Flatbed and step deck services are the most common cargo transportation options.

The main difference is that flatbeds have a single, level truck bed, while step decks have lower-level beds with more enormous walls at the back of the trailer.

Depending on your shipment size, weight, and type, either one may be more suitable. 

This article will discuss when to use flatbed or step deck services for cargo transportation and offer tips for ensuring that your shipment makes it safely to its destination.

Introduction To Flatbeds And Step Decks

Flatbeds are open-top trailers designed to haul large and heavy items such as construction materials and machinery.

They have no sides and are best for items that need to be secured with tie-down straps or chains.

Flatbeds can typically transport commodities of up to 45,000 lbs. On the other hand, step decks have several walls on the back of the trailer and two lower-level beds that work together to provide more flexibility in hauling cargo.

They are often used for oversized loads such as construction equipment and large machines that may not fit on a flatbed.

When To Use Flatbed Services

Flatbed services are best for shipments that require extra security, such as products made from steel or wood.

Since flatbeds don’t have any walls or sides, there is a greater risk of damage from wind, rain, and other elements.

That said, flatbeds can often safely transport items of up to 45,000 lbs. in a single shipment. 

Furthermore, flatbeds are preferable for shipments that require fewer turns and less maneuvering, as the flat surface of the bed is more accessible to secure than a step deck’s walls.

Flatbeds offer greater security, can transport more oversized items and are more efficient in loading and unloading.

When To Use Step Deck Services

Step decks are ideal for oversized loads that exceed the capacity of a regular flatbed trailer.

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For example, if you need to transport heavy machinery or equipment too large for a flatbed truck, step deck services may be your best bet.

Step decks can also move items with special requirements, such as climate control or fragile cargo.

This is because they have several walls on the back of the trailer that provide more support and protection for your goods during transit. 

Moreover, step decks are more maneuverable than flatbeds, allowing them to be used in tight spaces that a flatbed can’t access.

Tips For Using Either Service

Whether you’re using flatbed or step deck services, it’s essential to ensure that your goods are secure during transport.

Make sure that items are adequately secured with tie-down straps or chains and that cargo is placed on the truck bed in a way that will minimize potential damage.

Additionally, you should know the weight limitations for either service before shipping your goods. 

Overloading a flatbed trailer can cause it to become unstable and overly vulnerable to external factors such as wind, rain, or rough terrain. Similarly, overloading a step deck could prevent its walls from providing adequate support for your shipment.

How Do You Know If Your Cargo Is Too Large Or Too Heavy?

Knowing your cargo’s size and weight before selecting a particular type of trucking service is essential.

Different services are equipped to handle different types and sizes of cargo.

You should consider the amount, size, shape, and weight of what you need to be shipped and ensure it is within the limits that the trucking service can accommodate. 

Additionally, it’s helpful to take measurements of your cargo to get an accurate gauge of its size and weight before selecting a general freight trucking company.

Obtaining details on the weight capacity, as well as any size restrictions, from the trucking service itself can also be beneficial in determining if they can transport your large or heavy cargo safely.

What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing A Transportation Provider?

When selecting a transportation provider, you need to consider several factors.

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These include size and weight restrictions, availability of specialized equipment (such as flatbeds or step decks), delivery time frame, route availability, cost efficiency, service reliability, quality, insurance coverage for cargo in transit, and the overall safety record of the company. 

Considering all of these factors will help you select the right provider for your freight, ensuring that your shipment is transported safely and efficiently.

Finally, always read the terms and conditions of the provider’s services before signing a contract.

With That Said

Regarding cargo transportation, there are pros and cons to flatbeds and step decks.

Flatbeds offer greater security and can handle heavier loads, but they are more maneuverable than step decks.

Step decks can be used with oversized items but need to be more secure due to their walls being more vulnerable to external forces.

Ultimately, it’s essential to consider the size, weight, and type of your shipment before selecting either service.

A reliable transport company or freight broker can help you make the best decision for your needs to get your goods safely from Point A to Point B.

Regardless of which service you choose, ensuring that your cargo is properly secured and protected throughout the transit process is essential.

With the proper preparation and research, you can rest assured that your shipment will make it to its destination on time and in one piece.