Any Ladies Out There Running Flatbed?

Topic 4362 | Page 1

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Joanna 's Comment
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I used to haul dry van and I'm thinking about making the switch. It sounds like flatbed is a lot more physical with strapping and tarping loads all the time. How much physical strength does it require? Any ladies out there making a success of it? I'm also kind of short at 5'4 so I wonder if that would be a hindrance.

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.
Idaho Mtn Gal's Comment
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I used to haul dry van and I'm thinking about making the switch. It sounds like flatbed is a lot more physical with strapping and tarping loads all the time. How much physical strength does it require? Any ladies out there making a success of it? I'm also kind of short at 5'4 so I wonder if that would be a hindrance.

It is more physical with tarping, or using chains on equipment. I drove a drop deck flat (not a lowboy....was 3 ft above the ground) 22 yrs ago....back when I was 40 and in good shape. It was hard then even when using a cheater bar.

Several mths ago (before driving entered my head) I ordered 9 pallets of bagged haylage (like silage...only made with alfalfa hay) for my goats. It came tarped and strapped on a flatbed. The driver was in his late 40's and in good shape. That tarp was awkward and heavy to take off. It was windy and he had the ****ens of the time trying to get it folded up....I helped. After my product got taken off, he had to retarp and strap it. The wind was even stronger and the end towards the back of the trailer kept blowing up over the pallets. He really struggled with it. Would he have had problems if it wasn't windy? Some, as he complained about how heavy it was. It took him 40 mins to get the remainder of the load retarped and strapped down. Too much manual labor for me at my age! :-P IDLaura

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Joanna 's Comment
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Yeah that sounds like quite a struggle. Old School told me in another thread that his tarps weigh 135 pounds each. I never imagined they would be THAT heavy. Everything else about flat bedding sounds cool but I don't think I would be able to wrangle a 135 pound tarp. Sounds like it might be a deal breaker for me. Thanks for the info, Idaho :)

Starcar's Comment
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Wind and winter are the worst for flatbedders. But I still prefer it to any other type of trucking. You NEVER have to put your tarps on the tops of your load....at the shippers or receivers, they usually have a guy on a forklift who does that for you. In all the years I pulled a flatbed, the tarps were put on the top of the load by a fork lift. Are the tarps heavy ?? yeah....tho our lumber tarps were closer to 75-80 pounds...and we didn't have the REALLY lightweight ones. But it would depend on the type of flatbedding you do. We seldom tarped, and got paid well to do it. But if I was going into trucking fresh, I'd pull a box for awhile, then try flat bed...and see if that was the deal for me...

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.

Joanna 's Comment
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Wind and winter are the worst for flatbedders. But I still prefer it to any other type of trucking. You NEVER have to put your tarps on the tops of your load....at the shippers or receivers, they usually have a guy on a forklift who does that for you. In all the years I pulled a flatbed, the tarps were put on the top of the load by a fork lift. Are the tarps heavy ?? yeah....tho our lumber tarps were closer to 75-80 pounds...and we didn't have the REALLY lightweight ones. But it would depend on the type of flatbedding you do. We seldom tarped, and got paid well to do it. But if I was going into trucking fresh, I'd pull a box for awhile, then try flat bed...and see if that was the deal for me...

Good to know that tarps get put up for you. That would be a huge help. What type of flat-bedding seldom tarps?

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.

BugSmasherOne (Paul K.)'s Comment
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Joanna,

Hope I'm not intruding here. I switched to a dedicated flatbed account with Knight and about 80% of our loads are on sliding tarp trailers. Here is a picture with the trailer load covered.

sapa truck pulling a sliding tarp flatbed

And, here it is open and the load is being unloaded.

loaded sliding tarp flatbed being unloaded by forklift

With these trailers, we still have to secure the load and meet all the other requirements of hauling flatbeds, but there are no tarps. You also never have to haul an over size load, as it must fit within the cover.

One draw back is reduced visibility around the trailer with your mirrors. The flatbed trailer is 102" wide, the standard width, and the sliding tarp mechanism adds 3 inches to each side to total 108". Just adds a little challenge to backing and keeping an eye on traffic approaching from behind.

On our open flatbeds we use two, 28' lumber tarps with eight foot drops. These are the large tarps that Old School is referring to, and they are heavy. As Starcar said, there is a forklift around to get the tarps to the top of the load or back onto the trailer when our empty. Just have to wrestle with them to fold and roll.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Joanna 's Comment
member avatar

Hey, Sandman! You're not intruding at all. I've never seen a sliding tarp trailer like that before. Pretty cool! It looks like it would be a lot easier to deal with despite the somewhat limited visibility. I didn't realize Knight had a flatbed division. They sound like a good company to work for. Too bad training is all the way out in Phoenix, though. That would be one long ass bus ride for me! I'm assuming that's the transportation they would offer. Would be nice to get the paid training, though. And I hear they have pretty decent equipment. Thanks for the pics!

Dm:

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.
Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Hey Sandman !!! good to see ya in here !!! But I have a question, and a request...The question...Are you sure the Connastoga trailers are over 102" wide?? The reason I ask is that the federal standards are Max 102"...anything over ( even our ratchet straps on flatbed loads) is considered over width...and would have to be permitted...AND....if you get around one of those trailers, would you measure it, rub rail to rub rail ?? I can't imagine having my tarp run on the rub rail...one bad hyster driver hitting that rub rail, and your tarp runner could be really messed up..Just a thought.

Dm:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
BugSmasherOne (Paul K.)'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Starcar,

I have measured every angle on these trailers. It is exactly 102" from rub rail to rub rail. The track for the sliding tarp bolts to the outside of the rub rail and adds exactly 2 7/8" to each side. Here is an excerpt from the Federal Highway Admin. that covers us.

LENGTH AND WIDTH EXCLUSIVE DEVICES

States must allow certain devices to extend beyond the 2.6 m (102-inch) width limit of CMVs on the NN and reasonable access routes. These include rear-view mirrors, turn signal lamps, handholds for cab entry/egress, splash and spray suppressant devices, and load- induced tire bulge. Also excluded are non-property carrying devices that do not extend more than 3 inches beyond each side of the vehicle.

The sliding tarp falls under the non-property carrying device.

Now, there is a bracket for securing the rope that holds the rear flap raised. It is one inche wide and as such, makes that one small spot 3 1/2" wide. It hasn't happened to me, but I have heard it mentioned that there is a state that will write an over width because of that.

Also, worse than having the hyster driver bend your rub rail, a slight bump or drop on the light weight aluminum track will jam the rolling mechanism. You cannot move these trailers unless the tarp is closed and secured. I learned that first hand when a careless forklift driver dropped a rail car stabilizer (about 2500# of cast iron) on one. Took a little time with a sledge hammer and some creative forklift work to straighten it enough.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Dm:

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.
BugSmasherOne (Paul K.)'s Comment
member avatar

Joanna,

The flatbed division is fairly new and still very small and basically haul a dedicated account. There are currently 20-30 flatbed drivers with Knight. The largest number of this group are in the north Louisianna area and a few in eastern Pennsylvania.

Knight has several schools for CDL training, unfortunately Phoenix is the only one in the west.

CDL:

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.
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