Job Facts about Flatbed Trucking Jobs

Flatbed trucking jobs are considered to be among the most difficult in the trucking industry. But they can also be the most rewarding, and there is constant demand for the flatbed driver's specialized services. This article will look at what goes into the flatbed trucking job, including pros, cons and outlook.

Description

A flatbed truck is a powerful vehicle that pulls a long, flat trailer with no sides or top. It is used to haul cargo that is too large or awkward to be contained in an enclosed trailer. The cargo is also not susceptible to the weather, like, for example, furniture or vegetables. The cargo is restrained by large straps or chains and covered by a tarp. Some of the cargo carried by flatbeds includes lumber (raw and processed), construction equipment or extremely large pieces of machinery.

Flatbed trucking is considered one of the toughest trucking jobs. The heaviness and odd shapes of the load make controlling the truck more difficult, especially in bad weather and on winding roads. Extra care must be taken to make sure the load is secure at all times. Also, many flatbed truckers run very long routes that take them across the country and into Canada and Mexico. These long hours can induce fatigue and also add to the stress of the job.

Training and Education

Because of the difficult nature of flatbed trucking, almost all flatbed drivers have previous experience in other trucking. It is very rare for a driver to start with flatbeds right out of trucking school. A flatbed driver needs special training in how to handle and secure large loads, as well as driving the heavier flatbed truck.

A flatbed driver must obtain his commercial driver's license (CDL), as must any other trucker. There are many vocational and trucking schools that offer this license. Even though a driver can take classes on flatbed driving, he will usually drive a regular tractor-trailer with an enclosed load for a while before being entrusted with a flatbed. An excellent driving record is a must. The novice flatbedder will usually be mentored by an experienced driver. In fact, many flatbed routes are handled by two-person teams.

Difficulties of Flatbed Trucking

Flatbed trucking is a very physically demanding job. The trucker is expected to help load and unload the cargo, which requires a lot of strength and endurance.

Perhaps the most grueling aspect of the job is the long hours. A flatbedder can usually expect to be away from home for long periods. He is expected to work no more than 11 hours a day or 60 hours a week, but most drivers will push this to the limit. A certain amount of loneliness comes with the job.

Salary and Outlook

On the plus side, compensation and opportunities for flatbed truckers are excellent. Most flatbed drivers make $20.00 an hour or more, but this doesn't include efficiency bonuses. The demand for the flatbed truckers' specialized skills is always high. There are always jobs available for the experienced flatbedder, so lack of work is never a problem.

You can find more information about flatbed trucking jobs and other work in trucking at www.classadrivers.com.