If you’re looking to upgrade your work vehicle, you may be eyeing a flat deck truck as a solution to your tool and supply transportation needs. Flat deck trucks offer some clear advantages and disadvantages for contractors, and some that are less than obvious, too. Read on to find out if a flat deck truck is appropriate for your business or is better left as an auxiliary vehicle to break out when needed.
What Type of Work Do You Do?
Whether a flatbed truck is right for you or not is dependent on what kind of jobs you usually take. A contractor who is usually doing minor home repairs and upgrades probably wouldn’t benefit too much from a flat deck over a standard pickup truck. If you frequently install carpet, perform commercial jobs with heavy machinery or find yourself routinely hauling large, oversize or bulky items to your jobsite, a flat deck truck may be right for you.
Flatbed trucks make it easier to drop supplies and equipment right on the back of your truck. With a standard pickup, you’ll need to lift whatever you’re hauling over the edge of the bed. With a flatbed, you can just shift or lift it into place and strap it down.
Solo or Part of a Crew?
Trucks aren’t just useful for transporting supplies and tools, but your crew as well. If you find yourself routinely hauling your crew and subcontractors from one spot to another, a standard pickup is probably advantageous. A flatbed truck makes it more difficult and dangerous to haul people outside of the cab. In some places, it’s even illegal. While you can definitely put down a hard line in the sand and make your crew members find their own transportation once you find a flatbed truck, that’s wholly a matter of preference and how you decide to run your business.
The number of people available to help you load and unload your truck also makes it easier to work with a standard pickup: more hands and able bodies to load and unload means that raised sides may be a negligible obstacle when working with heavy or awkward loads.
What Other Equipment Do You Have?
Loading bulky and heavy stuff into the back of a standard pickup is no big thing if you’re lowering it in with heavy equipment. But if you have a skid steer or other equipment at your disposal, it may be beneficial to invest in a flatbed truck — just lift whatever you’re hauling and slide it into place. If you’re regularly hauling a skid steer or other equipment, a flatbed truck may be just the ticket to make your life easier, too – you won’t need more than a ramp and some tie down straps to get your machinery from one job site to another.
Your budget is probably the main concern when deciding to invest in a flat deck truck. Flatbeds cost more than their standard bed counterparts – a difference of several thousand in the case of new vehicles. Unless it would make your work life significantly easier, it might be worth sticking to a standard bed truck if your budget for a new work vehicle is lean. Gas mileage is also slightly reduced in flatbed trucks when compared to standard trucks – making you fill up more often at a greater cost.
On the other hand, it may be worth it to you, personally, to save loading and unloading costs and the potential medical bills for the sore back and arms that can come with constantly getting stuff in and out of the back of a standard pickup truck.
Is a Flat Deck Truck Worth It?
Only you can decide if a flat deck truck is beneficial for your business or not. While there are some clear advantages over standard pickups, they’re situation and preference-dependent. Examine your needs, regular tasks and budget to see if adding a flatbed truck to your work fleet is worth the cost.
Do you have a flat deck truck? Why do you love it? What would you change?