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Dry Van Carriers

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Dry vans are the most commonly found trailer out there. They are a big, empty box - plain and simple. No temperature control or anything like that. There are more dry van companies than any other type of company, and therefore you will find the broadest range of opportunities in this area. Because

of the large variety of companies pulling these trailers, they are also themost difficult to define in any general way  there is such a broad range of jobs and lifestyles within this category. Dry van jobs tend to offer the greatest range of opportunities for those who would prefer regional , dedicated, and local runs versus long-distance, over the road jobs. A large number of these companies, especially the bigger companies, have local, regional , and over-the-road divisions within the company. This, of course, is one of the reasons I prefer the larger dry van companies. For instance, maybe you decide you want to run over the road and you're gone three weeks at a time. Well, a year later you meet your dream girl and you want to get home more often to see her. In many of the larger companies, it isn't too hard to switch over into a regional job that gets you home on the weekends, or possibly even a local job that gets you home every night.

 

Most of the time you won't be unloading trailers. There will be times you'll have to do a little bit of manual labor, and how often that will be depends upon the individual companies themselves. But as a general rule, you won't be touching much of the freight. And you'll be hauling anything and everything. From diapers to sulphuric acid, to dog food, to magazines. If you can put it in a box and move it, then you'll be hauling it!

Refrigerated Carriers

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Refrigerated companies can haul either temperature sensitive freight or dry freight, and you will usually get some of each from time to time. Being able to haul both types of goods gives refrigerated companies more versatility with their freight. But

make no mistake about it - they make better money withtheir temperature sensitive freight, so that's their primary focus.

Having worked for a refrigerated carrier before, the first thing I think of is grocery warehouses and farmers' markets. Oh Lord help me! Grocery warehouses are a nightmare! At times, so are farmers' markets. The grocery industry is different than the rest of the companies you will pick up from and deliver to. They have a different structure altogether.

 

To make some Broad Generalizations - their workers are often union guys, they couldn't care less if you sit in their parking lot for two days waiting to be unloaded. Some of them actually prefer making you sit there and wait - they think it's funny! don't say I didn't warn ya!

 

With most of these places, you'll usually have a choice - you either unload the truck yourself, help someone unload the truck, or pay someone to do it. Your company will generally pay for it, but man, what a hassle these places are! A total nightmare. And sometimes you'll have no choice but to help unload. You either help them unload, or you don't get unloaded at all! My recommendation if you're going to go with a refrigerated company is to go with a very large carrier, or work directly for one of the grocery chains themselves - like Kroger or Wegman's. The large ones will at least have contracts set up with the lumpers (the company that unloads the truck), so you won't be hassled as much and the process of paying them is much easier. But if you work for a small carrier, the grocery warehouses and farmers' markets are going to be tougher to deal with.

 

Another difference when it comes to hauling refrigerated goods is the average length of haul. Refrigerated carriers tend to haul goods longer distances than the other types of trucking companies. Much of this has to do with California, and the west coast in general. California is one of the richest produce capitals in the entire world. A huge portion of the vegetables you eat come out of this state, and almost all of the refrigerated companies pull produce out of there. Then, once you're on the east coast, your company will try to work you back to the west coast for more of that wonderful produce. So the average length of haul for a refrigerated company is longer than for the other types of trucking companies. You also tend to have more multiple-stop loads when hauling for a refrigerated company. Oftentimes you will either make several different pickups, several different deliveries, or both. 

 

So as you can see, there are a number of differences between dry van and refrigerated carriers. In general, if you're looking to stay closer to home and get home more often, the dry van companies will be the better choice. If you'd like to see as much of the country as possible, then the refrigerated companies will be the better choice. As always, do the research to find the company that seems best suited to your lifestyle, and stay with that company for at least one year so you can really get to know them and whether or not they're the right choice for you. 

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