Question For Those Of You That Do Flatbed

Topic 30712 | Page 3

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Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

Pianoman, I think you’ll be just fine in regards to flatbed work. CNC machines are one of the more difficult things anyone ever has to tarp, along with pumping stations and you’ll not likely see either of those with what you’ve described. That aluminum load that was posted really wasn’t all that bad and if the driver didn’t like the way they loaded it, he should have told them to fix it or take it off the truck. As far as needing 4 tarps, they must have been small ones because it could have easily been handled with 2-8’ drops.

I wasn’t going to comment on your post, because it seemed its primary intent was to disparage my tarping ability. But I decided to comment based on the mission and purpose of Trucking Truth: to give people the honest truth about trucking (dispel unreasonable expectations) and to help new drivers. With all due respect, your post is one of the most antithetical to the mission and purpose of trucking truth I have read from an experienced driver.

While, in your opinion, “that aluminum load that was posted was not all that bad,” the tarping guy and every driver at Cressona disagreed. Every driver there with me commented about how that was a “fed-up load.” And with regard to all of the other loads that I’ve hauled, it was probably the worst. The point of my response is not to argue with you about whether they load was frustrating and time consuming to tarp. The point is to set reasonable expectations for people coming to flatbed. To say that a 50’, multi-tier load of aluminum extrusions is “not that bad” sets an unreasonable expectation for a new person coming to flatbed. I found it challenging to tarp, as did the guy whose main purpose at the company is to tarp loads.

You also commented that if the driver didn’t like the way that it was loaded, he should have told them to fix it, or take it off the truck. First, these are preloaded trailers. They are preloaded because it takes a long time to load these hodge podge of aluminum extrusions. Thus, they are not going to spend an hour or more reloading the trailer. Second, some of these loads are challenging simply because it is a hodge podge of aluminum extrusions. There really is no great way to load them. My only option would have been to refuse the load, which I have never done. Interestingly, I think that the load had been refused by another Prime driver because the paperwork was not in the guardhouse where it was supposed to be. I suspect that the Prime driver refused the load after he saw it.

The other comment was that 2 8’ drops would have easily covered it. Prime issues you 2 18 foot, 8’ drop tarps, 2 24 foot 4’ drops, and one smoke tarp. The 2 8’ drop tarps would not cover a 50’ load. To cover a load more than 50’ feet you need all four tarps. Plus, the tarp guy tried to put my two 4’ drop tarps of the back, but because of the difference in height from the front to the back, they would stay in place. So, I used my smoke tarp on the lower part in the back which allowed me to bridge the gap from the 8’ drops to the below 4’ drop with one smoke tarp. I needed both 8’ drops to cover the front. It took me about 5 hours to get all of this done.

Again, my point is not necessarily to argue with you about whether this “aluminum load was all that bad.” Rather, its to set realistic expectations for people coming to flatbed. If I say “that load was a nightmare,” and someone goes to Hydro Cressona, expecting a nightmare load, but then after all is said and done they say “that was not all that bad,” fine. But if you say, a 50’ multi-tier aluminum extrusion load is not all that bad, and they go there and have the same experience I had, which was a nightmare, they will have had an unreasonable expectation. I have hauled numerous Hydro loads, which were not as bad as that.

But there are many other shippers out there that are notorious for being a nightmare. Allied Tube in Harvey, Illinois is universally despised among flatbed drivers. Charlotte Pipe is a good shipper , but in the winter out of Cedar City, Utah you have to tarp any loads going to certain states. I had to climb up 13’8” onto ice-covered PVC pipe in 10 degree weather to put on my 4 Prime tarps. Cedar City is also notorious for being windy and Turtle almost got blown off a load by a tarp that got caught by the wind.

Again, someone coming into flatbed, should have reasonable expectations. You are going to have some nightmare loads to tarp. If experienced commenters on this forum downplay that fact, then we don’t have much right to complain about people who fail because they have unreasonable expectations based on comments they read on this forum.

When I said, “with all due respect” I meant it. I always look for your comment on securement questions because of your wealth of experience. But, in my opinion, your comment really missed the mark on this one.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Good info man, thank you. Sounds like that was definitely not a fun one to secure and tarp! I really appreciate all the feedback I got on this thread. I feel much more informed to be able to make a good decision about which direction to take

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Ive stayed out of this because I know nothing of flatbedding. I have reactive hypoglycemia though. So If I eat sugar without long lasting carbs and proteins, my blood sugar levels will go low within about 30 minutes or so. Heat, physical activity and types of food will play a huge role. While different than diabetes, it can have similar effects in terms of going low. I have had times working construction in the summer where I forgot to eat during the day and then had only a soda. My sugar fell to the low 30s and I had to have assistance.

