Standing outside Prime’s terminal in Salt Lake City, driver Scott Fischer has a great view of the mountains. He’s not technically based in Salt Lake, but his routes take him through the area frequently, and he’s not complaining. The views are everything out here. Fischer drives in Prime’s flatbed division, and after eight years on the road, he’s seen first-hand how much Prime is investing in growing flatbed. There are a lot of perks to this kind of driving, and the West Coast has ample opportunities for flatbed drivers, so now Fischer is enjoying watching hew drivers hit the road.
Although working with trucks wasn’t always his plan, Fischer began driving at a young age. “I started backing up trailers when I was about 6, maybe 7 years old,” he says. Fischer grew up on a farm in southern Oregon, near the towns of Gold Hill and Sam’s Valley. The property was home to many pear trees, which Fischer says produced pears faster than they could be harvested. As a kid, his job was to drive around the property on an ATV and load up a trailer with fallen pears. “My dad wanted them in this one particular spot, and I had to learn to back the trailer in,” Fischer says. “I remember quite a few times there was a lot of anguish, and I would go out and just pick up the back of the trailer and move it over.”
Today, moving a flatbed trailer by hand isn’t an option. Even though the trailers don’t seem that tall, they weigh a ton and require a fair amount of physicality to secure tarp loads. Fischer says drivers underestimate the size of the trailers, and he knows a handful of drivers who have gotten injured simply hopping off the back of a flatbed trailer. “You can’t mess around out here,” he says. “I know they don’t look too tall, but you can hurt an ankle or a knee jumping off of one of there.” The physical requirements of flatbed don’t appeal to all drivers, but for Fischer, it’s easily one of his favorite things about the job.
As a flatbed driver, he’s responsible for securing loads himself, which requires focus and a good amount of physical labor. If it sounds daunting, Fischer says not to worry. “It’s not as hard as most people think it is,” he says. The key is paying attention to the details. “I like getting out and being physical around the truck and, you know, getting stuff done. But, if you booger it, you’re going to have a bad day.”
With eight years clocked in at Prime, Fischer has seen his fair share of the country. He once drove all 48 continental states, but now sticks to the 11 western states which are closer to his home in southern Oregon. He’s a curious guy, which lends itself to his job. “I’m that guy who’s not afraid to ask questions if someone will take the time,” he says. He recalls a time he was sent to transport a 36,000-pound roll of aluminum to the Reynolds factory. “They take that 36,000-pound roll of aluminum and turn it into the tin foil that comes in boxes you pick up at Walmart,” he says. This is part of what he loves about driving flatbed—he gets to haul all kinds of unusual loads. He’s also delivered an M777 howitzer cannon. “And that was when I was still in TNT,” he says laughing.
With more drivers joining the team, Fischer has had plenty of opportunity to put those childhood driving skills to work at Prime. New drivers are always nervous to back up a truck, and as a trainer, Fischer gets to show them the ropes. If it makes them feel any better, he promises they’re not the only ones who struggle with backing in. He says flatbed has given him and his family a great life, and he loves what he does. So for all the new flatbed drivers out there, Fischer says welcome to the team.
Read more in the Prime magazine, Prime Ways – The Back Up Plan
Interested in driving for Prime? Apply online at www.primeinc.com/?r=blog or give our recruiters a call at 888-664-9121.