federal transportation statistics that there will be up to 300,000 truck-driving jobs unfilled by 2020.
Career Prospects and Salary Ranges
Bureau of Labor Statistics research show that the average pay for trucking jobs is around $39,000 per year. If the demand for drivers continues to go unmet, that is likely to increase in the next few years. Age requirements run from 21 to 25 years of age minimum at the time of application.
By far the most numerous truck-driving positions are for heavy trucks and tractor-trailer rigs. Tractor-trailer drivers had mean earnings around $42,000 per year in 2013, according to the BLS, while light truck and delivery drivers had earnings of around $35,000 per year.
The real money goes to the self-employed contract drivers that haul freight across country. According to CNN Money, independent drivers can clear as much as $150,000 per year after the cost of maintenance and fuel. The price is that to do it, they stay on the road away from home, living in their cabs for most of the year.
What Do You Want From Your Employer?
Different people have varied values and needs, to make the assumption that everyone will respond the same is a mistake. That is why this report relies on information that was crowd sourced through the Glassdoor.com employment resources website. It is best if the judgment of a company as an employer is left to the people who actually spent time working there.
The list of largest truck driver employers was used so that there would be the best most even national coverage. There may be some little gems in your neighborhood that are a secret, known only to their workers, but here we are trying to get the big picture and the broadest based assessment of the truck driving jobs market.
What you want from your employer also depends at what point you are in your career as a commercial driver. The best employers know that experienced drivers will come to them and so they do not make the same effort to train the new recruits. They do not have to train; they may have a waiting list of qualified drivers waiting to join them.
Finally, the shortage of truck drivers means that companies will have to try harder by paying for tuition, student loans and directly training new recruits. This may appear to conflict with the idea that the best firms don’t have to try as hard but the average transportation company is going to have to make their job offers more enticing to get enough applicants to fill their open positions.
The shortage of drivers and the way that companies will be forced to respond is going to be good news for anyone who wants to get into the commercial driving industry. If the trend continues, it will be easier to get in and then, as your experience grows, you will have even better options. It also means that companies will have to try harder to retain drivers and that will help to improve the workplace for everyone.
The Top Ten Trucking Companies
The list of companies was drawn from the Journal of Commerce top fifty transportation companies. There has to be a balance between size and quality because a small local company is less relevant to job seekers beyond their region than a large company that would have equivalent ratings. The larger company is much more likely to have available positions for drivers across the country.
Measuring Corporate America
This report draws information from Glassdoor.com and Hoover’s to match the companies with the sentiment of their employees who have freely and anonymously given their opinions of their employers. It is also relevant as to how many employees gave their opinions.
Factors that are considered here include:
- Average rating
- Number of ratings
- Number of employees
- Location covered
- Average driver salary
The average salary for drivers at the companies of the survey was just over $39,000, whereas the average from BLS national statistics for drivers, tractor-trailer drivers and light vehicle drivers was just under $39,000. Assuming a broad standard deviation it is an accurate measure of the market.
The score used to determine job satisfaction levels are ratings out of a possible five based on the information submitted to Glassdoor.com by employees of the companies in question. Numbers of ratings per company are factored in by assuming that more ratings indicate stronger opinions.
The source of salaries for drivers also comes from Glassdoor.com. Although there may not be enough data points to give an accurate measure of the average it is worth noting what it is. The main point of comparison is the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the job description of tractor-trailer drivers and delivery drivers.
