Hundreds of trucking companies — both large and small — have shut their doors forever in the past few years, leaving thousands of drivers looking for new jobs.
Unfortunately, there is no sign that these carrier closures are slowing down anytime soon. In the past year, companies including Celadon, Falcon Transport, HVH Transportation, and NEMF have all gone under for reasons including the loss of a major contract, increased regulatory burden, high insurance costs, or sky-high lawsuit payouts.
How can you protect yourself from a sudden closure that could leave you stranded? After all, many companies try to keep the news of a shutdown a secret for as long as they possibly can. One way is to be aware of the signs that your company is struggling — and to be ready to move on if you see too many of these red flags.
- Your fuel card doesn’t work. One of the biggest red flags for many drivers that there’s a major problem within their company is difficulty in fueling. Sometimes fuel card failures can be traced to computer issues, but getting stuck at the pump could also be a warning sign that your company is going under.
- Your paychecks don’t cash. This often signals a cash flow issue that points to deeper problems within the company.
- The company makes major C-Suite changes. If your company makes unexpected changes at the CEO, CFO, or other executive positions, it could be a sign that there’s trouble. Celadon, for example, made numerous changes at the executive level to try to right the ship in the years before they went under.
- The company cuts or freezes pay or other employee perks. Many drivers at failing companies report that their pay or other benefits were cut in the lead up to the company closure.
- Good drivers leave. Turnover is always high in the trucking industry, but if you notice that skilled, safe drivers within your company are leaving for other opportunities, this might be a sign that things are going downhill.
- You can’t get a load. If you find yourself spending a lot of time sitting and waiting for a load, this could mean that there’s something seriously wrong at your company.
- The company files for bankruptcy. Many trucking companies will tell workers that filing for bankruptcy protection is just a way for them to restructure and keep going with business as usual. However, it is often the case that they are unable to bounce back after filing bankruptcy — Cold Carriers Logistics, for example, filed Chapter 11 in September 2019 only to shutter permanently in February 2020.
What did we miss? Share your company closure warning signs in the comments.