CDL B - Propane or Cement truck

Discussion in 'Tanker, Bulk and Dump Trucking Forum' started by nomoreups, Dec 11, 2023.

  1. nomoreups

    nomoreups Bobtail Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    To make it short, I do have 4 years experience as a CDL-A driver but am looking at local propane delivery like ferrellgas or amerigas or local cement truck, like Cemex or Argos. Anyone have advice on either, which one would be better? I assume cement truck works longer hours, but which would pay more?
    blairandgretchen Thanks this.
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  3. prostartom

    prostartom Light Load Member

    Jun 20, 2014
    I have no experience with cement hauling or residential propane delivery, but I spent 12 winters doing residential heating oil delivery. Residential deliveries have their own set of problems, it can be very rewarding when the homeowner is appreciative but can also be downright infuriating when they refuse to cooperate.

    Finding the right house, dealing with dogs, finding the fill location and dealing with a lot of homeowners can be quite exhausting. Many homeowners do not want you to use their driveway and will refuse to do anything to make your life easier. Many times just as I got the hose pulled and started pumping they would come out and ask you to move so they can leave for whatever reason. "You mean to tell me you didn't hear my loud truck backing up the driveway going beep beep beep, but now you have to leave?" I have also had homeowners release their dog as you are pulling the hose and act like they didn't realize you were there. Having a 75 lb German Shepard coming charging at you and trying to figure out if its friendly or not in the 3 seconds it takes to reach you will get your heart pumping.

    The good thing about propane over heating oil though is the hose is much smaller therefor easier to pull and you don't really have to worry about spilling propane as it just evaporates. Heating oil is a huge problem when even a small amount gets spilled.

    By the way if you do get residential propane or heating oil delivery, I do suggest you give your driver a decent cash tip around the Holidays. When that brutal cold snap comes and we get behind on the deliveries, guess who I made sure got their delivery.

    I did do 4 winters of propane tanker doing truck loads from terminal to companies like Amerigas and Suburban propane. Way easier and no residential deliveries, just 2 loads a day. I really liked that job but the company I worked for was terrible and the pay wasn't very good. I would look for one of those companies before looking at bobtail residential deliveries.
    viper822004, Bud A. and nomoreups Thank this.
  4. nomoreups

    nomoreups Bobtail Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    I used to deliver to residential with UPS, so I have experience with dogs etc.. I'm in FL so I wouldn't have to deal with any brutal winter weather, just brutal heat in the summertime. Thanks for the advice.
    viper822004 and prostartom Thank this.
  5. KDHCryo

    KDHCryo Light Load Member

    Sep 14, 2023
    I did about 15 years working with Suburban Propane, bobtail delivery, service and truckload delivery.

    One major thing to consider is that with propane delivery you will rotate 24/7 on-call with other co-workers in your office/terminal. And it's a major PITA most times. I hated that phone call after hours saying you gotta go back in because someone is out of gas.

    My favorite, most PITA on-call was a customer's Air B-N-B oceanfront rental home, with guests in it for the week, that was out of gas on July 4th weekend. The only thing running gas in the house was a propane fireplace. I still had to go fill the tank, leak test, and light the pilot.

    Pay wasn't very good. When I left Suburban in eastern NC back in 2020, after 15 years, I was making about 25$ an hour with benefits that were average at best. For the area I lived in (tourist), that was barely enough to scrape by.
  6. blairandgretchen

    blairandgretchen Road Train Member

    Dec 9, 2011
    South west Missouri
    Here in SW MO - I looked into it. Class B propane delivery pays $25/hr . Busy as heck in winter, painting tanks in summer.

    Not quite the pay scale I expected.

