A flatbed trailer is the most common type of freight trailer. It is used to move everything from light-truck-loads (LTL) to larger wide loads.

The benefit of a flatbed trailer is that it’s relatively easy and quick to load and unload. You can load and unload the freight from 3 different angles: the sides, the back, or overhead.

Some flatbeds can also be equipped with ramps on the back, allowing you to drive equipment up onto them as well as off. However, these are more commonly referred to as Step Deck Trailers and are covered in more detail here.

Standard Specifications of a Flatbed Trailer


These trailers are usually 48 feet long.

Some states (like California for instance) restrict length to 45 feet.


This is always going to be 102 inches (8 feet 6 inches) and the flatbed load width is legally required to be 8 feet 6 inches. Anything over that, and you’ll need a permit. Anything over 11 feet 6 inches wide will need a Pilot/Escort Vehicle Operator (P/EVO) in most states.

Although your freight is allowed to overhang the sides of the trailer, each state has different requirements as to which permits are needed for this. Be sure to check with our specialists when requesting your Flatbed Quote, or check your state’s documentation.

A good thing to note is that over-wide shipments are almost always required to travel only during daylight hours on the road.


Flatbed trailers can support anywhere from 1,000 – 48,000 pounds of weight. This can sometimes be surpassed to 52,00o pounds but only in certain circumstances with special additional equipment. It’s so uncommon though, that you almost will never have to worry about it.


On a flatbed trailer, this is technically 9 feet tall, but the rule of thumb is to keep it 8 feet and 6 inches. This is to allow room for mistakes and is recognized by all professional truckers as the ‘standard height’ for a flatbed load. Anything over 9 feet tall, however, and you are going to be flagged as Over-Dimensional (OD). Getting a permit will be mandatory.