One problem I found in researching for this article, 25 best flatbed trucking companies, was how to base the criteria? There are so many trucking companies out there that it can be hard to narrow down the best ones. After all there are national trucking companies, regional, and local flatbeds trucking companies.
I also had to consider that after I wrote this, many would say what about this company or that company! So I will admit from the very beginning that is more a listing of flatbed trucking companies that specialize or handle large amounts of flatbed freight.
Why is this so important? Well just like anything, if you own a Ford you wouldn’t want it serviced by a Toyota technician. If you were to visit the doctor for a heart condition you wouldn’t visit a proctologist. So if you need to get freight haul via flatbed you wouldn’t want someone with a reefer, would you? – Of course not.
Generally people try to stick with what they are familiar with. Just like we all have a favorite service station, restaurant, grocery store, or whatever. We also expect those working there to be familiar with their particular brand of products and/or services.
Sometimes a company can branch out too much and get so diversified that they can’t focus on one aspect. This causes the potential neglect and loss in skills and proficiency.
Now, I am not saying a company should put all their eggs in one basket, but they need to be able to handle the responsibilities that go with the different departments or offered services.
When it comes to trucking there are many services that can be provided. But typically the freight hauling comes down to these:
- Refrigeration (reefer)
- Auto transport / Car hauling
- Dry Bulk/Hoppers
This is not every kind of trailer that can be hooked up and used to haul freight. Even the name given to a particular type of trailer might be regional. But you get the point; there are a lot of options when it comes to available trailer options.
Now, for the focus of this article we will be looking at flatbed trucking companies. As I said you may or may not agree with this list.
But hopefully it will give you a good reference point from which to look at. Whether you need to contract someone’s services or are one of the many flatbed trucking companies, this list should of benefit.
I guess there is one other point I should try to cover…
What is Flatbed Shipping?
Flatbed shipping companies specialize and/or have a large fleet of flatbed trucks; obviously! But this is because the type of fright they tend to haul is too big for a box/van or doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Why would someone focus their business on flatbeds?
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Because they are versatile, this makes them the most common and practical trailer type. These are great because they can be load/unload from the rear, top, and from either side. This feature makes them an extremely valuable asset for any fleet.
So what kind of freight do they usually haul with a flatbed? Really anything can be transported on one flatbed load, as long as it isn’t perishable, subject to strict weather/temperature controls, or etc. Well it is common to see them being used for larger freight, lumber, building materials, bricks/stone, and most any other larger items.
So here are a few points to consider in regards to flatbed shipping companies and flatbed trailers:
1. Flatbed shipping truly is directly connected to the weather. In many parts of the country it is a seasonal business (depending what’s being hauled).
Even though they are extremely common, and have many uses you really need options (other trailer types). One of the issues that smaller flatbed shipping companies have is maintaining a healthy workload during the slower times of the year. This can be especially true in areas with large amounts of rain, snow, and/or ice.
2. If you were to breakdown just how different types of trailers there are it would truly surprise you. There are industry related experts who are still learning this! The flatbed model of trailer has over 14 different types! The average person has seen most of these, but didn’t realize it.
The ones usually seen are the ‘standard’ flatbed or the step/drop (even the double drop deck). The nice thing about a step deck is that they can handle much taller loads than either box/van or the average flatbed. A couple nice features are that they are easier to load and unload (often having a ramp).
3. It is very common for flatbed shipping companies to transport things that are hard to load and unload with a proper dock or bay. They often deliver directly to construction sites, manufacturing companies, or other specialty drops (solar panels, lumberyards, etc.).
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4. Flatbed trailers are great for those oversized items, things that are very wide and/or tall. Flatbed shipping companies will have the experiences in dealing with such needs. They will have the control vehicle, lights, and signs, know the routes, acquire special permits and assist with all other transport need.
5. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a very in-depth set of regulations pertaining to the proper security of the cargo being transported on a flatbed. This can be a big issue for flatbed shipping companies who are not familiar with all the rules.
Keep in mind the FMCSA rules go so far as to dictate how loads are to be secured; these cover just about every type of cargo imaginable. They also focus on the safety aspect of securing and transiting the freight from one place to another.
Now of course there are more things to consider in regards to flatbed shipping companies. It doesn’t matter if you are a client or a shipper; you need to have all the information up front. Things such as:
- What is the cargo?
- What is the size and weight?
- Where is it going?
- What permits and related documentation is required?
As you might expect, there are more questions to ask and more information required before contracts can be drafted, but these are some key points to consider. With all this said, hopefully you have a better insight into the world of flatbeds and flatbed trucking companies.