What to Look for in OTR Truck Driving Companies

Semi-truck showing the word industry on the side circled in read with sharpie leaning on it. OTR Truck Driving Companies

You have been driving a truck for a few years and are starting to look around at other opportunities. Once you decide whether to work for a private fleet, as a team driver, drive oversized rigs, operate hazmat vehicles, heavy haul, flat, tanker, into reefer or dry van – it is time to find the right driving company. Choosing the right carrier can impact your long-term success. The perfect fit can affect career advancement opportunities, potential bonuses, the equipment you use, the benefits you enjoy, your rate of pay, and even your ability to find the perfect route. When choosing OTR truck driving companies, consider the following factors:

Are They Top Pay Certified?

The first factor you want to consider is top pay certification, awarded by the National Transportation Institute indicating a company meets a three-part qualification. Qualifications include providing top-tier pay, job security, retirement options, and health and wellness coverage. Each qualification is reviewed annually. A carrier must rank in the top 10% of driver income potential to meet the top pay certification. An important ranking factor is carrier stability, an indicator of a driver’s job security.

Barr-Nunn Transportation has been recognized as a top-pay-certified carrier for over 15 years.

Do They Have a Practical Mileage Pay Program?

Experienced truckers like to benefit from performance and productivity metrics. Some carriers let drivers earn additional money for things like miles driven, fuel economy, and on-time deliveries. It is a more accurate assessment of your actual miles driven and awards your hard work more fairly.

Barr-Nunn pays based on practical miles. Plus, we have we call Band Pay, which applies to Solo Truck Drivers, who are paid by the mile. Based on loads of 550 miles or less, there can be additional compensation for shorter loads.

What Driver Positions Do They Offer?

Most experienced truckers understand what kind of driver position is best for them and their lifestyle. Some drivers like the open road and are OK staying out longer. Others find it is best to work alone. And some drivers want to stay as close to home as possible. And then some like companionship and support on the road. Ask yourself if you are going to be part of team driving, drive OTR, or be a regional driver.

Barr-Nunn offers team, OTR, and regional truck driver positions. 

How Much Time Can Drivers Spend at Home?

Most truck drivers want to know how much time you can expect to spend at home with your family, the people who mean the most. After all, only a small percentage of truckers want a job distancing them entirely from family and friends. Finding a carrier with the ability to find the balance between hauling loads and family is an essential part of being happy as a truck driver.

At Barr-Nunn Transportation, regional drivers can expect to enjoy two-day weekends with their families, OTR will see their families for three or four days every 11 or 18 days and team drivers stay home four to seven days every 18 or 21 of driving. 

What Are the Driver Benefits?

Another critical aspect of any potential employer is the benefits package. The quality of health and dental coverage should be at the top of your must-have list. To avoid being surprised at the time, it takes to get coverage, we recommend you ask before accepting any position. Many truckers are interested in other benefits like life insurance, legal advice, and private counseling. Size up all your potential carriers’ benefits to avoid problems down the road.

Barr-Nunn offers a superior matching 401K, after only 90 days of employment. We also provide BCBS heatlh insurance, which starts the first of the month after an employee has worked 60 days, $10K free life insurance, and Delta Dental coverage.

What About Pay Raises?

How do you earn a pay increase? Is it only when the company feels you have earned it and evaluated you? What if you get lost in the weeds, and they forget to give you an increase you have earned? Are these pay raises in writing, or solely up to if your manager feels like giving you a raise? Ask questions during an interview or orientation to determine what types of pay raises a carrier offers.

At Barr-Nunn, drivers automatically earn your pay increase by logging miles. Driver pay will go up a half-cent every 20,000 to 40,000 safe paid miles. 

Barr-Nunn has made more upward changes in driver pay than any other similar carrier in the U.S. in the last ten year.

– Gordon Klemp, National Transportation Institute President & CEO

What About Safety Bonuses?

Your carrier should not be the only one benefiting from your stellar safety record. Quality OTR truck driving companies incentivize truckers to deliver goods on-time and safely. Your new carrier should have a well-defined safety bonus program in place.

At Barr-Nunn, drivers earn safety bonuses of between $650 and $975 every 90 days, plus an extra day off or vacation day.

How Safe is the OTR Truck Driving Company?

It stands to reason you want to work with a company that places a high value on safety. You know you are a safe driver, but what about the rest of the drivers? What do customers say about the safety record of your new carrier? The safety reputation of the company you drive for could have an impact on your ability to make money or when applying to another carrier.

Barr-Nunn Transportation has consistently low safety scores (a good thing)  based on the U.S. Department of Transportation standards. 

What About Maintenance and Equipment Quality?

Some carriers let maintenance issues go far beyond safety standards, putting you and others on the road in danger. You want a carrier who puts prioritizes equipment safety and has well-maintained service records. You should consider touring carrier shops and talking to mechanics during an interview or orientation.

At Barr-Nunn,they fix issues immediately. The safety or our drivers and the motoring public are our highest priority.

What Do Terminal Amenities Include?

After a successful haul or a stop through a terminal, a nice place to regroup and rest is underrated. You can tell a lot about a carrier by the driver terminals and the amenities. What do driver lounges offer? Can you refresh with a nice shower? Can you do a load of laundry before you get back on the road?

At Barr-Nunn, we provide laundry, lounge areas, showers, and parking spots at all our terminals in PA, OH, NC, and Iowa. 

Are Driver Referral Rewards Offered?

Carriers with happy drivers want happy drivers to refer qualified truckers to fill open positions. Quality carriers incentivize drivers who refer other truckers. If you have a large network of truck driving friends, you want to benefit from word-of-mouth hires. Your ability to attract quality drivers should be rewarded.

Barr-Nunn encourages and rewards drivers for referrals. Following successful orientations, graduations, and the first 90 days on the road, you start to earn money on referrals. 

When You Do Take a New Position with an OTR Truck Driving Company

Stay positive and give it time. Adjusting to a new carrier takes time and patience for you and them.

Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Ask questions and ask for feedback on how you are doing

Talk to other drivers at the company. Those that have been with the company can provide valuable feedback

Stay put. Constantly switching carriers for a big sign-on bonus or big promises of earning potential may not be the best route to happiness.

Final Word on What to Look for in OTR Truck Driving Companies

OTR truck driving companies fitting for you and your needs are out there. You will need to do some homework, figure out which aspects of a carrier are most important to you, and find drivers who can offer some company insight. Carrier culture should be relevant to you and using our guide should steer you in the right direction.

If Barr-Nunn Transportation feels like a good fit for you, search driver positions, apply now, or call us at (888) 999-7576.

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