Poke Holes In My Plan, Please

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ExpediteThis's Comment
member avatar

Hey, all-

I currently have no CDL and no experience hauling freight, and I want to go from zero to own-authority hot shot trucker this year. I need some help determing whether I'm being smart or stupid about this. My motivation is that I need a career change, I like to drive, and I like to make money. So here's the plan:

1) Get a CDL. I understand you can hotshot without one, but that most of the money is in >26,001# GVWR hauling. Guess I'm going to trucking school just to drive a dually 2) Get a rig. Right now I'm thinking an F450 with a 40' gooseneck. Take CDL exam and pass 3) Get authority. Sounds like it's just paperwork. I've already got a corporation (I own an RV park) based in CA. Bring on the fees. 4) Get insurance. I'm expecting to pay around $2k per month as a new driver (41 y.o., clean record) 5) Find a broker or dispatch service that will give me work. This sounds like maybe the biggest challenge I'll face starting out. 6) Hit the road. With my insurance being super high, I'll need to do a lot of miles to pay the bills. $2k per week gross income sounds achievable based on what I've read and that's the goal. 7) Adjust. Once I get some stick time, I expect more loads will be available and insurance rates will drop. Tweak the business accordingly.

My timeline for this is 4 months, zero to hero.

So, what am I missing? There's always something. Got any other advice?

I appreciate your time.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

GVWR:

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

GVWR is the maximum operating weight of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer, minus any trailers.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

From what I've learned in this Forum, I would say your timeline is not doable.

HotShot Info

Forum HotShot Topic

Once I read the comments in the Forum posts, I decided that there is not enough money to pay off my bills, set aside a little for retirement and basically support myself. The only way would be to get in a niche market, but I make as good as regular HotShots as a company driver....without the worries and costs.

Laura

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I don't have enough hours remaining this weekend to point out all the ways your plan will fail.

I'll give you one, though. Anybody can get their own authority, and anybody with a pickup truck can become a "hotshot" (the term always makes me laugh).

So, what will make you special?

Want to drive and make money? Go to a company-sponsored CDL school, then go OTR for a year. See if you can handle that first.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Stick to your rv park.

You are looking at something you have no idea of. First off you apparently do not have any equipment to go with the no experience in this industry.

Have you looked at the cost of pickup’s and trailers lately?? Truck and trailer on the cheap end will be 100k.

Your first year insurance will cost you in the neighborhood of 15-25k. Rates are extremly expensive your first year. Getting your own authority is the easy part.

Brokers will be very hard to convince to work with you being brand new. If you find one willing it will be because they do not have access to experienced drivers willing to haul at cheap rates. Yup you guessed it, they will pay you basement rates.

If you have a shipper willing to work with you you can get a decent rate. That is the only way to do it.

This is just a small example. DOT reg’s and various reporting requirements will make your head spin.

Just my opinion.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

ExpediteThis's Comment
member avatar

I haven't seen "specialness" as a requirement on any load boards. Maybe it's a CDL endorsement in some states...

I love it when folks take the time to tell you that they don't have time to tell you anything. If nobody works with new drivers with new authorities, just say so. If you know something about how to stand out and succeed, don't keep it to yourself.

I do want folks to poke holes in my plan, but "You're just going to fail" is not a comment I can work with. I deal in specifics. I guess that makes me special!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Spaceman Spiff's Comment
member avatar

PJ, an owner operator , just laid out the reasons in detail as to why it would not be feasible.

We aren't trying to "keep it to ourselves," more that we are trying to explain not to pursue your 4 month plan. You are a business minded person and that is great but it doesn't apply evenly going to this general industry. You will not be able to just acquire the necessary license, equipment and insurance then stay in the black. Small companies and medium companies are going out of business every day right now.

Do you not have the ability to leave home for a few weeks at a time? A company sponsored CDL program would be what the doctor ordered. It's a year of experience that is priceless, albeit too short to realistically still run your own successful hot shot line.

Please consider all the points not as obstacles to overcome and wave a flag but serious warnings from the industry's top drivers here at Trucking Truth. We exist only to encourage and assist folks, even if it isn't in the path they thought it would be.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Auggie69's Comment
member avatar

Hey, all-

I currently have no CDL and no experience hauling freight, and I want to go from zero to own-authority hot shot trucker this year. I need some help determing whether I'm being smart or stupid about this. My motivation is that I need a career change, I like to drive, and I like to make money. So here's the plan:

1) Get a CDL. I understand you can hotshot without one, but that most of the money is in >26,001# GVWR hauling. Guess I'm going to trucking school just to drive a dually 2) Get a rig. Right now I'm thinking an F450 with a 40' gooseneck. Take CDL exam and pass 3) Get authority. Sounds like it's just paperwork. I've already got a corporation (I own an RV park) based in CA. Bring on the fees. 4) Get insurance. I'm expecting to pay around $2k per month as a new driver (41 y.o., clean record) 5) Find a broker or dispatch service that will give me work. This sounds like maybe the biggest challenge I'll face starting out. 6) Hit the road. With my insurance being super high, I'll need to do a lot of miles to pay the bills. $2k per week gross income sounds achievable based on what I've read and that's the goal. 7) Adjust. Once I get some stick time, I expect more loads will be available and insurance rates will drop. Tweak the business accordingly.

My timeline for this is 4 months, zero to hero.

So, what am I missing? There's always something. Got any other advice?

I appreciate your time.

As an aside, anecdotal evidence says that everytime DOT runs their hit operations they ALWAYS target the pickups with the goosenecks.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

GVWR:

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

GVWR is the maximum operating weight of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer, minus any trailers.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I'm just curious why you want to bypass everything you could do to gain some experience. I don't know of any "hotshot" operators making great money. It's fine if you want to be in the trucking business, but why do you want to jump into something with no experience to help you get established. For me that's the biggest hole in your plan.

It's a very competitive business where the guy who is willing to work for the cheapest rate gets the work. Think about that. Do you want to be cutting prices to get work? I just think anybody making a business plan would make it for a business that they understand.

You need to get some real world experience. You'd give yourself a leg up by working in the industry for a couple of years. You'd gain so much valuable experience that would help you understand how to manage your HOS , how to deal with customers, and get you accustomed to the crazy schedule truckers keep. All of those things would not only help you understand how to manage your loads, but also help you adjust to the new lifestyle that comes with the territory.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I haven't seen "specialness" as a requirement on any load boards. Maybe it's a CDL endorsement in some states...

I love it when folks take the time to tell you that they don't have time to tell you anything. If nobody works with new drivers with new authorities, just say so. If you know something about how to stand out and succeed, don't keep it to yourself.

I do want folks to poke holes in my plan, but "You're just going to fail" is not a comment I can work with. I deal in specifics. I guess that makes me special!

Have you read any other conversations on here?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

If you are looking at load boards, how are you doing it? Most require a DOT number. There are a few free ones out there, but they are the bottom ones. The good ones require a membership. It’s been awhile since I looked at any.

I leased my truck onto a large carrier for two main reasons. insurance rates are much cheaper and the front office support. That does come with a price too, but it is still better than I can get on my own. And that is with several years experience.

I do ok, but an experienced company driver can make what I do, without the headaches.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

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