Alex of the Tow Piglet YouTube channel has had a few trucks now, so he has a good opinion on what the best truck might be. The following is his opinion about the best truck for hotshot.
Does It Really Matter?
Very few people ask me, “Hey what kind of TMS (Transportation Management System) do you use? A good TMS is more important than the truck because it’s the back office. It’s all that stuff that can slow you down on delivering freight and getting paid on the freight. It’s not necessarily as important to pick a good truck. It’s more important to run your business well. Running your business well is not glamorous. It doesn’t get any views, but it’s the really important part.
Get a Diesel Engine
Getting into a hotshot with a gasoline engine is not a good idea. There’s not enough power or torque. Do truck stops usually have gasoline at the places where you can fit with your trailer? No, they don’t. So you’re always going to find yourself going through car islands. It’s just going to be a recipe for hitting something. It’s really tight over there. And so you’re just going to deal with all this frustration. I would never recommend a gasoline engine.
It’s better to get a diesel engine. Of course, gasoline engines have some advantages compared to diesel, but have you ever seen a semi truck as a gas? Never. Exactly. Maybe there are gasoline semi trucks, but its better to get yourself a diesel until electric trucks come out.
Get an Enterprise Rental
We strongly encourage and recommend Enterprise Rentals. It’s 22 cents per mile. Every 6,000 miles, you get a new truck. The alternative is you’re gonna have to do your own maintenance. And to do that you have to be mechanically inclined and willing to do your own maintenance. Because if you don’t, you’ll be paying a lot in maintenance when your truck breaks down.
Don’t buy a GM
TFL Truck conducted “The World’s Toughest Towing Test” on the big three — Ram, GM, and Ford. The Ford had fewer brake applications than the GM and they used the same 10 speed. It’s not like the Chevy had an exhaust break or something. But it was slower up the hill and had more brake applications down the hill. So the Ford already has a bad engine brake. Can you imagine if it’s even worse because you get a Chevy.
Now I don’t know about the older Chevys. But definitely don’t get any with the 10 speed. A V8 diesel ultimately is the same thing. The Ford has a V8 diesel. It’s just harder to work on. There’s less room under the hood. It’s more complicated. There’s more hoses so it seems like they’re more prone to air. And at the end of the day, the most important thing in hotshot is downtime and mechanical repairs. So if you can avoid those two things with an Enterprise Rental and an inline diesel, then why not. So we don’t recommend GM.
I Can’t Recommend Ford
The only good Ford was a 7.3 that was the only reliable one. The 6.0 was problematic. The 6.4 was even worse than the 6.0. And the first couple years of the 6.7 — that’s like 14, 15, 16 — were all so bad. The only reliable Fords are the 17, 18, and 19. Don’t get a 2020 because it has way too many problems. But the problem remains the same that it’s a V8 configuration. We’re on a Ford. You have to remove the cab. It’s harder to service. So I can’t recommend a Ford.
Get a RAM 3500 Cummins AISIN (2015-2018)
If you are thinking about getting into the hotshot business, get the RAM 3500 Cummins, AISIN transmission. The three best years of RAM are from 2015 to 2018.
Now, that’s not to say you can’t make it with a different truck. You can. But at the end of the day, the 15 through 18 RAM Cummins AISIN combo is one of the most reliable drive trains. Yes there’s electrical problems. Yes I’ve had to replace my heater a couple times already. But when your heater breaks or your electrical breaks, that doesn’t leave you stranded on the road. You know what does? A 6.0 — that’ll leave you stranded on the road. You know what else does? A CP4 — which all the 2020s have. You know what else does? A freaking 10-speed transmission. That they will leave you stranded on the road.
Again, Consider an Enterprise Rental
The Enterprise rental is really that good. I realize it’s expensive. Think about it. If you’re going to do 10,000 miles a month, that’s 20, 22, 23 cents a mile. That’s $2,300 bucks. Now yes you could say, “Oh, I’ll just take the same money and you set us aside.” If you’re that disciplined, then go ahead — don’t get an Enterprise rental. Let that money be your maintenance fund.
The problem is, something always comes up. And after four months of being on the road, you’re gonna have — let’s say you do four months on the road, you do 40,000 miles and you’re gonna have now almost $10,000 in your maintenance fund. You’re gonna be like “Oh, I’m balling bro, I got ten grand, I’m gonna go get new wheels, I’m gonna go take a week or a month off.” And then, right when you hit the road the second time or the next time, your truck breaks down. And you just spent your maintenance fund.
So if you are disciplined enough to do that and you know yourself, fine. Just take that same amount of money and set aside for your maintenance fund. The problem is, most Americans don’t have $500 for an emergency fund. So I really don’t think most of you watching me are disciplined enough. And I know from my own self because I wasn’t disciplined enough. So take it from me, who has a little bit of experience. The Enterprise rental forces you to be disciplined. Because they call you up once a month and they take your money regardless.
The Bottom Line
The best truck for hotshot is 2015 to 2018 RAM 3500 Cummins AISIN. Don’t get Fords, don’t get Chevy’s, don’t get new RAMs with the CP4. Or if you do go buy a new RAM, make sure it’s a 2021 because that has the CP3 which seems to be a little bit better. So 2021 RAM Cummins AISIN or 15 through 18 Cummins AISIN. Or just get an Enterprise rental and you can have this nice awesome Ford that gets really good MPG. I’m so impressed with the MPG on the Ford. It’s so impressive. But that 10-speed is silly unreliable, silly unreliable.