flatbed driver salary

How Much Do Flatbed Drivers Make?

If you are in search of a lucrative career in truck driving, one role you might consider is flatbed trucking. In this post, we will tell you how much you can earn as a flatbed driver. But first, let’s explain what flatbed trucking is, just in case you are not yet familiar with it.

What is Flatbed Trucking?

If you do flatbed trucking for a living, you will drive a flatbed trailer. As the name suggests, this trailer has a flat bed, similar to what you would find inside a dry van trailer. The difference is that the flat bed is all there is. There is no enclosure. The cargo sits out in the open.

What types of freight do you haul if you drive a flatbed trailer? Usually, it is machinery or materials. These need to be strapped in place so that they do not fall off of the trailer while they are in transit.

It is important to know that when you do flatbed trucking, driving will not be your only duty. You may also have to load the cargo and strap it down, put tarps over the freight, and later unload everything.

So, the job is physically demanding compared to some other types of trucking. Additionally, you will need to be familiar with more safety regulations than you would if you were not involved in handling the freight directly. Of course, the upside of all this is that your willingness to take on these extra duties and responsibilities can translate to superior pay.

Flatbed Driver Salary Range

flatbed trucking salary

So, now you know what flatbed trucking is. But how much can you make driving a flatbed truck? Let’s take a look at the salary you can earn.

Glassdoor reports that the most likely pay range for flatbed drivers is $62,000 to $99,000 a year. The site provides a breakdown for the base salary and the additional pay, reporting the base pay as ranging from $59,000 through $93,000, and the additional pay (i.e. benefits and bonuses) as $3,000 to $6,000.

Another site offering salary data for flatbed driving is ZipRecruiter. This site reports a range of $32,500 at the lower end, and $101,500 at the upper end, with a national average of $64,017. That average comes out to $31 an hour.

Where you drive has an impact on what you earn. ZipRecruiter identifies these as the cities where flatbed truckers earn the most:

City                       Annual $ Monthly $        Weekly $ Hourly Wage

San Francisco,            $79,089     $6,590             $1,520             $38.02

San Jose, CA               $76,474           $6,372             $1,470             $36.77

Oakland, CA               $74,835           $6,236             $1,439             $35.98

Hayward, CA              $74,708           $6,225             $1,436             $35.92

Ashland, CA               $74,700           $6,225             $1,436             $35.91

Vallejo, CA                 $74,630           $6,219             $1,435             $35.88

Antioch, CA                $74,488           $6,207             $1,432             $35.81

Seattle, WA                $74,255           $6,187             $1,427             $35.70

Lebanon, NH              $74,027           $6,168             $1,423             $35.59

Everett, WA                $73,562           $6,130             $1,414             $35.37

The site also offers this data on the highest-earning flatbed truck driver positions:

Job TitleAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
Owner Operator Flatbed Trucking$294,048$24,504$5,654$141.37
Owner Operators Cdl Class A Flatbed Truck Driver$250,000$20,833$4,807$120.19
Over The Road Owner Operator Flatbed Truck Driver$198,457$16,538$3,816$95.41
No Experience Otr Flatbed$97,245$8,103$1,870$46.75
Over The Road Company Flatbed Truck Driver$90,000$7,500$1,730$43.27

How to Get Into Flatbed Trucking

If you are excited about the prospect of becoming a flatbed truck driver and earning high wages, then it is time to learn how you can become one.

1. You will need to obtain a CDL license in order to become a flatbed truck driver. This entails attending an appropriate training program that meets the legal requirements, and then applying for and being approved for your CDL.

2. If possible, you should try to get some training specifically in driving a flatbed trailer. You might be able to do that while you are training for your CDL. If not, you may be able to find a company that will train you when you are starting out.

Training to be a flatbed driver also will entail learning the correct methods for loading and unloading so that you stay safe and conform to all regulations.

3. If you are not already in excellent shape, it is a good idea to take some time to work out. Focus on strength training, as you are going to need it to load and unload your cargo.

4. Apply for a job as a flatbed truck driver. Note that this may be concurrent with getting specialized training, as your future employer may be the one that sets you up with training on-the-job.

That is all there is to it. There are no special educational requirements to drive a flatbed truck, so entry barriers are minimal.

Keep in mind that if you want to become an owner-operator rather than a company driver, you will need to take additional steps. These include establishing your business, applying for insurance, and so forth. Many people start out as company drivers to get some experience, and then eventually transition to becoming owner-operators.

If you are excited by the idea of launching a career as a flatbed truck driver, then a good way to take the next step is to learn more about CDL training. You can also continue exploring our site to learn more about salaries for other truck driver career options.