Dry Van vs. Flatbed Truck Driving: Which One Should I Choose?

If you’re considering a career in truck driving, you may be faced with the decision between dry van and flatbed trucking. Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to weigh them carefully before making a choice. In this article, we’ll explore the realities of each type of driving and help you determine which one aligns best with your career goals.

Dry Van Trucking — What Are the Pros and Cons?

As a dry van driver, your main responsibility will be to transport goods by connecting a trailer to your tractor and delivering the load. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

Pro: Consistent Freight

One advantage of being a dry van driver is the ability to rely on consistent freight. Unlike flatbed driving, dry van driving doesn’t experience seasonal fluctuations in the freight market.

Pro: Minimal Securement

Dry van drivers typically have minimal securement requirements compared to flatbed trucking. While you may need to secure a cargo load bar or padding, the process is much simpler and quicker than securing loads on a flatbed trailer. This can be beneficial if you prefer to spend less time on load securement and more time on the road.

Con: Lack of Career Advancement Path

Unlike flatbed driving, there isn’t a clear career advancement path for dry van drivers. With flatbed driving, you have the opportunity to advance to different divisions like heavy haul or specialized freight. However, if you choose to drive dry vans, you’ll likely be doing so for the duration of your career. This can be appealing for those seeking stability and consistency in their day-to-day work, but it may not suit individuals looking for more variety or advancement opportunities.

Flatbed Trucking — What are the Pros and Cons?

As a flatbed driver, you’ll have more room to advance your career and work with different types of loads. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider:

Pro: Career Advancement

One major advantage of flatbed driving is the potential for career advancement. Starting with a regular flatbed trailer, you can progress to hauling wind energy equipment, heavy haul loads, and even multi-axle trailers. With each advancement, your earning potential increases. This career path provides more variety and the opportunity to expand your skills and knowledge.

Pro: Freight Variety

Flatbed drivers often enjoy the variety that comes with hauling different types of trailers and freight. Each day presents a new challenge, requiring you to figure out how to properly secure the loads. If you thrive on diversity and enjoy the excitement of not knowing what you’ll be hauling next, flatbed trucking may be the right choice for you.

Con: Securement

Securing loads on a flatbed trailer requires physical labor and specific training. You’ll need to chain and strap your loads to meet Department of Transportation standards and regularly check their security throughout the journey. This process can be physically demanding, and it may not be suitable for everyone. Additionally, securing loads in various weather conditions can be challenging and frustrating at times.

Con: Winter Freight Market

The demand for flatbed loads tends to decrease during the winter months. Certain industries, such as agriculture, experience a lull during this season. This can result in lower earnings during winter compared to other times of the year. It’s important to be prepared for this seasonal fluctuation and plan accordingly. Additionally, there may be restrictions on hauling heavy loads in certain areas due to frost laws during winter.

How Do I Decide Between Dry Van and Flatbed Trucking?

Ultimately, the decision between dry van and flatbed trucking depends on your preferences and long-term goals. Consider the following factors when making your choice:

  • Do you prefer consistent freight or the potential for varied loads?
  • Are you willing to handle the physical labor involved in securing loads?
  • Do you value stability and predictability in your career, or do you seek advancement opportunities and diversity?

Each option offers unique benefits, so it’s important to assess which aligns best with your career aspirations. At Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), we understand that every driver is different. That’s why we provide options for both dry van and flatbed truck drivers. If you have any questions or need further information about either program, our driver consultants are here to assist you. Simply fill out a contact form, and we’ll be in touch promptly.

Remember, choosing the right path in your trucking career will ensure your satisfaction and success in the long run.

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