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Re: Questions about refrigerated trucks/travel fees

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi, every one:

I have been hired for an event that will take place in a location about
four hours from me. As the event takes place mid-day, I am going to have to rent a refrigerated truck, drive to the location the night before and keep the refrigerator on all night. The cost of renting the truck is $99.95/day, plus 25 cents per mile plus $1 per "reefer mile" (which, as I now know, does not refer to smoking a joint, but rather to the period of time that the engine for the refrigerator unit kicks in in order to keep the temperature at 41 degrees :) ). A certifed CDL driver costs $21.05 per hour per day (working hours only), with a 4 hour per day minimum (not a problem, since it's going to take us that long to drive to the location).

I can figure out most of the math here, but have NO IDEA how many "reefer miles" get used up in a 24 hour time period, as I have never had need of a refrigerated truck in the past. The rental company was unable to give me any guidance, either, so I'm hoping one of you experienced caterers can help me out here.

Also, what would you suggest I charge for a travel fee -- I'm struggling to come up with a fair price that doesn't "reem" my client (who is not of unlimited means), but that compensates me not only for wear and tear on my car (which I can figure out from the guidelines the IRS gives) but also for the time and effort I expend driving 4 hours. I will be bringing two of my own servers with me; the client is hiring the rest locally (I'm okay working with waiters I haven't used before, but want my own prep people -- I am known for my presentation, and DO NOT want people I haven't personally trained to work this end of things) -- do you normally pay servers for their travel time/time in a hotel, and if so, how much (since I will need to add this to my travel fee)? I don't need to add in the cost of a hotel, as the client has already arranged paid rooms for us.

Any advice you can give me would be very much appreciated!


post #2 of 3

Hmmm...that seems a tad steep...

I'm not coming from using one, but my son has a CDL.

'Reefer miles' is precisely that. The mileage the truck is driven while the reefer is on. I've seen it run about .90 to $1. Once you are stationary the cost should be the diesel it takes to run the reefer plus a small surcharge. Equate it with a generator since that's pretty much what it is. Diesels are also more cost effective compared to gas. This shouldn't be the same as the loaded over the road amount. It would also be driven by the difference between the outside temp and the holding temp of the trailer. The insulation in the trailer, the interior volume of the trailer...For instance, it takes a lot more diesel to hold a trailer full of sub zero ice cream in Las Vegas in mid-July than if you were in West Yellowstone in mid winter.

The CDL drivers that I know typically get per mile, not hourly rates. So under the circumstances your cost for a driver is a good deal presuming you're about 240 miles from your gig. 4 hours in one day is also good. The companies my son worked for require the equivalent of layover time for the hours the driver is waiting for the turn around. (Meaning you'd be paying for the difference between the 4 and 11 hours that they were waiting) A good CDL driver isn't making any money if the wheels aren't turning.

I would be very specific with the trucking company about my needs and a guarantee about what they will be providing for the money you are going to PAY them. The LAST thing you want is to find that they haven't maintained their reefer trucks (which happens) and everything is ruined. I'm not saying it will happen, but I wouldn't just trust that everything will be just peachy keen since this is your first time using a trucking company.

Plus I'm assuming that you won't need the reefer return since you'll be done at that point. You'll need to ask what their policy is on that. Reefer/loaded one way. It's very different from renting a U-Haul. But you've probably figured that one out at this point.

As in everything in the real world, there are good and there are bad. Who are you using? Do you have options and gotten bids from various trucking companies? I would be very suspect of a company that wouldn't explain everything to me in great detail until I GOT it. (and after you GET it you can pm me and I'll ask my son and do some nosing around)

As far as your prep staff. Absolutely include their r/t travel in your estimate. They aren't on a holiday and they aren't doing it as volunteer work. While I wouldn't ask for time spent in the hotel I would make a fair estimate as to traveling because they wouldn't be traveling if it weren't for the gig, plus the time for your and their actual 'employment' since your client is paying housing. So you don't have to add that.

Anything else, just ask. I don't know how soon you need this, but I'd be happy to help.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THE INFO, APRIL!!!! I am using Penske in Chicopee -- they are the only trucking company in my neck of the woods (Berkshires) that has refrigerated trucks. It never even occurred to me that the refrigerator might not work -- that would be disastrous!!!!!!!

My event is on April 28; I want to give my client her final estimated cost this week (they are definitely using me -- they need Kosher, and they know my reputation). I am EXTREMELY nervous about underestimating the reefer milage and ending up with a monetary loss.

Will be back in touch for sure -- thanks again.

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