Prime Tanker Or Reefer?

Topic 15025 | Page 1

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Bruce W.'s Comment
member avatar

Starting researching trucking about 6 months ago and decided to give it a chance. I chosen Prime as a company to start with. I need some advice from you experienced truckers out there (especially prime drivers). I have my heart set on the tanker division but what from what I've been hearing tanker drivers (company) don't run a lot of miles. Is this true? Is it possible to run 3,000+ miles (or close to it) in the tanker division? From what I've been researching reefer seems like it would be the best division for running hard and making money. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
David J.'s Comment
member avatar

Bruce, I'm in the TT stage of training at Prime, so don't take my info as the gospel, but I can share what I've been told. The Refrigerated division is typically more consistent year round and the Tanker division is often dispatched and concentrated in the North and East. I'm currently training in the Refer division which appears to make up the vast majority of Prime's fleet. There's a Prime Tanker Driver on YouTube, "John Ogren", I believe? He does informational videos as it pertains to Tanker division. I did get the impression that the Tanker Division is growing, so maybe It's a good time to get onboard. Again, this is just my impression that I got during orientation, I have no personal experience with Prime's Tanker Division.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Diver Driver's Comment
member avatar

Just an observation, but due to circumstances you can't control (shipper and receiver delays) 3k miles seems unlikely. If someone can honestly say otherwise, please correct me. But at 44 cpm you can make a decent check

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Some rookies are making 1500 to 2000 to start as reefer. My FM pushed me hard from the beginning to test me out. Even so... 3000 plus is not happening on a regular basis. However we get fuel bonuses on time delivery bonuses and more.

I'm still paying off my chains and locks and such but the balance is coming down.

Here's a real number:

This week I only got 1800 miles my last trip of 1100 miles delivered an hour after payroll cut off. After bonuses... health.. vision.. life and disability insurance... plus the $ paid back to Prime... I cleared $550 this week. The 1100 miles that did not make it will be added to next week so I'll be looking at close to $900 next week of I can keep rolling. Probably more. Clear. And I'm in the 39 cpm condo. So add $5000 per year for the lightweight.

Plus at prime your health insurance drops significantly after your first year. It goes from $60 somethi g a week to 22 per week. Big difference.

I cleared less at the post office.. got more in vacation and other beneftis...however it was so stressful I was going to kill someone.

Avg driver gets 2500 miles or so. Keep in mind that hometime weeks u don't make much . I have been on the hole during those weeks a couple times.... so the more u go home.. the more u don't make. Of course now that my "owed to orime" balance is dropping hometime will affect me less.

Fm:

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Well, a couple of things.

First of all, as a new driver coming out of school you should not be driving a food grade tanker, or any tanker for that matter. It's entirely too dangerous in my opinion. You should get experience in a dry van or refrigerated truck first. A lot of guys start out in flatbed first and I'm not a fan of that either. But as I like to say, just because someone did something doesn't mean it was a good idea. They might have just gotten lucky. So I wouldn't be too keen on starting out in a tanker of any sort.

Second, you can not count on making more money pulling a tanker than you will a reefer or dry van. You may, you may not. There are a lot of factors that go into how many miles you'll turn so you can't even compare the pay per mile between the different divisions. There are different workloads to consider, different types of loading and unloading, and all sorts of factors. So if you're thinking you want to go with tanker because it pays more I would drop that thinking altogether. There's no way to really know if that's the case or not.

And Prime has a ton of miles available for their top refrigerated drivers. They might start you off slowly, which is a blessing whether you realize it or not. But once you've proven yourself you can expect to average 2,800 miles per week or so if you're ambitious enough and you've demonstrated you can handle it.

Prime is one of many excellent companies to work for but I would recommend taking the traditional route of starting out in their refrigerated division. You can always change divisions within the company later on once you've learned your trade and proven your worth as a safe, hard working, reliable driver.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Bruce W.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for the responses and advice.

David J.'s Comment
member avatar

Update: I just passed two Prime Tankers in Alabama, so apparently their not restricted to the NE.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

They are not restricted there but are more common there. They have a bunch of routes to Newark NJ.. and even though I live in NJ I don't want to be anywhere above Trenton lol.

When I signed up they offered me northeast regional reefer or tanker and I declined.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

TZ's Comment
member avatar

They have a bunch of routes to Newark NJ.. and even though I live in NJ I don't want to be anywhere above Trenton lol.

When I signed up they offered me northeast regional reefer or tanker and I declined.

What's wrong w/ North NJ? smile.gif

Well, a couple of things.

First of all, as a new driver coming out of school you should not be driving a food grade tanker, or any tanker for that matter. It's entirely too dangerous in my opinion.

Having just been trained with Schneider's Bulk division, I'd have to agree w/ Brett's opinion on newbies driving tankers especially food grade smooth bore tankers (no baffles, dealing w/ the surge alone is stressful + add that to safely controlling a truck as an inexperienced driver + driving in the Northeast w/ 4 wheelers).

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Jason C.'s Comment
member avatar

Even with experience driving a tanker, can only be learned in a tanker. Driving a van is no way similar, that is why you train in a tanker to drive tanker.

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