Costco and Wal-Mart are included here as examples of large generic companies, who may employ drivers but are not in the transportation industry. This gives an indication of how transportation companies rate in comparison. The salaries for drivers of each transportation company are given in the chart of companies at the bottom of this article.
|Southeastern Freight Lines||3.8||29||7,000|
|Trimac Trans. Services||3.5||21||3,500|
|United Parcel Service||3.3||2313||395,000|
|Old Dominion Freight Line||3.3||59||13,000|
|AAA Cooper Trans. Services||3.3||16||4,190|
|J.B. Hunt Transportation Serv.||3.1||205||18,500|
Counting Down the Top 10 Trucking Companies
10. J.B. Hunt Transportation Services
This national trucking company is a great place for friendly coworkers and professionalism in the workplace. That earns it a rating of 3.1 overall with a slant toward culture and values, among 205 employees who cared to rate the company. J.B. Hunt provides long-distance transportation and logistics across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
9. Crete Carrier
At a rating of 3.2 this truck company is popular with its employees for the leadership, benefits and opportunity, as well as the culture and values. This long distance freight hauler transports dry truckloads, temperature controlled and flatbed loads across the lower 48 states.
8. AAA Cooper Transportation (ACT)
Truckers in the Southeastern United States and Puerto Rico have the option working for this giant freight-hauler. They have a reputation of being a family-oriented company that cares about their people. ACT gets an enthusiastic 3.3 from sixteen ratings.
7. Old Dominion Freight Line
This hard working company rewards its employees well and the drivers appreciate it. Old Dominion specializes in less-than-load cargo shipping. Having been in the business for eighty years they know a thing or two about logistics, supply chain and expedited shipping. They serve the entire country from their base in Thomasville, North Carolina through a network of 200 distribution centers. With the same rating as ACT they pull ahead based on volume, with 59 ratings, averaging 3.3 each.
6. United Parcel Service
The brown trucks and uniforms of UPS are a feature of everyday modern life. This company is appreciated for its good pay, in exchange for hard work. The career and promotions are there if you can stick around through the super-busy holiday season at the end of the year. Available positions are limited by low turnover so you will have to be patient. The lesson is that contented employees stick around.
If you want a fast paced environment with good pay you might consider working for UPS. They are the largest employer of drivers and you will get to go home at the end of every day. Mind you, when you do, you will be exhausted, because they expect their people to hustle.
As a UPS driver you will be under pressure constantly to deliver your route on time, deal with traffic, regardless if it is country roads or the busy streets of Santa Monica or Mid-town Manhattan. In return, you will be well paid, perhaps the best in the business.
The way-in at this giant of parcel delivery is to find the nearest UPS transit center and apply for a part-time sorting job. Once you are in, you can work your way up to deliveries. You will need to have your CDL and previous driving experience to be considered for the good jobs. Brown rates a 3.3 average from 2,313 ratings.
5. Trimac Transportation Services
Trimac is the leading transporter of bulk cargoes, both dry and liquid. The company has good benefits and training, although they only hire drivers who already have their CDL and at least one year of experience behind the wheel. Initial driving pay is modest but experienced drivers earn an average of $47,000 per year. Good pay and benefits, hauling bulk cargo nationwide earns them 21 ratings of 3.5 on average.
4. Interstate Distributor
This firm operates mainly in the Western United States but carries freight nationwide. Employees of this firm that supports Fortune 500 companies are rightfully proud of their customer service levels, this pride extends to the company values and culture. With a very low staff turnover rate their people are stable and settled. The ratings are few at only five but the high score of 3.6 is matched by very positive written reviews.
The absolutely-has-to-get-there-overnight parcel delivery service has a reputation for passion in their service and their people recommend FedEx as an employer by a margin of three to one. They also have a huge fleet of ground vehicles of all sizes that require drivers.
2. Arkansas Best
Good pay goes a long way and so do great company cultures and values. This nationwide hauler moves less-than-truckload cargoes of packages and commodities across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Three very happy employees have rated this firm an average of 3.7, matching the performance of Starbucks in average ratings.
1. Southeastern Freight Lines
As the name suggests, this less-than-truckload freight-hauling firm works in the Southeastern United States as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They have relationships with companies in other regions that transship across the country. Southeastern Freight Line has a solid rating of 3.8, which matches both GE and Costco, two very popular employers. This is a family owned company that gets high marks for compensation and benefits as well as culture and values.
