What's the best trucking company to start out with?
With all of the trucking jobs available today, you have your choice of trucking companies to drive for. The real challenge is finding out which company is the best company for you. To do that, it’s important to answer the questions below:
Do you need to get your Class A CDL?
If you’re looking to drive a full-sized semi-truck and trailer, or plan to drive across state lines, you will need to attend a CDL school or CDL training program. Many trucking companies, including Halvor Lines, have in-house CDL programs that let you start out with them right away. If this is the route you’re on, here are a few things to consider:
- Is the program federally certified? As of this year, anyone who wants to earn a Class A CDL must go through a federally certified Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) program, like the one offered through Halvor Lines.
- Is the CDL school or training center near you? If not, does it provide lodging during initial training? While attending a CDL school near you can be a great option, that doesn’t always guarantee the best training. You may want to look for a CDL training program, like Halvor Gold, that has a strong reputation and which provides lodging to out-of-town students during classroom training.
- Are you worried about paying your bills while you’re training for your CDL? If so, you will want to check out paid CDL training programs like the one offered through Halvor Lines. Our Halvor Gold CDL training pays $1,000 a week while you are in training.
- Who are your CDL instructors? Make sure that your CDL instructors know their stuff. At Halvor Lines, for example, all of our CDL instructors spent years driving over the road before they started teaching. They were also chosen for their outstanding safety records and their commitment to setting students up for long-term success.
- Will you get individual attention/extra help if you need it? Let’s face it – when you’re learning something new, you may need a little extra help mastering certain skills, especially when you’re learning how to maneuver a 53-foot trailer. Look for a program like Halvor Gold, where class sizes are small enough that instructors can work one-on-one with you on things like backing, pre-trip and other road skills.
Are you looking for over-the-road training with an experienced driver trainer?
Once you have earned your Class A CDL, it’s time to hit the road. We recommend looking for a trucking company that requires new drivers to spend a few weeks with an experienced driver trainer before allowing them to make trips as a solo driver.
Many companies require this, including Halvor Lines. It’s included in our Halvor Gold training program, and is available on a space-available basis to CDL holders who have graduated from a Halvor-approved CLD training program. If you’ve gotten your CDL and are looking for OTR training, check out our Halvor Gold Finishing Program. Our training goes the extra mile by having your trainer in the seat next to you while you’re driving – allowing you to ask questions and get extra advice about life on the road. (Many companies have you team drive, which means you drive while your trainer sleeps and vice versa).
Finishing with Halvor Gold also offers the advantage of $1,000 weekly pay while you’re with your trainer.
What kind of freight do you want to haul?
As part of getting a CDL, you’ll learn about the different types of freight that truckers haul. The type of work you do as a driver, including whether or not you load and unload the freight, will depend on the type of freight you haul.
For example, if you like getting some exercise during the day, you might choose to haul flatbed freight or do something unique like hauling power sports equipment in a deck van. If you’d prefer to go with a no touch freight option, then hauling goods in a refrigerated / temperature controlled trailer or a dry van might be a better option for you.
As a new driver, you may not know what your preferred freight is until you’ve been working awhile. That’s where signing on with a company like Halvor Lines has its benefits. With four freight divisions, our drivers can move among divisions until they find on that’s right for them.
Are you looking for career growth as a truck driver?
Some folks get their CDLs and are happy to spend their career as a solo driver hauling freight. But it’s likely that at some point you may want to get more out of your trucking career. So it doesn’t hurt to seek out companies with proven track records of providing career ladders / career growth for their drivers.
At Halvor Lines, many of our drivers have opted to become Halvor Gold driver trainers, which pays more money per mile and allows them to hone their skills as mentors.
We also have drivers who have gone on to become dispatchers, driver services specialists, safety coaches, CDL instructors and more. That’s in addition to opportunities for drivers to work for themselves as owner operators who contract with Halvor instead of working as employed drivers.
What kind of company do you want to drive for?
Trucking companies come in all sizes and types. With the shortage of truck drivers, you will likely have your choice of employers. So it pays to do a little research into various trucking companies to find the one that works best for you. You can do this by visiting trucking company websites, talking with recruiters, and checking for driver testimonials on company websites and YouTube channels. You can also ask to talk with drivers directly to find out what they think of their employer.
You can also look for companies that have earned a Best Fleets to Drive For designation from the Truckload Carriers Association and Carrier’s Edge. Companies with this designation have been nominated for the honor by at least one driver, must undergo an extensive survey and evaluation process, and are judged heavily based on anonymous survey responses from their drivers. This is an award you must earn. It’s not something you can purchase.
Halvor Lines has earned a Best Fleets designation for 11 years running and was inducted into the Best Fleets Hall of Fame. It takes a lot of work to remain in the top standings, because competition gets tougher each year, but we believe it’s worth the effort because it demonstrates our commitment to drivers.
How To Become A Driver
OTR Finishing Program
“Here I’m not a number. They make me feel like family. I can walk into somebody’s office and they say ‘hey Dawn, how are you doing? How’s your day going?”