With over 7 years of experience in the transportation industry, John is a leading driver consultant on the ATS team. His focus is to find high-quality, professional, safe drivers – whether they are independent contractors or company drivers employed with ATS.
Have you ever called a trucking company excited about what they have to offer only to be disappointed because you aren’t in their hiring area?
No matter how great of a driver you are, no matter how perfect your safety record is, you cannot be hired if you are outside of a trucking company’s hiring area.
Hiring areas might be annoying, but they’re ultimately set up to help you succeed and get you home when you want to get home. But if you don’t know why they’re put in place, they can be pretty frustrating.
I’ve been recruiting drivers at Anderson Trucking Service for several years and I'm used to getting calls from drivers who don’t understand hiring areas and why we have them.
In this article, you’ll learn exactly why companies have hiring areas including:
Hiring areas are put in place to help you succeed as the driver. Once you finish reading, you’ll understand how.
1. Hiring Areas Help You Get Home on Time
Ultimately, hiring areas are designed to ensure you are able to get home regularly if you choose to do so. One of drivers’ top complaints is that they don’t get enough home time, so hiring areas are set by each company to ensure drivers get home when they want to.
A trucking company’s customer base serves as the basis for hiring areas. Once a customer base is established, the operations team will set the company’s hiring areas within a reasonable distance to allow drivers to get home.
Hiring areas will differ depending on local, regional and over-the-road (OTR) drivers and how often each type of driver is expected to go home. For instance, a true OTR driver goes home every two or three weeks, so the hiring area can be larger.
Depending on freight availability, a company may be hiring flatbed drivers in one area but not dry van drivers (and vice versa).
For instance, if companies are looking for regional drivers in the midwest, they won’t hire someone from Washington. If they only haul freight in the northeast, they’re not going to hire OTR drivers from Colorado.
Living outside of a hiring area would mean that you either rarely get to go home or it may very well take you a day to drive home. By the time you get home, you’ll have to turn back around and get back to work. And if you need to get home again in a week, your carrier won’t be able to get you there or you’ll be late getting home.
You must also consider if you have multiple houses or you take home time in a different place than where your home address is. If you take home time in an area that is outside of the hiring area, you may not be able to go home as often.
Additionally, hiring areas are important if there happens to be a family emergency at home. If you’re from Florida but you’re under a load in Washington, it might take you a couple of days to get home.
2. Hiring Areas Help You Save Money
Hiring areas are not only put in place to help you get home on time, but they’ll also help you save money.
For example, let’s pretend you were hired outside of a company’s usual hiring area. When you do decide to go home, you’ll have to deadhead hundreds of miles to get back home. Then you’ll have to deadhead hundreds of miles to pick up your next load.
You can imagine just how much money you’ll be spending on fuel to get home. If you’re a company driver, that cost is covered by the company, but if you’re an independent contractor, it’s a different story.
Fuel is consistently one of the highest expenses for lease drivers and owner-operators. Drivers can easily spend around $5,000 monthly on fuel depending on how many miles they drive.
With the current cost of diesel, every tank of gas can cost you around $1,000 if you have two 150-gallon tanks (as most long-haul trucks do). If you’re deadheading 500 miles to get home, you may easily be spending $250 on fuel. Then you have to consider the cost of deadheading hundreds of miles to pick up your next load.
Depending on how often you go home, this expense can really add up. When you’re spending so much on fuel to get home, it makes it hard for you to succeed as a driver and turn a profit. You’re not only wasting your money, but you’re also wasting your time. And as we always say in this industry, time is money.
You’ll also deal with additional wear and tear on your truck and maintenance costs can add up. And, if you do break down when you’re at home, you won’t be near one of the company’s terminals to get your truck fixed. You may incur a massive expense to get it towed to a facility.
3. Hiring Areas Help Maintain Customer Expectations
Trucking companies have a responsibility to their customers to deliver loads efficiently and on time. It can be harder to maintain this standard if companies are hiring drivers that aren’t within a reasonable distance or hiring area.
It’s crucial to have drivers who can pick up loads on time and deliver on time. If drivers are coming from 400 miles away because they were at home, they’re more difficult to dispatch on the load. They may not get there on time or they might be more likely to run into maintenance issues.
Finding a Company That’s Hiring in Your Area
Working outside a company’s hiring area isn’t cost-effective or time-effective for you and it’s also not the best choice for trucking companies.
When you apply at companies before carefully considering their hiring areas, you set yourself up for disappointment. Unless you move, you won’t be hired at that company no matter how great of a driver you are.
When you’re looking into trucking companies, there are several factors you should consider, with just one of them being hiring areas. You should also consider these five other factors, like company stability and equipment offerings.