In 1966, Swift Transportation started moving imported steel through the ports of Los Angeles to Arizona and bringing back Arizona cotton for export through Southern California. Over the years, the company grew by adding customers and acquiring other firms. Now, Swift has more than 40 full-service terminals in the US and Mexico, and offers border-crossing service at all the major Mexican border crossings. Swift is the second-largest trucking company in the US and the largest publicly owned trucking company. According to ReferenceforBusiness.com, Swift drivers average 509 miles per run, and the company focuses on short-and medium range hauls. Some of Swift’s well-known clients include Wal-Mart, Target, Sears and Volvo.
Driver turnover is extremely high throughout the industry. One way Swift has tried to address the issue is by investing in modern equipment and comfortable trucks. In the late 1980s, Swift began its own driver training school. Reaching out to new drivers gave the company several ways to extend driver tenure. As opposed to seasoned drivers, newbies just starting out weren’t as frustrated by the 57 mile-per-hour governors on Swift’s trucks. Keeping the speed low helps with both safety and fuel economy, but it can frustrate drivers who are accustomed to making better time. Also, attending Swift’s driving school requires new drivers to commit to the company for 26 months, which can seem like an eternity in the come-and-go world of driving.
According to the Swift website, the company has CDL training programs in Arizona, Idaho, Tennessee and Texas. The Arizona, Idaho and Texas locations offer a PTDI-certified course. Students pay the cost of tuition, $3,900, and Swift pays it back over the course of the next two years and two months, as long as you continue working for the company.
Swift’s fleet includes dry van, flatbed, reefer and heavy haul opportunities. The most coveted jobs at Swift are dedicated drivers – meaning you consistently run the same routes for the same customer. This option provides drivers with a regular schedule and more predictable home time. Another preferred job is working as a mentor – someone who partners with and trains new CDL graduates until they are cleared to drive solo.
According to the company’s website, Swift’s fleet includes 500 flatbed tractors and 1,400 trailers. Flatbed drivers must have the physical strength to properly secure and tarp loads.
In addition to company drivers, Swift works with owner-operators as well. The company offers a leasing program, usually turning over its used tractors to interested drivers. The drivers earn $0.92 or $0.94 cpm loaded, or 68% of the revenue on a covered wagon. Swift’s owner-operators also have the opportunity to buy in to the company’s healthcare, vision and dental insurance plans, but they do have to cover the cost of their tractor maintenance, operating insurance, and a Qualcomm account.