Service and Utility: Choosing the Best Truck and Flatbed for Your Industry

Owning or renting a fleet for your business shouldn’t be hard, but it often is. And, when you need to replace a truck or flatbed, or buy a new one, for your needs, there are several things to think about that most people won’t or don’t tell you.

Kenworth T880 Flatbed

CM Flatbeds

The first question you should be asking yourself is, “what will I be hauling, and how much will it weigh?” That right there will drive every other decision you make. Payload weight is determined by the GVWR – the base weight of the vehicle plus occupants, cargo, and any additional equipment and tongue weight.

Unless you’re hauling a load over 20,000 lbs, you won’t need a tandem axle. And this is where a CM flatbed can save you a lot of money. Instead of buying a ready-made truck, many people are choosing to convert older trucks with a flatbed.

CM flatbeds are spec’ed for your unique model of truck, are professional engineered and designed to fit perfectly. They’re a direct replacement for your stock bed. But, you must measure what you’re getting and make sure you’re buying for the correct make, model, and year of your vehicle.

It’s very common for people to forget either the year or mode, assuming that one year might fit just the same as another, especially if the model didn’t change much from year to year – “much.” And that’s the key word. Even slight variances in bed design can throw off your calculations and cause the new bed not to fit.

Aluminum Vs. Steel

When choosing metals, most people automatically assume that steel is the superior choice because of its inherent strength. But, steel has an important downside, even when galvanized, it’s not totally immune to rusting. And, aluminum is lighter – figure 600 pounds versus 1,000 or more for steel.

These aluminum service bodies are strong, though not as strong as steel. And, while they may show scratches more easily than steel, they will not rust, and that’s an important consideration when you’re hauling in rainy conditions.

In fact, durability is a major reason many people choose aluminum either as the flatbed, container, or as a cladding for a steel bed.

So, even if you need the strength of steel, an aluminum shell makes sense in most situations.

Tapered Corners Vs Straight Back

Most beds and attachments will offer you a choice of either tapered corners or a straight back. Tapered corners are a good option when you’re hauling stuff through mountainous areas and you want a better turn radius for narrow roads.

But, for some, it’s not an option – especially if you need the extra room.

Installed Hitch Or No Installed Hitch?

A hitch is great for hauling stuff behind you and, while it might seem like an obvious choice, there’s an important thing to consider when choosing a bed with a hitch: will you actually use it?

If you’re hauling heavy loads on the truck, as opposed to towing things, you may not need it. In fact, it might be a hindrance. Many people are choosing gooseneck hitches, but a B&W design allows you to “flip” the hitch under your trailer when you’re not using it. That way, you get the best of both worlds.

Additional Fuel Tanks

If you are hauling heavy loads, you may find an additional fuel tank helpful – ditto for extended travel. A second fuel tank allows you to go farther on a single “fill” but it also allows you to haul or pull heavy loads for the same distance as lighter loads.

Yes, fuel cost is a factor and with a second tank you’re more apt to fill them both up, which will cost you more in fuel. However, if you’re making that up in revenues (or using a truck factoring company to get paid up front), it’s usually worth the added expense.

Extra Lights

This is mostly a concern if you’re hauling loads that obstruct the stock lights, or if you’re hauling a trailer. Additional lights, like brake lights and turning signals, are universally required in every state when your stock lights can’t be seen by the person behind you on the road.

But, some CM truckbeds allow you swap out the stocks for LED lights for the brake and headache lights.

Some models also allow you to add work lights to the bed skirt as well as backup lights in the rear skirt. All of this is for safety, and may or may not be required by your state, depending on what you’re hauling.

Photo credit: TruckPR / Flickr


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *