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How to Research Trucking Companies — 7 Tips

December 1st, 2023

Zackary Boos

Zackary Boos

Zackary is a graduate of St. Cloud State University and is an OTR trucking recruiter. He works with drivers every day to guide them through the process of finding their new trucking home. He provides honesty, integrity and excellent communication to all of his drivers looking for a new carrier. Zackary works with company drivers and independent contractors in both dry vans and flatbeds, and enjoys assisting others in advancing their careers.

Looking to find the perfect trucking company? Hoping to do more research on a company but don’t know where to get started? 

These seven tips will help get you there! Use them as a handy roadmap to help you dig into different companies and figure out which one suits you best. From checking safety records to chatting with recruiters and other drivers, there are plenty of ways to gather info and make sure you're making the right choice.

The last thing you want is to start working for a trucking company that doesn’t suit you and can’t accommodate your needs. 

Here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), driver satisfaction is one of our top concerns. We want drivers to find the company that meets — and exceeds — their needs, even if that means not choosing us. 

The goal here is to find the best match for your trucking career. Ready to dive in? Let's roll!

Tip #1: Check the Company’s Department of Transportation (DOT) Number 

If you want to look into the legitimacy of a trucking carrier, you can look them up by their DOT number on the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) System. 

This will allow you to learn more about the company’s operating status, how many trucks and drivers they have, the type of freight they haul, crashes/inspections and the company’s safety rating. 

This information will not only prove the legitimacy of the company, but it can also help you find out how safe the company is based on its crash history and safety rating. If safety on the road is one of your top priorities and you want to work for a company with similar priorities, this information is valuable.

Related: The safest trucking companies to drive for

Tip #2: Check the Company’s Website

If you want to know more about a trucking company, visit their website. Most companies should have one — with varying degrees of information. 

Some companies don’t make their pay obvious on the site, but you’ll at least get a basic understanding of whether or not they offer the type of trucking job you’re interested in. This can save you from potentially wasting time further researching the company if they don’t have the career path you desire. 

Company websites also typically talk about how and when the business was founded. A business that’s been around a long time is a sign of stability. Some company websites even include blogs or resource centers to help you succeed in the industry.

Three office workers sitting behind computer screens at one long desk.

Tip #3: Call a Recruiter 

After you scour the website, call the company and talk to a recruiter. This is the most common way to research a trucking company. You get information directly from the source and the conversation is tailored to you, your needs and the questions you have. At the same time, you can also find out if you’re qualified to drive for the company. 

Some drivers don’t like talking to recruiters — or it’s not the first step they’d take — because they worry the recruiter is biased or lying to them simply to get seats filled in the trucks. Many drivers simply don’t think they can trust recruiters. 

It’s not a good sign if your recruiter seems untrustworthy. You should be able to trust them and know that they have your best interest at heart — and many recruiters do. 

In fact, most driver recruiters are honest and provide accurate information. But like anything else, a few bad apples can ruin the bunch and you need to be aware of this. There are a few red flags to look out for to help you determine if a recruiter is being truthful or not.

If you feel like they’re de-emphasizing the cons of the company, leaving out key details, giving you outdated pay information or making the company seem too good to be true, you might question if you want to drive for them. Learn more about common lies in the trucking industry and how you can overcome them

Tip #4: Talk to Recruiters Online 

If you don’t feel like talking on the phone with a recruiter, some companies offer the chance to talk to a recruiter online via chatbots or social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. 

This still gives you the chance to speak one-on-one with a recruiter in real-time, but without having to be on the phone. It can be a much more convenient option and it allows you the same opportunity to have the conversation tailored to you and your needs. 

This option is offered at ATS. Simply send us a direct message on Facebook or Instagram, and you can speak directly with a recruiter. 

Tip #5: Talk to Other Truck Drivers 

It’s common for drivers to talk to other drivers at truck stops to get more information about companies they’re interested in. Just looking at the side of a truck you can see which carrier a driver works for. You can find trucks from many of the large carriers at any truck stop you go to. 

Fellow drivers are a great resource because they know exactly what it’s like working for the company. Drivers tend to look out for one another and you can typically trust their information — especially if you’re talking to one of your mentors in the industry. 

Talk to drivers about their experience with the carrier. What do they like? What could be improved? Make a list of your primary needs and wants and consider how their experience at the company does or doesn’t align with your list.

When you’re talking to other drivers, just make sure you’re speaking the same language. You can get misleading information if your career paths are different — for instance, if one of you has more experience or you’re hauling different types of freight. 

For example, if they’re talking about what they make as a regional driver and you plan on being an over-the-road (OTR) driver, you might get inaccurate numbers. You may also be hauling different types of freight, so be clear about what kind of career path you plan to pursue. We also see this happening a lot when one driver is talking about net pay and the other is talking about gross pay.

This is where it becomes especially helpful to talk to a recruiter to get information tailored to you.

A phone with the Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter icons shown.

Tip #6: Hop On Social Media 

Truck drivers are very present online and leave their footprint everywhere — which is great because it makes it easy for you to engage with fellow drivers on a variety of social media platforms. 

Tons of drivers create informative content to educate fellow drivers in the industry. They might create how-to videos, conduct reviews or simply talk about their experience. Don’t hesitate to reach out to these drivers for more information. Chances are, they’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you out. 

Again, just make sure you’re speaking the same language and not getting misleading information because you have a different career path or experience. It’s also a good idea to ensure the driver actually has experience with the companies they’re reviewing.  

Tip #7: Read Trucking Company Reviews 

You can read trucking company reviews across the internet — from Google to social media platforms to trucking forums. 

However, you have to take trucking company reviews with a grain of salt. People are more likely to leave reviews when they’re upset or had a bad experience. Keep that in mind with each review you read. 

Instead of taking one review at face value, read reviews on multiple sites and look for themes or commonalities. If there’s a theme of bad equipment in every review you read, it’s safe to say the company probably has an equipment issue. If you only read one review out of hundreds that says that, you may be less inclined to believe it or hold it against the company. 

You can always ask a recruiter about information in the reviews you read. Have them address the issue head-on to see how they handle it. There’s probably more to the story. 

And remember: Don’t refrain from going to a company simply because they have bad reviews. There’s no major trucking company out there without some bad reviews.

Related: ATS reads its bad reviews

5 gold stars on a pink and blue background.

Find the Right Company

In your search to find the best trucking company fit, these seven tips serve as a roadmap. Starting with checks on legitimacy and safety records, diving into company websites for program alignment, and engaging with recruiters, drivers and social media, each avenue offers unique insights.

However, caution is needed with online reviews—look for patterns rather than individual opinions. The goal isn't to dismiss a company for a few negative reviews but to understand and address potential concerns.

By leveraging these tips, you can navigate the complexities and find a company that resonates with your career goals and values. It's about thorough research to make an informed decision in the vast landscape of trucking opportunities.

Don’t forget to consider these five things when you’re researching trucking companies.