To Flat Bed Or Not To Flat Bed

Topic 3740 | Page 1

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Poser's Comment
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I am considering an offer from Melton to drive flatbed for .37/mile plus $40/load for tarping. Any thoughts or warnings? Stuff you learned the hard way that you wish you knew beforehand?

Old School's Comment
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Poser, all I can say is that from what I know Melton is a solid company that has a reputation for doing what they say. I think any driver who takes care of his business can do really well there. For a blue collar job you can make some really good money at the rate they are saying they will start you at. I think I must have seen fifty or sixty Melton trucks coming out of Laredo today - they had something pretty good going on down on the border today. One more thing, I see a lot of Melton loads that are tarped, probably more so than other flat-bed companies. At forty bucks for tarp pay you can easily get an extra 160 - 200 bucks on your weekly pay if you get plenty of tarp loads. Over a years time that is nothing to sneeze at.

Larry E., one of our members here, works for Melton. Hopefully he'll see this and give you some more advice.


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Wine Taster's Comment
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Is that tarp $40 for putting it on and then $40 for removing it? Or is it $40 bucks for putting them on and removing them? Just curious. Now, I must say, Old School sold me some flatbed crack early on. I got hooked on the stuff. I will tell you that starting out as a new driver, it is hard. Then you add the flatbed securement stuff in to the mix and it is really hard. Flatbed is VERY hard work. The first time you have to lift a lumber tarp, you will find out. They are heavy. Then you have chains and straps. Just starting out, every single load, I think I have not secured it right. It is scary to think of a load rolling off the truck. On top of that, if you have to hard break, guess where that load is headed? Right at the back of your head. I ask other drivers all the time to "inspect" my work. You get a lot of help and knowledge from them by being very humble and asking for help. A buddy of mine that I was in school with called me a couple of weeks ago. We have both been out on our first solo runs that lasted about a month. He asked, "Hey man, do you ask yourself everyday why the hell I choose flatbed?" I laughed so hard at him because the answer was YES. I debate every day if I will stick the flatbed thing out. It is hard work. I personally think the amount that your are paid to tarp is way too low for the amount of work it involves. It takes about 2 hours to put full lumber tarps on. If it is raining, snowing, windy or whatever, you are out there in that weather a lot of times doing it. It is nice to dream somedays about hooking to a sealed van hauling it somewhere and dropping it. Hook to an empty and drive away. You have to want to be a flatbedder.


Operating While Intoxicated


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.

Starcar's Comment
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Its $40 to tarp the load...and some companies pay you a "drop fee"...for having to pull the tarp back to drop part of a load, then retarp it...

Wine Taster's Comment
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I guess Roehl is a bit different. They pay us $22 to tarp with lumber tarps. We get $22 to untarp it. So, for a load that has no extra stops, you get $44. It takes me about two hours to fully lumber tarp things. It takes about an hour to untarp and put it all away. If you have to make extra stops, you get $15 for each stop additional stop plus $22 for the tarp on and off. I had a load last week that had one stop and the final destination. I used steel tarps on it. They pay $12 for steel tarps. I tarped it for $12. Then I got $12 for tarp pay at the first stop plus $15. Then I made the final unload and got $12 for the untarp. In total that was $51. For the time it took to do all the work, I probably would have made more money if my wheels were turning on a load. With that said, I am still new so I am probably a bit slower than guys and gals that have been doing this for a while.

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