Truck drivers either love or hate Flatbed freight, mostly because of all the tarping that comes with it. A lot of drivers are drawn to Flatbeds for their higher rates compared to Dry Van and sometimes even Reefer loads.
Usually, Flatbed freight requires a few months of training if you’ve never done it before because the loads on Flatbed can be a serious danger on the road if not handled correctly.
Even though Dry Van loads can be of a much higher value, flatbed rates are always higher due to the higher skill needed to deliver them.
Flatbed freight volume across the US
When compared to the same month last year, Flatbed freight volume went down by 43%, while rates went down for all three types of trailers by around 12%.
The biggest volumes currently are in:
The lowest volumes are in:
Advantages of Flatbed freight
While the clear advantage of Flatbed is better rates when compared to Dry Van freight, it also has an advantage over Reefer freight as well.
Usually, Reefer freight and Flatbed freight rates are quite similar, but with flatbed loads, you don’t have to worry about the temperature and settings of the Reefer unit.
Flatbed freight is usually comprised of crude and heavy material, and other non-sensitive freight.
Once the load is tarped and strapped, the driver doesn’t have to worry about it too much.
One more important advantage is loads of building materials that usually need to be delivered across a lot of miles.
So at the same time, you score a lot of miles with a single load and get a better rate on average when compared to Dry Van freight.
The best lanes and rates for Flatbed freight
The best lanes for Flatbed freight this year were in and out of Midwest constantly.
Even now, at the years’ end, Midwest is still the best place for Flatbed loads.
As for the rates, the highest rates recorded for 2019 were $2.36, and the lowest $2.11 as the national averages.
Market researches and trucking industry experts say that all rates should go up in 2020, as soon as mid-January.
Giving the recent news that we should finally end the trade war with China and that we are close to a mutual deal agreement, rates have already got a small jump.
If the agreement happens by the end of the year, or at the beginning of 2020, we can expect a bigger jump in rates, as the inbound freight volume goes up from China.
Across the entire year, volumes and rates had small ups and downs, and even if they were lower on average when compared to last year, they kept a steady pace.
Hopefully, 2020 will be a year of much better rates and volumes, and all data and analysis show that they, in fact, will be.
It’s one of the most intuitive out of the bunch. Probably because you get the limited version of a premium board.
It’s very easy to use, you get to select the origin and destination, along with the equipment type, flatbed in this case, and the pickup date.
After you make your choices, it will bring up a list of available loads that match your criteria. When you click on the load that you like, it will give you all the details with the route specified on the map.
From there you can click the big blue button to call the broker, and you’re ready to go!
You will see a couple of premium board posts that are only visible if you use the premium version of Trucker Path. The great thing is that there are a lot of free loads you can take without paying a single penny!
User interface: 5/5 User experience: 5/5 Information: 5/5 Mobile Friendly: 5/5 Overall: 5
Trulos is a completely free load board for flatbed without the premium version. They rely on donations and advertisements in order to make money.
Once the website is loaded, you will have to scroll through a bunch of ads. It looks like it’s broken, and it’s very difficult to use.
It says you should select the equipment, but the option to make the selection seems to be missing.
When you select the state you want to search for loads, then it lets you choose the equipment. If you want to use Trulos on a mobile device, you won’t be able to see a good portion of information, because the website is not mobile-friendly, and the info for the load is extremely basic.
Overall it’s useful but very basic and cluttered with ads, and not enjoyable to use.
User interface: 4/5 User experience: 3/5 Information: 3/5 Mobile Friendly: 1/5 Overall: 2.75
This one looks very outdated, but it’s fairly easy to read. It’s completely free and there’s a lot of loads posted daily.
What makes it not the ideal choice is that there’s no way for you to select the type of equipment or the place of origin and destination. You can only sort the loads by date, and that’s it.
The website is not mobile-friendly, but at least you can scroll right to see all the info.
User interface: 3/5 User experience: 3/5 Information: 4/5 Mobile Friendly: 2/5 Overall: 3
Load Up is completely free but completely empty, al least it was couple of times we tried it out. It’s very easy to use, and it’s mobile-friendly as well.
As for the info, it’s hard to give it a rating or even judge it, when there’s no info to look at. It seems like not a lot of people are posting on this board.
There were couple of Dry Van loads, but none for Flatbed.
User interface: 3/5 User experience: 4/5 Information: 1/5 Mobile Friendly: 4/5 Overall: 3
Freight Finder has a couple of ads right on the top, so you will have to scroll through them. The interface is very nice, you can choose between the intrastate and OTR loads.
You can select the type of equipment and you will get all the loads available! For the best possible results, leave the date field empty. After a couple of tests, we found that this is the best solution do get all the loads you can.
Freight Finder flatbed load board is easy to use both on PC and mobile devices. As for the info, you get very basic info on the listing, but when you click on the date, it will open up all the additional info for the load along with the route on the map.
User interface: 5/5 User experience: 4/5 Information: 4/5 Mobile Friendly: 5/5 Overall: 4.5
Should you even use the free ones as your primary choice?
