Having Trouble Deciding What To Haul

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Belluavir's Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone, I have been lurking for some time and I was planning on pursuing flatbed but now I am having doubts. Not sure why but I ought to consider the other options as well. I am not really interested in dry van , I could settle for reefer and tanker sounds interesting. I like having an added element of responsibility and extra things to worry about to keep me on my toes/awake. Car hauling I wouldn't expect to be able to get into immediately but that would be pretty cool.

Sorry I'm kind of rambling... I am trying to figure out the differences between flatbed and tanker in terms of the level of challenge and the rewards. Would I potentially make more as a tanker driver? Will I get to run hazmat more often? Would one or the other give me more/better experience to enter into a high paying, by trucking standards, job. Does one or the other have more opportunity for me to squeeze into a niche as an o/o down the line?

Also, which one offers the biggest challenge? Flatbed offers more physical labor but is there mire challenges than securement, what challenges would tanker offer me?

Again, I apologize for the rambling and i am happy to make any needed clarifications.

This site is fantastic and I really apreciate all of the work from Brett and others that goes into it to make it so.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Heavy C's Comment
member avatar

Well hello there. Glad you came out from the shadows smile.gif

I think the general consensus is that if your new to trucking that dry van would be the ideal way to start. It's the easiest in terms of whats involved. After that though it depends on what you think you would like. Tanker i'm sure has its challenges in terms of driving. You need to be slow and smooth when driving a tanker. Plus unless your hauling like milk or water you're most definitely going to want you hazmat endorsement and possibly even a twic card. Refer is mostly like dry van except you're carrying mostly food products and are going coast to coast more then likely. Flat bed i'm sure is the most physically demanding, but I'm sure offers a more diverse load selection. You can haul everything from palletts to wire spools, to heavy equipment. All of which will need to be secured differently. That from what i've been gathering is the biggest thing about flat bed is knowing how to secure your load properly. Then there's all the other types like Car Hauling, log trucks, etc.

It's good to see you're looking ahead to what you wanna pull and you came to the right place to help you figure that out. Hopefully I provided at least a stepping off point. I'm sure others will be along to give more and better info.

Good Luck!

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

mountain girl's Comment
member avatar

I agree with Heavy C. In my limited experience, dry van would be a good place to start, at least for your first year. Having said that though, I know Old School started off as a flat-bedder but he's the exception. Although hauling milk would not require a hazmat endorsement, it's a food-grade tanker which means that it would not have baffles inside the tank. Baffles are dividers inside the tank with holes in them that slow the movement of the fluid back and forth as you pull it or stop it. Food-grade tanks cannot have baffles in them because after each transport and emptying of the tank, it has to be fully cleaned and sanitized before it can be filled again. Having baffles would make cleaning and sanitizing nearly impossible. Without them, a food-grade tanker becomes one of the most dangerous tankers to haul. This is because when stopping or accelerating, the fluid inside "surges" to the front or back, depending on which direction you're moving; and then sloshes back and forth until it settles down again. If a tanker comes to a sudden stop, say at a traffic light, the tractor might stop initially, but at 40 Tons, the fluid will "surge" to the front of the tank, pushing the tractor, tank, and driver right into the middle of the intersection or more, brakes engaged and all. The surge of non-baffled tanks makes them extremely dangerous and requires quite a bit of skill in shifting, smooth driving, and smooth stopping, turns. Tankers also have a high center of gravity which make them prone to turning over. After all that, I still love tankers. They are definitely my fave.

New drivers can get hired for water-hauling and sand-hauling, which is a great place to start.

Fuel tankers usually have to have at least one or two years experience before they'll get hired for that. I would want some experience before driving one of those since you're pretty much driving a bomb.

Side dumps and belly dumps look like fun, too. End-dumps are prone to tipping backwards, as I've heard.

Flatbeds have their appeal too. They're mean looking and if they don't break you, they'll ensure you're in great shape. And I like how the flatbedders dress. Silly, I know. Big bush hat, always in a reflective vest, eye protection, jeans, etc. They look bad-ass. They require a lot of skill and attention to detail, I'm sure and some pretty thick skin to tie down rigs in all types of weather. They're a lot of work but, rewarding. Both Old School and Starcar have a lot of experience with them.

There is some variety in dry boxes, ie., 53-footers, 48-footers, and then there are the 28' pups, which you can hook up as doubles and triples, and then rocky-mountain doubles which are more difficult to maneuver. I actually like hooking a set of doubles together. I think it's fun. With dry boxes and refers, you'll have freight, so depending on the company and the type of run you'd make you may or may not have to unload some or all of that freight with a pallet jack or whatever.

Know what? For now, I'd learn as much as I could and keep my mind open. That's the nice thing about trucking. You can change your mind as you go.

Welcome to Trucking Truth!

-mountain girl

smile.gif

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Baffle:

A partition or separator within a liquid tank, used to inhibit the flow of fluids within the tank. During acceleration, turning, and braking, a large liquid-filled tank may produce unexpected forces on the vehicle due to the inertia of liquids.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

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.
DaveDiesel's Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone, I have been lurking for some time and I was planning on pursuing flatbed but now I am having doubts. Not sure why but I ought to consider the other options as well. I am not really interested in dry van , I could settle for reefer and tanker sounds interesting. I like having an added element of responsibility and extra things to worry about to keep me on my toes/awake. Car hauling I wouldn't expect to be able to get into immediately but that would be pretty cool.

