There are many different types of trucking jobs, after all everything in the united states is moved by truck. If you are new to trucking I would steer clear of the over size hauling. For one they won’t hire you and secondly they shouldn’t hire you yet anyway.
Types of Trucking Jobs
I pulled a flatbed for most of my trucking career and I really enjoyed it for the most part. You will work extremely hard and for many more hours than most dry van and reefer drivers. The pay off is that you make a little more, get paid for tarping and your loads generally deliver farther away so you get more miles per load and up spending less time time at shippers and consignees.
A lot of flatbed freight is very time critical because special equipment is often needed to unload you such as a crane or helicopter. In the picture above you will see what is called a steel coil loaded in a style referred to as “suicide”. Other loading styles include “eye in the sky” and “shotgun.” One coil can make up an entire load and can weigh up to 48,000 pounds. All of this weight is highly concentrated in a small area causing a huge amount of stress on the trailer. Flatbeds haul a lot of lumber, steal, aluminum, machinery, pipe, large dies and many other types of freight.
You must learn how to secure your freight with chains, binders, straps, rope, 4×4 dunnage, coil racks and bungees. Training on load securemant is mandatory and it is guaranteed that if you do not stay on top of your load securement you will have a disaster on your hands. The picture shows a coil that came off a trunk. The driver only used 4 chains to “secure” his load. Most of your loads will require tarping and this can be really hard, time consuming work. It must be done right, every time.
If your load has sharp corners on it you must put padding on them so your tarp is not shredded while driving down the road. Tarps can weigh close to 100 pounds each if wet and you need to be strong enough to get them on top of a load that is over 13 feet tall (I always carried a ladder on my truck). Most loads can not get wet so you must use proper tarping techniques and keep your tarps in good condition.
Flatbed is only one of the types of trucking jobs but it is arguably one of the hardest types of trucking jobs. I found flatbed to be the most interesting, challenging and rewarding types of trucking jobs. Do not be intimidated by flatbed jobs. As long as you use your head, pay attention to your training and never slack on securement or tarping you will be just fine!
A reefer trailer refers to a refrigerated trailer. A reefer can haul the same freight as a dry in addition to refrigerated van and has a lot more advantages when speaking to freight volumes. Freight can range from frozen foods, produce, fruits to palatalized dry goods or food stuffs.
The disadvantage of a reefer trailer is that the reefer unit can break down and you have a greater chance of a load being rejected because you haul a lot of perishable foods and produce. If the reefer unit breaks down you may have to load dry ice into your trailer if you have frozen products and you have a huge chance of having a load rejected. Some shippers use a temperature monitoring tag the records the temperature in the trailer during transit.
Dry Van Trailers
Dry van’s are the most common type of trailer on the road. You may be hauling electronics, packing peanuts or general palatalized freight. You really have nothing to worry about as far as freight claims are concerned when comparing flatbed or refrigerated freight.
This type of trucking is in a class of its own and I have had personal experience in this industry. Extremely long days filled with a lot of hard manual labor best describes most food service delivery jobs. With that said I made more money, was home more often and felt a great sense of accomplishment when finished with my route.
There are three areas within the trailer; dry storage, refrigerated and frozen. You generally deliver to restaurants and other business that sell or prepare food. You must unload all of there product that they ordered by hand and account for what is delivered. You may be dropping 20 boxes at one location and 150 boxes or three entire pallets at the next.
Most trailers have a ramp that comes out of either the back or side of the trailer. You load your dolly up in the trailer and then dolly it into the store. Other trailers may have a lift gate on the back of the trailer to lower entire pallets.
Your day may consist of 8 to 30 different stops and you are paid differently than most types of trucking jobs. You will be paid either an hourly rate or mileage plus a fee for each stop and then a fee per box unloaded.