Refer, Van, Flat,???

Topic 852 | Page 1

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Jeff L.'s Comment
member avatar

I probably have the answer to this question but sometimes its good to get other points of view. Just passed my CDL (thanks mostly to this sites High Road Online CDL Training Program) and am now taking the time to review companies etc. My feeling is that dry van or flatbed would be more beneficial as far a getting the miles. I say this because of the time it takes to get a refer loaded and unloaded. I have heard that flatbeds are the least likely to have much of a wait in either case though there seems to be some question as to whether there are the availability of loads. Any thoughts?

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.

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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

I do refrigerated. I have no problem with the miles. Sometimes waiting at shippers or receivers can take a while but you get paid after two hours so its not too bad. The problem I mostly have with hauling food is that the trailer must always be very clean and it's strictly enforced. You won't ever get loaded with a dirty trailer. That and you have to manage another fuel tank (for the reefer) and its very annoying because you always have to have it 3/4 when dropping so its just another thing to manage. But all in all I like it. Nothing beats opening your trailer doors when the reefer is set at -10 and that frozen air just cooling you on a hot day!

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Fire-Man's Comment
member avatar

I'm a flat bed fan myself. I've pulled tankers and flatbeds in the Army but prefer flatbed. The scenery changes; in the rear view, its not a box or cylinder on wheels; and out the front window you are not always headed into a yard with docks. <<<< important if repetition does not do it for you. :-)

But really, why do I prefer flats; its about the variety of loads and the challenge of doing different things in different places. dancing-banana.gif

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

I think as a rookie, you might do best with a company that has all of the above...then you can change out, and really know which one is for you......We flatbed, but you won't like it, unless you like physical labor...Flatbedding isn't for sissies !!! Reefer drove me crazy...sittin' waiting for a load, or waiting to be unloaded...

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I've been so busy running wide open the last week and a half I haven't had time to get on here much at all, but this thread intrigued me because you said that you you thought dry van or flat bed would be better for miles. I've always felt that the reefer folks were the ones who had great opportunities for miles, that is where you see companies always begging for teams - all that stuff grown in those lush valleys in California has to get to the other side of the country somehow or else the whole east coast would be suffering from the scurvy!

But, let me just say that in the end most good drivers end up making close to the same amounts of money. Each of the different divisions has features about it that one person may prefer over the other. That is where you really need to focus your consideration - on what type of work you are going to enjoy the most. If you like what you are doing, and you are doing a bang up job of it, your company will get you the miles you need to make a good living.

I'm a flat bedder, and I love it. You mentioned that flat beds may not have to wait as long for their loads - well, I think that is possibly true, but there is a caveat that goes along with that. Once you've got that load on there you've got to make it secure and you may very well have to tarp it with two full size lumber tarps. Star knows what she's talking about when she says it's not for sissies! You are now talking about some serious work. I picked up a load recently that I got there at about 6:00 pm, went to seven different buildings on the premises to get my full load put together and they finished loading me about midnight. Then I worked very strenuously until a little after 2:00 am to get it secured and tarped. I had to sleep on the premises because I had no more time left to drive - I kept trying to put myself on the sleeper berth line on the Quallcomm, but the crazy place was so big that every time I moved to another building it would put me back on the drive line and I didn't realize I was burning up my time. So I went to bed soaking wet with sweat in the shippers parking lot. This time of year I change clothes sometimes two or three times a day, because of the physical labor in the heat.(this week I've been in south Texas, southern California, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico) I was out in the blistering sun while those reefer and dry van guys were just sitting in their air conditioned cabs backing up to their docks.

Seriously though, don't pick what type of job you want based on your speculations about which one has the most miles, go for what you think you'll enjoy doing the most. Like I said, I love flat bedding, I like the physical work, but I've seen some new guys out there that it's just wearing down and they are ready to quit because it's just not what they thought it was going to be. If you like your job then you are going to be performing it in a way that will help you get noticed by your dispatcher as a driver that "gets 'er done" without having to be babysat all the time. If you're not moaning and groaning about every load you get so that the dispatcher doesn't even take your calls anymore when you try to talk to them, then you will be the type of driver that gets all the miles you can possibly do. This has been my experience, and I have witnessed some pretty lazy drivers sitting around waiting on sorry loads while I almost always have a pre-planned load sitting and waiting on me to get the one I'm on right now finished up.

I hope I'm not rambling on too much here, but I hope this helps you get focused on something more measurable that will put you in the drivers seat for lots of miles. In the end it's not going to be which division you're in but what you bring to the table in terms of willingness to make things happen in a way that helps you stand out as a professional that is always up to the challenge for each new day.

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.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Dispatcher:

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Every other load type has been covered so I think I will step in with dry vans which is what I drag around behind my truck. I do right at 3000 miles a week as a solo driver. That's 12,000 a month. A lot of drivers are luck if they average 1500 to 1800 a week for one reason or another.

So now in this post you have heard from the top three major freight groups and it looks like its a wash. We are all pretty much doing the samething as far as miles are concerned.

So now back to the advice part...I will say the something that was mentioned at least two times before. Go with the type of freight you would enjoy working with. If your a great driver then the miles will come flying at you. If your not sure what type you would like to do then you might want to look at Prime as they have flatbed,refer and tanker.

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.
Tyler B.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, I Drive Refer. Food for thought: usually I take Dry Van loads from East to West, go to a Blue Beacon to get Washed out, & I take Produce or frozen loads back east. Miles are really going to depend on your dispatch or your carriers overall rep with the Brokers.

Really, take the advice, run the loads that your going to jive with. If you don't mind loading docks & backing in, refer or Dry box works. But I do believe that Flatbeders are going to agree that most their loading & drops are either Paralllel or Pull Throughs. Flatbed you have to secure your load. Where with Dryvan & Refer, if it's not SLC (Shippers Load & Count) your responsible for Counting the product that they are putting in your Van. All good to think on. Welcome to the Industry. Cheers

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.

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.

Dryvan:

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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Choosing A Trucking Company Dry van Flatbed Refrigerated
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