What Are Lumpers in Trucking?

There are many new words one becomes acquainted with when in the trucking industry. As funny as some of them might sound, each contributes a significant meaning.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word lumpers? Does it leave an impression of the woodland creatures? Some obviously thought it!

However, lumpers are human beings. As a trucker, you will encounter them almost daily. So what do they do, and how are they linked to trucking?

You will find out more than that in this article, where we have elaborated everything about lumpers.

What Are Lumpers?

Admittedly, they are pretty much invisible to most of us. However, they are not magical; people do not usually signify them as crucial to the industry as possible.

It is a bit harsh, but that mindset has now shifted gradually. So what are lumpers in trucking industries? They are laborers to give you a hand in loading and unloading contents from the trailer.

If you have been in a trucking company even for a month or two, you must have bumped into them. But are the lumpers in every location of your pick-up and destination location?

No, it is neither the trucking company nor the customer/shipper who hires them. Nevertheless, you will see them around food/grocery manufactures or warehouses.

This is where most of the restocking frequents that require extra helping hands. The same thing happens in the docks as well. Shippers/receivers might need lumpers to load the goods.

Why Are Lumpers Important?

Sure, you – the trucker – can take on the task if you like. The question is, are you willing to unload contents after driving for miles? When you reach the dock for the pick-up, would you not want to save your energy for the looming drive ahead?

Keeping these things in mind, lumping via an independent service can work in your favor. It can also help the shippers or the customer rely on the proper loading when handling fragile goods.

Why Are Lumpers Important

The majority of the lumpers are often available in distributing business like grocery products. So, imagine you have to load and unload a freight full of such items all by yourself.

In short, the lumpers are quite useful in some parts of the trucking industry. Despite them being independent on the job, they look out for the drivers. This allows you to preserve your energy for the forthcoming journey.

There is still a complicated tension between the lumpers and a trucker due to the hiring/payment issues. We will explain it soon.

How Are Lumpers Hired?

Just as a trucker works under a trucking company, a lumper works for a lumping company. They also go through training and programs to maintain professional collaboration.

Lumping Companies

Consider them as free agents who get hired by the customers or the drivers. You might not see them in every hauling destination. However, their presence will always be there.

These companies hire the people after a proper training about how to deal with various freight goods. They also learn to work with machinery to load/unload stuff.

There are other factors like compensations, insurance, etc., that the companies allow. In any case, the usual deals are often done right on the spot with the drivers.

Hiring Parties

Although many truckers lump upon a legal agreement, it is better not to burden them with the task. So some customers or trucking companies hire the lumpers through proper contact.

This keeps the drivers stress-free, especially if the particular dock/warehouse is tight on schedule. Sometimes it depends on the content quality, which might require a timely load.

The most common example is grocery productions. You will always see lumpers getting busy loading and unloading items while battling with time.

Who Pays the Lumpers?

Lumpers are entirely a separate commodity. It has nothing to do with the shippers or the truckers. Still, it is due to them the lumpers earn their pay.

Truck Drivers

Yes, you will have to pay the lumpers for unloading the goods from your trailer. Do not worry – it will not come out of your pocket. In fact, the money you give them shall reimburse to you by your company.

But does that not make the company face loss in the future? No, because the company initially receives the lumper payment from the shipper/customer.

It all sounds pretty muddling, though once you understand the policy well enough, you will get used to it.

The only issue you will have to keep in check is the scamming. Some lumpers might ask for more per hour than agreed. This occurs when the person offers fast unload in exchange for extra bucks, etc.

Here is when the relationship between a lumper and a driver turns somewhat cold.

Check the Policy

As a result, the driver must understand the policy set by his/her trucking company. If you are a newcomer, all the more reason to pay attention. This is so you do not expend out of your wallet.

Many confuse the legal terms regarding the lumpers. Let us tell you that they are not illegal but failing to claim their income from IRS makes it unlawful.

Moreover, if the shipper/customer decline any reimbursement to the trucking company, which then fails to compensate the driver, lumping cost becomes illegal.

Therefore, always make sure the paperwork covers lumpers’ fees, along with other charges, so that you do not have to face delays after unloads.

Lumpers or Paying Driver?

Back in the 80s, there were more trucking companies and new factories/industries but fewer people to unload goods. So the drivers often had to fill in for that job.

Nowadays, things are different. Then which option dominates the other?


Hiring lumpers will ensure a quick and organized stocking of the goods. They allow the drivers to take a break and avoid causing any injury. Thanks to the proper training in the lumping companies, carrier unload is done proficiently.

However, it might be time-consuming, making the trucker wait an additional hour or two. Besides, they might not get paid unless the receiver and the trucking company do not compensate the carrier for the lumper fees.

It hardly happens nowadays, but it is better to be cautious. Trucking industries these days spend well on the lumpers so that the truckers are fully rested within that duration.

Paying Drivers

There are still some truckers who like to get paid for the lumping as well. However, it means sacrificing that window opportunity of resting.

The only problem here is that many receivers consider it the driver’s job and do not pay the charge. Unless you include the task as part of the occupation or the trucking company allows you to do it, there is not much to gain.

Conversely, most companies would rather hire lumpers with higher pay to get the work done than give the truckers the additional bucks.

On the other hand, if you lump the load by yourself, there are chances of injuries. This can happen to the inexperienced. We still consider this an opportunity for the drivers.

They can learn more about the docks and warehouses, operating/managing systems, familiarizing themselves with the unload process, etc.

Final Words

Everything is interconnected in a way that one has to rely on the other. As you can see how shippers may depend on your timely arrival/delivery, you leave the safe unloading on the lumpers.

So, trusting the company is important whether you like them or not. Lumpers have silently become an essential segment in this whole system. Hence, it is only fair to hire them to help reduce unemployment.

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