The Best of the Rest
Other Transportation Services Employers Of Note
Costco also hires Class-A drivers. They were the original comparison for an example of a popular employer in the list. If you have your CDL, with five years driving experience, your health card and a clean record they might be worth looking at for a good driving job.
SAIA rates 2.8 on the Glass Door scale but this company has an excellent compensation package of pay and benefits for its drivers. They hire experienced drivers nationwide and ship throughout North America and Mexico.
Another alternative for a company that trains drivers is the famous bus company of Greyhound. They are still in service across North America and hire driver candidates based on the qualities that would make great drivers and customer service representatives.
Of the companies that use contractors on the list the average glassdoor.com rating was 3.43 whereas the average rating for employer companies was 2.9, which suggests that drivers are moderately more satisfied with working as contractors for truck companies. They also tend to be better paid.
Most of these companies provide the equipment for the drivers. As long as they stay on the road as much as possible, self-employed drivers can make as much as $150,000 per year, after fuel and other expenses. The experienced driver, who loves being on the road, might find this to be the ultimate solution.
Ratings for Companies that Employ Contractors
|Anderson Trucking Service||4||5|
|Roadrunner Transportation Systems||3.3||9|
|Universal Truckload Services||2.6||10|
Training Makes a Difference But How Much?
Knight Transportation has announced that it will be raising pay and bonuses in 2014. They did not make the top ten as Glassdoor.com ratings indicated that employees at Knight are “dissatisfied”. Even though they are one of the companies that train drivers, they appear to not have impressed the 66 employees who bothered to rate them at 2.4 across the board. Employees note the good condition of the trucks but they also note a lack of supervisor concern with the welfare of the drivers.
For those who are looking for a job that will train you from the ground up, the following list is of companies that train drivers. You will notice that the list does not overlap with the Glassdoor.com list of most highly rated.
Experienced drivers will be in the best position to pick and choose. That is the nature of the industry. Once you are certified and experienced, say with five years of driving full-time, you will have first choice of the best jobs in the business.
- Swift Transportation
- FFE Transportation Services
- Prime Inc.
- Roehl Transport
- Knight Transportation
- PAM Transportation
- USA Truck
- C.R. England
- Millis Transfer Inc.
- Driver Solutions
- Stevens Driving Academy of Texas
- Central Refrigerated Services Inc.
- Midwest Coast Transport (MCT)
Truck Driver Salary of Trucking Companies
|No. of Employees|
or Hoover's if
|Regions Served||Training Provided|
|3||J.B. Hunt Transport Services||3.1||205||$38,775||18,500||Nationwide|
|3.5||28||NA||14,100||Independent contractors, nationwide|
|15||R & L Carriers||2.2||52||$50,920||9,400||Nationwide|
|3.2||9||NA||20,000||Independent contractors. nationwide|
|3.3||9||NA||2,400||Independent contractors, nationwide|
|2.6||10||NA||Independent contractors, nationwide|
|4||5||NA||900||Independent contractors, nationwide|
|4||6||NA||400||Independent contractors, nationwide|
|NA||NA||NA||NA||Independent contractors, nationwide|
|46||Dart Transit||3.5||8||NA||340||MN, TX, IN|
Source: Journal of Commerce and Glassdoor.com; NA indicates no information available.
We hope that this comprehensive report on the best trucking employers can steer you in the right direction as far as finding a trucking job.
There are plenty of options available for everyone who wishes to become a commercial driver and who can meet the medical requirements. Assuming you are fit, it is just a matter of where there is a will there is a way. The complete novice can seek training and then apply, or apply directly to one of the many companies that will train you for your CDL.
Once you have experience in the industry the shortage of drivers will ensure that you will be able to find work. The types of work are varied and there is probably a job description that suits every CDL holder. Ultimately you can expand your career prospects by entering management or becoming a self-employed contractor. The horizons are as broad as the open road that stretches out before you.
What trucking company do you work for or wish to work for, and what has your experience been so far? Share in the comments.