So, What Are The Practical Advantages Of Flatbedding For All It's Hardships?

Topic 23581 | Page 1

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Todd Holmes's Comment
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Do such drivers generally make more money a year than other sectors in the field? Do flatbedders enjoy more home time than other drivers? There has to be some rewards that go along with the risks.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Do such drivers generally make more money a year than other sectors in the field? Do flatbedders enjoy more home time than other drivers? There has to be some rewards that go along with the risks.

The answer is Yes, and No. There are more payouts, usually more cpm , and on average more money can be made, but it is largely up to the driver. Hometime isn't any better or worse for the most part. The biggest reward a flatbed driver gets for the "risk" is the satisfaction and pride of a job well done, the textbook Tarping job, the picture perfect strapping/chaining job, successfully navigating the roads with an OW/OD load. The overall risks aren't any greater than pulling a box, or tanker. Each has it's own inherent risks, but this is truck driving, where just getting behind the wheel to drive is a daily risk. Every day that we get successfully from point A to point Z, we save hundreds, if not thousands of lives, and they will never realize it.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Turtle's Comment
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The pay may be marginally better, it's hard to say. Based on my salary estimates compared to what others have posted here, I'd say I'm making more money than the other divisions. But who knows, I could possibly make the same money in a van or tanker if I equally apply myself in that division.

Pride is a part of it for me. There is certainly a sense of satisfaction in a job well done, as Danielsahn says. I enjoy working with my hands, even if it only involves throwing chains, straps, and tarps. I still say the physical aspect of the job isn't nearly as bad as some people think. Although demanding at times, it's really a small fraction of the job.

There is a comradery among flatbedders that I don't see elsewhere. A mutual respect, if you will. If I'm struggling with a tarp on a windy day, another flatbedder will come help me. Every. Single. Time. Likewise I'll help them in return.

Regular hours- This was a major factor in my decision. Flatbed customers are typically on a 6am to 5pm schedule, unlike some van or reefer operations which run 24/7. Although I still flip my clocks from time to time when it gives me an advantage, I get to enjoy fairly normal hours.

The variety of things I get to haul and places I get to haul them was intriguing as well. I've hauled everything from Caterpilars to palm trees. I've delivered to industrial complexes, pig farms, and even country singer Eric Church's private property. It's never just from one warehouse to another.

Even something as simple as the weather played into my decision. The low profile of a flatbed isn't affected by high wind nearly as much as a van. Conditions will vary of course, in that regard.

In general, with flatbedding I think you either love it or hate it. I happen to love it. Some people think I'm off my rocker because of it, but it is what it is.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dee Squared's Comment
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One day a neighbor was over talking to my dad about getting into driving truck in the early 80's. At that time my dad was driving for Yellow. Another friend of theirs stopped over that pulled flatbeds. Still remember the advise he gave the neighbor. " Get into flatbeds. The pay is extremely well for at most two hours of work each day. It's the 400-500 miles commute to work in a rough riding truck most days that gets tiring".

Turtle's Comment
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The pay is extremely well for at most two hours of work each day. It's the 400-500 miles commute to work in a rough riding truck most days that gets tiring".

Theres is a lot of truth to that. I mostly look forward to the time I get outside of the truck securing/tarping a load. It's a chance for fresh air and exercise. I can dress for any weather conditions. Heat is the only thing that slows me down, I could do without it sometimes.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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One thing not mentioned yet is the various opportunities which arise after getting your foot in the door and gaining experience in open deck work. Specialized and heavy haul divisions are much more intensive from a logistics standpoint, training and skill than other open deck operations and that's also where you will see significant advance in pay. The company I'm with has a specialized / heavy haul division. They hire primarily from within and the waiting list is roughly 8 months before consideration. There's additional training for the various styles of trailers along with familiarization with permit, escort, police escort, policies etc. Those trucks are all 4 axle rigs and company drivers average between 125-150k per year while rarely running over 1800 miles per week. Open deck offers the most options over other aspects in trucking and rewards the hard work in many ways, you just have to go get it. Oh and you'll drive really nice trucks, I know I love mine.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brian's Comment
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Those are very interesting points Turtle. I was always intrigued by flatbedding but never had the change to do it. Have to stay local and unlike dry van these days you're not getting a local flatbedder job without experience. As I've said before my hats off to you guys. Certainly have my respect.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Todd Holmes's Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

The pay is extremely well for at most two hours of work each day. It's the 400-500 miles commute to work in a rough riding truck most days that gets tiring".

double-quotes-end.png

Theres is a lot of truth to that. I mostly look forward to the time I get outside of the truck securing/tarping a load. It's a chance for fresh air and exercise. I can dress for any weather conditions. Heat is the only thing that slows me down, I could do without it sometimes.

Others here have suggested that flatbed is the avenue toward advancing into heavy hauling. Somehow, I feel hauling Caterpillar tractors would have a definite hometime advantage since these machines seem to be moved on a periodic basis for construction jobs and not 24/7 like freight.

andhe78's Comment
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“For all it’s hardships?” Wow. Enlighten me about these hardships.

I talk to new flatbedders all the time-know what the biggest complaint I hear is? Being away from home and family, and every driver faces that, no matter what they haul.

You are really going into this with the wrong mindset. But I understand, you want to be a “cool” heavy-hauler without paying any dues.

Old School's Comment
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“For all it’s hardships?” Wow. Enlighten me about these hardships.

Thanks andhe78!

I have thought about responding to this thread so many times, and then decided not to. You've inspired me.

You see Todd, you keep bringing to the forefront one of the things we struggle with in here. We help newcomers to trucking figure this path out, but usually they find us after they've already established a warped sense of understanding of what they're getting into.

You have these romantic ideas and feelings about being a super elite truck driver commanding top pay, and pulling some really cool oversized equipment, which of course would not require tarping.

When we hit you with the truth that you're going to have to develop some sense of a reputation as a good flatbedder first, you started realizing you might have to do something laborious, or God forbid, even dangerous! All the while you don't seem to realize that the biggest difficulties you'll face have absolutely nothing to do with flat bedding. I had an old black man who worked for me a few years named Roosevelt. He was a real character. Oftentimes he would wear a tee-shirt to work that said "Pimping ain't easy!" You don't seem to realize that "Trucking ain't easy!"

Literally tens of thousands of people quit this career every year because of the difficulties. It's more an obsession than a job. Trucking is a jealous mistress that demands your attentions. You have no concept of that yet, but it's coming. It all sounds so cool to you now, just like it did to the tens of thousand who threw in the towel last year. They could give you a hundred different reasons why they quit, but all of them would be some difficulty about this career that they never dreamed would affect them so severely.

It's obvious to all of us that you've got the proverbial "cart before the horse." You're wanting to know all kinds of specifics about stuff that probably will never even be faced by you. Try to take some baby steps that actually advance you to a point where you are out here just trying to learn to maneuver a truck and trailer. Try to get your career started and just learn to adjust to the extremely long hours, the erratic sleep patterns, and the sometimes painful loneliness that shuts people's trucking careers down so unexpectedly early on. It's not the difficulties of flat bedding that are going to have you thinking twice. You've got bigger troubles that you aren't even aware of. It's obvious you've been searching out information on the internet, and it's even more obvious how much that is hindering you.

Those of us who are flat-bedders are not even sure what these "hardships" are. We love this job and are passionate about what we do. We have as much trouble understanding you, as you do us.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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