Flatbed trucks provide a versatile shipping option for heavy-haul, oversized, or bulky freight.
As flatbeds are such a popular transportation option, there are plenty of flatbed trucking companies out there to choose from.
While this means you shouldn’t have any trouble accessing a flatbed trucking company that hits your geographical needs, it can make it tough to separate the pro providers from the, well, less pro.
If you’re uncertain what you should be looking for in a flatbed trucking company, this article is here to help. We’ll detail the top five factors to consider when making your choice, as well as provide a recommendation for a high-quality flatbed trucking provider.
Top factors to consider when choosing a flatbed trucking company
As you start exploring flatbed trucking companies, the following factors can offer a great starting place for assessing whether they’d make a good shipping partner for your business.
Your specific shipment needs
The first and perhaps most important factor to consider when looking for a flatbed trucking company is that it can meet your specific shipping needs.
A company could offer fantastic logistics services but doesn’t drive to your location or meet your capacity requirements, it’s simply not going to do the job.
It can be helpful to figure out what the non-negotiables are for your business. Before you even approach a trucking company, you might want to ask yourself the following basic questions:
- What volume am I going to need to ship by flatbed truck, and how frequently?
- What kind of loading procedures will I need?
- What distance do my shipments need to travel?
- What size flatbed trailer can accommodate my freight?
- Will my shipments need extra packing or tarps?
Answers to these questions can provide you with an easy framework to use as you approach flatbed trucking companies. Laying out exactly what you need will make it easy for both you and the trucking company to determine if they can successfully meet those needs.
The company’s experience in flatbed trucking
It might seem obvious, but a company’s experience in flatbed trucking – not just trucking more generally! – needs to be a key consideration when choosing the company you work with.
Flatbed trucking comes with some unique challenges for logistics firms and drivers alike, such as strict load regulations, difficult maneuverability on the road, and the need to expertly secure loads.
A company with experience in the industry will be more likely to have the expertise needed to avoid potential pitfalls in these areas, which can lead to lost or damaged cargo, safety risks, and ultimately a loss of licensure.
To assess a company’s expertise and experience, you can consider:
- How long the company has been in operation
- How many locations they operate in
- The size of their business and/or the number of drivers they have
- How long they have specialized in flatbed shipping
- The number of flatbed trucks they have in their fleet
While this likely won’t prove a perfect metric, it can go some way to establishing that a company is knowledgeable and experienced in safely providing flatbed trucking services.
The company’s resources
Another important consideration when choosing a flatbed trucking company to work with is the number and variety of resources the company uses to operate.
This might include access to:
- A range of flatbed sizes and types within the company’s fleet
- Quality tarping and cargo protection options
- Technological solutions to improve the shipping experience or provide real-time tracking of your load
To get an idea of some of the flatbed trucking technologies available, you can review Landstar’s innovative tech offerings here.
Safety, licensure, and insurance
In a field such as flatbed trucking, safety needs to be paramount.
As we mentioned earlier, flatbeds aren’t the easiest vehicles to drive and maneuver, largely due to their heavy loads and the importance of adequately securing these.
To make sure that the companies you’re considering prioritize the safety of their employees (and of your shipments), you can ask questions such as:
- What safety protocols do you have in place to ensure the safety of your drivers, fleet, and shipments?
- What is the average age of a vehicle in your fleet, and how often are these serviced?
- What checks are in place to ensure a shipment is securely loaded?
- How is my shipment insured while in your care?
- Can you confirm your licensure information?
You can also check out the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System, which allows you to easily search for a company’s safety report data, including a company safety profile.
What the company is like to work with
When you commit to working with a flatbed trucking company, it can be smart to think beyond whether your load will make it from A to B.
What will the company be like to work with? Are they easy to communicate with, or is their customer service provision non-existent?
As you review potential trucking partners, you may want to ask the following questions:
- Who can I contact if I have a question about my shipment?
- What processes do you have in place for informing customers about shipping delays?
- What standards do you have in place to keep your drivers safe?
Looking for a flatbed trucking company you can count on?
If you’re ready to put your flatbed freight into the hands of a provider who can deliver, you needn’t look any further than Jansson.
As an independent agent of Landstar, we use our expertise to operate heavy haul and flatbed services across North America and beyond. Our reliability, safety-first attitude, and top-tier customer service enable us to put your experience first. With Jansson, you get access to fast, efficient bookings and ongoing communication throughout your shipment journey.
To find out more about the logistics services we provide or to request a free quote, reach out to Jansson today!