Big Enough to Compete, Small Enough to Care – The Best of Both Worlds
Every truck driver is unique when it comes to their individual needs while looking for a company to work for. Some drivers prefer the quaint smaller businesses that are more flexible and personable while others prefer the mega companies that can offer more lanes and benefits with updated equipment. There are some though, that search for that in-between company that can provide most of the advantages of a big company while still being small enough to remember your name.
Small but mighty
Did you know that since 2019, there are 996,894 registered motor carrier companies out there? Of those carriers only about 5% of them are larger carriers with more than 20 trucks. That means that the trucking industry is made up of mostly small businesses.
When working for a smaller company, there can be a variety of perks that aren’t necessarily listed out in plain writing. Getting to be able to foster a working relationship with management, other drivers and even sometimes the owner of the company can ease the typical stressors of the job itself. By having a more connected environment, you can have more visibility of the ins and outs of the company. This can be beneficial when it comes to understanding why certain decisions are made and how they will affect you as a driver.
Another benefit of getting in with a smaller company could be pay. Depending on how the business is run and if you are planning to be a company driver, you may have a better paycheck. Small companies utilize owner operators to help with overhead such as vehicle service, parking/storage and other costs associated with owning a fleet.
Lastly, if you are looking to remain local or close-regional, smaller company local to your area may be your best bet especially if you
Although this would seem like the perfect choice for anyone, there are a few considerations to make before deciding to go with a small company. Down turns in the economy is one of the risks a driver takes as smaller companies, especially newer ones can be the first to take major hits causing lower paychecks, layoffs and even close. Another quality may be that you could be spread thin. While most small companies are able to manage workload and family time, there may be often times you might not get a reset at home due to customer accommodations.
Stability and security – at a cost
Looking at the other side of the coin, larger (“mega”) carriers come with a host of benefits that all come down to stability and resources. These companies are typically ideal for those that are looking for an abundance of benefits and perks. While choosing a company will always come down to how long you look to be out, what kind of freight you prefer haul and pay, larger companies can often offer up solutions for whatever your needs are.
The bigger the company, the bigger pool of resources they have. With fuel discounts/reward points, deals with hotels and buses, this companies can provide more than a smaller company could with ease. As time goes on, the companies that grow accumulate partnerships that help retain drivers whether in the form of advanced technology or deals of supplies and/or equipment.
Being with a big company also means that you likely won’t be sitting around for long and can keep a steady paycheck. Also, any sort of breakdowns or maintenance is typically handled quicker due to having access to many shops around the region.
And as compared to the smaller companies, when times get hard and the economy is rocky, bigger companies have the cushion to sustain their drivers and are able to keep more onboard while riding out any dips.
When it comes to the downsides of larger companies, it depends on what your priorities are and what you would like to get out of a company other than just a paycheck. Most carriers have such a large fleet and high turnover that it can be difficult for you to have a single point of contact at a time. Being part of a large fleet also means you can get lost in the flow and the bigger the volume of trucks are, the bigger the chance of falling between the cracks.
Another feeling some drivers have when going with bigger companies is the feeling of being alone out on the road, now to some that might be just what they need, but to others having a sense of support and comradery while out there, helps ease the daily grind. When an issue arises or an incident occurs, they may or may not listen to your side of things as your dispatcher and manager may not have time to.
What most drivers report on is that being a part of a large fleet, there’s little room for recognition or advancement. For example, if you would want to move into an office job within the company, they will likely benefit from you being out on the road than behind a desk. Also, if you are going above and beyond whether it be safety, time on the road, making special accommodations for a customer, there’s little chance it will be noticed.
Something in between
There is a number of companies out there that could fit the mold of both a small and larger company. Mid-size companies are increasing in numbers and are typically in a sweet spot of growth and available resources.
Company’s that are midsize, such as Meadow Lark, typically started out as a small business and have made strategic decisions to grow themselves over years and sometimes decades. A unique quality most companies like this have is that they are either family owned or have had the same owners for quite some time and know their business, customers and drivers well. This can provide an environment that is more connected and appreciative of their network.
Having the latest equipment and leading technology within the company can benefit the driver but it doesn’t mean a lot if there are not actual humans behind it all supporting you and making sure you’re not only safe on the road, but that your needs are being met outside the cab. Building relationships has been one of the greatest skills that we invest in by training all Meadow Lark employees to understand the importance of the American truck driver and staying up to date on latest policy changes and regulations so that everyone is on the same page. We want our drivers to feel comfortable and look forward to speaking with us and trust that if there are issues, we aim to resolve them with mutual respect and a solution that benefits everyone.
Being mid-sized means that while there is a tight-knit support system for our drivers, we are able to have the equipment and know-how in the industry to be competitive. Many carriers have had to over-sell and over-promise, but we have always stuck to our value of No Bad Deals. This doesn’t just go for our customers and partners; this goes for our drivers. If there is a problem, if we’ve messed up, we do whatever we can to make it right. We are small enough to reach out one-on-one, communicate with the highest levels in the company and focus on the induvial rather than the profit. We have gotten to where we are today by always shooting straight, no fluff and taking responsibility for every decision we make.
To our current drivers, thank you for all that you do. Your hard work does not go unseen. When a shipper has kept you twice, sometimes three times as long as anticipated, when you have to settle for a rest area instead of a truck stop, when a mechanical issue arises or a tire blows, or maybe it’s just not your day – we see you and we want to be here for you. Know that you are appreciated and thought about often here at HQ!
Work for a company that works for you, call (877) 590-5450 today to learn about Meadow Lark’s commitment to you and your professional goals.