City Driver vs Tanker

Discussion in 'Tanker, Bulk and Dump Trucking Forum' started by Zoltan1a, Jan 1, 2023.

  1. Zoltan1a

    Zoltan1a Road Train Member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    I am getting tired of pushing and pulling the pallet jack. Anyone here make the leap from P&D driver to tanker work?
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  3. ducnut

    ducnut Road Train Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    OTR dry van > local P&D/linehaul > local milk man > OTR flatbed > OTR dry van > local tank (alcohol/food grade/acids) > regional restaurant delivery > OTR reefer/dry van > local box truck > regional dry van (current)

    Tank has been one of my two least enjoyable jobs, in my years. The load out lines sucking, getting the crap beat out of me from sloshing, scrutinizing, night schedule, and receiver BS grew tiring. However, some love it. You just gotta’ find what it is YOU like.
  4. Flat Earth Trucker

    Flat Earth Trucker Road Train Member

    Nov 19, 2018
    @Chinatown may be able to offer some suggestions depending on where you live.

    I have nothing but positive experiences from pulling tanks.

    Liquid surge isn't a problem if you drive for it. Simply put: when you drive steady, the liquid remains steady. No sudden stops or starts will soothe the savage beast.

    Consider a dedicated route. I enjoy predictable hometime. Or local fuel hauling might do it for you.

    Indian River Transport
    LTI (Washington state)
    Keenan Advantage Group
  5. kemosabi49

    kemosabi49 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

    Jan 13, 2013
    SW Arkansas
    Going from door slammer to chemical tank was the best decision. Like @Flat Earth Trucker says, if you learn how to drive with the surge, it is manageable. I rarely feel it anymore.
    As far as waiting times, it's rare to have to wait and the plants are expecting us. If for some reason we get delayed we are well compensated for it.
  6. Zoltan1a

    Zoltan1a Road Train Member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    I already have a nice list from him just trying to learn about people's experiences overall.
  7. Zoltan1a

    Zoltan1a Road Train Member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    I am thinking local fuel work as well. I want to be home everyday as I am now.
  8. lual

    lual Road Train Member

    Oct 22, 2020
    SW Georgia
    I've been hauling fuel now, as I write this....for a year and a half.

    In my area of the world, fuel haulers make the same--or more--as the cryogenic drivers do. Go figure.

    Fuel can be a neat way to make the "leap" to tanker....because fuel trailers are compartmentalized, for different amounts/types of fuel.

    Thus--there's no real forward/backward "surge".

    What's the "dark side" of fuel?

    Unless you get extremely lucky--you'll start out doing night shift, and also making deliveries on weekends and holidays.

    Shifts are seniority-based.

    First year vacation time is often pretty skimpy. Paid sick leave can be, as well.

    You'll also very likely slip-seat, too.

    My slip-seater is a bit of a slob. Yours could be, too.

    Fuel is also dirty work, too. I have the clothes to prove it. :(

    Mistakes in the fuel-hauling world can be either very expensive, very dangerous--or both. :eek:

    Get a good trainer (fortunately--I did).

    Probably the biggest headache (in my opinion) with fuel: you work up close and personal with the public, when making deliveries.
    Thus--you sometimes have to put up with some real characters. Not a good thing, when you're delivering something that is highly flammable.

    My advice: if you do decide to go ahead and try fuel--do so with a private fleet.


    • Better pay/benefits
    • Better equipment
    • Better working conditions (examples: fewer allocation problems at fuel terminals; store perks; overtime after 40 hrs)
    • MUCH BETTER deliveries/stops!!! o_O
    • MUCH LESS exposure/up-close dealings with the public, during deliveries.
    • The work load is much more consistent, and predictable. Thus--better $$$$.

    Because of these advantages--many private fleet jobs have lots of competition for them. But don't let that stop you from trying.

    Good examples of the private fleets:

    • Pilot/Flying J
    • Love's
    • Energy Dispatch (aka, "RaceTrac")
    • Buc-ee's
    • Sheetz

    Look for a fleet that pays hourly. That way--you are paid for ALL OF YOUR TIME--whether you are moving, or not.

    If a fleet in question is not paid hourly, then look for a minimum weekly pay guarantee.

    Avoid fleets that simply pay "by the load"--with no guarantee. Those are basically slave-labor gigs.

    An exception: One private fleet I would suggest you avoid is Circle K. :rolleyes:

    With fuel, BOTH tanker and hazmat endorsements are required. A TWIC card usually helps get on board, too.

    If you try fuel, and later decide you don't like it--the experience you get there is widely respected, and so you can then "pivot" to other types of tanker duty--or even leave tanker, entirely.

    Usually, it's a home-daily gig--so it's good for drivers who are married and/or have a family.

    Generally speaking--I DO NOT recommend fuel hauling for those just out of CDL school.

    Get AT LEAST 2 years of experience elsewhere, hauling non-hazmat loads--FIRST.

    If you embrace the above info--your first fuel hauling experience should be a pretty good one.

  9. ducnut

    ducnut Road Train Member

    Dec 31, 2010
    There’s no driving for 53K pounds of caustic soda in a smooth bore. That’s roughly 2/3 of the capacity of the tank, so it’s going to move, no matter how good of a driver you are. I used to take a longer way back to the plant, just to avoid a section of road with three whoops and a really rough bridge on it. The whoops were perfectly timed to get it moving and it would slam me in the back, every time. And, the bridge had a series of dips at both ends that would get it moving. A nice little boost forward, followed by the stuff slamming the back of the tank. Ugh!

    Occasionally, I see a guy on I-70 with the same placard and he pulls a small diameter tank that must’ve been built specific to haul the stuff.

    With “most” everything else, the tanks were fairly close to appropriate size for the load. On loads I controlled, I always loaded to 79,900lbs, to take up space.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2023
  10. Zoltan1a

    Zoltan1a Road Train Member

    Mar 15, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    That is amazing information, thank you!!
  11. mustang190

    mustang190 Road Train Member

    Jan 18, 2011
    Florida Panhandle
    Been pulling tanks for 21 years now. Refers before that. Never looked back.
    Pull both chemicals and aviation fuels.
    As far as surge goes you learn to drive with it. The worst thing is having an automatic transmission with a tanker, you can’t control the surge with one.
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