Are you looking for a career that combines the excitement of seeing the country with a heck of a lot of challenges? Then flatbed trucking is the perfect job for you. Working as a flatbed trucker is different from other trucking jobs since it requires a different set of skills—but it may be just the opportunity you’re looking for.
It’s true, flatbed truckers face extra risks that regular truckers don’t. But the opportunities for travelers, and the amount of money you can earn in this career, might make it worth pursuing. If you’re a driver with experience, and you have the skillset and the discipline to pull it off, it can be the perfect career.
The potential earnings and benefits vary significantly, based on the amount of experience you have, the type of route you take, and the companies you work for. But for most drivers, the extra risk associated with flatbed trucking is more than covered by the extra cash.
That’s why many drivers start working in flatbed or dry van jobs first, then progress to flatbed trucking. If you have the experience, qualifications and the discipline to do the job right, flatbed trucking can be a great career opportunity. But before taking the plunge, you’ll want to consider how much does a flatbed truck driver make and if you have what it takes to do the job successfully.
What is flatbed trucking
Flatbed trucking is the procedure of transporting oversize goods that can’t fit inside a completely enclosed trailer. The trailers themselves are typically 53 feet in length, as well as 102 feet in width, with a hard-wearing aluminum body plus a wooden floor beneath. Usually, due to a significant amount of weight and size of the cargo, several trailers may be hitched together to form a convoy. All kinds of huge loads can be moved using these flatbeds, including specific objects like:
- oversized pipes;
- steel coils;
- heavy equipment;
- mobile homes;
- tow trucks.
With flatbed trucks, nothing is too big to move. In point of fact, the larger, the better.
Is it hard to do flatbed trucking?
As a flatbed truck driver, you are responsible for transporting a variety of loads of varying sizes and shapes – a task which requires special skills to be performed securely and safely. Loading and balancing the load is a critical skill which must be performed accurately to prevent any potential accidents – as well as making sure you adhere to the Department of Transportation’s regulations for properly fastening the cargo. Lastly, it’s essential that the tarp is consistently secured before transport, as failure to do so can be catastrophic for the vehicles behind you. All these skills greatly contribute to why flatbed truck driving is considered to be the most difficult type of transportation.
Advantages of flatbed trucks
Qualified flatbed truck drivers are a precious commodity and are consequently appropriated with elevated pay compared to regular drivers. They are paid high wages as much as $100,000 a year. However, the compensation level depends on the staffing or the level of experience of the individual. Besides, the variety of routes is quite impressive and goes beyond the movement of goods in enclosed containers allowing them to see the different types of cargos from different locations and terrain. Also, this kind of trucking involves some physical workout for the driver, besides the loading and unloading of the cargo, which allows them to travel quicker and have less sedentary periods behind the wheel. In addition, they can earn extra money due to the cover of tarps in the bed of the vehicle.
Disadvantages of flatbed trucks
Being a flatbed truck driver comes with a higher paycheck, but with added risk and responsibility as well. These jobs involve hefty load hauling, climbing over them, and performing security duties. On the road, there is an ever-present fear of the load becoming loose and crushing unsuspecting road vehicles and their passengers. Hence, strict regulations come into the picture—drivers must abide by the set standards, take the necessary precautions while loading and hauling, and put in extra effort to secure the load correctly.
This type of trucking calls for careful, skillful maneuvering and a substantial amount of time—especially when one considers how different it is from regular transportation tasks. It is an added effort that has to be exerted to ensure the safety of oneself, road users, and the cargo itself.