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How Much Do Flatbed Truck Drivers Make?

If you want to start driving a type of truck that is in high demand and yields a higher annual salary, consider flatbed trucking. The average truck driver salary for flatbed truck drivers is around $61,000 per year. That is more than the average salary of $58,260 of all professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, it is about $1,000 more per year than the average for all truck driver salaries.

What Is Flatbed Truck Driving?

Flatbed hauling service and flatbed trucks carry oversized items. These items are too wide or oversized for a dry van, so they are hauled by flatbed trucks. Flatbed trucking is specialized, in-demand trucking that requires exceptional drivers. 

From steel coil to mobile homes and everything in between, you can haul nearly everything as a flatbed trucker. Even though flatbed trucks are more technically difficult to drive, you will be equipped with specialized skills that make you a pro on the road. 

5 Requirements To Become a Flatbed Truck Driver

Not everyone can legally get behind the wheel of a flatbed truck. If you want to become a flatbed truck driver, make sure you abide by these requirements to ensure your safety as well as the safety of other road users. 

Age

All flatbed truck drivers must meet the minimum age requirement before they can drive a flatbed truck. You can learn about flatbed trucks before you turn 21, but you’ll need to be 21 or older before you can take a flatbed truck on the road.

CDL A License 

A Class A CDL is required for you to become a professional truck driver. A Class A CDL lets you operate a vehicle with a gross combination weight rating greater than 26,000 pounds as well as most Class B and Class C vehicles. 

That said, you will need to pass a knowledge exam and complete CDL training before you can receive your CDL certification. Check out CDL College, which provides free training to those who need help getting their permits.

Safety Record

Operating a flatbed truck requires constant focus. Drivers must have exceptional safety records as they are responsible for large vehicles and difficult, oversized loads. You’ll need a clean driving record that is free of BACs, DUIs and DWIs within the past three years as well.

DOT Regulations

All flatbed truck drivers need to meet applicable DOT regulations, including a drug screening and a DOT physical exam. Drivers must also meet all Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations to ensure they are legally operating on the road.  

Average Flatbed Truck Driver Salary in the U.S.?

According to Zippia, the average flatbed truck driver’s salary in the U.S. is $61,065 per year. The average entry-level salary is $46,000 per year. 

These states offer the highest average flatbed truck driver salaries:

  • Montana: $73,174 per year
  • Connecticut: $69,259 per year
  • District of Columbia: $68,879 per year
  • Rhode Island: $68,627 per year
  • Wyoming: $68,387 per year

What Affects a Flatbed Truck Driver’s Salary?

Various factors influence average truck drivers’ salaries. While Montana, Connecticut and Washington, D.C., have some of the highest average flatbed truck driver salaries, when you know the factors that influence salaries, you can earn a higher salary than the average truck driver. The following factors determine a flatbed truck driver’s salary.

Difficulty

A more challenging job leads to higher pay. Heavy and unique freight adds complexity to the job. 

Spending extra time loading, unloading and checking loads will result in greater compensation. Having technical skills for specialized loads can also lead to higher compensation. 

Tarping

Flatbed trucks expose cargo to the natural elements outside. Some businesses worry about the weather impacting their freight, and these businesses will usually opt for tarping flatbed loads to cover their goods. 

They will often pay a higher price for the tarping as well. Some of those proceeds end up in the flatbed truck driver’s pocket. While adding the tarp to your loads can take extra time on your end, it can add income per mile with each load as well, which is a bonus. 

Load Securement 

Load securement ensures that cargo stays on the truck over the course of the transportation process. Flatbed trucks come with more challenging load securement than conventional dry van trucks. The extra complexities and the time it takes to secure loads can result in greater pay for you.

Hauling Dangerous Loads 

Hauling dangerous loads adds risk to the driver. This freight requires extra time and care, which can increase flatbed trucking rates. Drivers are also compensated for the danger of hauling these loads by way of a higher base salary.

Distance

Distance plays a role in a flatbed truck driver’s salary. The more miles covered, the more money earned. Drivers who cover more ground each day or per week can earn more in the long run. 

Advantages of Flatbed Truck Driving

Flatbed truck driving offers several advantages that you won’t find with other career paths. One of the primary advantages is demand. You can both command a better price and always find work since there are always jobs that need to be done. Let’s discuss this in greater detail as well as other advantages of flatbed truck driving down below. 

Demand

Flatbed trucking companies are searching for drivers. Businesses will want the freedom to haul cargo of any shape and size. Flatbed trucks can haul equipment, and resources for a landscaping project and scrap from job sites among other types of cargo.  

Only flatbed trucks can provide that level of service and flexibility. With supply chain issues, flatbed trucking is in even greater demand, which can lead to a higher average truck driver salary.  

Truck Driver Shortage

The nation is in the midst of a massive truck driver shortage. Every trucking company is in search of talented drivers. Flatbed truck drivers are some of the best drivers that companies can hire. 

As with any other instance of supply and demand, flatbed truck drivers have their pick of available jobs, and they may be able to negotiate higher pay. The professionalism of flatbed truck drivers, paired with the low supply of flatbed truck drivers compared to the high demand for them, puts these drivers in a better position to ask for even more money.

Experience

A flatbed truck is one of the most difficult trucks to operate. Trucking companies understand that these drivers are some of the best. You can build your resume and beat out competing truck drivers when bidding on jobs on load boards with your experience as a flatbed truck driver.

Higher Average Truck Drivers’ Salary

Flatbed truck drivers get paid more than the average truck driver. These in-demand drivers also have more opportunities to expand their salaries. The higher base pay also leaves you with more opportunities to negotiate bonuses for mileage thresholds or on-time delivery targets. 

Independence

Flatbed trucks put you in control. You can cover and secure cargo independently without waiting for help. While it’s extra work, covering and securing cargo will get you on the road sooner. 

Flatbed vs Dry Van Truck Driving

Flatbed truck drivers receive higher salaries than dry van truck drivers. However, these higher salaries come with more work and greater risk. If you can work extra hours and you welcome challenges, flatbed truck driving makes more sense than dry van truck driving. 

Many trucking companies see flatbed truck drivers as the safest and most disciplined drivers on the market. This distinction can help flatbed truck drivers continue landing work in the future. Plus, it’s easier to transition from flatbed trucks to dry van trucks than the other way around.

While dry can trucking can be a good entry-level position, for drivers who want to earn a higher salary and build their resume, flatbed trucking is a natural progression. 

Final Thoughts on How Much Flatbed Truck Drivers Make

Flatbed is one of the highest-paying truck driver jobs. For drivers who value safety while being willing to do some extra work in terms of securement or tarping, flatbed truck driver salaries are some of the best in the industry. With high demand and opportunities for growth, becoming a flatbed truck driver can be your next step to start earning more this year. 

FAQ

Does Flatbed Pay More?

Yes, trucking companies consistently pay drivers more for flatbed trucking than many other types of trucking.

How Much Does a Flatbed Truck Driver Make?

The average salary for a flatbed truck driver in the U.S. is about $63,000 per year. However, some companies pay significantly more.

What Pays More Flatbed or Reefer?

While it varies based on the company or the shipper, many companies pay more for reefer trucking. That said, according to most sources, flatbed and reefer trucking come with similar average salaries. The difference depends more so on the company and the driver’s experience than anything else.  

TruckDrivingJobs.com

Where the best truck drivers go to find jobs nationwide!

TruckDrivingJobs.com

Where the best truck drivers go to find jobs nationwide!