Choosing a Small Trucking Company: How Small is Too Small?
Smaller truck lines are often the best places to work; but is there a point when a trucking company is too small? The answer is quite possibly, yes. You can hook up with a company that is too small to meet your needs. Since most trucking companies pay pretty much the same (no matter how they package it), what you should consider is your costs; especially if you are an owner operator or plan on becoming an owner operator. Here are some financial factors to consider when choosing a small trucking company.
1. Does the company offer fuel discounts?
Do they have fuel discounts and do they pass them on to the owner operator? If a company is too small they may not have enough volume to get larger discounts.
2. Do they offer parts and tire discounts and do they have a good shop?
Can you get routine maintenance done at a decent price, or will you have to bring your truck to a big repair shop? Many of the smallest companies don't offer a shop; either they are too small to have their own shop or don't have enough mechanics to work on owner operator equipment.
3. Can they offer a break on insurance?
This applies to both truck insurance and health care. It's all about having enough purchasing power to get price breaks. Smaller companies may not be able to give as many discounts.
4. Is their equipment late model?
Does the company run older equipment? New models break down too; but, the chances of forced downtime are reduced if the company is keeping and maintaining newer equipment.
5. Are they picky about who they hire?
This is important because each driver impacts the trucking company's CSA score and that score will impact how many times you are called into a scale. Some small companies are so desperate to to hire drivers they relax their standards and bring on drivers who actually hurt the company, and everyone associated with that company.
6. Is there a chance for growth?
If there is a chance for growth is there a volume discount program you can participate in when buying equipment?If a company is too small there might not be opportunities to grow into an owner operator or expand your fleet.
7. Does the company run legal?
This is a big question. Occasionally a very small trucking company feels like they can get by running just outside the regulations. This is a big red flag. Make sure the company you are looking at has a safety liaison and they understand the rules and regulations. Remember your CSA score is at risk.
Small companies offer some wonderful benefits, but sometimes a company can be too small. As always, do your own research, talk with current drivers and operators within the company you are looking to join. They will give you the real story.