Most people don’t know how to start hot shot trucking. It’s not that easy.
There are many things to learn in order to be successful and do it right. Here are some tips and pointers gathered from professional hot shot truckers on how to start and run your own hot shot trucking business.
How to Start Hot Shot Trucking: 10 Helpful Tips
- Purchase insurance. Try to go through an insurance broker who could search and get you the best deals and the lowest rates for you according to your driving record.
- Get a factoring company. Many companies out there, broker companies or customers, take anywhere from 20 to 40 days to pay — some longer, some shorter. You don’t want to deliver a load today and only get paid in 20 days or so. Yes, they take a percentage, but it’s handy. A factoring company often recommended is Apex Capital.
- Get a load board or two. Load boards are easy to purchase. You just need an MC and a DOT number to purchase one. Two load boards that come highly recommended are Truckstop.com or DAT.com. But if you’re looking for a load board for cars, look no further than CentralDispatch. Those of the top load boards you’re going to need, and you’re probably not going to need anything else because most brokers post on those websites.
- Learn the skills of how to do business. Develop your communication skills. If you have great communication skills, brokers will call you back, over and over again, trying to get you to do more loads.
- Learn the skills of how to load a truck. You don’t want to load up a truck and trailer and then have the load fall over or have something dangling or come damaged.
- Take pictures of the loads. You can run into problems if the shipper loads up damaged stuff. So even if it doesn’t look damaged to you, snap a picture or two. If it’s a tarp, snap a picture after you tarp it. Make sure you could see the background of the place where you took the shot and are picking up the load. It will come in handy for those times when you just might get screwed over if you don’t have a picture.
- Consider getting a CDL. This will be a must if the combined gross vehicle weight of your truck and trailer is over 26,000 pounds. But even if not, it’s still good to have one.
- Don’t do cheap loads. There are a lot of loads out there. If there’s a load and they’re paying cheap, just hold on. You’ll find another one. Obviously, if you’re in a bad area — say Wyoming or in the middle of Montana — then maybe, you would want to accept a cheaper load. But for the most part, don’t make brokers play you with cheap loads.
- Know how to maximize cargo space. So basically, if you have pipes, and it only takes up two feet wide by 20 feet long it doesn’t mean it’s a 20-foot load. You could move those pipes over and load something else. It’s like Tetris, the game. Move the boxes around, so you could accommodate more loads, instead of having just one load taking up the whole trailer. Load smart so it only occupies half the trailer, giving you room to load another partial.
- Always try to get partials. If you get a full load, that’s one thing. You simply drive and go. But if you get a good-paying partial, try to find another partial. Always try to get partials. Always try to get a load that’s paying about half of your hot shot truck, half of your weight, or about $1.30 per mile for the lowest. You can maybe go a little lower if you need to if you’re in a good area. Other than that, don’t start off your truck any cheaper because who knows if you’re going to have another load to go with it. There are a lot of cheap loads, so if you’re starting off in the $1.20 to $1.30 a mile range, you could get a cheaper load and it’s going to come out like $2.00 a mile, so it’s going to be fine. So start off with good loads and just always try to get partials.
The Bottom Line
If you want to know how to start hot shot trucking, follow the 10 tips in this article. Also, talk to other successful hot shotters and get their best ideas. How about you? Do you have other tips? Let us know in the comments below.