Sorry I'm kind of rambling... I am trying to figure out the differences between flatbed and tanker in terms of the level of challenge and the rewards. Would I potentially make more as a tanker driver? Will I get to run hazmat more often? Would one or the other give me more/better experience to enter into a high paying, by trucking standards, job. Does one or the other have more opportunity for me to squeeze into a niche as an o/o down the line?

Also, which one offers the biggest challenge? Flatbed offers more physical labor but is there mire challenges than securement, what challenges would tanker offer me?

Again, I apologize for the rambling and i am happy to make any needed clarifications.

This site is fantastic and I really apreciate all of the work from Brett and others that goes into it to make it so.

I am currently going through the same decision making process...what to haul? For me I think the answer is flatbed. I am attracted to the physical work and the great variety of loads. However, for my first year, I wonder if going dry van would be the best bet in order to developing solid tractor skills. Trying to set conditions for long term success. Any thoughts?

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

To be honest what freight to haul at first is really a non issue. I would highly recommend dry van or refer. Dry van being the easiest to learn.

Your first year will be spent learning how to drive. Everything is new. People worry about company sponsored schools because they are fast paced and they throw everything at you at once.... So why do that on e you start driving?

On top of all the stuff you need to know to operate a truck safely you would also have to worry about load securment on top of everything else if you choose flatbed. Not to mention trying to learn it all during the winter time.

Tanker offers its own challenges. For one you have to drive differently than a normal truck and trailer. I would never recommend tankers to anyone new. Just learning to drive a normal truck and trailer is a challenge to a rookie and now you want to pull a Tanker and trying to learn how to drive and be flame all at once? Oh by the way tankers, due to high surge value and higher center of gravity are 10 times more likely to turn over than a dry van or a refer cause you have the side to side surge of the liquid when turning or going around curves.

II know you are ready to get this party started but if you really want to set yourself up for a safe long career path just take it slow and and in little bites.

You can do a bunch of stuff at one time and be OK at doing them or you can do one thing at a time and learn to do each really well and then you have a solid foundation to work from.

Besides who said anything about you needing to choose what to haul right now? There is no hurry and you can change at anytime. Companies like Prime and Schneider do flatbed, refer, dry van and Tanker. Why choose when you have the chance to do them all? It's easy to change what you haul when you work for a company that hauls it all.

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.

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.

mountain girl's Comment
member avatar

Guyjax said it best.

-mountain girl

smile.gif

Blue eye blonde's Comment
member avatar

I started on hopper bottoms, which is soooo nice, but I doubt you want to haul grain, feed ingredients, or fertilizer :P..

I then tested my skills on the flat bed, and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Ugh! So much fun! I am a very active type of person as it is so it pulled me in off the bat! However, I opted out of buying a flat bed for my first purchase, I got a dry van instead due to the load possibilities (including hazmat!). The type of contracts are endless for dry van! Another reason why I personally chose dry van first over the flat bed is because I am too little (115 lbs) to get the straps as tight as they should be :( sigh... Maybe, you should look into a step deck, haul big machinery like combined and back hoes? From what you have stated, that seems like you would have fun doing it.

Personally I'm not a fan of tanker so I won't even toss my 2 cents in for that haha.

Refer..I hope you are a sound sleeper..some of those refers are loud and annoying and can cost you extra money that you may not want to spend.

But best of luck you on whatever you choose! You can go for fun and exciting or you can play it safe! That's up to you!

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Belluavir and Dave, let me welcome both of you to the forum!

You have gotten some great responses. This is what I love about this site - the people who have been helped here are so willing to pay it forward. I've been very busy lately and didn't pack my laptop for this time out. I find it frustrating to give a detailed response from my phone so I've been sitting back enjoying watching the responses from others this week.

I'll throw a curve into this conversation by saying if you're really fascinated by flat-bed work then take the plunge right from the start. There are lots of flat-bed companies that hire total rookies - they will train you in load securement first, then send you out with a trainer where you will get additional hands on training on load securement and tractor skills. These companies are confident you can do it, so you should be also.

Flat-bed is unique and so are the people who enjoy it. I pulled a dry van for two days when I started this new job just to help my new employer with an account they were behind on - I was bored silly pulling those loads. I need some action and variety, flat-bed does that for me.

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.
DaveDiesel's Comment
member avatar

Belluavir and Dave, let me welcome both of you to the forum!

You have gotten some great responses. This is what I love about this site - the people who have been helped here are so willing to pay it forward. I've been very busy lately and didn't pack my laptop for this time out. I find it frustrating to give a detailed response from my phone so I've been sitting back enjoying watching the responses from others this week.

I'll throw a curve into this conversation by saying if you're really fascinated by flat-bed work then take the plunge right from the start. There are lots of flat-bed companies that hire total rookies - they will train you in load securement first, then send you out with a trainer where you will get additional hands on training on load securement and tractor skills. These companies are confident you can do it, so you should be also.

Flat-bed is unique and so are the people who enjoy it. I pulled a dry van for two days when I started this new job just to help my new employer with an account they were behind on - I was bored silly pulling those loads. I need some action and variety, flat-bed does that for me.

Thanks Old School. To be honest, I'm really glad to hear you say that. I think I'd be disappointed if I didn't give it a shot.

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.

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.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

I would have thought before last winter I would have liked to try flatbed for something different and the challenge but everytime I get to thinking about the subject my brain always brings up last year when I spent 10 minutes out in-53 degree temps and nearly froze to death during that time. Could not imagine having to get out and trying to tarp in the type of temp... Fighting frozen tarps, binders, chains and the wind. Nope. Will stick to my dry van and double trailers thank you very much.

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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