Reefer Driver: Here’s What You Need to Know First
The decision to become a truck driver is not as easy as applying to any posting and starting at a random carrier.
Every truck driver knows they must work hard to receive their CDL before they have to decide what sector of the industry they’d like to enter. Some jobs, like boom truck operating, require an additional certification or training. Some trucking jobs will take you across the country, while others stay local.
If you’re looking for a truck driving job that has higher than average earning potential, ample job opportunities nationwide, and less downtime between jobs, then reefer, or refrigerated, driving might be the position for you. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know if you’re considering becoming a truck driver hauling temperature-controlled freight.
What are the Benefits of Delivering Refrigerated Freight?
Because it is a speciality skill to monitor the temperature and functions of a refrigerated trailer, reefer drivers often receive higher pay per mile on average than other sectors of the trucking industry. This is also due to the growing demand for frozen or climate-controlled items, which means there will be no shortage of job postings across the country.
Being a reefer driver also means having quicker pickup and delivery times, since both are time sensitive. You’ll be making fewer stops at each facility on your route, and reefer drivers usually have less downtime between jobs because as soon as your refrigerated trailer has been emptied, you’ll need to refill it with more freight and continue on.
“At my old driving job, I had a lot more to do,” says Jerry O’Brien, a driver at Piazza Produce Inc. “Now, I just drop the product, get it signed or checked in, and leave. I’ve also been able to get to know more about all types of food.”
There are also diverse job opportunities available to skilled reefer drivers. You could deliver to grocery stores, or you might deliver produce to gourmet restaurants. Some reefer drivers deliver scientific equipment that need to be maintained at very specific temperatures, while others carry freight that are stored in unique places like the climate-controlled caves under Springfield, MO.
What Are the Cons?
Every job has its downsides, and they are just as important to consider as the benefits when pursuing a career. For a specialized position like delivering refrigerated freight, there are a few considerations to think about before applying to your first position.
Reefer driving can be more stressful than other trucking sectors because of the added responsibility of monitoring and maintaining the refrigerated trailer temperature. Safeguarding perishable goods is an essential part of this kind of driving, which means ensuring that the temperature constantly remains within a specified range.
“Weather conditions can be harsh at times for this kind of trucking, but I love it,” said Dalyn Small, a driver for Piazza Produce Inc. “Now when I go to the grocery store, I can tell the difference between parsley and cilantro!”
Your trucks should always be in excellent technical condition, because the risk of mechanical error can be greater, and a greater cause for stress because of the financial loss if the freight isn’t kept at the specified temperature. To avoid refrigerated unit problems, which could affect the entire load, drivers must be observant, adaptable, and always remain one step ahead in the case of emergencies.
If you are thinking about working as a refrigerated truck driver you need to have not only good handling behind the wheel but also a quality fleet of vehicles.
That’s why at DRS Truck Sale, all of the trucks we sell will be serviced and DOT inspected to ensure that all parts and accessories are safe to use, in good condition, and working properly. As a licensed truck dealer, we have the experience to provide the best selection of trucks. Contact us to make your purchase and have peace of mind with extended warranty and financing options.