A single-rear-wheel truck used to be a really good choice for a non-CDL hotshot.
Well… not anymore.
We’re now in 2019. The previous year, 2018, was a really good year. Loads used to pay very well and there was hardly a need to get partials.
But now, you do need partials. A great many loads these days are almost exclusively partials. There are very few dedicated and worthwhile (read: good-paying) loads out there.
But first, let’s understand the proper way to load a trailer, and how that affects this decision.
How to Properly Load a Trailer
When you get your first partial, put it all the way to the front of the trailer. This will give you enough room for your next load or partial. One rule of thumb followed by hotshot truckers is to step back one foot for every thousand pounds of weight. For example, if you have a 4,000-pound partial, you step back four feet. That will put your rear axle at your max weight. For the RAM 3500 for instance, the max weight on your rear axle is 7,000 pounds.
But here’s the problem: The room those four feet take up is dead weight — especially for short but heavy loads. Imagine a load that’s only 5-6 feet long but weighs 5,500 pounds. You’d have to put that load right in the middle of your trailer. That will limit you on what your next load can be because loads are usually not divisible. They aren’t split up. So your available deck space determines how long your next load can be. And so by sliding loads all the way to the front — something a dually can accommodate better than a single-rear-wheel truck — it allows you to take longer and lighter things. And brokers nowadays are paying for space and not for weight.
And so with that background information, here are the five main reasons why a dually might be the best non-CDL truck for you:
1. You Could Maximize Your Trailer Capacity.
The first reason for getting a dually is that you can slide more loads up to the front of your trailer without unduly overloading your rear axle. This will leave you more room on your trailer. With a single-rear-wheel truck, you don’t have that luxury. You could never use a 40-foot trailer to its full potential because a 4,000-pound partial put all the way to the front would weigh too much. A 4,000-pound partial that’s five feet long would take up in reality 12 feet because you had to step back so much. That’s the first problem a dually solves.
2. There Are Generally More Dually Trucks Available.
The second reason for getting a dually is that Enterprise Truck Rental gets them more often. If you plan on leasing with them, there are more duallys that will be readily available when it’s time to trade yours in. Once you reach 60,000 miles, you’re going to need another truck. Because if you’re going to keep leasing with them, you’ll need a truck that you know they will have for sure.
Of course, you can always tell them in advance if you’re going to continue leasing with them or not. But still, you want it to be as easy as possible for them as they’re going to keep ordering duallys anyway. And so by getting the equipment that they will have more often, you set yourself up for not having any downtime during the trade-in process.
3. Dually Trucks Tend to Be More Stable Overall.
The third reason is stability. The single-rear-wheel trucks are kind of squirmy when you load them up to the 7,000-pound limit and sometimes even a little bit extra. They don’t feel as stable. But with a dually, the ride is a lot more solid and stable.
4. You Can Use the Same Truck From Non-CDL to CDL.
The fourth reason is you can start hotshotting non-CDL and eventually study and get your CDL and use the same dually. You no longer have to get upgraded — that’s if you’re buying a truck. But if you’re leasing, you could simply lease a single-rear-wheel and after 60,000 miles, trade it in and get a dually. But if you’re thinking of buying a truck, we recommend that you get a dually.
Some people think it’s more important to be lightweight. While there’s some merit to that, it’s no longer lightweight that you need to focus on, but safety. A dually will do it the safest possible way regardless of CDL or non-CDL. So if you’re thinking about hotshotting, get a dually.
5. Even If the DOT Gets Picky, You Would Still Be Compliant.
The fifth and final reason ties in with those other two. Single-wheel trucks aren’t rated for the weight that you would want to put on your trailer. The max gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of a single-rear-wheel RAM 3500 regardless of the year with the Aisin transmission is 25,300. Now usually, the DOT doesn’t care and they don’t check.
But eventually, they’re going to start picking on hotshots for every single tiny little thing. Because we’re all now on ELD and there are fewer violations to write up, they’re getting more nitpicky. And so you would want a dually because its GCWR is 27,300.
So try to be as compliant as possible by getting a dually. Give them the least amount of reasons to give you a ticket for any violation. Anyway, you only gain maybe about 340 pounds? You really don’t have to sacrifice that much weight, but you do get all of the above benefits.
The Bottom Line
A dually might just be the best non-CDL hotshot truck for you for these five reasons: 1) You could maximize your trailer capacity; 2) There are more dually trucks available; 3) Duallys tend to be more stable; 4) You can use the same dually truck as you move from non-CDL to CDL; 5) You would still be compliant even if the DOT gets pickier.
What do you think of these reasons? Do they make sense? Let us know in the comments below.