Flatbed Job Versus Box Trailers

Topic 7032 | Page 1

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Allen E.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi all I am going to school in Feb and should have my cdl in mid march. I am 46, I have worked in a factory, I do not mind getting dirty (if that comes with the flatbed) TMC transportation is hiring flatbed drivers since I am a greenhorn which would be a better fit?

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.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

I'd say go onto youtube and watch some videos on load securement and tarping. It's not a matter of just "getting dirty".

Flatbedding is probably the most dangerous segments of the industry. The risk of getting injured while getting loads secured, tarped and un-tarped is way greater than drop-n-hooks or bumping a dock. Slipping a falling off the top of a 13' high load, can be disastrous. Throwing tarps in 100 degree heat, rain or freezing weather can't be much fun either. It's very strenuous work.

It's also the HIGHEST PAYING segment of the industry (aside from permitted heavy haul/oversize).

Not putting it down skateboarders - those who do it are a special breed and love the work. One of my best friends O/O's a skateboard - and he's in a lot better shape than I am (LOL). If it takes a "special kind of person" to be a trucker - it takes a REALLY SPECIAL kind of person to go flatbed.

If you're in good physical shape and don't mind the hard work that flabedding entails, it might be just for you. Owing to my physical condition, and distaste for manual labor, it probably wouldn't be for me.

My $ .02...

Rick

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rolling Thunder's Comment
member avatar

I had the pleasure of helping a fellow driver who was running a flatbed on one of our production runs a couple weeks ago. We have a flatbed fleet, but, for what this guy and I do, we have to be flatbed certified and as of right now, we do not have a "regular" skateboarder on our team, so, we do it (by we, I mean they. I keep, um, forgetting to let my FM know I haven`t had the class yet). It was raining lightly and a bit chilly and we were unloading from a production run we did in Dallas. While my truck was being unloaded, I went over and offered a hand pulling bungee cords and unstrapping. While I wouldn`t mind doing that every once in a while for a decent work out, there is no way in hell I sign onto it full time. I was soaked and cold and sweating at the same time. Luckily, the wind wasn`t blowing or I would really have been sucking.

Nope, flatbed is not for me. I will be 45 on Tuesday by the way.

Fm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Allen E.'s Comment
member avatar

That does not sound enjoyable I will be I will be 47 in April, might have to rethink .

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

That does not sound enjoyable I will be I will be 47 in April, might have to rethink .

Plenty of vids on youtube focusing on load securement and tarping. Not saying that it's BAD work - it's just HARD WORK. OTOH - there are women in flatbed, etc.

So while it's physically demanding, it certainly isn't "not doable" if you're in decent shape. And you DO get paid for tarping, etc., and it is about the highest paying segment of the industry - but you actually have to WORK FOR IT.

Just not my cup of tea - though it may be yours.

Rick

Allen E.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for your help

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey Allen, we have this discussion in here a lot. Here's a link to one of the older discussions on this subject with a few comical moments in it.

I will turn 55 this weekend and I love flat-bedding! I met a flat-bedder down in East Texas who was 81 years old! Hey, it's a great way to make some really good money out here and still get in a little bit of a work out each day. It will keep you young and interesting.

I realize it is not for everyone, but when you get to be around the people who enjoy it, you will find them to be some of the friendliest, most helpful truck drivers around. There has always been some camaraderie among truck drivers, but it has diminished to very low levels in recent years. I still find it to be more evident among the flat-bedders that I come across, than in any other type of drivers.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

There is no in between with flatbedding, you either love it or hate it. I would not do anything else.

The Dude's Comment
member avatar

I planned on driving reefer when I started my training. I ended up on a flatbed truck for the training by chance, just to get it done. Now that I am about finished and ready to upgrade to a solo driver, I am staying with flatbed because I fell in love with it.

Here's a few benefits of flatbed:

- You can maintain more of a normalized, daytime driving schedule because most of the customers are typical business hour places. - The vast majority of shippers/receivers I've dealt with so far have been very friendly and respectful. I'm told this isn't exactly the case in other segments of the industry. - Typically loaded and unloaded more quickly than what other segments see. Even if it takes you an hour to get loaded and then another 90 minutes to secure and tarp, it sure beats waiting six hours to get your reefer loaded at the cow factory. - Chics dig flatbedders.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Chris L.'s Comment
member avatar

I realize it is not for everyone, but when you get to be around the people who enjoy it, you will find them to be some of the friendliest, most helpful truck drivers around. There has always been some camaraderie among truck drivers, but it has diminished to very low levels in recent years. I still find it to be more evident among the flat-bedders that I come across, than in any other type of drivers.

I pulled into the very busy Flying J in Pheonix and a flatbedder honked at me as I pulled in and offered me his spot as he was about to leave. He even waited till I got turned around so I would be set up for it. I didn't realize how big a favor he did for me till I noticed the same trucks drive by searching for a spot, and several trucks already doing the make a spot thing.

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