There are many types of freight that don’t fit inside typical trucking containers. Either they’re too long, too wide or too tall to fit inside the container.

For these types of loads, a flatbed trailer might be required. Flatbed trailers typically are up to 53 feet long and roughly 8.5 feet wide. Larger loads can be accommodated as well with extended versions.

Most flatbed trailer loads have a capacity of around 48,000 pounds and can be stacked up to 8.5 feet high. Some locations including Gainesville, Georgia, may require flatbed truck companies to get special permits to exceed these limits.

If you’re new to flatbed trailer loads, continue reading below to find out more information about them and all their different uses.

Flatbed Trailer Uses

There are many different uses for flatbed trailers. There are even different types of flatbed trailers that can accommodate different types of loads. What kind of flatbed trailer would be required for the job depends on the flatbed trailer loads you will be hauling.

Here are some of the most common materials that flatbed trailers will haul.


Common flatbed trailer loads are lumber. This can be in the form of big trees that have just been cut down, or it can be lumber that has been processed already.

In the case of cut-down trees, the flatbed trailer loads will be picked up at the logging site and taken to the factories that will process the trees for common use. This could be lumber for construction or other uses such as paper.

Once the wood has been processed, flatbed trailers are often called upon to deliver the construction lumber to warehouses, retail stores and more locations throughout the country.

Flatbed trailers are the preferred method of transporting the lumber because it’s much easier to stack the loads onto the trailer without a roof. A crane can easily take the wood and load it properly into the flatbed trailer in a way that couldn’t be done with a common enclosed trailer.

Steel Coils

Once steel is processed at a mill, it becomes what’s known as a steel coil. This is a finished product that has been wound together in one big roll that makes it easy for transportation.

Much like lumber, steel coils are a perfect fit for flatbed trailer loads because of the way they need to be stored and the ease of loading the product onto a container without sides or a roof. That’s why you’ll see steel coils on flatbed trailers more times than not.

Mobile Homes

When mobile homes are produced at a manufacturing facility, they need to be shipped to various locations. This could be a mobile home sales site, or even to customers directly.

Mobile homes are typically higher and wider than an enclosed trailer, and they need to be loaded from the top-down. This makes it a better fit as a flatbed trailer load than another type of truck.

Bailed Tires and Scrap Metal

There are many different materials today that are re-used as part of some recycling process. Bailed tires and scrap metal are just two specific examples.

When this material is collected, it needs to be shipped around the country to facilities that can process the materials into something that can be re-used. Bailed tires and scrap metal are often challenging to put into a confined space, which is why it’s typically considered a flatbed trailer load.

What’s more, these materials don’t need to be protected from weather, so there’s no need for an enclosed trailer bed.

Military Machinery and Other Machines

Heavy machinery that is used for a number of different purposes can all be transported perfectly on flatbed trailers. This includes landscaping machinery such as riding mowers, back hoes and snow blowers/plows. It also includes construction machinery such as bulldozers and cranes.

Military machinery is also commonly transported via flatbed trailers, for many of the same reasons. From time to time, you can see military machinery being delivered if you drive on an interstate highway.

Machines are typically taller than the common enclosed trailer bed, and they may even be wider, too. What’s more, they would be very challenging to drive up into the enclosed bed.

Instead, flatbed trailer loads provide the ability to load via a crane onto the bed, which makes it easier to prepare the machinery for delivery.

Tow Trucks

Some tow trucks will have the option for flatbed trailers. There are some low-riding cars that simply wouldn’t be able to be towed the traditional way, which includes having just the back two tires making contact with the surface. In these cases, a flatbed trailer would be necessary.

In addition to commercial tow trucks, people can rent flatbed trailers that they can attach to rental trucks if they’re transporting their vehicle when they move from one location to the next, for example. By making the vehicle a flatbed trailer load, you’ll be protecting the car as you travel long distances while trailing it.

Rates for Flatbed Trailer Loads

There usually isn’t a premium placed on flatbed trailer loads as there is for refrigerated loads. In most cases, the pricing convention that applies for dry shipping will also apply to flatbed trailer loads.

That being said, you could potentially charge more for the overall job, since the logistics of the loading and unloading process will be more time consuming, challenging and potentially require people with specialized training. In other words, while the transportation of flatbed trailer loads themselves may not have a premium placed on them, the entire job might.

If flatbed trailer loads are considered specialized jobs or specialized materials, then it’s possible you could charge more for the delivery.

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