Large fleet or small? Learn how fleet sizes are determined in the Best Fleets to Drive For® annual contest

Published on November 23, 2022

Now in its 15th year, the annual Best Fleets to Drive For® contest recognizes top-performing carriers. Each year, 20 fleets are awarded the honor of being named Best Fleets, along with two overall winners, one in the Large Carrier and one in the Small Carrier category.

Best Overall Large Carrier and Best Overall Small Carrier

The 20 highest-scoring fleets in the contest are named Best Fleets to Drive For. Those top 20 fleets are divided into large and small carrier categories based solely on the number of drivers or owner-operators working for them. Being a large or small fleet is relative to who is in the top 20, meaning a fleet could be honored as a small fleet one year and a large fleet another year.

As an example, in 2019, the Best Overall fleet in the Small Carriers category was Nussbaum Transportation Services, with 400 drivers. The following year, with different fleets in the top 20, Nussbaum won the Best Overall in the Large Carrier category, despite having a similar number of drivers.

The History

The currently used Small Carrier and Large Carrier titles were created in 2015, when it replaced the titles of Best Overall Fleet for Company Drivers and Best Overall Fleet for Owner-Operators. Given the number of companies that had both company drivers and owner-operators, it was tough to determine where some fleets belonged, driving the change.

While the division of the top 20 into small and large carriers is relatively simple, consideration of the fleet size starts much earlier than the awards presentation.

Size Consideration During the Process

Despite carrier sizes only being grouped once the best fleets are finalized, the size of a fleet is considered throughout the evaluation. Larger fleets may be able to afford more, but we break that down to level the playing field for all participants. For example, one company may report spending $100,000 on training their 1,000 drivers, but that is the same as another company spending $2,000 on their 20 drivers.

In addition to looking at the cost per driver for programs like training and recognition, we delve into how fleets handle harassment, anti-violence, driver rights, safety, problematic shippers and more. No carrier has an advantage because their size allows them to spend more. It's all about what you do with what you have, which can set you apart as a Best Fleet to Drive For.

To view best practices from last year's program and the sizes of last year's winners, visit

Follow the contest on social media by searching the hashtag #BestFleets23. To view the program's Facebook page, visit