Hotshot Tidbits…

Here’s my hotshot tidbits post.  Just a little collection of stuff it’s helpful (or maybe not) to know if you’re a hotshot or want to be one when you grow up…

Why is January so slow?

According to certain sources, the January slowdown is based on the fact that the oil companies are waiting for their new annual budget to kick in.  Things generally pick up in February, so this theory makes sense.  That’s all I’ve got on that particular topic…

What kind of money do hotshots make?

It depends on who you ask and where we work.  Generally, hotshot rates can run from around $2.50 per loaded mile up to $6.00.  Most of us make somewhere in between those two numbers.  There are a lot of variables in this business.  How many hotshots are we competing with, how many loads are available, what equipment do we have that makes us more likely to get a load, what specialty area are we working, etc.

Most of us don’t think we charge enough, and even though it sounds like we should be rolling in dough, it costs a lot to run a hotshot truck.

The basis for hotshot rates is this:  The oil and gas exploration companies lose thousands to millions when their rigs break down, and if they can get some trustworthy person to go pick up replacement and repair parts and/or tools and jet them back to the rig, it’s actually cheaper to pay high per mile rates than it is to sit idle.

It’s a win/win (until you get brokers and management folks in the mix, then the actual hotshots who do the work are only making a percentage of the actual amount charged for the hotshot service.)  Make sense?

How can I become a hotshot?

The number one qualification to hotshot is to actually be in an area where there is a need for hotshot services.

Right now there is a lot of activity in North Dakota, southwest Kansas, western Oklahoma, and the Midland region of Texas.  Houston is still fairly busy from what I’ve seen down there but some areas of south Texas are slowing down.  Pennsylvania was hot last year, but I’ve heard it’s slowing down as well.  There are other pockets of activity around the country, so just pay attention to what’s going on in your area.

Beyond location, you need a squeaky clean driving record and the ability to keep it clean, your CDL (commercial driver’s license,) a reliable truck, maybe a trailer depending on your potential customers’ needs, and the ability to do the job without mucking it up.  Keeping a proper log book, knowing how to secure your loads, and most importantly, delivering every load safely and on time pretty much round out basic hotshot requirements.   Then comes the tricky part, getting customers.  That you have to figure out by knocking on doors and making calls.

Oh, and it helps to have some business savvy.  There is a lot of paperwork and government regulation involved.

Is hotshotting anything like the television show “Shipping Wars?”

Nope.  What you are seeing on Shipping Wars is a group of people bidding on LTL (less than a truckload) type of privately owned freight.

This is a huge difference as the stuff they’re hauling pays next to nothing, and seriously, I can’t figure out how anyone makes any profit at all with the rates they negotiate.  I suppose some do since they’re still out there, but IMO the average Joe is not going to make a living, not even a poor one, doing this type of hauling.

My own peek at the bidding site convinced me that what’s up for shipping there is mostly comprised of animals and cars, with some household goods tossed into the mix.

The stuff you see the tv folks moving is not the stuff you find on that site on an average day, and most all of it moves (or not) at very low rates (hint – they bid each other down) which is not conducive to making a profit.

This pretty much concludes today’s post.  I just got a call and now have to get busy and actually go perform something called w.o.r.k….



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