    I was more interested in the ‘safety officer’ position at $30/hr.
    lester Thanks this.
  7. aussiejosh

    aussiejosh Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2009
    Airlie Beach QLd
    Wow that sure does suck, you know how easy it would be to eliminate most of those issues hey? Problems here are a 3 way split between company, driver, and owner. Companies could inform the client of the impending delivery; these days most people have a mobile phone it is so easy to send an sms to them say 30 minutes in advance that way if they wished to get the car out they could. Owners I guess these days are pretty insecure, they don't know who it is not sure if the deliveries are during the day, although a truck with heating oil would look pretty obvious. Specially if they are indeed expecting a delivery, maybe it just comes down to common sense, could always go knock on their door I suppose let them know what's happening. If it was me and they gave me trouble I'd just drive off let them run out of heating oil then see how co-operative they'll be next visit. As a delivery driver you should not have to deal with vicious dogs, I personally would refuse to deliver, its just unfortunate to have customers behaving like that though but takes all sorts to make the world go round I suppose. :cool:
  8. REO6205

    REO6205 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

    Feb 15, 2014
    If you choose a cement mixer you'll find it's unlike any kind of driving you've ever done. That's not necessarily a bad thing and a lot of guys make an entire career just on mixers.
    Your starting time will change daily and during hot weather you might work at night. The driver schedule is totally customer driven. You might come in at five in the morning, work til ten and then go home. The next day you might start at seven a.m. and work until 9 pm. Even when you get seniority your start time will always vary.
    There's a lot of hurry up and wait. Most companies pay by the hour and union companies pay really well. When you get loaded you'll hustle out to where the job is. You don't have to drive like a maniac but don't stop at the coffee shop either. When you get to the job site any delay time is charged to the customer so kick back and relax if you have to wait.
    You'll be wet a lot. That's not so bad in the summer but it can be miserable in January. You're always washing down your truck and the mixer parts that get bits of concrete on them.
    You'll be working around a branch of the construction industry that has no peer...concrete workers. They're different. They usually communicate by yelling. Construction sites are noisy so they get in the habit of yelling. The yelling isn't always at you but stay tuned in anyway. When you're unloading you'll have one person to watch. Watch him like a hawk. If you miss a shut off signal and blow out a set of forms you'll get yelled at. If you're loading fence post holes and miss a pull ahead signal you'll get yelled at. If you overfill a pump hopper and make a big sloppy mess on the ground you be handed a shovel...and yelled at.
    The stories you'll hear about how easily a mixer will turn over? Believe them.
    I've tried to show the negative things. The good things you can figure out for yourself. Like I said, some people make an entire career out of mixers. You either love them or hate them.
    lual, 201 and nomoreups Thank this.
  9. Iamoverit

    Iamoverit Medium Load Member

    Oct 31, 2023
    Both can be pretty seasonal so do both. Propane over the Winter. Take a couple weeks off then move to the mixer for the Summer. Take a couple weeks off then go back to the Winter Propane.
  10. 201

    201 Road Train Member

    Apr 16, 2014
    high plains colorado
    We've had our differences, but not here, pal. Spot on. Both jobs have their pluses and minuses, I'd say a mixer would be the most hassle. REO talks about cement crews, and they are a crabby bunch, but in the end, they need what you have, so they comply. I'd be crabby too plopping around in mud all day. Propane? Man, seems safe enough, I don't think the pay is there however. I don't recall too many tanks blowing up, but people are idiots, and will wait until 10% and then they want it now. I had a friend did fuel oil, and ran around the clock in winter. Why those 2 only? Plenty of B jobs, but A jobs are the best. I thought a mixer required an A license, because of the weight. Tell you what, you go down in the drum to chip out hardened concrete, will make you think of something else to do.
    nomoreups Thanks this.
  11. nomoreups

    nomoreups Bobtail Member

    Apr 3, 2018
    The reason for B vs A is because I've been out of a a truck for over 18 months and no one is calling me for an interview so I'm giving straight trucks a try, and those 2 is what i narrowed it down to as far as who's hiring nearby. My last trucking job i was a tanker yanker so i prefer that over swing door stuff.
    201 Thanks this.
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