It can be a trucker’s worst nightmare. You’re traveling down the road, with your next load in tow. As you’re approaching your loading dock you get a text, email, or notification on your ELD. It’s your boss letting you know that the trucking company you work for is shutting their doors. In a few short sentences, you’ve just been told to abandon your rig at the nearest company location and that your last check will be in the mail within the next few weeks. You’ve been left stranded without a rig, and more importantly, without a job. I know it sounds scary, and it is. Unfortunately, this has become the reality for many unlucky truckers. Below we’re going to go over what to do if your trucking company closes. We’ve even got a video highlighting some of these tips as well!
What to Do if Your Trucking Company Closes
A Growing Trend
The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and optimism. Many truckers get to spend a few precious days celebrating Christmas with his or her family while looking ahead to all the exciting things the New Year will hold. Sadly, for hundreds of truckers, they were left with a big lump of coal. Celadon Trucking and C.D.S. Express both closed their doors in December 2019, leaving drivers stranded and many scrambling just to make it home to their families. This has become too normal for many truckers. In fact, in 2019 we’ve seen over 640 companies close, more than triple than the previous year. Experts estimate that this has pulled over 20,000 rigs off the road in the last year.
There’s no one underlying reason why we’re seeing this amount of closures, but there are a handful of factors. Overregulation is one factor that many experts are suggesting, specifically the required implementation of ELDs. We’re seeing this mostly impacting the smaller trucking companies. ELDs aren’t cheap, and if you’re outfitting an entire rig with them, you can expect to have a hefty bill to pay. Many companies simply couldn’t afford to comply with the regulations. Combine this with an increase in trucking insurance premiums, and you’ve got a recipe for closures.
The success of 2018 also could have played a role in this as well. The trucking industry was booming, which led to rapid expansion for many companies, which in turn led to a higher cost of production. The industry couldn’t sustain that growth in 2019, so we’ve seen companies taking huge hits.
What to Do
So, what do you do when your trucking company closes? Well, the first we can tell is don’t panic. We know this is hard, but taking things step by step with a level head is going to be the best thing you can do. Make sure to read your email or message carefully. Most likely, they’re going to give you directions in regards to completing your final route. They might ask you to drop off your load and the truck. Or, they might redirect you to the nearest company facility.
Some companies might give you a stipend or allowance that would allow you to catch a flight home depending on where you are. Unfortunately, some truckers aren’t as lucky and will be given no compensation when their trucking company closes. Luckily, there are organizations out there dedicated to helping truckers in this time of need. The St. Christopher Trucker Relief Fund is a non-profit that will help truckers in difficult situations. You can apply for aid and hopefully get some help getting back to your family.
Finally, the last thing you can do is keep your head down and look for a new job. Just because there are companies closing, this does not mean that the trucking industry outlook is bleak. In fact, just on our website, we have thousands of jobs available all across the country. While you’re looking, don’t forget that you can also apply to unemployment to help supplement income as well!
BONUS: Podcast Episode
Have you dealt with a company closing? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments below!