Flatbed, Reefer Or Tanker?

Topic 27698 | Page 1

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Timothy's Comment
member avatar

Hello all, Ive decided to go with swift to get my cdl. They offered me a choice of reefer , Flatbed, or tanker. What is the pros and cons of the three?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Click here for many past discussions on that very subject.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Timothy's Comment
member avatar

You still driving for prime? Whats your thoughts

Click here for many past discussions on that very subject.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Swift has tankers ????

New drivers have no business pulling tankers. You have enough to learn without compounding it. I love doing tanks, however it is much more involved than most folks realize.

Brandon Kitts's Comment
member avatar

Flatbed is physical tough work. You will be climbing around on loads wrestling 150 lb. Tarps. From what I hear about reefer you spend a lot of time sitting in a door. Like others have said, you need to learn to drive for awhile before pulling tanker. Usually your first tanker wreck is also your last.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar
You still driving for prime? Whats your thoughts

I pulled a flatbed OTR for nearly 3 years at Prime, and loved every minute of it. But I've now moved on to pull regional dry-van and reefer for Walmart.

Flatbed is physical, dirty, hot/cold/wet, and challenging. I love it! You will haul anything from cherry pickers to lumber to Palm trees, and everything in between. Your appointment hours will generally be daytime stable, but your drive hours can be all over the place depending on how much you like to hustle. Miles will be less than reefer, but accessory pay (tarping) more than makes up for the difference.

Reefer will see longer runs on average, but experience more lengthy weight times at shippers/receivers. Appointment hours will be 24/7. Get used to sleeping at all times of the day/night.

Tanker is a whole different animal requiring greater skill, care, and caution. It isn't advisable for a rookie to take on tanker, though it does happen often.

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.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

The nice thing about going to a large company with multiple divisions is that you're able to try them for a few months and if you want to switch it up you often can. I agree with the others that it's best to wait on Tanker until you have about a year experience. All divisions will end up paying roughly the same by the end of the year. You may earn an extra few CPM running one type of freight but you'll probably have less miles. It really just comes down to a preference. Reefer you'll have more loads but longer wait times, deal with lumpers, the reefer noise and making sure it's running correctly. Some drivers can't sleep with a reefer running, others cant sleep without it. Flatbed is alot more physical and dirty. Rain, snow, heavy wind it doesnt matter. Many places I see flatbed delivering are also gravel/mud so things will get messy. What type of tanker does swift do? Liquid, dry bulk? Hazmat or food grade? We've had a few people start out doing pneumatic tankers and they love it. Personally I wouldn't be interested in pulling hazmat tankers, especially anything that can explode. Last week there was a tanker hauling jet fuel that overturned in Indianapolis. The only reason he survived is a good samaritan and a police officer put their life at risk pulling him out after the first explosion. His clothing and hair was on fire and pulled out 45 seconds before the next explosion. He's lucky to be a live but his life will never be the same. If I were to rollover pulling a reefer I'll likely have injuries but the likelihood of my truck exploding is decreased substantially.

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

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.

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