You could use free load boards for flatbed as your main source, but only in a few isolated cases.
You might be missing on a lot of possible loads if you rely on free load boards for flatbed that are not that populated or usable, as you saw in the reviews above.
If you’re just starting to use them and want to get familiar with them, you can use any of the ones listed, but choose wisely.
Once you decide it’s time to handle all the loads by yourself, get a premium one, it will be a good investment.
What’s the difference between free and paid versions?
Most of free load boards for flatbed have very basic and limited info. Some more, some less. Some won’t give you even that basic necessary info you need to decide should you take the load or not.
The paid versions have a lot of useful things you need to be more efficient. You get all the details about the load you need, weight stations marked on the map, parking areas, navigation, etc.
Premium flatbed load boards
Along with free load boards for flatbed and those that start free, but can be upgraded, you can take a look at some that are considered the best of premium versions.
We’ve seen some load boards that look pretty well made and that can compete with the top tier ones, so why would you pay the premium?
There’s one simple answer to that – the number of loads posted on them. Premium load boards are being used by the biggest companies and brokers because they are willing to pay the premium to get the premium experience and support.
Therefore, premium versions of load boards tend to have a lot more load posted than others in comparison.
An increase in Dry Van loads spiked the demand for Dry Van trailers. We are witnessing an increase of Dry Van loads over the Flatbed loads on the spot market and the owner operators in the industry are acting accordingly.
As we received a number of calls and emails from owner operators looking to work with us recently, we noticed that a lot of them were interested in renting a Dry Van trailer from us.
We would like all of our future partners to know that we do have Dry Van trailers for rent available upon your request.
Dry Van trailer rental is usually the first thing a fresh Owner Operator will do after getting his own truck. Trailers are not cheap by any means, and most owners won’t rush into buying their own trailer right from the start.
What’s the best thing for you to do in today’s market? We will try to help you decide right now!
Should you get into Dry Van trailer rental or purchase?
The answer lies in the simple question: can you afford a new trailer, or a used one at least? If you’re on a tight budget, then dry van trailer rental is probably the best way to go, until you save some money to buy one.
There’s a couple of good points of why it’s better to rent than to buy. One of them being the long term investment problems.
If you buy a used trailer, it might be refurbished, and initially, you might not even know what exactly. You can’t know exactly how many times it broke down and how many days it was sitting in the repair shop.
You can’t predict how many times it will break down and how much money will you waste on repairs.
The only time when purchasing a trailer is better than trailer rental is when you buy a new one. Most of the companies (including us) will offer you brand new trailers for rent.
All of our Dry Van trailers for rent come with insurance. Sure, you can get insurance when you buy a used trailer, but you will waste a lot of time waiting for it to get repaired or getting a substitute one (most insurances don’t offer substitute trailers).
If any of our trailers you rented brakes down (very unlikely), you will get another trailer to replace the broken down in a heartbeat!
How much does a trailer rental cost?
It depends, every company has its own pricing.
We offer Wabash and Vanguard Dry Van trailers for rental, for $250,00 per week. We guarantee you a trailer that you will be completely satisfied with.
At a total of $1,000.00 per month of the rental fee, you won’t have to worry about wasting time or breaking the bank for a refurbished used trailer.
How long does it take for you to get one?
Dry Van trailer rental process is fairly short. Sometimes it only takes a single day to get a rental program started and a brand new Dry Van trailer to arrive.
It depends on the number of currently available trailers for rental in-house and the demand at the supplier.
We do our best to provide you with a trailer ASAP, and we start the process immediately once you get in touch with us!
Dry Van trailer rental doesn’t have to be a complicated, expensive and lengthy process if you have the right team with you!
If the time is still not right for you to buy one, rental is a great start to keep hauling loads without worries for the downtime or the load you’re hauling.
Owner Operator VS Company Driver, who wins? What are the pros and cons of both of these and which career path should you take? We will dig into this subject to find out the details you need to conclude which way you should go.
You like to get in your truck, haul your load, enjoy the road and get paid at the end of the week. You think that your driving skills are the focus of your carrier and your main duty, everything else should be managed by others in the company.
You want your dispatch to keep you busy, so you don’t have to deal with that, after all you are a professional driver and that’s what you do.
If this description fits you, than a company driver position is probably your best fit.
Should you be an Owner Operator?
You like your company driving position, but you think you can do most of the things by yourself. You want to have your own truck, and make more money than you’re making now.
The only person who should be in charge of your schedule is you. The freedom is something you value very much, but at the same time you are comfortable with the extra responsibility that comes with it.
You are ready to be your own boss, and to take matters more into your hands, and all the money that comes with it.
If you feel this way, then it might be a good time to become an owner operator.
Advantages of company driver
The biggest advantage of a company driver when it comes to owner operator vs company driver comparison is the lower level of responsibility he has.
Everything except driving is being taken care of, you only need to be on time, accident free and cover as much miles as you can weekly.
You have your dispatch team providing you with loads, you have a company truck and trailer ready for you and the schedule to follow.
Your job is to sit in the truck, deliver the load, and enjoy your time on the road.
