Flatbed Or Dry Van

Topic 21021 | Page 1

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BullDozer's Comment
member avatar

Hi TT Community, Just getting as much info as I can before starting my career in trucking. Im pretty much there but have one situation I keep coming back to. Flatbed or Van? Im 39 and in good shape, a little on the light side but pretty strong. I would like to be active as much as possible as a trucker. My question is, Just starting out should I do van and then move to Flatbed or just jump right into flatbed. I have min. Lowboy experience but nothing to even consider. I've watched lots of Youtube videos and learned some basics. My main concern would be the driving part of flatbed. Is it harder? Should I get DryVan drive exp. first. Advice, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. BullDozer D.

Dryvan:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

There are companies who will train you and start you on flatbed. Are you willing to be out in all weather, rain, sun, snow, cold wind, etc.? Flatbed is alot of work. Tarps are heavy and need to folded, rolled and stored. There are articles and forum topics on this topic. Dry van is easy. You may have to climb in the trailer to sweep it out or put staps to secure the load. It is not physically demanding. Hope that helps. There are other kinds of driving as well, refer and tanker. Good luck.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Here are some specific resources to help you out a bit:

The driving part of flatbed isn't any easier or more difficult that dry van or refrigerated. The knowledge and effort it takes to throw tarps, straps, and chains are what separates flatbed from the rest for sure.

I think it's a little less stressful starting out in dry van or refrigerated but there are plenty of flatbed companies that will train you right from day one. TMC Transportation Company Sponsored CDL Training is one flatbed program you can get started with straight off the street.

For those of you who don't know, you can apply for paid CDL training for TMC and six other companies right here on our website with one quick form.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Vinnie, I was just about to respond to this, but Brett beat me to the draw. I completely agree with his comments. The driving part is no different. Flat-bedders tend to be the type who really enjoy physical labor, and/or doing the calculations that are required to understand if you are securing a load properly and safely. They also don't mind getting it done out in the elements.

I think it is wise to do dry van first and just get some driving experience first. I started straight into flat-bedding, and it can be done. Two companies that have really great flat-bed training are TMC and Melton. One option that can be considered is going to work for a company that has both dry van and flat-bed jobs available. Companies like Prime, Swift, and Roehl, or even Western Express. There are others also. It's just a thought that you might want to consider. Make sure that they offer flat-bed in your hiring area first though. Some of them may be limited on where they hire their flat-bed drivers from. I am on a dedicated flat-bed gig with Knight, but they are real specific about where they want their drivers to live in relation to their customers.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Don't let old school fool ya. Knight don't have flatbeds. He works for SAPA. He just says he works for Knight to make everyone think he works for a big company. Just go up to a Knight terminal and ask the gate guard if they have flatbed drivers, lol. That is why they don't let Old School thru the gate.

Btw, I am just picking on old school. He does actually work for Knight. (Sort of)

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

BullDozer's Comment
member avatar

Big Scott, TY for your info. Im a western NYer so im use to working outside in snow so that's not an issue. I did research reefer but got alot of neg. Feedback about the delays you get when unloading and the noise. Maybe I got bad info. Let me know. Thanks.

There are companies who will train you and start you on flatbed. Are you willing to be out in all weather, rain, sun, snow, cold wind, etc.? Flatbed is alot of work. Tarps are heavy and need to folded, rolled and stored. There are articles and forum topics on this topic. Dry van is easy. You may have to climb in the trailer to sweep it out or put staps to secure the load. It is not physically demanding. Hope that helps. There are other kinds of driving as well, refer and tanker. Good luck.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

BullDozer's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your help Brett. Funny you mentioned TMC, as that is my top choice for Flatbed. When I am ready I definitely will use your link to apply. I hear you about the stress part being that im new to truck driving. Well I'll take all this in consideration and make the right decision. Like you im a NY Italian and I love a challenge. Otherwise it will be boring! Thanks.

Here are some specific resources to help you out a bit:

The driving part of flatbed isn't any easier or more difficult that dry van or refrigerated. The knowledge and effort it takes to throw tarps, straps, and chains are what separates flatbed from the rest for sure.

I think it's a little less stressful starting out in dry van or refrigerated but there are plenty of flatbed companies that will train you right from day one. TMC Transportation Company Sponsored CDL Training is one flatbed program you can get started with straight off the street.

For those of you who don't know, you can apply for paid CDL training for TMC and six other companies right here on our website with one quick form.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

BullDozer's Comment
member avatar

Old School, Thank you for your help, definitely appreciate it. I did consider a couple companies that do a mix and Roehl was my top choice if I go that route. Right on about the hiring area,. Roehl said I am out of their hiring area but I have a brother who lives in Buffalo which is about 30 min from Niagara Falls and they said I can use his address. Also since you mentioned the hiring area I plan on living out of my truck as much as possible and going home as little as possible. Can I take days off where I unload? And how long can I stay out running? Thank you for your help!

Vinnie, I was just about to respond to this, but Brett beat me to the draw. I completely agree with his comments. The driving part is no different. Flat-bedders tend to be the type who really enjoy physical labor, and/or doing the calculations that are required to understand if you are securing a load properly and safely. They also don't mind getting it done out in the elements.

I think it is wise to do dry van first and just get some driving experience first. I started straight into flat-bedding, and it can be done. Two companies that have really great flat-bed training are TMC and Melton. One option that can be considered is going to work for a company that has both dry van and flat-bed jobs available. Companies like Prime, Swift, and Roehl, or even Western Express. There are others also. It's just a thought that you might want to consider. Make sure that they offer flat-bed in your hiring area first though. Some of them may be limited on where they hire their flat-bed drivers from. I am on a dedicated flat-bed gig with Knight, but they are real specific about where they want their drivers to live in relation to their customers.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
BullDozer's Comment
member avatar

Patrick, Thanks for your humor 😁. What is SAPA? Im Noob to lots of trucking jargon so pardon my ignorance. Thanks.

Don't let old school fool ya. Knight don't have flatbeds. He works for SAPA. He just says he works for Knight to make everyone think he works for a big company. Just go up to a Knight terminal and ask the gate guard if they have flatbed drivers, lol. That is why they don't let Old School thru the gate.

Btw, I am just picking on old school. He does actually work for Knight. (Sort of)

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

BullDozer's Comment
member avatar

Just noticed that TMC lists it's hiring areas and NY is not on there. But I just visited NTTS ( National Tractor Trailer Institute) and they hire from their graduates. Am I missing something? Or is it the TMC CDL Training program not accepting ANY.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
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