ABF Freight Jobs: Driver Pay, Requirements, and Reviews
ABF Freight is one of the country’s leading LTL (less-than-truckload) carriers, with over 11,000 employees, 4,100 trucks, and 17,000 trailers. Founded in Arkansas in 1923 as OK Transfer,the company is an award-winning subsidiary of ArcBest. ABF Freight’s workers are now part of the Teamsters union.
With 53% of drivers working there for more than 10 years and a culture dedicated to creativity, integrity, collaboration, growth, excellence, and wellness, ABF Freight can be a rewarding place to start or continue your truck driving career.
Find out more about working for ABF, including salary information, training opportunities, employee benefits, and more.
Types of ABF Freight Truck Driving Jobs
As a nationwide network, ABF Freight offers its drivers several different employment opportunities that cover both short- and long-haul routes. ABF Freight jobs include two main driving roles, with both part- and full-time hours available.
Local/City Driver for ABF Freight
ABF Freight company drivers on local or city routes pick up and deliver cargo in their local area and will typically stay relatively close to the distribution center they’re based from. The local driver role is ideal for drivers who enjoy face-to-face interaction with their customers and want regular hours, though the work can be very demanding, with multiple stops per day. Local and city drivers usually work Monday to Friday and return home each evening.
Road Driver for ABF Freight
ABF Freight OTR (over-the-road) positions involve transporting freight to and from long-distance destinations across the country. This role is better suited to drivers who enjoy being out on the road for long stretches, as drivers will usually be away from home for days at a time. After six trips out, drivers earn 48 hours to spend at home. Alternatively, after 12 or more trips out in a row, they get 72 hours off.
In addition to the above roles, the company also advertises positions for Driver Development Instructors, who mentor aspiring drivers and pass on their knowledge and experience during the training process. ABF Freight service center managers recommend candidates who are trained within the program curriculum and certified to teach through ABF’s train the trainer course.
For long-term team members, ABF handpicks exemplary employees to be a part of its Road Team. Members of the ABF Road Team are selected based on their level of experience (at least 10 years) and job performance and serve as company ambassadors for up to two years at a time. During their tenure, they’ll represent ABF and the trucking industry as a whole, taking part in public appearances and speaking engagements on topics such as driver safety, truck driver image, and how to share the road with trucks.
ABF Freight Driver Pay
ABF Freight wages vary, depending on the type of work and the hours and mileage involved. As members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, employees of ABF Freight are always paid in accordance with the union scale of payment. Right now, ABF Freight is also offering bonuses of up to $10,000 to new hires in some locations, paid out on the first day of employment.
Local and city drivers typically earn $24 to $26 per hour, with Glassdoor estimates right at $25/hour. Total pay estimates for local drivers—including bonuses, overtime pay, and other cash earnings—come in at $49,000 to $82,000 per year. Employees with a higher cost of living, such as drivers who work in major metropolitan areas, will usually earn slightly more.
As with most other national haulage firms, road drivers at ABF Freight earn a set rate per mile, meaning that the more they drive, the more they earn. Recent reports from current employees suggest that drivers typically earn at least $0.60 per mile, though this varies according to the driver’s hub, the routes they drive, and their experience level.
Road drivers also receive an hourly pay rate, which accounts for the time spent loading and unloading trailers (whether this is performed by the driver or by dock staff), waiting for fixes on any pre-trip issues, and the time spent at the roadside should a breakdown occur. Taking bonuses and additional compensation into account, ABF road drivers earn an average of $84,615 per year.
ABF Freight Driver Perks and Benefits
In addition to an attractive union-backed pay scale, drivers at ABF Freight also receive a variety of on-the-job perks and benefits.
For starters, as an ABF driver, you’ll have access to a safe and comfortable working environment every day. All ABF road tractors are less than 18 months old and come equipped with air conditioning, power steering, and an extensive preventative maintenance program.
In addition to this, ABF offers a company-sponsored 401(k) program, a multi-employer pension fund, stock purchase and profit-sharing options, life insurance, and fully paid medical, dental, and vision benefits with no out-of-pocket premium cost to employees.
Drivers at ABF also get five sick days per year plus one week of paid time off in the first year of employment. After the first year, the paid time off per year of employment goes up as follows:
- More than one year driving for ABF: two weeks of paid time off
- Eight or more years driving for ABF: three weeks of paid time off
- 20 or more years driving for ABF: five weeks of paid time off
- 30 or more years driving for ABF: six weeks of paid time off
As an additional perk, drivers receive an extra paid day off each year for their birthday, plus another on their ABF work anniversary.
