Flatbed trucking can be a very lucrative career option, despite being seen as a rough-and-tumble kind of gig, even stacked up against other trucking jobs. Is flatbed trucking worth it?
Whether you’ve been driving for years or you’re just heading out on the road, a new flatbed driver job can be very rewarding. However, it won’t always be easy.
Big Challenges in Flatbed Driver Jobs Come with Great Opportunities
Opportunities abound in flatbed driving. Some of the perks that come along with these types of jobs are:
- Higher pay than dry van, with earnings up to $15K more a year
- You gain experience in an in-demand niche that could open up other opportunities down the road
- Flatbeds require less housekeeping; they’re easier to clean and simpler to maintain
- Every load (and sometimes every day) brings new challenges so you will never get bored
- Flatbed drivers tend to get more time off than drivers who operate other types of equipment (We average 1 day off per week out on the road. Our average time out is 3-6 weeks.)
Despite the amazing opportunities, it’s not the right job for everyone. It comes with some unique challenges (and some that aren’t exactly unique to this type of equipment but still aren’t roses and rainbows).
You’ll Spend a Lot of Time Tarping and Securing Loads
We mean A. LOT. For a lot of truckers starting new flatbed driver jobs, it’s the worst part of the gig.
Securing your cargo to protect not only what you’re hauling but also you and the people you share the road with is serious business. It can take a lot of time and energy, but we promise, it’s worth it in the end.
Tarping and securing means that flatbed driving is more physically strenuous than the average CDL driving job. The silver lining? It makes it easier to get in a little exercise during your workday.
You Might Be Away from Home for a While
Not every flatbed driving job is over the road, but many are. For the free-spirited asphalt cowboys, this isn’t a big deal. The freedom of being on the road, seeing new things, and the adrenaline rush of a job well done are inducements enough to stay out on the road for weeks or even months at a time. A lot of drivers have families and lives they don’t necessarily want to leave, though.
Being away can be particularly difficult for drivers when money has been tight before starting their new long-haul trucking job. Living on the road doesn’t come without expenses and it’s tough to leave the family at home when you know they’ll be struggling financially when you’re gone. That’s exactly why, here at Kaiser, we’ve got our drivers’ backs, on and off the road.
You May Haul Some Unorthodox Cargo
This is one of the coolest parts of flatbed trucking, but unique freight presents drivers with a whole new set of challenges.
You may be faced with securing giant, heavy, or awkwardly shaped loads. You might haul anything from heavy equipment to generators to lumber to landscaping materials to oversized loads as a flatbed driver.
Because of the unorthodox nature of your cargo, flatbed loads will likely require that you be more attuned to the loading process than in other types of trucking. Flatbed drivers are responsible for the safety of their load just like any other trucker, except it’s a little more complicated to do. You’ve got to make sure the load is balanced, and this might mean helping load your trailer or at least supervising loading.
There are Even More Regulations
Hauling large items on an open trailer is inherently more dangerous than hauling pallets of consumer goods in a dry van. For this reason, there are more regulations to follow when you’re hauling a flatbed load. You have to secure loads in accordance with regulations, observe stricter regs on trailer measurements, and drive much more carefully.
It takes special attention to detail to make sure flatbed loads are safe and legal, and not every truck driver is up to the task.
Are you up for the challenge?
After hearing about the hard parts, does a flatbed truck driving job still sound like an awesome career choice to you?
The right flatbed trucking company will not only pay you better; they’ll make sure you and your equipment are taken care of and treat you with the respect you deserve, too. At Kaiser, we show our drivers that respect by giving them the chance to earn over $100K a year driving a 2020 or newer Peterbilt. Think you’ve got what it takes to drive for Kaiser? Fill out this form or call us directly at 608-741-7739.