Benefits of Driving a Refrigerated Truck

Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) allows you to pursue a wide variety of career opportunities. For new truckers, driving a refrigerated truck, also called a reefer, is one of the most common options. The majority of reefer trucks transport food, although other temperature-sensitive items may also be hauled in these vehicles. The pay is competitive and qualified drivers are in high demand.
Some of the benefits of driving a refrigerated truck include:

Higher Pay

The majority of long-haul trucking jobs pay per mile, and the rate will depend on driver experience, the type of freight, and other factors. Refrigerated hauls involve additional responsibilities such as temperature monitoring so they typically pay more to compensate for these duties.

More Miles

When considering earning potential as a truck driver, the pay per mile is only part of the calculation. The number of miles you can drive also makes a difference. This is related in part to your efficiency and is also influenced by the length of routes available. In addition to paying more per mile, refrigerated trucking jobs often involve longer routes and more potential miles each week.

Stable Demand

Food transport is essential year-round so there aren’t typically seasonal variations in the demand for refrigerated drivers. Fresh food also isn’t influenced by the economy in the same way as other types of freight. This means that even in hard times, reefer drivers are still needed.

Pride in Your Work

It’s great to know that the work you are doing makes a difference in the world. Refrigerated truck drivers keep grocery store shelves stocked and without them, there would be major shortages around the country. If you are looking for a job that you can feel good about doing, driving a reefer truck could be an excellent choice.

Ability to Haul More Types of Freight

Refrigerated trucks aren’t limited to only temperature-controlled items. You can also take a dry haul if necessary. This is not true in reverse since dry vans do not have the equipment to haul refrigerated items. If you become a refrigerated owner-operator at some point in the future, you can accept a wide variety of loads.

What to Consider

While there are many benefits to driving a reefer, there are also some things you should consider. Although some companies do hire right out of CDL school, most jobs involving refrigerated trucks require some dry van experience first. 

It’s important to be prepared for the responsibility that comes with this type of freight. You will need to carefully monitor the temperature of the trailer and any breakdowns can compromise the load and cost your company money. 

Some regional jobs are available, but most reefer truckers drive long distances, so you may want to look into a different type of driving if you are trying to stay close to home. Additionally, night driving is more common for these types of jobs to accommodate early-morning delivery times.

Become a Truck Driver

At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we can help you earn your CDL in as little as four weeks. If you would like to drive a refrigerated truck, this is the first step to getting started.

To learn more about earning your CDL in Phoenix, AZ, contact us today.

What is Drop and Hook Trucking?

There are many unique terms you will hear as you learn more about the trucking industry. One of these is “drop and hook.” This describes a type of delivery where the driver drops off a full trailer at a warehouse and then gets an empty trailer before leaving. It’s often used in contrast with “live load,” which means the driver brings the full trailer to a loading dock and waits for it to be unloaded before leaving.

Drop and hook trucking shipments are delivered more quickly and drivers often get more miles. However, remember that the actual drop-off time varies depending on the company and can even vary between each haul.

A Typical Drop and Hook Delivery

With a drop and hook shipment, the driver usually has a window in which they are expected to arrive at the facility. They deliver the trailer, which is unloaded by warehouse employees. After dropping off that trailer, the driver picks up a new, empty trailer. This might be at the same loading dock or another location entirely. Then, the driver gets back on the road for their next delivery.

Delays may happen if a trailer isn’t ready at the expected time, but usually, drop and hook trucking is the most efficient option for the driver, carrier, and receiver.

A Typical Live Load Delivery

For a live load, the driver has an appointment time. This is usually a narrower window than a drop and hook delivery, but the window of time varies. The driver waits at the loading dock while the receiving company unloads the trailer. This can take hours, although some live loads are completed more quickly depending on the receiver and how many trucks are being unloaded simultaneously.

Many motor carriers offer detention pay if the delivery takes more than a certain amount of time.

Which is Better/More Common?

As an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver, you will likely complete a combination of drop and hook and live load deliveries over the course of your career. Each one has benefits and challenges, so it’s helpful to maintain a positive attitude no matter which type of delivery you are making.

In general, larger trucking companies have drop and hook loads more often to save time and money, but it still varies depending on many factors.

For dry van or refrigerated hauls, drop and hook is generally more common. Conversely, flatbed trucking will usually involve live loads, and drivers also tend to be more involved in the loading and unloading process for this type of freight.

Earn Your CDL

Whether your preferred job involves live loads or drop and hook trucking, you will need to earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a semi-truck. Phoenix Truck Driving Institute can help you get started and our classes can be completed in as little as four weeks.

To learn more about earning your commercial license, today.