We get the opportunity to talk to guys from all walks of life interested in starting a Hotshot Car Hauling business. Retired teachers, union carpenters, off shore oil rig workers, and sales professionals all with a common goal, owning their own hotshot trucking business. We support their dreams one and all, and firmly believe in 3 truths about the business:
Truth #1- Hotshot trucking is one of the easiest to start and best businesses in American to produce and income between $50,000 and $100,000 per year.
Truth #2 Hotshot trucking is one of the hardest businesses in America to make it to the second year.
Truth #3…The worst day on the road hotshot trucking, is still better than the best day in an office or on a job site working for a someone else, so find a way to make it beyond the first year.
There are days when we wish it was harder to start a hotshot trucking business. Not to prevent people from being successful, but to increase the likelihood of success because potential drivers would do a little more homework before jumping into the wrong equipment and hitting the road. We have trained dozens of drivers, from experienced long-haul truckers to newbies, neither are immune to the possibility of making mistakes. At all costs avoid the following 4 things and you will greatly increase your chances of making to the second year.
- Running with a hired driver in your first truck. The failure rate from this mistake is 100%. If you’re not willing to get behind the wheel of the first truck for at least 6-12 months in your new business and learn it from the ground up, how do you ever expect to hire and manage a driver or a fleet. The owner of the truck is always the best and most profitable driver.
- Buying a 4-wheel drive truck. The mindset of most guys that own trucks is that a 4-wheel drive is essential. In the car hauling business we are not pulling stumps out of the ground, or plowing driveways, rather under heavy towing conditions we are simply trying to get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible. There is no place EVER for a 4 wheel drive truck in car hauling. It adds an average of 500 pounds to the set up and reduces fuel economy by $2-3,000-dollars per year. You will never be asked to run your truck and trailer through the woods or up a muddy incline, to the contrary if road conditions decline, we park the truck or run another route.
- Not Complying with DOT operating rules. The death sentence in hotshot trucking is a non-renewal notice or significant rate increase at the 6-month or 12-month anniversary of your insurance policy. Everything that happens in your truck related to DOT and law enforcement is recorded on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) record. Every speeding ticket, log book citation, and out of service event is recorded and then used to measure safety in the form of a safety score by 3 major categories. These are driving, equipment maintenance, and hours of service. Hotshot trucking is still considered a high risk venture by insurance companies. We have seen renewal insurance rates triple due to driving records and FMSCA scores, to the point that a significant expense becomes an unsustainable burden in the second year.
- Running a 2-car trailer. The failure rate here is again 100%. We have talked to numerous guys that have convinced themselves they can profitably operate a hotshot auto hauling business with a 2 car trailer. They have a “buddy” “making money” with a 2-car trailer. This is fantasy unless your happy making $25-30,000 per year. Why go to the trouble of getting a motor carrier authority, and then do all the things it takes to be full time in this business for $25,000 a year? We have tried to make it work with a couple guys, and our position after those struggles is to suggest employment at WalMart rather than hit the road with a 2 car trailer.