Flatbed refers to a type of trailer used in the trucking industry to haul various types of freight that cannot be transported in a standard dry van due to size or shape. Flatbed trailers are open, with no sides or roof, and are typically 48 or 53 feet in length. They are used to transport large, bulky, or heavy items such as construction materials, machinery, equipment, and oversized cargo.
Flatbed drivers are responsible for securing the load with chains, binders, or straps to prevent it from shifting or falling off during transit. They must have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) and be able to operate the vehicle safely on the highway while adhering to all safety regulations. Flatbed drivers may work for trucking companies, logistics providers, or as independent owner-operators.
In terms of job opportunities, there is a consistent demand for flatbed drivers in the trucking industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2019 to 2029. Additionally, with the growth of the construction and manufacturing industries, the demand for flatbed drivers is expected to remain steady in the coming years.
The pay scale for flatbed drivers varies depending on experience, location, and company. According to the Indeed job site, the average hourly pay for a flatbed driver in the United States is around $25.50, which translates to an annual salary of approximately $66,000. Some trucking companies may offer sign-on bonuses, health benefits, and retirement plans to attract and retain drivers.
Several trucking companies actively hire for flatbed driver positions, including TMC Transportation, Maverick Transportation, Melton Truck Lines, and Boyd Bros Transportation, among others. These companies offer opportunities for drivers to work regionally, nationally, or even internationally depending on their experience and preference.
Over the past 20 years, the flatbed segment of the trucking industry has seen steady growth. According to the American Trucking Associations, the trucking industry has experienced consistent growth since the Great Recession in 2009, and flatbed trucking has been a significant contributor to this growth. As the economy continues to recover and construction and manufacturing industries grow, the demand for flatbed drivers is likely to remain strong.