If you’ve been following this insanely crazy odyssey into the world of hotshot driving of mine, then you’ve probably wondered at times what in the world I’ve been thinking. I mean, every week things seem to change, fluctuate, and evolve. It appears that is just all part of the business, and being able to deal with it is essential to a person’s sanity…
Not that I claim to be entirely sane either though, so maybe being able to tolerate it all is a sign of some specific sort of crazy…
What I’m getting at in a round-about way is that things are changing again, the proverbial wheel is spinning. Where it will stop, who knows? I sure don’t, but I’m in it for the long haul and I’m (mostly, except when it makes me cry like a big baby out of frustration) enjoying the ride.
So the big change this week is that instead of sticking stubbornly to my “One-Truck Independent Hot Shot” business model, I’m branching out.
Ok, that was a wimpy way to put it… let me try again…
I’m making a huge change and giving up my independence. There, that’s a better way to tell you what I’m actually doing.
Yep, as a fellow hotshotter has so eloquently put it, I’m going over to the “DARK SIDE.”
Which means I’m leasing my truck (YES I AM) even though in the past I’ve had that one really bad experience (okay, not just bad, horrible, terrible, aggravating, experience) doing so, and have been doggedly resisting the urge to do it ever again.
But there’s more to the story… (Of course there is, or what would be the point of this post?)
One of the honest facts about hotshotting that I’ve been trying so hard to disprove and deny is that a lot of very profitable doors are simply not open to the independent with one or two trucks.
Just because that particular fact frustrates me and tics me off is irrelevant and doesn’t change the way the business actually works. And after banging my own head on that unyielding and unmoving rock for a few years now, I’m declaring a truce of sorts, if not with the rock known as the hotshotting business, at least with myself.
A lot of the big players (we’re talking specifically about oilfield hotshotting here now) need more trucks available when things heat up than a little operator like me can provide them. They also have multiple locations and are, well, just big companies with big needs.
If you think about it, a big company with high shipping volume is not going to waste their time keeping track of multiple little operators and their separate invoices, or be willing to have to cut 100 different checks to 100 different little guys every month. So they simply don’t mess with the little guys. They have accounts with outfits big enough to do what they need done with one call. They aren’t willing to mess with the logistical nightmare of booking each and every load individually with separate carriers.
And looking at it from their perspective, I have to admit I wouldn’t either. It would be insane and very unproductive doing business that way. Not to mention it would be a huge pain in the rump.
So… I have accepted the fact that I had to find a way to get my little foot in the door even if it meant I would have to give up my independence to get it done. It’s fine to be independent, but it’s not so fine to be independent and starving when things change, as they can, and do, on a near hourly basis in this biz…
And you can ask BB, (or just sympathize with him for having to deal with me if you want to, I’ll understand,) I’m one bull-headed, stubbornly independent woman… so this was not an easy call for me to make in any way, shape, or form.
But being me, I found a way to do it that I can tolerate. Or at least I think I can in theory, I’ll know soon in practice if it was a good or not so good idea…
Anyway… I’m stalling… hmmm….
Ok, here’s the basic scoop. I finally realized that I need help getting to the good loads that the little guys like me are locked out of, and the best option I could come up with, once I admitted that to myself, was to try to lease on with a well known big company to take advantage of their connections that I would never, never, be able to get close to on my own.
There, I said it. Out loud, and in front of God and everybody. Finally. There comes a point when you have to stop doing the same thing over and over when it’s just not working as well as you need it to, and that’s where I finally am.
So… I did a lot of research over the past few months (I had plenty of time since I wasn’t out there raking in the bucks with lots of loads) and talked to lots of other hotshots who are leased to a lot of other companies. I finally bit the bullet and picked the one I thought had the best “user rating” of the companies out there.
The only trouble at that point was the fact that the closest terminal my chosen company had to me was too far away, and there was no way they would lease me on through that particular terminal.
So what’s a girl to do?
I’ll tell you what I did… I got busy on the computer and fired off an e-mail to the company I picked and asked them to put in a terminal closer to me so I could lease on with them. I know, that’s an insane move, and a pretty self-serving request to make of some big company, but I figured the worst thing they could do was just ignore me, or say, “No.”
Much to my surprise (and shock!) I got back an e-mail not three hours later, which happened to be on a holiday no less, which impressed the heck out of me, and an invitation to talk to them about me opening a terminal for them, which in turn scared the bejeebers out of me. Honestly, my first instinct was to duck and cover.
I mean, I just wanted to mind my own beeswax and drive my own truck down the happy hotshot highway hauling some at least consistent loads and let someone else do the hard work of finding those loads for me… That was the whole idea to start with!
Ha! See where that kind of thinking and my impulsive e-mailing got me…
Let’s just say I kinda know how the character Prissy felt in Gone With The Wind when she said she “didn’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies…” or however she said it, just switch out birthin’ babies there for runnin’ terminals and it’s the same darned thing, sheer terror.
However, since some famous goofball once said, “nothing ventured… etc….” and I’m just silly enough to believe it, I put on my old (and dusty) cop type of thinking cap ( “I know this is dangerous and could kill me but I don’t care lalalalala, I’m doing it anyway”) and made myself at least consider the possibility. After a couple of days of hard thinking it didn’t seem quite so impossible or quite so overwhelming. Amazing what the human mind can convince itself of in a short amount of time… but I’m rambling so back on point here…
To make a long story short, we’ve met up and talked (a lot)… I grilled them with my big old stack stack of pre-printed questions, done a lot more good old fashioned police type work digging into every aspect of the company that I can get into, and I’ve read everything on the net anyone has to say about them, good and bad.
Now that I’ve exhausted my resources (and my poor brain!) with all this digging & talking & snooping, I’m satisfied that everything is run properly and on the “up & up” with this particular outfit. So it looks like I’m now venturing into the (for me anyway) uncharted territory of trucking terminal management.
The up side (I hope!) will be a decent paying job without all of the long range travel, and should be a little easier on my (rapidly!) aging old body.
The down side?
I suppose part of that is giving up my independence, but as much as I valued it, it was also holding me down. And I will miss all the long range travel and the work that was hard on my aging old body. I know, it’s confusing and contradictory, but hey, I am a girl…
So…, that’s where I’m at right now. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. Wish me luck, or… survival… or something anyway…