Are you considering becoming a CDL flatbed truck driver?
We’ve compiled some information based on our 50+ years in the industry with things to consider when looking into driving flatbed trucks for a job.
But let’s start with one of the biggest questions you probably have… what’s the pay like?
Flatbed Truck Driver Pay
The pay for flatbed drivers is typically higher than that of dry van trucks (traditional semi tractor trailer set ups). However, these higher salaries come with increased work and a greater degree of risk on the job.
In the United States, flatbed drivers earn a median annual salary of $57,099. Those with the necessary training and credentials can earn upwards of $83,000 annually.
It is anticipated that the profession will expand by 4% between 2021-2031, creating 90,900 new job openings throughout the United States.
So, if that type of salary is right for you, and you want to tap into this career field, how can you become a flatbed driver?
Flatbed Truck Driver Job Requirements
There are a few levels of education needed to get the most basic requirement of driving a large truck, a Class A CDL license (commercial drivers license). This will be a requirement for any flatbed trucking company.
While requirements and actual process of obtaining a Class A CDL may vary slightly by state, they are typically similar. We’re going to use Michigan’s CDL requirements as a example.
To start, a candidate for a CDL must be 18 years old to drive intrastate (within a state) or 21 years old to driver interstate (between states).
Then, a new potential driver, must go through entry-level driver training (ELDT) through a driving school registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) before being scheduled for CDL skills or knowledge tests to obtain the license.
After proper training, you’ll go to the Michigan Secretary of State and apply for a CDL, completing an application form, a written test, and ensuring your vision is satisfactory.
In addition, a GED or high school diploma is typically required by most trucking companies.
Training to Drive Flatbed
Usually, trucking companies prepare their new flatbed drivers with a combination of in-house and on-the-job training.
The training aims to teach flatbed drivers how to use the equipment and carry out the expected duties. Good companies will train new drivers how to secure various loads to prevent movement, with a keen focus on flatbed safety.
The Most Sought-After Skills for a Flatbed Truck Driver
Once you have your CDL and have gone through flatbed driving training, there are a few ‘other’ skills that will make you a great candidate for a top-tier trucking company!
Strong Communication Skills
Flatbed drivers must effectively communicate with dispatch, co-workers and other drivers on the road. The ability to effectively convey critical information and expectations to each member is crucial.
Efficient Time Management
Flatbed drivers frequently face pressure to meet urgent delivery deadlines. To keep on schedule, they need to know how long it takes to load and unload a truck, drive times and required breaks.
Quick Problem Solving
CDL drivers of regularly face obstacles on the road, heavy traffic or difficulty locating their destination. To keep your employer satisfied and finish routes on time, you need to be able to solve these problems quickly and effectively.
Attention To Detail
Paying attention to detail is essential for flatbed drivers responsible for loading and unloading cargo. They need to check that the truck is safe to drive and that the cargo is safely secured.
Finally, Apply For A Flatbed Driver Position
Once you have met the required qualifications, you are ready to start applying for a job as a flatbed truck driver!
There are hundreds of companies across the US and finding one that’s a good fit for you is important to your overall career satisfaction. Here are some tips of what to look for in a flatbed trucking company. Plus, we have tons of great insights and information in our flatbed trucking blog.
And if you already have your CDL and 1-year of driving experience, consider applying to Modular Transportation! We are a top employer in the industry and work out of 4 hubs in the Central US, offering dedicated, local and regional routes with great benefits. Plus, we provide paid flatbed training.
Contact our recruiter, Nicole, or browse our flatbed driver jobs and apply online today.