Switching to Flatbed Trucking | Main Considerations

Switching to Flatbed Trucking | Main Considerations
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In the great wide world of trucking, there are all sorts of different jobs commercial drivers can take advantage of. Once you get your CDL you’ll always be able to find the solid paying jobs you need. Still, sometimes drivers want to expand their skill sets and take on other types of driving jobs. If this sounds like you, the next question is probably over which trucking jobs are paying the best right now! In many companies throughout the industry, lots of drivers are switching to flatbed trucking as a means of earning extra cash for the foreseeable future. Let’s dive in:

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switching to flatbed trucking


Switching to Flatbed Trucking

In 2017, the several reports showed an increase in the net income flatbed clients brought in. Some of these drivers from the American Truck Business Service made over $10,000 above their yearly average to reach $70,477! Other reports from Overdrive found flatbed volumes were up 10 percent this past May. This followed a national average of $2.65 per mile in April which was a record high.

Additionally, several flatbed fleets actually announced pay increases for their drivers in 2018. Specifically, Smokey Point Distributing in Washington increased their flatbed drivers’ salary of $65,000 to a competitive $75,000, taking effect June 1. Along with many other companies across the nation, this seems to be a trend in the driving industry. It’s no wonder that lots of drivers are considering switching to flatbed trucking. However, one of the main reasons these jobs are on the rise is the skills involved with being an efficient flatbed trucker…

Skills Needed for Flatbed Trucking

While there are many financial indicators suggesting switching to flatbed trucking is a wise move, it’s all about having the right skills. Drivers comfortable with dry van, reefer, and other types of hauling that have fewer physical requirements need to increase their knowledge to land flatbed jobs. In most cases, flatbed trucking requires specialized tarping skills to secure loads safely and efficiently. Similarly, drivers entering into the world of flatbed trucking must have skills hauling oversized freight. While wide loads may not constitute too many loads, having the ability to take these jobs will certainly increase your net income!

Another critical aspect of switching to flatbed trucking is the amount of physical labor involved with each haul. Compared to working a dry van job, flatbed drivers must complete all of the same tasks in addition to load securement. This also means keeping the entire load dry through the use of tarps and chains. In that way, these jobs demand more physical strength and knowledge on how to properly secure loads to these types of trailers.

Once a load is completely secured, flatbedders also need to consider how loads shift throughout a haul, especially during bad weather conditions. One of the worst mistakes rookies switching to flatbed trucking make is having their tarps fly up like parachutes in the wind! Because you’ll be hauling a wide range of different loads, it’s up to you to learn how best to shield the freight from the elements during your route. This also means you’ll need to dress for the weather you’ll encounter each haul. Flatbedding can require you to get out of your truck to check on a load during your time driving. Always be sure to pull off in a designated and safe area!

Technology Improvements and Lag

Like most of trucking, technology constantly shapes the future of flatbed driving jobs. Some of what experts expect to see include things like roll top or curtain van type configurations for increased safety. These can also serve to reduce the time it takes to tarp a load. Additionally improvements in aerodynamics look to eliminate bad fuel mileage in this specialty to really make it efficient to haul flatbed loads. Still, due to the fact that there some things just don’t fit in traditional trailers, flatbedding is only going to remain a great type of trucking job you can take advantage of today!

Are you a flatbed trucker? What are some of the main challenges? Let us know in the comments below!

Author: Hit The Road Jack

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7 Comments

  1. It makes sense that flatbed trucks require you to understand how to properly use a tarp to secure your loads. My uncle has recently invested in a flatbed truck that he would like to use to open a moving service, but he needs to learn how to keep heavy objects secure to prevent liabilities. Maybe he should find some tarps that are specifically made for flatbed trucks.

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    • Yeah, for sure! A quick Google search will show you that there are lots of brands selling tarps for flatbeds.

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    • all tarps are the same basically. You have to make them fit on each piece. No one can show you that

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  2. As a flatbedder of 15 years I will advise that if you tend to be in a hurry, lazy, or think you know everything you dont want to be in flatbeds. What you put on your back WILL try its hardest to come off thst deck. In the last few years I’ve seen people in this business doing the dumbest crap all because they are in a hurry and just dont care.. Our families are on these roads too. Killing someone is very easy in a flatbed. If you hate messing with loadlocks you need to stay out of flatbeds.

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  3. I just recently joined the flatbed fraternity. And, last night I did my 1st tarp load. That I had to actually do myself in the cold rain & at night. The load I had b4 it was already tarpped. So, when I dropped off that load. I apparently didn’t roll up the tarps right. Cause, when I went to tarp the load last night it was all backwards!!! LOL!! So, I had to turn around the flap tarp on the bed, while it was pouring rain & in the dark. Besides my utility lights on the back of my tractor. There wasn’t a tarpping lesson, because only 10% of our loads require tarps. And, my luck, I get part of that 10% on my 1st route. Mind u I’ve been trucking for 22 years. But, just swinging doors. However, I corrected the mistake and got it tight as possible on the load/bed. I’ve always wanted to do flatbed trucking. Cause, the pay is better, depending who u pull for, & the physical aspect of it. As with pulling a box ur not out using ur body too much, if stall, so one can tend to get outta shape quick. I would like to get my own tractor & become an O/O pulling flatbed. So, that’s another reason why. I’ve heard O/O’s make a REAL GOOD living pulling heavy haul & OD. If anyone has any suggestions or advice I’m more than open to them. Thanx

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  4. I like what these guys was saying, as being a female the reason is some what different, I chose Flatbed because I was burn out on Box,.Refer,let say any thing look like a box, so this was more as a challenge, yes the trap is something, but I still love the job, I hope more women consider doing this type of work, Women you still can be feminine doing this type of work, smile, I still and always love my Mens, I just love Flatbed.

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  5. It is wonderful that you pointed out that there is a set of necessary skills needed for flatbed trucking, such as tarping skills. My brother mentioned that he wanted to hire a flatbed trucking provider to help with his construction work. I will advise him to ask about the driver’s experience and knowledge in flatbed trucking.

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