Work for a Food Bank, Looking for Advice on Buying a Reefer

Discussion in 'Refrigerated Trucking Forum' started by weetzie, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. weetzie

    weetzie Bobtail Member

    Jul 16, 2013
    Hello Everyone!

    I have been scouring the internet for buying guides and information on reefers, and it seems like every site is directing me to a manufacturer or a dealer's page and not giving me sound advice or comparisons.

    So I found this forum and it seems like y'all are the best place to find sound advice!

    Here goes: I work for a non-profit in California that has a food pantry. We serve about 8,000 people who are in need of food, including military families at the bases around here. We give a lot of canned goods, but we have the option of getting and distributing tons of fresh produce and right now, we can't take it because it will spoil (the free produce is usually really close to spoiling to begin with...). We also distribute frozen meat occasionally and fresh bread often. All deliveries are local and we dock at our office nightly.

    Right now, we are using rented 16foot Penske trucks for our weekly distribution days. We just got enough money donated to buy a truck of our own and we want to get a reefer. Problem is, we have no idea where to start!

    Here is what I need: a reliable truck that will last us a long time and get us the most for our money. We need it to be able to keep produce chilled. It also needs to be able to handle dry goods on pallets (about 8 pallets in a normal delivery) and have a payload around 7,000lbs. Also, we would like the reefer unit to be able to be plugged in when docked so we don't use all our donor's money on diesel (saw Johnson and Thermo King have these kinds of units). And we are in California, which I know means we need to comply with EPA regulations.

    So what companies, products, etc. would you recommend? Would you recommend buying the truck and the body separately? Which companies make products so good that their used products are a smart buy? How much does an electric reefer unit typically run?

    Thank you all so much! I hope everyone is having a lovely day!
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  3. Wanderingaimlessly

    Wanderingaimlessly Medium Load Member

    Jun 18, 2013
    Los Angeles, Ca
    You shut the reefer off when the doors are open. If you leave it running all you are doing is sucking in hot air and heating the inside of the trailer up faster. If the dock workers can't handle taking 8 pallets before the food spoils, then you have bigger problems.
  4. weetzie

    weetzie Bobtail Member

    Jul 16, 2013
    We were actually wondering if having an electric unit and keeping it plugged in would allow us time to keep it cool after we pick the fruit up in the morning and before we distribute it in the afternoon.

    As for dock workers, we don't have any. It's me and my supervisor and a hand-push forklift at the moment. Just wanted to know if we could plug the truck in and use it as a huge fridge for the first half of the day. If that's impossible, that's good to know! Haha.
  5. Pete Moss

    Pete Moss Light Load Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Hi how are you?I hope you can find what you are looking for.If you have a good relationship with Penske see if they can sell you a lease return at a discount to your non-profit or maybe donate it.You can always put "Donated by Penske" on it if need be.Maybe if they help you out acknowledge them somehow on the truck.If you don't ask the answer is always no.Take care.Brian
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2013
    RickG and weetzie Thank this.
  6. rogueunh

    rogueunh Road Train Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    Where did he say anything about running the reefer with the doors open? He said he wants to run on electric when it's parked. Makes sense.

    I will say, finding a diesel/electric unit is a little harder and will cost more.

    Just throwing this out there, but this is what you'd be looking for:
  7. Midwest2Northeast

    Midwest2Northeast Bobtail Member

    Sep 18, 2012
    Allentown, PA
    Stay in Texas, its been paying great for us. We have all ten of our trucks down there on a daily basis. Also Chicago is really good for us too.
  8. Simranjit

    Simranjit Light Load Member

    May 15, 2013
    U want to get a truck that has a brand new carrier unit I have two brand new carrier units the best money saving decision I made but its pretty loud and truck wise I'd say an international great mpg
  9. RickG

    RickG Road Train Member

    Jul 22, 2008
    Owensboro , KY
    This is the best suggestion. Former lease trucks bought from Penske or Ryder would be the best choice.
    Pete Moss Thanks this.
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