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Food grade or Chemical tanker

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Mark D.'s Comment
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Hello folks Trying to decide if I should stick to hazmat or try food grade. Is there a real pay difference between the two.? Or does the accessory pay on both mean the pay and benefits are the same. Does it really pay to haul hazmat? Thanks in advance

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hello Mark! If I remember correctly you have been driving for close to a year now, maybe a little more. It's a funny thing how people seem to think if they are hauling something dangerous they will be making more money. It is not necessarily true. You can make some good money hauling a food grade tanker. Hazmat is not all it is thought to be when it comes to earnings.

Look, the real secrets to making good money at this career are not in what is behind you in the trailer. The folks who make good money out here are the ones who understand how to play the game. Knowing all the little idiosyncrasies of how to get more done is where the bigger money starts to come into play. There is so much more to this career than just being a good safe driver. You have got to get to know your company and how it operates internally. You need to know who the movers and shakers are on the inside and who you can talk with that can assist you if things get slow. You have got to learn to communicate effectively with your driver manager in terms of helping them understand and know how it is that you are going to be operating and managing your time so that you are empty and ready to roll at the times which make you available when the best loads are available. You must understand the log book rules inside and out so that you can manipulate your clock in such a way that it keeps you head and shoulders above the other drivers on your driver managers board of drivers. You have to be willing to do things that others are less likely to be willing to do.

Notice that most of those recommendations begin with the word "YOU." That's right you are the key to success and prosperity out here.

It has little to do with the company. I started at a company whose starting level CPM was dismally low. That didn't hinder me. I practiced the things that make for success and I made nearly fifty grand my rookie year.

It has little to do with what you are hauling. I pull a flat-bed. Not hardly a day goes by that I don't hear some flat-bedder telling me he is switching to dry van so he can do drop and hook loads. They claim they just can't make any money at flat-bed.

I wish I had more time this morning to really get into this for you. There are ways to make some decent money driving a truck, but most of us look at all the wrong things when we are trying to figure out how to do just that. The mirror is the only place to look. In there you will find the real secret to success or failure at this. I think focusing on all the external things like freight, and or the name of the company is a big mistake.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Driver Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Old School is 100% right about everything he said. It's not about the type of freight you haul or the company you're with. A great driver that performs at the highest level will make a great living anywhere they go.

I pulled a food grade tanker for a year one time and loved it. I personally would never pull a chemical tanker for all the reasons Old School just mentioned, it really isn't going to pay any better. If you're just looking to make more money elsewhere, the switch from chemicals to food won't matter. They pay about the same. The job duties will be quite a bit different though because you're dealing with food versus hazardous chemicals.

If you're well established where you're at and you're turning tons of miles I very much doubt you'll find a significant difference in pay going elsewhere. But if you just simply want to get away from the hazardous side of it you can almost certainly move to food grade and ultimately make the same amount of money.

It is kind of strange that this industry doesn't pay more to haul hazardous chemicals, but they really don't. A dry van or refrigerated company might throw you an extra $50 or something on the rare occasion you haul hazmat , or hauling something extremely dangerous for a specialized carrier might pay a little better, maybe. But overall, nope, hazmat really doesn't pay any better most of the time.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Mark D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you very much guys for your response and wisdom , I recently left Superior Carriers through no fault of them. Just felt I needed a little bit extra training to really make me feel secure with some of the chemicals I was hauling as a newbie. So now I am in a bit of a hole as to my next trucking home , do I stay with chemicals i.e. QC as they have a terminal in Massachusetts so I can leave truck there , or do I try my hand at food grade and try and find somewhere I can leave the truck when I am on home time

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

ChrisEMT's Comment
member avatar

From what I have seen at my company, they only pay maybe an extra 5 cents/mile when you haul hazmat. the best thing that works for me is having a good relationship with my manager, and he makes sure that he keeps me moving and gives me loads that he knows I can deliver on time....

so, in a nutshell, hard work, and having a good relationship with the boss and the receivers so you can get in and out and maximize your hours makes me $$$$ and my boss usually gets me home relatively early on Friday for my reset, usually before rush hour starts.... but once in a while he will give me a load right in the middle of a friday rush hour on a holiday weekend, but he will give me extra time before I have to get my next load...

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Mark D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your imput Chris , just trying to find a tanker job up here in Massachusetts, very few and far between. And the ones that are up here require more experience than I have. Looks like I may need to expand my search and if this is the case I will need to find some parking for truck and also trailer.

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

If you are looking at food grade, take a look at Prime. They have a NE regional for food grade tanker as well. Also Prime is one of the best paying companies that hire inexperienced drivers.

TBH, I have seriously considered switching to food grade tanker from dry van more than once. Prime has been on my short list if I decide to take that leap.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Mark D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks Patrick, I was with Superior Carriers for about 8 months, I absolutely loved driving the tanks, I don't think I would go back to dry box. Most of the other chemical haulers need at least 2 years exp , although QC would like to hire me. Also a food grade outfit want me too , although I would have to find home time parking .My original post was to ask if there was any benefit in hauling hazmat over foodgrade. From now on in I only want to drive with tankers. Just wondered if hazmat was the way forward for me or food grade. All spillage sis not good but at least orange juice won't do as much damage as acid or the likes. I've never been any good at deciding , perhaps I was spoiled at superior and if I go to QC I will always compare , and if I jump to food grade although it's tanker there is a difference in what I am hauling. Hope this post makes sense lol

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

It does. Basically the pay difference between the 2 types in negligible. It comes down to hauling hazardous chemicals and having baffles (Some help, but not really) or hauling food products but no baffles.

What do you want to haul? Juice, milk, water or acids, caustic chemicals, fuels, etc..

Would you rather pick up at chemical factories or dairies, orchards, etc...?

Would you rather be sniffing toxic fumes or cow dung?

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.
6 string rhythm's Comment
member avatar

If you are looking at food grade, take a look at Prime. They have a NE regional for food grade tanker as well. Also Prime is one of the best paying companies that hire inexperienced drivers.

TBH, I have seriously considered switching to food grade tanker from dry van more than once. Prime has been on my short list if I decide to take that leap.

tsk tsk. I thought you were supposed to be going local.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
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