Flatbedding Vs Dryvan For A Beginner

Topic 26381 | Page 1

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Sean's Comment
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Hi Everyone!

I am a future truck driver who is trying to make the decision: dry van or flatbed? My end goal is to be in household goods but that seems like a mostly O/O business, so obviously not a beginner job. I am leaning towards flatbed because, and correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like there would be more situations where I am in the type of place that is in no way a place a truck should be which is common in household goods. I have thought about the difference in trailer length but I've found that Melton has mostly 53 footers so that eliminates the fact that most flatbeds are 48 footers. But enough blabbing, my main question is would which would better prepare me for household goods because flatbed I would think would present me more challenges with load securement and moving around tight spaces that weren't made for trucks.

Thanks everyone and I hope you are having a good Sunday! (or whatever day you're reading this) :-)

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.
Turtle's Comment
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Flatbed does indeed present some unique challenges, both in securement and backing in tight quarters. Occasionally we also have to go off the grid to a remote location where there aren't even real roads. I suppose one could say that would give an extra level of experience over and above a dry van.

However, I'd guess the similarities between flatbed and household goods would be akin to apples and oranges. Two different animals.

The spread axle of a flatbed demands great attention to how we turn and back. The reaction of my trailer is much different from the closed tandems of a dry or household goods van. There is little comparison between the two.

While looking towards the future for a possible career in household goods, don't overlook the fact that flatbed is no joke. It takes a special (nutso) person to want to deal with the heat, cold, physical exhaustion, snow, rain, wind, filth, etc etc. What might seem fun now isn't so fun when it's -35 in Minnesota, and you have to throw frozen straps and tarps over a load. Or when it's 107° and you have to leave your nice air conditioned cab to go spend 2 hours of high-intensity exertion in the heat, in full PPE gear.

Either division will ultimately give you the experience you need: seat time. The real experience will be in safely working your way through each and every challenge placed in front of you, no matter what you're pulling behind you.

Good luck and let us know how it's going.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.
Banks's Comment
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What's household goods?

Old School's Comment
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Furniture. He wants to be a "bed-bugger." That's the drivers who move people's stuff.

Pete E Pothole's Comment
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Furniture. He wants to be a "bed-bugger." That's the drivers who move people's stuff.

Quite s few of them get to drive/ride in some pretty cool looking trucks though.

Old School's Comment
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I am leaning towards flatbed because, and correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like there would be more situations where I am in the type of place that is in no way a place a truck should be which is common in household goods.

Honestly, I don't really think one or the other is going to give you an edge on your future goals. Any truck driving job is going to get you into some tight situations. A quick look at YouTube ought to make that obvious. If you want to get some real world experience you could hire onto one of the major moving companies as a "lumper." Tell them you want to be a driver after getting some experience. Many of them probably have programs that help people get into the driver's seat.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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Ham, I see from your profile you are still in high school. So you could pursue either type of driving. Then after you had a year or two of experience, you would be in a better position to know what direction would suit you the best. Personally, I think flatbed is more suited to younger drivers. Old School does it, but I don't know how he makes it work at his age. He's got a higher gear than me, because I don't think I could do it at my age (66). But if you're young, agile and energetic, you can't go wrong with flatbed. Don't fret the choice too much. The main objective is just to get trained and get experience, regardless of whether it's flatbed or van.

Spaceman Spiff's Comment
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(nutso) person

I think this is more referring to the local or dollar general drivers.

Old School's Comment
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double-quotes-start.png

(nutso) person

double-quotes-end.png

I think this is more referring to the local or dollar general drivers.

Nah, you're still green Spaceman. You'll understand what Turtle means by the end of February.

Hopper's Comment
member avatar

Hey Ham, I left the nursing field to drive, it pays better and evidently I'm pretty good at it. And I am a female. A female friend does flatbed in the carolinas, She is happy. Look for a company that pays well and has consistent miles. Sign on with the lessor of the evils.. ha! Flatbed tends to be heavy, You will grow to prefer a weighted trailer, Its safer for me (dry van) to be loaded. As far as tight places, they are everywhere but you will learn to navigate where you go. I was trained to use all the real estate available when turning till I learn the length of my equipment. So, swing wide till you learn how much room you need, and always watch the back of your trailer. its as important as whats out the windshield. Pay attention to where your rear axle is too. Where it sits will effect how the trailer reacts when you turn. If a company sends you to a location to be loaded chances are your not the first truck to be picking up there, if that is so then other trucks are getting in and out. You can do it as well. Watch other trucks while you are sitting and waiting to get a door. You will probably see how others get around and backed in at that facility. Good luck! Hopper

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.
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