When I have to do a double drop and hook , like at a Sams club, where Im moving trailers, and very active in the heat, Ive started to go low, where you can feel it starting to get bad. Its hard to explain to someone that hasnt gone low, but its a pretty sickening feeling. (I have a feeling you know what I mean) I have to drink an ensure and usually an OJ just to keep from going low while Im doing it. After Im done, before I get on the road, I then will down a PB &J and whole milk for the protein and carbs in it. Ive found I get about 2 hours out of most meals before I have to eat again. So, while not a diabetic, and not a flat bedder, maybe similar enough to help?

My brother (MIke) was the same during construction. In the summer, he would frequently skip taking his long lasting (Lantis) because it could cause him to go low during the day. It was possible to manage but its rough, espically if youre active. We also road race motorcycles, extremely physically demanding and hot. Best range we found there was to keep sugar levels at 150 to 200. 20 minute track session would drop him 50 to 70 with no long lasting. I would think, from what I have read and in talking with flat bedders, that it would be somewhere in between construction and OTR in terms of demand on nutrition and sugar levels, just my best guess at it.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

No offense taken and I respect your input as well. I honestly wasn’t aware of the tarp situation. The 8’ drops I’ve always used were 26’ with the flap on one and, so in that case, it would have covered that load. With further explanation, I see why it would take all 4 and yeah, that’s a bummer. I do stand by my statement though of either re working the load or not at all. I’ve done pre load trailers and I’ve had them re work them. The time is irrelevant because it has to be right and it’s your load. If you don’t like it, it’s a no go, period. The driver makes those decisions. In the interest of new drivers, it’s important that they’re aware that they do have the latitude to demand a load be fixed and not just, here it is, take it. You mentioned that every other driver there commented how poorly it was done and that’s even more reason.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

You're still missing the point and way off base, Robert.

You come across as a know it all when clearly you don't know anything about the shipper in question or of Prime's tarp setup.

This shipper contracts hundreds if not thousands of loads a year with Prime. All are loaded safely and evenly for proper weight distribution. Often they are loaded per the receiver's instructions for efficient offloading at the back end.

Safety is not a factor in these loads. Simply throwing a hissy fit and having them rework it to make it easy on you is not an option. Try that with Hydro and you'll quickly be out of a job or lose a customer.

But none of that was the point anyway. The point was to show the op that some loads can be easy, and some loads can be a PITA. Nothing more. Critiquing Chief Brody from one tiny picture should be beneath someone of your stature.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

When I have to do a double drop and hook , like at a Sams club, where Im moving trailers, and very active in the heat, Ive started to go low, where you can feel it starting to get bad. Its hard to explain to someone that hasnt gone low, but its a pretty sickening feeling. (I have a feeling you know what I mean) I have to drink an ensure and usually an OJ just to keep from going low while Im doing it. After Im done, before I get on the road, I then will down a PB &J and whole milk for the protein and carbs in it. Ive found I get about 2 hours out of most meals before I have to eat again. So, while not a diabetic, and not a flat bedder, maybe similar enough to help?

Freaking story of my life brother. It's a tad different for me because I'm insulin-dependent, so I can sometimes avoid having to eat something before doing something physical by reducing my insulin dosing beforehand. But yeah, I actually had to do double drop and hooks all the time when I worked for Swift on their Target account. Seems flatbedding is definitely more work but I'll tackle it pretty similarly.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Art M.'s Comment
member avatar

Pianoman, watch Dr. Sten Ekberg on Tube, might help with your disease a lot. As far as fb loads, they are easy, if you take it easy. I've had tarps 50lb each, helped a lot with keeping my back, it is very dangerous to jump from the 2-3 days of sitting in the cab and grabbing those to carry around without "prep" exercise, Never rush yourself, look 5 times before making a move when securing a load. With your condition avoid long term physical overload.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Pianoman, watch Dr. Sten Ekberg on Tube, might help with your disease a lot. As far as fb loads, they are easy, if you take it easy. I've had tarps 50lb each, helped a lot with keeping my back, it is very dangerous to jump from the 2-3 days of sitting in the cab and grabbing those to carry around without "prep" exercise, Never rush yourself, look 5 times before making a move when securing a load. With your condition avoid long term physical overload.

Thanks I'll check him out! Good point about warming up, always good to do a few stretches or something so you don't pull a muscle.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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