What to do if Im not liking the flatbed gig

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by TroyD, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. DrFlush

    DrFlush Road Train Member

    Mar 22, 2011
    Upstate NY
    Take a look at your trailer, some actually have the center point marked out, or the side turn light is usually the center of the trailer, center the load on the light of a flat and a couple feet ahead on a step and you should be close to equal weight on drives and trailer. Don't be afraid to weigh even lighter loads to check your work and see if you need to adjust your placement a little next time. It will take some time but you should get the hang of it. Tarping sucks most of the time, luckily I don't have to take a load that tarps if I don't want to. As spyder said, ask other flatbedders and the forklift guys, almost all are more than willing to help you with placement and securement.
    pusherman and TroyD Thank this.
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  3. TruckingWolf

    TruckingWolf Bobtail Member

    Dec 30, 2013
    Eastern USA
    Yes flats DO have it way better, but it takes 'big balls' to peddle a box or reefer & yes I DO give #@%# to the 'ship & receive' peoples that muck up my stuff! I take NO prisoners!

    Co-ed Naked: Flats do it with 'whips & chains'; Chicken Haulers do it with 'lights'; Vans do it in the 'dark'; Reefers do it in the 'cold'; Parking Lots do it with 'straps & cars'; Tankers do it with 'pumps & hoses'!

    hahahaha - Cold & dark is the way to go!
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  4. Mr.Shifter

    Mr.Shifter Bobtail Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Surprise, Arizona
    Just give it time......it gets easier.....you'll regret it if you don't give it a chance, there
    is no substitute for experience and you will quickly gain that every day you go out.
    TroyD Thanks this.
  5. Noggin

    Noggin Road Train Member

    Apr 10, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Majority of shippers know how to load your trailer so you're not overweight. They do it day after day. Other more experienced drivers can also help you with learning where to place loads. I was always a belly loader. everything loaded from the middle out, especially if the material was uniform in weight. It just takes practice to learn how to place things. Like snowwy said, your suspension gauge is your friend. On my trucks, 60psi was usually around 32k on drives.

    As far as tarping goes, it's going to be hell for the next few months, but as you get more practice and it warms up, you'll be able to tarp loads in less than an hour.
    TruckingWolf Thanks this.
  6. luvtotruck

    luvtotruck Road Train Member

    Jul 30, 2013
    Phoenix Arizona
    Stick it out you will get better at it, Your money is better where you are. If your company doesn't have anything else you can do at least stay 6 months, but don't get an attitude and mess something up or drop an item in the middle of the street. Take Care and think it over. Good LUCK!
    TroyD and TruckingWolf Thank this.
  7. brsims

    brsims Road Train Member

    Aug 8, 2009
    Meadville, PA
    Try dealing with Union Steel Mills on a regular basis, hoss. Sitting for 6-8 hours, and still being treated like crud cause they don't want to take the time to load the trailer right and I make them correct it before I secure and pull out.

    That said, I'd rather pull a skateboard than go back to slamming doors. Start "belly loading" (start in the center and work your way out with your freight) until you get the hang of setting your freight and keeping your axles legal. Tarping sucks and will always suck, but it does get easier with time. I've only been flatbedding full time for just over two months now, and I'm already seeing vast improvements in my securing and tarping times. Practice makes it easier. Stick with it, and you'll never regret it.
    TroyD, Chinatown, OttMan and 1 other person Thank this.
  8. TroyD

    TroyD Light Load Member

    Nov 16, 2013
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Thanks for the words of wisdom everyone. It sure helps a lot. Seems like soooo much info to retain its overwhelming sometimes. Just gotta pull though! I think this weather is not helping.
  9. Triad

    Triad Light Load Member

    Apr 15, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    Exactly why I went to straight up flatbed instead of going back to a steel hauler/covered wagon outfit when I was looking to get my hands back on chains after a year and a half in food service. Man, some of those steel mills are awful and at Valley, it was all we did. Day in, day out. Steel, steel, steel. Wait, wait, wait. If it weren't for paper logs, well... I shouldn't say any more.

    As for the OP, like everyone is saying, it comes with time. Most trailers have a center load marker, but don't trust it. For example, the trailers Melton has are marked for the Kenworths, but I found out the hard way that you'll want to edge stuff a little bit further back with one of their few freightliners. I had a load out of St. Mary's, PA that was loaded exact center and I was 12500 on the steers, but a bit of manual labor (i.e. tarps and dunnage over the back axle and keeping the fuel tanks at half) spared me a trip back to the shipper. Friday, I loaded a 47000 pound load just about 5" back from the center marker point and came out 11200 on the steers and good on the rest, too. Then again, I keep hearing something about 20,000 pounds on the steers these days, so maybe something changed and nobody told me.

    As has been said, you can put a bit more weight on the spreads than you can with tandems, so use that to your advantage. If you're feeling unsure about something, lean toward the back - but not too far. It gets a little tricky when you have multiple items that all weigh different amounts, but in those cases, I would call the company and get the necessary math to load them. There was a formula we had at Valley when loading two coils of different sizes, but I can't remember for the life of me what it was...

    And tarping. Stupid tarping. I spent a few hours the other day staring at my 8 foot drop tarp draped over a load that was barely a foot off the deck and wondered what to do with all that extra junk. But I talked to other drivers, tried a bunch of things and figured out something that worked. So guess what? Next time I get a load like that, I'll know what to do and it won't take so long!

    Stick with it, if not for a year than at least until it starts getting warm and it gets a little easier to work. If you still don't like it, then think about your options. But a year looks so wonderful on those job applications - anything less can really hurt your chances.
    OttMan and TroyD Thank this.
  10. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Henderson, NV & Orient
    You're so right on the union steel mills. One company I worked for quit hauling from union steel mills just because of the delays. I've seen trucks arrive hours before the appointment and then sit for 2 days while the union workers played cards and watched TV. Then you have to listen to them gripe about the company and the union are trying to shaft them and complain about American companies buying steel from China because it's so much cheaper. Nothing worse than union steel mills and grocery warehouses. Even the oil companies buy steel pipe from China because it's so much cheaper and not having to worry about late deliveries because the union steel companies won't load the trucks on time.
  11. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Henderson, NV & Orient
    Good advice, if you ever do leave flatbed, go to tanker. Much pay and less work.
    rubberducky68 Thanks this.
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