Pros & Cons of Reefer as Company Driver

Discussion in 'Refrigerated Trucking Forum' started by downplay, Jul 15, 2022.

  1. downplay

    downplay Bobtail Member

    Sep 6, 2021
    I have read the recent thread ‘It’s all coming back to me why people quit pulling reefers’ and a few others. They have been educational. But, it seems some people are pro-reefer as well. Can you try to give a basic pros and cons list specific to reefer hauling as a company driver? I will try to start from what I’ve read; but, I’ve never done it. And, please correct my list if it is clearly erroneous.

    Sometimes Long Hauls
    Plenty of Loads
    Steady Business, Even Grows in Some Economic Downturns
    No Touch Freight with Some Companies

    Noise of Refrigeration Machine
    Wider Spot on Trailer Because of Reefer Machine
    Extra Fueling Because of Reefer Machine
    Odd or Late Delivery Times, Especially in Summer
    Occasionally Need Trailer Wash Out
    Extra Monitoring of Reefer Machine
    Additional Point of Failure—Refrigeration Problems
    Possibly Eratic Sleeping Schedule Because of Delivery Times
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  3. TruckerPete1990

    TruckerPete1990 Road Train Member

    Jul 16, 2012
    Gentry Arkansas
    Wider spot? Why do you need a wider spot?
  4. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    You missed the very long waits frequent to reefer customers. I've waited 10 plus hours, or had loads where there were 4 or more stops and each stop was spending 2 plus hours of waiting. Depending on how the trucking company "Detention Pay" policy works I could get paid nothing for all of the waiting because the first customer made me late for all other stops and showing up late means no possibility of detention pay.

    Reefer customers typically use Lumper services and those services will require you pay them $200 or more to get loaded/unloaded, plus take hours to unload you, hours to inform you that you have been unloaded, hours to tell you what the fee is, and hours to tell you the fee has been paid and you can now get you paperwork.

    Reefers equal LOTS of waiting and high probability of having some or all of your freight rejected because one part of it looks funny or the temp monitor shows wrong temps while you were sitting waiting at the dock for some drug addict to tell you they finished loading you 3 hours ago in 110 F heat and your trailer doors were open.
  5. downplay

    downplay Bobtail Member

    Sep 6, 2021
    Perhaps this does not belong.

    I did not mean the trailer requires a wider spot for parking if that is what you mean. One post I read mentioned the refrigeration machine sticking out from the trailer seemed to create some issue. Considering how they are streamlined I would think it must’ve been a particularly obscure situation. Maybe it is not worth mentioning.
  6. Val_Caldera

    Val_Caldera Road Train Member

    Apr 2, 2021
    There is no "extra fueling" with a reefer, only Fueling SEPARATELY like two fueling maneuvers (yet one doesn't need to wait in a line twice).
    I pulled very few reefers and did such locally. I didn't know then that Truck and Trailer were separate fuel experiences, separate tickets/receipts, so I just added the Reefer amount to the ONE fuel receipt.
    Orally received a profanity laced proper technique procedure back at yard, "Okay, no one mentioned BEFORE I departed yard. Not Every Driver Knows About EVERYTHING Trucking".

    I got lucky with the few times on Roads with Reefers.
    NO: breakdowns, temperature flux, washout, late p/u - dlvry, or excessive waiting to load/unload.
  7. Brandt

    Brandt Road Train Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    I say the pro are long run like cross country. So you get to spend time just drive and see USA. Usually heavy loads so wind and snow is not a big problem unless you're in chain up mountains in winter.

    Cons are long loading and unloading and dealing with pallet exchange. Dealing with lumpers.

    IMAG0601.jpg 12 - 1.jpg

    DRTDEVL Road Train Member

    Jan 27, 2013
    Austin, MN
    Right now, the biggest pro is the stability when the rest of the market is going to crap. I love this time in the cycle, because my job becomes easier... my phone is ringing, and the unsolicited apps are flowing in, so I can be choosy as to whom I put in a truck (yes, those with stable job histories are given the nod over job-hoppers). I technically don't really have any more trucks for drivers, that's how stable it is.

    More PROS:

    Pay is generally higher than dry van for almost the same amount of work
    Usually no-touch freight
    Great job for those who prefer night driving
    Sometimes get a bunch of free food from OS&D


    Reefer unit can be loud, annoying
    One more responsibility to undertake
    Washouts can be quick, or can waste hours of your time
    Lumpers take their sweet time unloading, breaking, counting, and restacking while you wait.
    Many customers treat the drivers like scum of the earth (unless you get with a good contract carrier that has steady freight to the same places, they get to know you and treat you a little better than the rest)

    Hope that helps.
  9. bryan21384

    bryan21384 Road Train Member

    Sep 18, 2009
    1918 Anywhere, USA 90210
    I see way more pros than cons. As far as the long wait times for deliveries, you better learn how to deliver on a 10 hour break or split your breaks. That way, the long waits don't stress you out. I love reefer hauling. I love when it runs constantly. I get the best sleep ever.
  10. PiscesLuv

    PiscesLuv Light Load Member

    Mar 18, 2019
    I ran on a Reefer account with JB hunt but I had to help unload my trailer then when that account shut down I tried a different Reefer account 1 wk in I told them nope find me a different account i can adjust to the weird hours but lumpers and lumper fees? Heck no I despise them takes them forever to unload then you have to wait for them to tell you the amount then you have to wait even more for payments to clear. It’s just too long and drawn out when I get the green light I want to leave having a green light but still being forced to wait starts to feel like I’m a hostage
  11. CaliRaised

    CaliRaised Light Load Member

    Dec 20, 2021
    I actually don't mind the really long waits because I will stretch 7 hours into 10. Ready to roll again, and paid to get my clock back. The ones I hate are the 5-6 hour waits because then the best I can do is try to stretch it out for a 7/3 split. I also like the longer waits, if it's not going to be in and out, because then I can get real sleep. Anything under 7 and I am not actually getting any sleep due to being interrupted as soon as I get settled after a couple of hours.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2022
    Reason for edit: Typo
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