The best income opportunities come as flatbed loads for owner operators. An owner operator owns their own flatbed and all the proper securing equipment. If you wish to be fully independent and work without a middleman, you can find available loads for flatbed trucks on various load boards. Sometimes searching for ‘step deck loads,’ another common name for flatbeds, can bring additional results.
The best paying flatbed loads tend to be those which carry items of high value. Flatbed freight can be used to transport heavy equipment, building materials, automobiles, over-sized loads, and military equipment. The more sensitive and expensive the items are, the more pay—but there’s also more risk. Make sure your insurance will cover the items in case anything goes wrong.
One thing to keep in mind when considering flatbed loads for owner operators is the extra cost to get started. On top of owning the flatbed itself, drivers must own the proper securing equipment, e.g., tarps, straps, chains, hooks, and other tie-down devices. The process of tarping a flatbed load can be physically difficult and sometimes dangerous, which is part of why these are the best paying flatbed loads. It is helpful to take a class or two in flatbed securing procedures, both for your own knowledge and safety as well as a selling point for your shippers.