6 Advantages of Being a Flatbed Truck Driver
The demand for truck drivers in the U.S. remains high. According to the American Trucking Association, the driver shortage will hit 100,000 by 2025 and 160,000 by 2028. As the country starts to get back to “normal”, flatbed load volumes continue to build as construction activity and manufacturing begin to pick up. The news of an uptick in flatbed loads is a positive sign that demand will stay strong through the end of the year. With a variety of load types available, a flatbed truck driver has six unique advantages.
What is Flatbed Trucking?
Flatbed trucking is the transportation of cargo generally unable to be fit into the dimensions of a standard truck trailer. Flatbeds allow cranes, forklifts, and other equipment adequate access for loading and unloading.
Types of flatbed cargo include:
- Oversized Pipes
- Steel Coils
- Mobile Homes
- Heavy Machinery
- Tow Trucks
Flatbed Advantage #1: Load Variety
For those truck drivers who like variety, flatbed trucking delivers (pun intended). Although the categories of cargo are the same, loads are rarely the same. Flatbed truck drivers enjoy hauling items of all shapes and sizes – usually making each trip memorable.
Flatbed Advantage #2: Forces Safety First
Naturally, the variety of flatbed loads combined with securing and tarping cargo lends itself to a heightened sense of safety. Pre-and post-inspections become vital to ensuring the freight, the truck, the driver, and the public are safe from potentially dangerous situations.
Flatbed Advantage #3: Active Work
For the most part, driving flatbed means the driver can be responsible for covering and securing cargo. Loading and unloading are typically busy times for drivers. So, for truckers who like to stay active between delivery times, flatbed trucking is a perfect fit.
Flatbed Advantage #4: Higher Pay (on average)
Because of the active work of flatbed trucking and how much weather plays a factor in loads, many shippers and carriers pay surcharges for an activity like tarping. Some websites report flatbed truckers can earn up to $13,000 more annually than dry van drivers. Many factors can play into annual take-home pay for flatbed drivers, like experience, length of haul, and how much a carrier pays per mile.
Flatbed Advantage #5: Dedicated Means Secured and Tarped
Many carriers, like Knight Transportation, offer dedicated routes resulting in the added benefit of not having to secure and tarp cargo during loading and unloading. Imagine receiving all the advantages of flatbed trucking without the extra time moving around cargo.
Flatbed Advantage #6: Gateway to Oversized Loads
Transporting odd-sized and shaped freight can prepare flatbed truck drivers for opportunities with oversized loads, hazmat cargo, and tanker truck endorsements. Typically, truck drivers with hazmat and tanker endorsements are among the highest-paid level of truckers.