Flatbed trucking is an essential business as large loads need to move around the country and around the globe. As you may gather from the name, a flatbed truck has a flatbed with no sides or roof. This removes the limitation of walls so larger payloads can be hauled. It can also be easier to load and unload. A flatbed trucking company is one that specializes in moving large or oversized cargo from one location to another. Some flatbed companies specialize in hauling long distances; others do short distances. You’ll often see flatbed tow trucks, which obviously specialize in hauling vehicles, especially those that cannot be pulled behind.

Who Are the Top 20 Flatbed Trucking Companies?

A solid reputation for being on time and delivering products is necessary to become one of the top flatbed trucking companies. The size of the company, the number of trucks in its fleet, and the amount of money they make can also play a factor in its standing. The following companies consistently land at the top of the list in flatbed trucking:
  1. Landstar System

  2. Daseke Inc.

  3. PS Logistics

  4. Bennett International Group

  5. TMC Transportation

  6. Maverick USA

  7. Mercer Transportation Co.

  8. Melton Truck Lines

  9. Prime Inc.

  10. System Transport

  11. Western Express

  12. CRST The Transportation Solution

  13. Roehl Transport

  14. Miller Transfer

  15. Combined Transport Inc.

  16. Anderson Trucking Service (ATS)

  17. ACI Motor Freight Inc.

  18. United Vision Logistics

  19. Schneider Trucking

  20. Werner Transport

What Careers Are in Flatbed Trucking

If working in the flatbed trucking industry sounds like an interesting prospect to you, then you should get to know some of your potential career options. These are some of the possible careers in the flatbed trucking world.
  • Flatbed Trucker. Obviously, a flatbed trucking company is going to have people who are responsible for driving the trucks. Flatbed trucking is dangerous and requires a lot of skill and a high degree of professionalism, but the pay can be better than other forms of trucking.

  • Operations Support Coordinator. There are a lot of jobs within any trucking company that doesn’t require driving. The operations support coordinator is a key non-driving job where the individual is the first line of support for issue resolution regarding a shipment.

    It’s similar to a customer support position, but you will be building relationships with clients and must be able to see the big picture.
  • Logistics Specialist. It’s all about moving items from one place to another, and that’s where a logistics specialist comes in. They understand the best routes and times for travel. They coordinate schedules and stay on top of weather, road construction, and other situations that can cause a hiccup in their well-oiled system.

  • Toll Processing Specialist. Legally operating a tractor and trailer in the United States and Canada means complying with some rules of the roads, including tolls. This can be a difficult job that requires a high degree of organization, especially when dealing with a large company. Your job is to process and pay tolls and ensure that your vehicles are legal.

  • Sales. Getting customers to hire your company for their shipping needs can be a cutthroat business, and great salespeople are a critical component of a company’s success. If you want to be in the trucking industry but would rather be selling than driving, this is the job for you.

What Does a Flatbed Trucker Do

The critical role in any flatbed trucking company is the trucker – but what does a flatbed trucker do? A flatbed trucker usually hauls oversized loads from one location to another. Your typical load might include building supplies, military vehicles, machinery, mobile homes, personal vehicles, space shuttle pieces, and other large items that cannot fit in the container on a traditional semi. Some flatbed truckers aren’t just responsible for the one bed, but they have a couple of trailers that they’re towing. It takes great skill to tow this much weight safely and confidently. Not only do you need to be skilled in moving the haul, but you also need to be an expert in loading and securing your payload. Your vehicle will usually be loaded with a crane or a forklift and there will be others around operating that equipment, but ultimately, you will decide whether it’s loaded correctly. Similarly, the securing portion of this job is going to fall on you, and you’ll need to know if you’re using the correct types of tie-downs and if they’re being used properly. This is regulated, and the laws are designed for your safety as well as that of everyone on the road, so it’s important to do it correctly.

