Trucking 101 – Types of Trucking Companies

One of the best things about earning your CDL is that it opens a world of opportunities. At U.S. Truck Driver Training School, we know that our students can come in with a very clear idea of what they want to do after they get their license, or they can have no idea, and that’s okay! With such a variety of choices and opportunities, we’re here to help you break it down and figure out what road you want your new career to take. Let’s start with the different types of trucking companies in the United States.

Trucking companies move over 70% of all cargo across the United States annually, which makes them a critical part of the U.S. economy. A logistic trucking company does not merely haul goods from one point to another – it also manages a range of supply chair functions for each client according to their logistical requirements. There are several types of trucking companies that operate across the country, and each one plays a different role in the logistics and freight management industry. Let’s take a look at the common types of trucking companies and how they are different from one another.

First, we have private carriers. Some companies transport their goods from factories to distributors, retailers, consumers, and other methods of transportation, such as airplanes or ships. These are called private carriers. There are several large corporations with their own fleet of trucks to move their merchandise. In April of 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of private carriers in the country was 799,342.

Next, we have for-hire carriers, which is a logistic trucking company that charges a fee to move the cargo belonging to other entities. In April of 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were a total of 928, 647 for-hire carriers operating across the United States. Within this category, there are two main types of for-hire trucking carriers – common carriers and contract carriers. Common carriers transport goods from one place to another. They fulfill the freight shipping needs of both commercial and residential shippers. Meanwhile, some trucking companies sign contracts with selected shippers and only move their products. They are called contract carriers. Most common carriers can’t set their service fee, but contract carriers can set their rates through contracts.

Finally, we have local carriers, regional carriers, and national carriers. Local trucking carriers are only able to transport cargo to limited areas. Nearly 60% of all trucking company in the U.S. are local. Local carriers can only serve within 80 to 100 miles of the shipment location, according to the Surface Transportation Board. Regional trucking carriers have larger fleet and longer routes, but they are only able to move freight within a specific region. National carriers, or more commonly known as over-the-road or long-haul trucking, deliver goods across the country. These trucks travel across the states and work with large corporations. All of the largest trucking companies in the U.S. are considered national carriers.

Every logistic trucking company is different from the other based on its routes, licensing, and a host of other factors.  The trucking industry contributes significantly to the growth of the economy. According to the American Trucking Associations, trucks moved approximately 11.84 billion tons of freight in 2019, a 3% increase from the previous year. We are so grateful that you’ve chosen U.S. Truck Driver Training School to help you become a part of this vital industry, and if you need any help figuring out what you would like to do with your CDL or want kind of company you would like to drive for, make sure you make an appointment with Career Services and ask questions!

10 Responses
  1. Thank you for explaining that according to the American Trucking Associations, trucks moved approximately 11.84 billion tons of freight in 2019, a 3% increase from the previous year. My friend is also looking for a way to transport construction supplies for his home renovations. He should be advised that trucking transportation is tried and tested in the industry that can handle his transport needs.

  2. It’s great that you explained trucking services and how they’re key to the freight industry! Recently, my uncle said he wants to start a business project and needs to find a trucking company for it. My uncle wants to open a furniture shop, so he wants to find a trucking service for it, and I believe your article could help him! Thanks for the information on each type of trucking service and its features!

  3. I never knew that trucking has its own way of delivering service to customers. My workmate told me that he needs to move his other furniture to his mother’s house, he asked if I could help him to move things with him. I’m grateful for your advice about how a residential trucking company can help us transfer the furniture hassle-free. I’ll be sure to tell him that it will be much better to hire one.

  4. I appreciated it when you shared that it is great to choose a local trucking service if you need to deliver your items to a nearby place. In this way, you can ensure that they are able to arrive at the destination in a timely manner. I would like to think if a company needs to hire a trucking company, it should consider hiring a local one that is reputable and experienced.

  5. Thank you for explaining that you’ll need a CDL to be a trucker. I’ve been wondering what kinds of qualifications I might need to get to pursue this. I’ll be sure to start looking in how to get certified.

  6. Great explanation of the trucking industry Meredith! The more people understand about struggles in the industry, the better it will become. There’s a reason, after all, why there’s a saying. Everything you see in front of you, most likely at some point, was hauled with a truck!

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