ABF Freight Truck Driver Requirements
With a strong reputation to uphold, ABF Freight does ask that driver candidates fulfill certain requirements before they apply. To be a successful applicant, you should:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have at least one year of verifiable tractor-trailer experience
- Have a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) with doubles/triples, tanker, and hazardous materials endorsements (or a Class A CDL permit, if going into training)
- Have a good, stable work record
- Have a safe driving record
- Be able to pass DOT pre-employment drug screening tests and meet DOT medical requirements
If you’re new to driving and want to work for ABF but don’t yet have the required experience, ABF Freight offers recruits the chance to train under its in-house Driver Development Program. Employees start as dock workers, then attend a six-week hourly paid training program at one of 35 ABF Freight service centers around the country to earn their CDL. The program combines classroom instruction with over 160 hours of behind-the-wheel experience to set trainees up for their future driving careers.
Applying to Drive for ABF Freight: Tips and Advice
If you like the sound of becoming an ABF Freight driver and want to find out more about vacancies in your area, you can find a full list of current job openings on the ABF Freight careers website.
On the application, you’ll have to provide details about your education, employment, and driving history, as well as questions relating to whether you hold a current Class A CDL. If your application moves forward, you’ll be offered a role and will move into orientation and probation, as one ABF driver, Jacob H., explains:
“Orientation was three days, and I did one trip to Mississippi and back before going on my own. Orientation was eight hours of pay per day ($24.92/hr) and I got paid for the one trip with a trainer as if I had been by myself (62.6 cpm). You have thirty days of probation. I was at full pay from day one. Benefits start after probation ends. Automatic enrollment. Probation, it’s ok if you screw up, just don’t get in a wreck or a serious moving violation.”
While city drivers have more routine shift patterns, ABF road drivers usually begin their career on-call, with a two-hour warning before beginning each shift. “Remember LTL is 24/7 so basically you can expect there to be a shift that covers every hour of everyday,” explains another driver. “Expect to be on call, two hour call window. While I was there I worked everything from midnight start on a Saturday to 4 pm start Wednesday to 9 am start Monday.”
ABF Freight Reviews of Truck Driving Jobs
Of course, every job has its ups and downs. These recent ABF Freight truck driver reviews can tell you a little more about what it’s like to work for the company first-hand.
One former CDL driver in training says, “Good company with great benefits. if you don’t mind working odd hours for the first few years until you build seniority then it works for you. Very busy during certain times of the year. Expect 50-60 hours which can equate to good overtime.”
“Best part of the job? I like the challenge,” says current ABF Freight Road Driver and 2017 Wyoming Trucking Association Driver of the Year recipient, John Dill. “And I like the opportunity, like recently, to help out new guys. We have some new TMAP guys coming on, and I’ve been at it long enough now that guys come and ask me for opinions and help. I enjoy doing that. I’ve done some training in my early career. I don’t have the patience for training, but once somebody is nearly a finished product and they need enhancement, I like to do that.”
Another former ABF driver liked the pay and benefits but had some issues with the time off. “They are a very good company. Great benefits, good pay, and all the work you can handle and then some. When you first get in there, you feel like king of the world. Working steady, making money. The terminal you’re at will depend where you go from here, though. In general, guys were allowed some freedom to have a life, choose their days off, etc. At my terminal (Sauk Village, IL, or ‘South Chicago’ within the company), you either had to take your time off after six tours or 12 tours, and nothing else was allowed or else it reset your tour count. I had 11 tours saved up once, needed to push back 8 hours to go to a friend’s wedding and sleep, and they reset my tour count. lol I was super happy. None of this is sour grapes, though. I made great money at ABF, and the benefits were fantastic. And depending on the terminal you’re at? That’s a great company to retire from. Just talk to some of the local guys and see what they say.”
A current LTL driver explains the pros and cons of the job and some of the instability they’ve experienced: “ABF is probably the best LTL driving job that exists. As a city driver you are home every day and are paid exceptionally well. I make over $25 an hour. Since ABF is union, there is also overtime after 8 hours. The benefits are amazing as well. Most of the terminals are generally not a toxic work environment as far as I know. Many people retire from here. The biggest problem that I have had working here is that if you’re a bottom man, prepare for an incredibly unstable work experience. You will be constantly going back and forth between laid off and full time. Make sure you are financially prepared to go on like this for years. I have been here for 6 years and am still experiencing this.”
Where Else Can You Apply?
While ABF Freight has a lot to offer drivers, they aren’t the only LTL freight company looking to take on new hires. If you’re looking to gain truck driving experience before applying to ABF, search for truck driving roles at similar firms such as Old Dominion Freight Line, Estes Express, and New Penn.