Do you want to achieve success as a hotshot owner-operator?

There are many ways to do things in hotshot trucking. But here are the two tips that work:

1. Don’t Try to Do Everything Yourself

Many people who get into hotshot trucking want to be the driver. But some also want to be the dispatcher. They also want to keep their own books. They don’t want to use factoring companies. They don’t want to use brokers. They try to do all of this. And when it’s time to pay the bills, they realize they don’t have enough money.

The real problem with hotshot trucking — what makes it stressful — is there’s a lot of overhead. Insurance for example. It’s not cheap. It will cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 a month. Also, fuel is not cheap at all. Freight is also more limited than a semi-truck. And so, with all that combined, you must work on your system and get your system to work for you.

If you’re getting a brand-new truck and want to be the driver, consider hiring a dispatcher — somebody who knows what they’re doing — one who can help you out and book freight for you.

If you can’t wait to get paid, no big deal. Find a good factoring company. They will buy the load from you and pay you the next day. You don’t have to wait 30 to 45 days to get paid.

Hire somebody to keep your books for you. Hire an accountant. At the end of the day, this is a business, and you need to have people on your side. They’re going to be able to help you out.

Often, people think, “Oh, I have to drive. I’m doing hotshot trucking.” You don’t have to be the driver. You can hire a driver. Obviously, it cuts into your profits a lot. But having a driver allows you to focus on improving your system and building the business.

Some people try to dispatch themselves. It does work for some people. But if you’re brand new, with a brand-new MC number and DOT number, it will be very beneficial to get a dispatcher. This is super important.

2. Get into Hotshot Trucking with an Open Mind

That means, don’t sweat the small stuff. Try not to overthink everything. Many people who get into hotshot trucking say things like:

  • “I’m not going to move for less than $3 a mile.”
  • “My truck is back-ordered a month.”
  • “Insurance is more expensive than I thought it would be.”
  • “I’m not finding the freight I thought.”
  • “I want to be home a lot more than I am.”

These people get irritated because it’s not exactly what they expected. So you need to get into hotshot trucking with an open mind. Because, at the end of the day, nobody knows how your hotshot trucking experience will be.

Some people will try to do everything themselves and have a terrible experience. Others will lease on to an existing business and make great money. One person might say, “Hotshot trucking is awesome!” Another person might say, “Hotshot trucking sucks!” So go into hotshot trucking with an open mind. Realize it’s going to be a grind.

When you start your own business, it will be a grind. Hotshot trucking is no exception — it is a grind. So go in there with an open mind. Realize, “I will have to get after it, work on building my system and get people in my corner to help me so that I can make as much money as possible.”

If you get out there and only make three grand on your first week, don’t sweat the small things. Figure out, “What was the problem? What was going on? Okay, I didn’t have a dispatcher with me at the beginning. But now I have somebody who’s good. So we’re good.” Or “I was trying to set up my factoring company, so I didn’t run for a couple of days.” Don’t go in there and think, “Oh, I only made three grand. I won’t be able to pay the bills!”

Calm down. Think: “How do I make money? I book loads. I put loads on my trailer. I drop loads off. I make money. Okay, that’s my job. That’s what we’re going to get going. I have a dispatcher set up. I know how to factor loads. Money is going to be rolling in my bank account. We’re going to be okay.”

So it’s important to have an open mind. Realize, “I don’t know what this experience will be. I can go off other people’s experiences, but I’m open-minded and willing to do what needs to get done to have my hotshot trucking experience be a successful one.” That’s super important.

The Bottom Line

To sum up, have people in your corner — don’t try to do everything yourself. That’s the first tip. Second, have an open mind. Be willing to grind. Realize that not everything is going to go well. You’re going to have a lot of bad things happen. But flow with the punches, don’t overstretch yourself, and keep your eye on the prize. Keep grinding and everything will work out.