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  1. #1
    Bobtail Member
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    Dry Van or Reefer?

    Which is better for a rookie or does it really matter?


  2. #2
    Road Train Member Balakov100's Avatar
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    I suppose you have a few more options with a reefer. But if you work for a co you will pretty much have to run what loads they assign you.

  3. #3
    Bobtail Member
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    I guess i could have been more specific in my question some of the new hire companies seem to either be reefer like stevens or FFE or Dry like USA and PAM, I have overheard people syaing " I wouldnt drive reefer it a pain in the ###" and such but I havent done either so I dont know. Some say dealing with grocery people and reefers arent worth the hassle and dont have as much BS with dry van hauls. Just tying to get more info on it

  4. #4
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    grocery people SUCK to deal with. You are a nuisance to them it would seem all the time. You will get them with dry van AND reefer. So prepare accordingly.


    You swing doors on both. The reefer side is another story. Hauling produce can be hairy. You need to really pay attention to the load and what's going on with it. Pulping your produce is a must. If you don't, you can end up with rotten tomatos, strawberries or whatever you are hauling before you get to the consignee.

    Frozen is not much better. Refrigerated can be hairy too.

    Seasons really play havoc on the reefers. In the dead of summer, you have to run 1-3 degrees BELOW your setting to maintain. In the dead of winter, you go higher.

    We got called Thursday on why we cooled a load of velveta cheese. You know, that shelf stable un-refrigerated cheddar cheese goo....."Because the bills said 35 degrees". End of discussion. ####, it was 98 degrees out when I dropped the trailer. I'd have had that slop dripping out the drains on the reefer at that temp.

  5. #5
    Heavy Load Member BlackLions's Avatar
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    Reefer = delivery all hours of the night, mostly live loads/unloads and lots of rude people.

    Dry van = pretty much the opposite of the above.



    Besides the companies you posted, take a look at schneider.



    Good luck!

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  7. #6
    Road Train Member chompi's Avatar
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    I have pulled reefer most of my driving career and there is nothing to it! It pays more and your chances of getting a load are double. You will rarely ever touch anything and never have to build tiers or stack furniture or hand unload etc...

    It has its ups and downs like anything else but I would recommend it, especially as a newbie because you won't know the difference and starting off you will make a lot more money. As far as delivering at night that is a false rumor. You do your deliveries and pick-ups whatever time your load is planned for. If I were to have to put numbers to that equation I would say that you will see more action during the day than night because most of your loads go to grocer warehouses and they load their delivery trucks at night so that they are ready to roll in the morning, thus making their docks open for business during the daylight hours.

    Decide for yourself what is going to best suit your needs and then go after them! Don't make your career decisions based upon grumpy trucker babble! Keep in mind that more people like to complain then complement!

    Good luck....

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  9. #7
    Road Train Member DirtyBob's Avatar
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    Reefer is not hard so don't be scared to do it. There is more stuff going on at night than with dry van but more stuff delivers and picks up during the day overall. When I was doing local refrigerated we had two night guys and twelve day drivers which makes it pretty obvious when the majority of appointments are. I'm not sure what's so bad about appointments at night personally. Like someone else said, you'll see grocers in a dry van as well and sometimes the dry docks are slower than the cold side.

    Just choose a company you feel is the best for you starting and worry about what you're hauling later.

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  11. #8
    Trucker Forum STAFF Allow Me.'s Avatar
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    Dry van, load and go. Reefer, load and babysit the product as well as babysit the "unit". The "unit" is the diesel engine that runs the reefer, which requires fuel and pre-trip and repairs if needed. Visualize this, you're sleeping like a baby at the Possum Breath truck stop in Stinky Shoe, Ar. and you wake up to dead silence, which means your "unit" needs attention, like right now. So you have the pleasure of getting up, calling the company and finding a 24 hr repair service, which will be just 25 miles down the road, right ? But hold on Bunky, you're 4 hours in on your 10 off, now what ? What, they didn't cover this in orientation ? Ah, the pleasures of trucking, you do like challenges, don't you ? That $100 grand load of berries has to be refrigerated CONSTANTLY. And this baby is YOUR responsibility. Forget about HOS rules.

    Or, you can do dry van and not have that worry......I would recommend reefer, because the above scenario rarely happens and if you intend to be a truck driver, you need experience in all phases of equipment operation, including 10 speeds 13 speeds 18 speeds even a set of mixing sticks. Fast forward 10 years and YOU, have achieved experience in dry and reefer and flatbed as well as all trannies etc. VS. Joe Schmoe who has only dry and 10 speed experience. Who's resume looks better ?

  12. #9
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    I've done reefer, tanker, and dry van. I don't really see much difference between reefer and dry van as far as the BS factor or amount of work you do. Reefer tends to get more long runs making it easier to rack up miles. A lot of drivers complain about grocery DC's and how long they take but guess what? If you pull a dry van you'll be at those same recievers a lot. Take a look in your local super market, there are 2-4 ilses of frozen/refriderated/fresh produce and 10-20 ilses of everything else. Only saving grace there is you are more likely to have drop and hook with a dry van then with a reefer.

    Tanker, now that's a real job(meaning you have to work and not just drive).

  13. #10
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    I have done both, but my love is for the reefer side. Espeacially when you wake up in the morning and your batteries are dead. You just hook up the cables to the reefer and you back rolling. Instead of hoping somebody can give you a jump or calling for road service.

    Also when I was a rookie (still 1) The money wasn't so great and hauling meat and produce was extra money if I wanted to unload it myself. Its a lot easier then trying to unload those little boxes of shampoo etc. Yeah the meat and produce was a little heavier but a good workout, and back then most of the loads (meat) were not on a pallets so a full trailer would get you 150 bucks and not bad if you are going to be sitting over weekend somewhere.

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