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Truth in Trucking: Finding a Transparent Trucking Company to Drive For

June 29th, 2022

Robbie Schaefer

Robbie Schaefer

Robbie came to ATS with ten years of transportation experience under his belt. He has worked at ATS for the last seven years as a driver consultant. He prides himself on using his industry knowledge to assist drivers in making the best career decisions for themselves.

Does it seem like you can’t find a good, trustworthy company no matter how hard you look? 

In a world where it feels like everyone is just trying to sell something to you, how do you find a company that will treat you with respect? How do you find a company that’s transparent about their offerings? How do you find the company that feels right for you? How do you know when you’re getting scammed?

Believe us, we know it’s tough. We’ve called companies ourselves and talked to recruiters. With some companies,  you can tell their hearts aren’t in it or that they don’t always love what they’re selling. 

On the other hand, there are a lot of really great companies out there with passionate, well-informed team members that are simply there to help you, not just to sell you. 

The team of recruiters here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) are called driving consultants because we’re here to consult you to make the best career decision for yourself — whether that means you drive for us or not.

In this article, we’ll help you understand how you can find an honest, reliable trucking company. We’ll review common red flags that may alert you to a dishonest company, which include: 

  • Ill-informed recruiters
  • Refusal to put you in touch with a company driver
  • Refusal to let drivers freely walk around headquarters
  • An abundance of bad reviews from drivers
  • Lack of information on the company’s website and social media channels
  • Refusal to provide documentation 

When you’re finished reading, you’ll be left with a great understanding of what you need to do to find an honest company that accommodates your needs. 

Be Realistic and Honest About Your Needs 

Finding a good, transparent company starts with you. 

If you want transparency from your trucking company, you need to be transparent about your needs too. If you aren’t honest, you’ll be lucky to stumble upon a company that aligns with your needs and expectations. 

Take some time to sit down — maybe with your spouse — and brainstorm what your top three to five needs are. Maybe your top priority is finding a company that’ll allow you to bring a pet with you. Perhaps you have a large family so you want to be able to go home frequently. Or maybe you’re in it for the money and you’d like to find a company that pays higher than most companies in the industry. 

Come up with a list of questions for each of your top needs. Be thorough. You’ll use this list of questions when you talk to recruiters and then again when you talk to drivers and eventually when you talk to your dispatcher during orientation. Add questions to the list as you think of them and take good notes.

Not only will you be able to compare answers among different team members, but you’ll also be able to compare your answers to other companies. 

Chances are, you’ll probably apply to several companies at once. If that’s the case, you can expect an influx of recruiter calls. It’s very easy to mix up what one company said. Taking good notes will help you differentiate between companies. Keep your facts straight.

A man in a dimly lit room sitting at a desk. A laptop is in front of him and he reviews a sheet of paper in his hands.

Look for Company and Driver Alignment 

The recruiting team will be your first point of contact with the company. Be thorough in your questioning about the company. Refer to the list of questions you made. You can also refer to this list of 94 questions you should ask your recruiter.

If you feel like you’re being misled, keep asking questions and trust your instinct. If it seems like they don’t have an answer to a question but they make one up anyway, it’s probably time to walk away. If they don’t have an answer to a question, they should refer you to someone else or call you back once they have the answer. 

After you talk to the company’s recruiters, talk to the company’s drivers. Does what the recruiter is saying align with what the drivers are saying? 

You can scope out drivers for that particular company at truck stops or better yet, ask the company for a driver that you can speak with. If they’re hesitant to put you in touch with a driver, that’s a red flag. 

If a driver tells you something different than what your recruiter is telling you, go back to your recruiter and speak about it with them. Perhaps either the driver or the recruiter was exaggerating. 

Once you decide to go to orientation, you should continue to ensure that there’s alignment between the recruiters, drivers, the orientation team and your dispatcher. Just because you’re at orientation doesn’t mean you can’t walk away; you can walk away at any time. 

Many trucking companies will allow you to walk around their facilities freely. This gives you the chance to talk to operations managers, safety and compliance team members, contractor services and pricing. Take advantage of this access to team members. This is a surefire sign of a company that has nothing to hide. 

If you aren’t allowed to visit headquarters and talk to team members or you have to be escorted through the building, that’s a red flag. 

If you feel leery about a company during orientation, ask clarifying questions until you do feel comfortable. If you still don’t feel comfortable, leave. 

If you feel leery about a company before you even get to orientation, cancel or reschedule until your questions are answered. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Just like you wouldn’t give out your bank account number to a random scammer on the phone offering you an all-expenses-paid tropical vacation, don’t let a trucking company best you either.

It is your right to take a step back whenever you feel uncomfortable — in fact, we highly encourage it.

Research, Research, Research 

As you’re in the application stage, it’s your job to be a detective. Research each company thoroughly. You shouldn’t just be talking to recruiters and drivers; you should be doing your own research outside of these conversations. 

Review the company’s website, social media channels and reviews. Check out their live question-and-answer sessions (if they have them). 

If they have minimal information on their website, they may have something to hide. Or, they may just want you to give them a call rather than grabbing all the information from the website. 

See how they interact with fellow drivers on their social media channels and try to tune in for live sessions. If the company you want to drive for has live information sessions, take advantage of them. This not only gives you a great opportunity to have your questions answered in real-time, but it also gives you the opportunity to see if the company is answering every question or if they’re ignoring some of them. 

The questions they don’t answer say a lot about the company. They should answer every single question and if they don’t know the answer, they should promise to follow up once they do have the answer from the correct team member. 

You should also take a look at company reviews, but remember to take them with a grain of salt. You can only make some people happy some of the time. Look for patterns instead of only focusing on one extremely positive or negative review. 

If there are countless comments about mistreatment, it’s probably going to be an issue at that company. If there are one or two comments about mistreatment in a sea of hundreds of comments, don’t take those reviews too seriously. The same goes for extremely positive comments. 

It’s best to look for a company with 80 percent good comments and 20 percent bad as opposed to 70 percent bad and 30 percent good. No company will have all positive reviews but choose a company that is primarily positive. 

A blank lease agreement.

Request Documentation

You have the right to request documentation throughout the entire recruiting process. Request further information on the programs and equipment. Ask for a dummy lease to review before you sign anything. When you’re at orientation selecting your truck, ask to review maintenance records. 

A transparent company will be happy to provide this to you. 

A company that hesitates to provide you with this information — or tiptoes around the subject and says they’ll get the information to you but never does — is a company that isn’t being honest with you.

Find the Best Trucking Company to Work For

It’s important to remember that every company is different and they can’t please everybody. They ultimately have a job to do and a business to run. They can’t make you happy all the time. No one can. Instead, look for a company that checks most, if not all, of your boxes and is transparent about its offerings. 

Trust your gut instinct. If you don’t feel good about a company and you’re getting answers that don’t align, walk away — even if you’re at orientation. 

If you decide to stay at a company that you don’t feel confident in, the smallest issues will feel like big issues from the start. Chances are, you’ll be unhappy and on the hunt for your next gig before you know it. 

Job-hopping is never a good idea, which is why it’s so important to try to get it right the first time. Check out this guide to choosing the right company to help make your decision a little easier.


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