Becoming a flatbed driver is unique from other types of trucking jobs.
It’s a little more difficult and more dangerous.
However, these positions typically pay more than a normal trucker job, and many truckers believe that taking the extra risk is worthwhile. And if you’re a talented and experienced driver, this could be the perfect challenge for you.
What Is Flatbed Trucking?
Flatbed trucking is a sort of trucking in which oversized or wide-load products are transported. You could be delivering construction materials such as lumber, steel coils, shingles, and piping.
It’s also possible that you’ll be transporting military vehicles, machinery, or even mobile homes. Anything that, due to its size or shape, cannot transport in an enclosed trailer.
Multiple trailer combinations are rather popular in Canada and some states in the United States, like Michigan.
Flatbed trailers measure 53 feet long by 102 inches wide. They have wooden floors and are constructed with robust aluminum frames.
Flat decks are the most frequently used, but drop decks are also available.
These are obviously not contained by walls, although side rack kits or walls with permanent canvas tarps can be purchased.
Curtain side trailer covers and curtain side self-supporting systems are also available. These can easily cover your freight by rolling forward or backward on the trailer.
What Are the Skills Required to Be a Flatbed Driver?
Because flatbed trucking involves dealing with various types of freight, you’ll require a few unique abilities you may not have considered.
Most of the time, forklifts or cranes will load your huge freight, saving you time and effort. However, depending on the sort of freight, you may be asked to assist.
Even if you aren’t, the regulations and laws are so stringent that you’ll want to make sure your freight is balanced and loaded properly at all times.
2. Load Securement
You’ll need to learn how to secure your load rapidly, which is definitely a skill. The types of tie-downs you use and how many you use are strictly regulated.
The Department of Transportation, on the other hand, is very particular about how effectively your cargo is secured.
Another technique that requires some practice is tarping. Tarps aren’t required for all loads, but those that are must be covered in a specific way.
Some of those canvas kits and tarp systems come very handy in this situation. Any covers you employ must be secured in the same way that the freight is.
Consider losing a large tarp that lands on a vehicle behind you. It’s exactly as risky as misplacing cargo.
What Are the Benefits of Flatbed Trucking?
Flatbed truckers work in this industry for a variety of reasons. Some of them do it solely for the monetary gain for a limited length of time.
Others, however, prefer it to other trucking specialties after becoming accustomed to it. For many truck drivers, it runs in the family. They are a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th generation trucker.
You’ll probably make more money in this profession than in another truck driver career. However, that isn’t to imply they all pay more.
This, of course, depends on the companies with which you sign a contract to become a flatbed company driver. However, due to the job’s high demand, you’ll be paid more in the long run.
Flatbed driver pay is about the same as reefer trucking jobs, another high-paying trucking industry. On average, you’ll earn $10-$15,000 more per year than other drivers, with earnings ranging from $65,000 and upwards.
2. Job Demand
The trucking industry as a whole is experiencing a severe shortage, making it highly sought-after expertise. This is especially true in the case of the flatbed industry.
Flatbed driver jobs will never be hard to find, as it is always in demand, and because you’ll be able to haul a wide variety of freight. You can transport a variety of items that would not fit in enclosed trailers.
3. Time Off
As a flatbed driver, you usually get to schedule your own home time. Oftentimes, you may be out on the road for 3 weeks at a time. You also will be able to accumulate paid time off. (PTO)
Consider this: if you’re transporting two massive Hummers, how long will it take to unload? And you’re most likely only going to one place. After unloading, you will be going directly to the next pickup.
Other kinds of loads, on the other hand, may require unloading multiple pallets at different locations. Regardless, you will get to schedule your own home time, just plan on being out for three weeks at a time. One benefit of this is that you can bring a passenger with you in most cases.
What Are The Disadvantages of Flatbed Trucking?
As you probably know, there’s usually a reason why a specialty in any job pays more than others.
In many ways, it’s a much more rigorous job, with larger dangers and stricter laws and regulations to carefully follow.
There are a few risks associated with this form of trucking that does not apply to other types of trucking.
For one thing, if you’re dealing heavy freight that isn’t loaded with machines, it can be hazardous to handle and load. You’ll almost always be the one climbing on top of the cargo to make sure it’s properly secured.
You run the risk of some of your freight slipping off during shipment if you don’t secure it properly or if something goes wrong. You could be gravely injured and endanger the safety of other drivers on the road, depending on the type of freight.
Flatbed vehicles are subject to substantially stronger restrictions and laws as a result of these dangers.
The United States Department of Transportation is in charge of publishing cargo securement regulations in the United States.
And, with few exceptions, Cana follows the majority of the same rules.
The rules are in place to ensure that your load is securely fastened and does not loosen, become unstable, or fall off during transportation.
This involves keeping an eye on load limitations, properly tying down trailers, and adhering to weight restrictions.
Flatbed Trucking Can Be a Great Career
It’s true that flatbed trucking jobs are more difficult than others.
For many people, though, the additional pay and seeing the country make it worthwhile to become a flatbed driver. The good thing is that flatbed skills are rather simple to master, and you’ll never be out of work!
Come check out our career opportunities to get you started.