Flatbed LIFESTYLE Vs Tanker LIFESTYLE. (detailed Questions Inside)

Topic 21284 | Page 1

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Indalecio's Comment
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I am shipping off to Prime CDL school this saturday and though I asked for tanker division, I want to make sure my decision fits the kind of lifestyle I prefer so a few questions.

1.) Between the two, what times are normal pickup and dropoff hours?

2.) What are the deadlines like, between the two choices? Like does one give a "three hour window" for delivery and the other is pretty much just "the soonest you arrive?"

3.) I like to pray about 5 times a day, and each prayer takes about 5 minutes. Which division would allow for five ,5 minute stops scattered throughout the day with maybe 3-4 hours between them?

4.) When docking and unloading and picking up material, what is the process like? For flatbed how does it generally go? is there downtime? For tanker, how does it go? what kind of downtime?

5.) I am a fitness nut, and exercise 6 days a week, with one day of rest. Which division would give me about 30 minutes to an hour each day for a run, or weight lifting, inside or next to the truck?

6.) Please give an example of the day of a life of a tanker, and a day of the life of a flatbedder, and tell me what you liked and disliked about each division.

I know this is a lot, but all of your inputs will be REALLY HELPFUL! Thank you!


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.
Indalecio's Comment
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One last thing: I prefer to sleep at night and drive in the day, just to keep my circadian rythyms healthy. I am also not much of a people person, so id prefer the one with the LEAST amount of human interaction. Thanks!

Turtle's Comment
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I've been a Prime flatbedder for nearly a year now, but I have zero experience with tanker. So all of my answers will pertain to the flatbed side in my case.

1- Pretty normal pick-up and drop-off times, as in during the day, although there are rare occasions where appt times vary.

2- Most of my delivery times are a window, such as 0700-1700 on a particular day. But to me a window like that means I'll be on their yard by 0630 waiting to greet the first workers to show up. The current lumber load I'm on is set to deliver on 11/30 btwn 0700-1400. But by driving hard and working the clock to my advantage, I can make it there tomorrow 11/29 before closing time. You can bet I'll be there to get unloaded a day early.

3- That shouldn't be hard at all in any division. Before/after shift, half hr break, fuel stops, rest areas, all provide quick moments for prayer.

4- Every stop will be different. Some days you'll pull into a customer and they're almost there waiting with the product on the forklift waiting to slap it on your truck as you're rolling through. Other days you'll wanna pull your hair out in frustration due to wait times. This is where a savvy driver can gain advantages by doing things like sleeping overnight at a customer in order to be first in line in the morning. This also lets you take care of business without starting your clock. But I digress...

5- Same as #3. You can make it happen.

6- This is a tough one, for reasons stated above. Every day will be different, but the same also. Different loads will dictate how you plan your days. If the timing is right, you can run hard as in my #2 example. Other times you can take it easy on a 3 day run if there won't be an advantage gained by running hard.

I love flatbedding. The outdoor activity of securing/tarping loads. The mostly normal daytime running hours. The wide variety of places I get to deliver to: warehouses, construction sites, farms, schools, etc.

I prefer normal hours too, but occasionally I'll have to switch up my hours to get a job done to my advantage. Such as the run I'm on now. I'll need to get started as soon as my 10hr is up at 0245, in order to make my delivery a day early. These are the small sacrifices that keep me on my FM's "nice" list.

Good luck!


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Old School's Comment
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Here's a link to an old thread where I shared a good bit of information about my work week when I had one of my daughters riding with me. If you will take the time to read through it all I think you will get an idea about The Life of A Flatbed Truck Driver.

I can dig up some others if you are interested in them, but that one should get your juices flowing if you're cut out to be a flat-bedder.


Operating While Intoxicated

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Here are some more resources for you about pulling flatbeds and tankers:


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.

Indalecio's Comment
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Thank you for that detailed response and the links! I will look at them closely!

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