Operating a flatbed trailer is one of the more unique jobs in the trucking industry. Owner-operators who pull a flatbed trailer are in high demand due to the type of work involved. The pay is often better than hauling dry van goods, so many truck drivers find it is worth the extra work. If you are an owner-operator considering switching over to a flatbed, there are some things that you should know.
Below are several tips you should know and consider before becoming a flatbed owner-operator.
Tips for Flatbed Truck Drivers
When operating a flatbed trailer, there are some risks. However, when the risks are higher, the rewards are better. When considering becoming a flatbed owner-operator, there are some things to consider, including the benefits and rewards and the risks and strategies. You must determine if the benefits out weight the risks.
Benefits and Rewards
Flatbed truck drivers are often compensated well and make more revenue than truck drivers in the trucking industry. How much you make depends on several factors, such as the company you work with and the loads you agree to take. It is not just the risk that allows flatbed drivers to receive more money. Flatbed hauling is also in high demand. This is truer now than ever because of the driver shortage we face. This means that flatbed trucking jobs will be available, and often companies will be willing to pay more to attract drivers to their loads. If you can pull a flatbed trailer – you can be successful as an owner-operator.
Another benefit of hauling a flatbed trailer is more at-home time. This is especially true if you haul with Greatwide Truckload Management. You have the freedom to choose the jobs you want and reject the ones you don’t. Flatbed loads have shorter drive times and are often done quicker due to their nature. These rewards make flatbed hauling appealing to many drivers. Because these benefits are appealing, drivers typically put up with the risks.
Risks and Strategies
Being a flatbed truck driver is not easy work. You must be smart and able to think and react quickly. Your loads are not safely locked in an enclosed container; instead, they are held onto a trailer using a strap and then covered with tarps to prevent damage. You must know how to secure your loads with these straps and tarps properly. It is almost a science to know how to secure your load onto your trailer without moving around safely.
You will also need a backup plan if the straps do not work. Loads can shift, latches can bust, and knots can damage your cargo. Every quick movement, such as hitting the brakes or swerving, can move your load on the trailer. Fixing these problems can help you get to your destination safely. You must always pay careful attention.
Another danger is the potential victim of theft. All truck drivers face this in some way or another – but you cannot lock up your cargo when sitting on your trailer like you could if you were hauling a dry van. You also run into the risk of someone unhooking your trailer while you are sleeping. Doing a pre-trip, mid-trip, and post-trip inspection is important with a flatbed trailer.
Lease with Owner-Operator Trucking
Flatbed trucking has many risks – but it also has its benefits. If you are ready to take on the challenge and have what it takes to be a successful flatbed truck driver – contact Owner-Operator Trucking today. We have recruiters ready to help you and answer any questions you may have as an owner-operator. Jobs are in high demand – and you will never have to worry about a load again.