Advantages of an Owner Operator
The first and most important advantage is the revenue. Much more money will be coming your way. The flexibility of the schedule and freedom comes right after.
You decide when and what are you going to haul. You own your equipment, you don’t have to wait for the company to give you an upgrade, that’s all on you.
In the owner operator vs company driver debate, an owner operator will always come on top when it comes to earnings and flexibility of the schedule.
How to become owner operator is one of the most is one of the most raised questions (or concerns) among the drivers who have more than one year of experience.
They heard that the status of an owner operator helps them make more money and they want to get those owner operator trucking jobs and own their own truck.
How to become owner operator and when is the best time?
Before starting the process of becoming an owner operator, one should ask himself is now the right time for them to do it.
The best candidates for owner operators are experienced drivers who are ready to operate on their own. Usually, they have around 3-5 years of experience.
These drivers already know how the industry works and are capable of being independent. But, this doesn’t have to be the case for all. Some drivers advance faster and some slower, if you think you got what it takes to become independent, then let nobody stop you!
Next, you need to get all the required insurances, you can check that here. Since you will be owning your own truck, you need to have your own ELD. Or if you want to be an owner operator and work with us, you will get our ELD, so you don’t have to worry about that.
Of course, you will need a starting capital to pay for all the expenses and the equipment you need. If you find yourself overwhelmed with everything but you have all the money required, then you could try and find the service to do everything for you.
Managing the expenses
As an owner operator you will have a lot more earning potential than a company driver. When you become one, the profit should be on your mind from day one.
But, however, to maximize profit, the expenses have to be minimized. Regulations, liabilities, maintenance, insurance, and fuel are just some of the expenses you will have to deal with.
Reducing the operating costs should be your focus when you become an owner operator. There are a couple of ways to reduce those costs. For example, you can reduce your fuel costs just by going a bit slower.
If you keep your speed around or below 65 MPH mark, you will increase your fuel efficiency by up to almost 30%! That’s not a small increase in efficiency!
The thing that a lot of drivers who are wondering how to become owner operator don’t think about too much is the financing for the equipment. You can’t blame them since today there are a lot of options to get the financing.
You will have 2 options: using your savings if you have enough to cover everything or bank financing.
Trucking equipment is not cheap by any means, and this is why most people get bank financing. Pick the bank carefully, take your time and find the best possible deal you can, the lower the interest rates the better.
Choosing a bank can be stressful, costly and time consuming so it might be a better option for
you to go through a financial advising company that will do all the work for you and connect you
straight away with the best bank.
Also, simple rule and useful advice: if your down payment is bigger, your monthly payments will be less. Balance the two according to your possibilities.
Calculating your success
The formula for your success is pretty simple.
Once you’ve calculated your expenses per mile, you will know just which load is a money maker and which one isn’t.
Once you subtract you expenses per mile from the revenue per mile you will get the number of your gross revenue.
Once you remove the taxes from gross revenue, you will get your net profit.
How to become owner operator? Well, now you know all the basics you need. When you become one, be sure to give us a call! We work with a lot of owner operators and together we make great money!
OTR leasing – a doorway to a significant gross increase. Owner operator trucking jobsbring a lot more money than company positions and OTR leasing programs are a great starting point.
Misinformation about lease purchase programs is often a barrier between company driver and his future as an owner operator, which is why we came up with this guide to give all those company drivers interested in OTR leasing a hand.
How is OTR leasing different than the company position?
As a lease operator, you will be owning the truck you drive, which gives you a lot more flexibility, freedom and a lot bigger earning scale, depending on the lease program you choose.
When you own your truck, you get to pick your own loads and keep the bigger piece of the cake for yourself.
Depending on the carrier you decide to work with, that piece can vary in size. But, when compared with the earnings of a company driver, you will be getting significantly greater amounts of money.
What can you expect?
You can expect a better working schedule since you will be the one who is creating it. You pick the lanes, the rates, load and home time as you please.
From that moment on, when you sign an OTR leasing program, you are your own boss and you decide how, when and what will you haul.
As for the income, you’re looking at $140,000.00 NET yearly and more, depending on the carrier you lease on to.
Even when you put lease purchase payment into the calculation, you still end up with more money and you have your own truck in the end.
What do you need to apply for the OTR leasing program?
We’re looking for drivers who love to make money to fill out our CDL jobs class A applications! Several positions are open due to the expansion of our fleet. We have a lot of loads, a lot of miles and great new equipment (trucks and trailers) to offer.
Our average driver does around 3,000 miles per week, and that’s the minimum we expect from all of our new drivers.
Dry Van vs Flatbed, which is the better choice today?
Dry Van division at Strong Group is one of the highest-earning divisions in the US. Most of the newcomers even hesitate a bit and find it hard to believe that our Dry Van division drivers make more money than most of the Flatbed drivers of other trucking companies in the country.
Even right now with the current state of the market, our drivers are still getting 0.60 CPM with 3000 miles a week on average.
How is Dry Van different and in what aspects compared to Flatbed today?
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