a truck driver sitting in his rig

6 Important Questions to Ask to Start Your Career as a Flatbed Truck Driver

Picture this: You’re on the open road living the life of a commercial truck driver. The sky is blue, and the sun is shining on your face as you enjoy the freedom of operating your vehicle while you enjoy the beautiful landscape.

If you’ve ever worked as a commercial truck driver or have ever been interested in the truck driving lifestyle, the scene I’ve described is probably appealing to you and you’ve likely envisioned that same type of workday. Now take a minute and see that same workday playing out in your mind, and then envision being able to go home at night to see your family.

That’s just one of the many benefits of a career as a flatbed truck driver. You’ll experience many of the same benefits as your long-haul truck driving colleagues with several added benefits unique to flatbed trucking.

Ready to start a career as a flatbed truck driver? Here are six questions you need to ask.

What is flatbed trucking?

Differing from dry van trucking you see more often on highways and interstates, flatbed trucking is designed to transport oversized or wide load items. These items can range widely from mobile homes, to farm or military equipment, to even other trucks or vehicles.

To put it simply, flatbed trucks are used to transport anything that can’t be contained in an enclosed trailer.

Our flatbed trailers at Roane Transportation are built with aluminum frames, wooden floors, and are 48 or 53 feet long.

What skills do I need to be a flatbed truck driver?

Along with the obvious skills of operating a truck with oversized and uniquely shaped items, here are some other skills you may not have considered.

  • Loading

Large freight will typically be loaded on your trailer using specialized equipment. However, due to strict laws and regulations regarding transporting heavy loads, you’ll want to make sure your freight is loaded and balanced correctly. Depending on the size of the freight you’re transporting, you may be required to help load.

  • Load Securement

Securing your load correctly and safely is vitally important to a successful career in flatbed trucking. Regulations concerning the type and number of tie downs you use, as well as Department of Transportation rules for securing a load, make this a hands-on skill you’ll need to master.

  • Tarping

Tarping isn’t required for all loads, but it’s an important skill to avoid a major accident. Loads that require a tarp need to be secured in a specific way, and the tarp needs to be secured as well as the freight it’s covering. That prevents losing your tarp while on the road, which can land on a vehicle behind you and be just as dangerous as losing cargo.

What are the advantages of flatbed trucking versus dry van trucking?

  • Higher Pay

Because flatbed trucking requires more specialized skill and the process typically costs more, drivers typically earn more salary than dry van drivers. Also, drivers can earn money off the road through supervising the loading process, setting tarps, and other related activities.

  • Better Health

Many health experts are warning of the dangers sedentary life can cause. According to the Mayo Clinic, among others, sitting is the new smoking because the detrimental health effects of sitting for too long coincide with the health effects of smoking.

Flatbed trucking requires active, manual labor that, if done safely, can help to ensure a longer and healthier life than your other trucking colleagues.

  • More Time at Home

We understand the importance of being home. That’s why at Roane Transportation, our drivers are split into three categories: National, Regional, and Local. Our regional drivers get to enjoy being home every weekend, and our local drivers are home every night.

What risks will I face operating a flatbed truck?

It’s important to understand the consequences of not operating a flatbed truck correctly and the dangers it can pose. If freight is not loaded and tied down correctly, a serious accident could occur on the road endangering you and other drivers. You’ll also need to understand the requirements for safely loading and unloading a flatbed trailer in order to prevent injuries.

However, through proper protocols, these are avoidable accidents that can help lead to a long and fulfilling career as a flatbed trucker.

What are the requirements to operate a flatbed truck?

At Roane Transportation, we hold our drivers to the highest standards while providing them with the resources they need to succeed. We require all our drivers to have, among other credentials:

– Valid CDL class A license

– More than two years OTR driving experience

– Pass pre-employment drug screen & no alcohol or drug violations

– Pass current Department of Transportation physical

– An acceptable motor vehicle record

Where can I start my career in flatbed trucking?

Are you ready to start a career with high pay and great benefits with a supportive, empowering company? Flatbed trucking with Roane Transportation is your answer.

Roane Transportation is a transportation company in East Tennessee, and we are always looking to hire passionate, dedicated flatbed trucking drivers. Currently, our top areas we need to hire for are East Tennessee, Nashville, Atlanta, and Charlotte. We offer industry leading pay and excellent benefits to all of our truck drivers, plus guaranteed weekly home time. Our equipment is state-of-the-art to ensure the safety of our drivers and the loads they carry. With our national, regional, and local fleets, you are sure to find the perfect fit with our company. If you are interested in becoming a part of our flatbed trucking team, give us a call today at 865-354-3288 or apply online.