Does Flatbed Trucking Pay More Vs Reefer, Dry Van Vs Dump Truckers?

Author: Rohan Paulos
Updated On:

Flatbed trucking is the use of flatbed trucks to transport materials that have irregular shapes and are too large for an enclosed truck.

As with every other kind of truck driving, there’s money to be made with this particular type. The question on your mind is, “does flatbed trucking pay more than other trucks?”

Driving a flatbed will earn you more compared to driving other trucks although it is dependent on the company you work for. 

A flatbed trucker is generally compensated well because it requires a great level of skill and experience to transport materials using a flatbed.

The materials are in the open and there is the risk of them falling off. It is the responsibility of the driver to secure the load and drive carefully especially through bends while maintaining balance on the road. 

There are also additional tasks like tarping that might earn extra compensation.  To simply put it, flatbed driving is more difficult than some other types of truck driving.

Dry Van Vs Flatbed Trucker Salary

Flatbed vs dry van earning, which is higher? The average earning of a flatbed trucker is $53,163 while that of a dry van driver is $53,714. This average figure does not reflect how a flatbed driver’s earning increases greatly when he has some experience under his belt. It is also important to note that the entry-level salary of a flatbed trucker is higher than that of a dry van driver.

Why Does Flatbed Trucking Pay More?

Flatbed trucking pays more because it is more difficult to drive with a heavy load in the open than in an enclosed space. For some types of load, the irregularly shaped ones, a flatbed truck is the only truck option for moving them.

Oversized truck transport pipes

How Much is Flatbed Truck Driver Salary?

So, how much do flatbed drivers make per year? Flatbed drivers can make between $52,000 to $75,000 annually. The exact figure will depend on the company that hired them and how many miles they travel. Entry-level semi drivers should expect to earn less.

How Much Do Flatbed Loads Pay?

For flatbed loads, the pay is usually between $52,000 and $75,000. The pay usually depends on the company that hired and the years of experience. An entry-level flatbed trucker should expect to get less.

The pay is usually calculated per mile and in some cases, the driver receives compensation if he is required to cover the load with a tarp; a task that can be quite stressful. Related: Facts about how much does it cost to wrap a truck!

What Pays More Flatbed or Reefer?

When comparing the earnings of a flatbed driver with that of a reefer driver, it is important to note that a reefer driver usually earns a few cents more per mile on average.

The average pay of a flatbed trucker is $53,163 while that of a reefer is $58,748. Although this is the average figure, the flatbed driver is presented with opportunities to earn more.

Since truckers are paid per mile and flatbed trucks are mostly sent to rural areas and construction sites, there are more miles to cover.

Also, there’s less competition for flatbed driving positions which gives room for flatbed drivers to negotiate higher pay per hour.

blue cap driver

Flatbed vs. Dump Truck Driver

A flatbed trucker on average earns more than a dump trucker. The average earning of a flatbed trucker is $53,163 while that of a dump trucker is $42,793.

Requirements for Becoming a Flatbed Truck Driver

As stated earlier, flatbed drivers need to be especially skilled. Here are the requirements to become a flatbed driver: 

  • A CDL license

A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is a license required to drive large vehicles commercially. To drive a flatbed truck, you need to obtain a Class A CDL license. Click to see which what is the biggest box truck you can drive without a CDL or commercial license?

  • Loading skill

There’s a good chance you will not manually load your flatbed due to the large size of your load but it’s your responsibility to ensure that it has been loaded correctly and the placement is balanced.

fully loaded flatbed

  • Tarping skill

There are times you need to protect your load from natural elements. This is where your tarping skills come in.

Tarping in this case is a special skill because the shape of your load is usually irregular and they are large.

Your tarp has to be firmly secured because a loose tarp can tear easily or be completely removed while driving which is dangerous and could cause damage.

  • Load securing skill

Due to the large size of the load you will carry and the lack of enclosure, you need to know how to secure it firmly.

There are strict regulations concerning this because if it is not done properly, it poses a risk to both the flatbed driver and other drivers on the road.

At the start, it is more important for you to take your time with securing your load, making sure they will not shift, than aiming to be fast.

Becoming good at flatbed trucking is dependent on time and experience. There are things you can only learn on the job.

Pros of Being a Flatbed Truck Driver

  • You earn more than some of your peers.
  • The flatbed truck is usually loaded and unloaded fast which gives you the chance to have more trips in a day.
  • The quick trips also mean you can get more time off.
  • Flatbed drivers are in high demand so jobs are always available.

And Some Cons…

  • It requires a lot of training to drive safely.
  • Keeping the load secure requires skillfulness.
  • It can be dangerous during loading and also while driving.
  • The regulation concerning flatbed trucking is strict so there’s a lot to learn and adhere to.

Wide flat bed trucking


What type of trucking pays the most?

Driving for private fleets usually pays the most although the amount depends on the company you work for.

The other type of trucking competing for the first position is ice road trucking. This job pays a lot because of the risk involved with driving on ice.

Is flatbed trucking worth it?

Flatbed trucking is worth it. Even though it’s more difficult, it doesn’t take so much for you to learn how to drive one. For covering the same miles as other types of trucks, you’ll be paid more.

Is flatbed trucking hard?

Yes, it is. Flatbed trucking is more difficult than other types of trucking because you will be required to transport a heavy and irregularly shaped load kept in the open.

With other types of trucks, the load is kept in an enclosed space and there’s little to no risk of it falling off while navigating through bends. 

Do flatbed drivers make more money?

Flatbed drivers make more money than some other types of truck drivers.

This is because of the increased difficulty of driving a loaded flatbed.


If you’re considering making more money from being a truck driver, you may want to consider driving flatbed trucks.

You might not earn so much at the entry level but after gathering a little experience, your earning capacity will increase greatly. It is a bit difficult at the start but it’s not so hard to learn the skills required.

Truck hauling a car


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