“That’s easy … I do that all the time!”
Really? Do you do it consistently?
You see, consistency is the key. Some random dude might do $29K one month but only $6,000 the next month. (But they won’t tell you about that.)
We’ll talk about the right hotshot trucking equipment, what to do from a business standpoint and how to manage your on and off time so you can earn $20K or more every month consistently.
First, it’s essential to have a CDL. You might know a non-CDL guy who does $22,000 or $24,000 one month. And that’s awesome. But what you may not know is that the guy probably worked four to five times harder and ran four to five times more miles than a CDL holder to make the same amount of money. True, non-CDL freight does not pay as well as CDL freight.
These days, many brokers realize that they can take advantage of hotshot truckers who don’t have a CDL and are relatively new to the industry. These drivers tend to be more desperate for work, so they settle for lower rates. The brokers know this, and they exploit this weakness. So, if you want to be consistent in your income goal of making over $20,000 a month, get a CDL.
Second, get the right equipment. It’s OK to start with shorter trailers. But from a dispatching standpoint, many brokers are posting loads at 40 feet, whether that load is 25 or 30 feet. They just put 40 because they want to make sure they have a trailer to handle that. Often, they’re even going to put the weight up 1000 to 2000 pounds because they want to make sure that the truck can handle the weight.
That doesn’t happen that much with semi-trucks because they can handle about the same weight — 40,000 to 48,000 pounds. But with a hotshot, every truck is different. Some trucks can only take 8,000 to 10,000 pounds. Others can handle 15,000 to 17,000 pounds. And still, some others can hold over 17,000 pounds. This is where you want to be. You want to be able to take all the freight that everybody else can. This will help you be more consistent in making more money. So try to get a 40-foot trailer along with a good truck with lower miles on it.
Another thing would be to have tarps — six-foot to eight-foot drop tarps. The guy who has tarps will probably make a little more if he’s doing the same things you are but has tarps. So have tarps, have six chains and six binders. Be able to chain a binder. Have strap protectors. It would be so dumb to lose a load over strap protectors. Also, get mega ramps on your trailer. That’s something that’s going to allow you to haul more freight.
Many people want to do everything themselves. So they end up struggling. You might have some excellent equipment, let’s say a 4500 40-foot trailer to haul 18,000-19,000 pounds. But if you try to do all the dispatching yourself, you’ll struggle to find freight.
So have other people in your corner, whether you hire somebody to dispatch or have a close friend or somebody in your family dispatch for you. That’s great employment for them. You can pay them $300-$500 a week to dispatch for you. So if you have anybody in your family that wants to learn how to dispatch, train them up so you don’t have to be doing that on the road. It makes your life a lot easier and it’s worth the money you’re going to spend.
We’re not talking about the 10-hour reset but the 34-hour restart — you know, the big one. Often, we do most of our tasks over the weekend. We want to have full hours during the week because that’s when shippers and receivers are open to either pick up or drop off. Over the weekend, you’re not going to pick up or drop off that much. Perhaps out of 100 loads you might drop two or three off over the weekend. That’s a great time to do a restart on Friday. Maybe book a load, let’s say 1000 miles, have a full day of driving on Friday, have a half-day on Saturday, be where you need to be on Monday to drop off. And then you do your restart starting Saturday. You’re good to go Monday morning to go again. You can still make $2,000 or more over that weekend off that 1000-mile load and have full hours to go the next week to keep making that money.
Now, this does not mean the truck is going all the time. A good goal to shoot for might be three weeks to three and a half weeks of all-out effort. Then go home for maybe a whole week or half a week. So you might have a huge $8,000 week. But then you can go home for three or four days. And then have a $3,000 week. That’s $5,500 a week on average. So it’s not always about that one big week but being able to do it consistently.
So, it’s not about being on the road all the time. It’s about being able to work your restarts, about being able to take home time and making everything flow together. So that you not only make a good amount of money, but you’re also there for your kid’s birthday, you’re also there for your anniversary, you’re also there for all these important events in your life. And that’s what’s important at the end of the day — having a good amount of time with your family, but also being able to make good money.
In summary, have the equipment you need, have people in your corner (such as a dispatcher) and understand when to do your restarts. Know that you can still take time off and make this amount of money. Some guys will have a super big month and make maybe $25,000. But then they’re so tired from grinding that whole month that they take a week and a half or two weeks off. Then, they have a $10,000 month. So in those two months, they’re doing 35 grand. And 35 divided by two is $17,500 a month. If you can stay consistent in both of those months and do over 20 grand each month but also have good at-home time, that is where you want to be.