How to Be a Flatbed Trucker

If you’re still interested, then you’re probably wondering, how do I become a flatbed trucker? The following steps will help you position your career trajectory in the right way so you can become a flatbed truck driver.
  • High School Diploma or GED. The first step is to complete high school or earn your GED. You’ll be going on to further your education, so having this bare minimum will be a benefit.

  • Class A Commercial Drivers License. This is frequently referred to as a CDL, and there are some skills tests you’ll need to pass to get this license. Most drivers sign-up for a driving school to have access to the trucks they want to be driving and to practice in a safe and controlled environment.

  • On-the-Job Training. Most companies who hire flatbed truckers want them to have experience. This means you need to find a company who is willing to train you on the job so you can get that experience. It’s a tricky aspect of the job, but it’s critical to a successful flatbed trucking career.

How to Start a Flatbed Trucking Company

Are you an independent soul who thinks that life on the open road is for you, but you don’t want to work for a large company? Then starting your own flatbed trucking company might be the way to go. To be clear, you’ll probably have to work for a larger company initially to get experience and learn the business, but then you can set out on your own.
  • Become a flatbed trucker. Your first step is to become a flatbed trucker and get some work experience. If you want to work the office side of things and not be on the road, then you can skip this part, but you’ll need to hire experienced truckers.

  • Get business experience. Knowing how to run a business is a key part of any independent venture. You don’t need a degree in business, but having an education in business or taking some classes will help you be successful.

  • Create a business plan. A good business plan can help you outline what you need to know and what you need to do to achieve your goals. It will also help you see the big picture, so you don’t miss any steps.

  • Register your business. You’ll have to register your company with your local government agency and make sure you’ve filed the appropriate paperwork and been issued tax numbers.

  • Check the licensing requirements. If you’re going to be trucking in your state, you’ll have different requirements than if you’re hauling loads across the country or even into another country. It’s important that you comply with all licensing rules and regulations.

  • Start making connections. A successful flatbed trucking company needs to have regular customers, which means you need to be selling and marketing even before your company starts running.

Flatbed Trucking FAQ

  1. Who is the largest flatbed trucking company?

    Currently, the largest flatbed trucking company is Daseke, Inc. Founded in Addison, Texas, and offering nationwide service, Daseke, Inc. is currently the largest flatbed trucking company with 6,000 trucks and 13,000 trailers. Giving them a run for the money is Landstar System, Inc. Landstar started in Jacksonville, Florida, and has 13,000 drivers on its payroll.
  2. How much does a flatbed trucker make?

    Flatbed truckers make, on average, about $61,000 per year. The median pay for a flatbed trucker is around $61,000 per year, but that means that some drivers are making less, around $40,000 a year for beginners, and more experienced drivers are earning close to $90,000 per year. The more skilled you are and the more experience you have, the higher your income in this industry.
  3. How much weight does a flatbed truck carry?

    Flatbed trucks vary in their payload capacities, but the average gooseneck flatbed trailer can haul 10,000 pounds. You can assume that the load a flatbed is carrying is somewhere between 2,900 pounds and 26,000 pounds – that’s a wide range of payload. And they can carry more than that if they’re bigger. If you’re considering a specific truck or load, it’s best to look at the vehicle’s specifications to get exact amounts.
  4. Do I have to go to truck driving school to become a flatbed trucker?

    No, you don’t have to go to truck driving school to become a flatbed trucker, but you need to earn a CDL. Earning a CDL is not easy; it takes specific skills, and it requires access to certain vehicles for practice and knowledge. Truck driving school is usually the best way to get these skills, and it’s the path that most people take. But it is possible to skip school if you have access to a lot of commercial trucks.
  5. Is being a flatbed truck driver a good entry-level job?

    No, being a flatbed truck driver is not a good job for someone who is hitting the road for the first time. This type of driving takes great skill, and let’s not forget how important it is to understand how to properly load and secure your freight. It’s important that any flatbed truck driver have ample practice and on-the-job training before they hit the open road.