Ups, Downs, and Up Again…


As most of you who have been following this blog may already have surmised, my little adventure in hotshot trucking has had a lot(!) of ups and downs.  Lately there have been more downs that ups, but that all changed this week.

My most favorite and best local customer suddenly kicked things into high gear, and it looks like I’ll be running a lot more for them in the future.  In fact, I ran hard for them all week and am actually glad that the weekend is here so I can catch my breath.

It’s been a while since I actually needed a weekend to recover, probably since sometime around the end of April, considering that things pretty much came to a screeching halt sometime in early May.  Business hasn’t been quite dead, but it was definitely on life support…

I suppose it’s just another example of how unpredictable hotshotting really is, but for a change, it’s a really, really good example.  It’s nice to feel encouraged and positive about the future, and I think I’ll spend this weekend just enjoying that feeling while it lasts.  (Knock on wood!)

But… I’m not tempting fate by believing that things can’t and won’t change at some point in the future.  And there’s no way to know when that change might happen.  It could be next week, next month, or next year.  Then again, it might stay good for a good long while.  That’s certainly what I’m hoping for.

So, I’ll also keep all of the above in mind, be grateful for the good, and prepare for the bad.

And that just about sums up hotshot trucking in a nutshell…  Enjoy it when it’s good but don’t take it for-granted, and always sock back enough to survive on when it’s not so hot.

 

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2 thoughts on “Ups, Downs, and Up Again…

  1. I have a start up question. If you have no customer base as an independent O/O do you first try to hustle up work with the promise of getting equipment, authority, etc. etc. or do you get your equip and all first and then go after work. I am trying to decide which is the horse and which is the cart. I fear not being able to find enough work in my area after i make the financial investment, put don’t feel very confident going out and making shipping contacts with only a business plan in hand. I am sure these shippers have enough to do without having to talk to a person who is testing the waters and getting info. I think I am close enough to some work out of nearby industrial areas within 60 miles of me but I don’t want to tell my banker I think it will work. I have been in business many years so I know how to make things work, just don’t know where the starting point is. I have enjoyed you blog. Thank you very much.

  2. Randy,

    Thank you for reading! It’s great to get feedback and I really do appreciate it.

    As to your question, I had the same question when I started, I wasn’t sure about a good starting point either but ended up talking to people in the business who pointed out that you have to be ready to run asap once you make a good contact.

    So I guess my answer to that is, the truck and equipment (and authority… maybe) would be essential before you go knocking on doors and actually looking for firm arrangements with shippers. Otherwise your info will likely just end up in file 13 when you leave.

    But… I wouldn’t plunk down a dime without calling around and testing the waters with some local companies in your area, not necessarily your future customers, but brokers, other hotshot companies, etc., who can give you a feel for what sort of opportunities are out there in your area. Some will talk to you, I get a lot of calls from people with questions and I don’t mind trying to help them. Some won’t, so cross them off and call the next one on your list. See what kind of information you can tease out of anyone who will take the time to talk to you.

    One way to test the waters before you sign your life away on equipment is to find a local company that does hotshotting, and that is looking for leased owner/ops. I know, I usually am highly anti-leasing, but for the guy getting started, if you can find a good company that has other happy leased o/o’s, you can start out and learn the ropes with a weekly or every 2 weeks settlement check. It takes a little of the expense out of startup, you would run under their operating authority, and some of the sting out of operating costs since you get paid before you would as an independent. You can also usually get them to give you advice on what equipment setups work for whatever it is they’re moving. That helps a lot too and can save you from over or under doing it when you start shopping.

    Even though companies that lease will require you not to solicit their shippers for work, you can make valuable contacts talking to other hotshots when you load or deliver, and can pretty much figure out pretty quickly where the decent loads are coming from. Good info to file away for future use…

    The caveat here is not to get in with a nest of vipers like I did, but then again, even as bad as that was it turned into a fast-track introduction into hotshotting and how not to get screwed.

    If I didn’t answer part of your question, feel free to ask for more specifics, but that’s about all I have right now. Hope it is helpful!

    Sue

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