Hotshotting and The Lies We Love to Believe…

Oh mercy, I had another call just this morning from a guy ready to quit a perfectly good and steady paying day job just for the privilege of plunking down around $70K for a brand spankin’ new 1-Ton and 40′ trailer to drive off into the Hotshotting Sunset & Make His Fortune Land, wherever he thinks that mythical place may be.

I’m afraid (or rather, I hope) my blunt-ness burst his dreamer’s bubble, but I couldn’t let him just jump in without giving him a heartfelt warning. Which I’m sure he will ignore, it happens all the time…

(BB told me later I blew my chance to sell him the Beast, maybe he was right but this guy also wanted me to put him to work, and no thanks, I’m still in the process of squirming my way out of that stuff.)

If this blog has done nothing besides keeping one would-be hotshot from making unwise start-up decisions, then I would count it a success…

But… Apparently, as blunt and straight-talking as I am, I’m not blunt enough to get through the starry-eyed (and closed eared) hotshot hypnosis that overtakes even the most normally sensible folks.

And I just don’t get it. I lay it out there and tell it straight, and still people want to argue with me and tell me how wrong I am.

But in the interest of saving someone from the difficult to reverse side effects of this insidious ailment I’ll try again, so here are the top things not to do when starting out as a hotshot…

1. Do not mortgage the farm to outfit yourself with a brand spankin’ new 1-ton truck. Ditto on the trailer. If you must indulge this truck buying/hotshotting compulsion, at least have the sense to go with a used 2-ton and trailer combo, or good used single axle truck, and keep it cheap. You’ll thank me later…

2. Do not buy into the myth that a 1-ton truck is big enough for this work. Fact is, if you fail to heed this rule, you will spend a lot more replacing transmissions and rear ends and whatever else breaks from the excess stress on a too-small for the work truck than you would have spent just buying a 2-ton or bigger truck to start with. Guys argue this with me all the time, usually when their truck is in the shop getting fixed and they have time to stand around arguing, if you get my point…

3. Do not assume that anything anyone “tells” you about hotshotting is true, particularly if they have a vested interest in getting you to pay the bill to haul their loads. Remember, anyone you haul for is expecting you to pay the up front costs. What they are willing to fib about to get you aboard is probably (and usually) proportionate to how badly they need your cash to move their loads.

4. Do not, I repeat do not ever fall for the old line…”You can make enough money the first year to pay off that brand new 1-ton and trailer.” Trust me when I tell you that unless you have enough money banked to run on and live on that entire first year, this is a big, big lie. Sadly, it’s also the lie that usually sets the hook and gets you reeled in.

5. Do not assume that you can even find a hotshot gig if you have no CDL, no verifiable driving experience hauling a 40′ trailer, and no contacts in the business. And sorry guys, but 30 years of driving experience and a CDL in good standing that’s been molding in your back pocket for more than three years is just as useless as no CDL at-all. That’s not the trucking industry’s fault either, blame your government representative for letting the federal government set up that little snafu in the trucking laws.

6. Do not assume hotshotting is great income. The truth is it’s great if you get enough great paying loads. It’s not so great if (and this is the case, honestly) there are too many trucks competing for all of those great loads. And that’s the case right now. Everyone and their dog who has a pickup or bigger truck is apparently signed on with one or the other of the big hotshot companies and everyone is hungry for the loads that are out there, so the obvious result is that everyone is left hungry most of the time, and nobody is fat and sassy, if you get my drift.

7. And last, but not least, don’t quit a decent paying job to go off a’hotshotting. Especially if you want your spouse to continue talking to you, and if you rely on steady paychecks to pay the bills. I’ve said it before and I’m pretty sure I’ll say it again, hotshotting these days is a part-time, off and on, roller-coaster ride and there’s no such thing as a steady hotshot paycheck. Some weeks you get paid, some weeks you don’t. And that’s the truth.

That concludes tonight’s post, I’m sure something else will hit me around noon tomorrow that I just won’t be able to contain myself from yapping about.

Until then…
That’s all I’ve got.


3 thoughts on “Hotshotting and The Lies We Love to Believe…

  1. So in your post “Change of Heart” you said that you leased on with a company, so what happened with that company? Did they not keep you loaded and running or did you just get tired of being on the road?

    • It’s a long story, but the bottom line is I have spent more time hunting loads for my guys than running, and it turned out not to be profitable for me. If things had been different, as in me just running for another terminal, and that terminal had work in good supply, it would have probably worked out much better. Does that make sense? Maybe I’ll do an entire post on the exact whys and such once it’s all a done deal.

      • SM burns if you wouldn’t mind emailing me, i have a few questions about getting into hotshotting. Id like to know your opinion. I feel my opportunity may stand a chance. Thanks.

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