Trucking is one of the most profitable industries in America. In 2015, it generated $726.4 billion in revenue. About 80 percent of all goods on the market are transported by trucks. If you enjoy driving and don't mind traveling long distances, consider starting a hot shot trucking business.
When promoting your services, look beyond hot shot load boards. Reach out to local business owners, advertise your hot shot trucking business in newspapers and online and contact national companies that may need your services.
How Hot Shot Trucking Works
Before taking this step, make sure you have a good understanding of hot shot trucking and what it entails. Hot shot truckers are independent drivers who transport goods for businesses and freight providers. They operate Class 3-5 trucks, which are smaller than semi-trucks and trailers. A trucking company, for example, may use the services of a hot shot trucker to transport time-sensitive freight to its clients.
In general, hot shot truckers place bids on online auction websites. This is how they get in touch with freight providers and companies that need their services. They can specialize in one or more areas, such as lightweight cargo, commercial cargo, medical cargo, perishable cargo and so on. Most work is local and regional, so they have more flexibility than standard truck drivers and don't need to spend as much time away from home.
Draft a Business Plan
If you decide to pursue this path, make a business plan for your venture. It should provide a clear overview of your goals, expenses and potential revenue, challenges and other key aspects. Analyze the local market and your competitors. Check out popular hot shot trucking companies and try to determine what makes them successful.
The average rate in this industry is $2 per mile and may vary between $1.50 and $2.50 depending on the season. If you drive around 2,500 miles per week, you'll make $15,000 to $25,000 per month before taxes. That's a lot more compared to the average job. Remember to subtract any operating costs, repair costs, food, fuel and other expenses.
Your business plan should also cover the legal aspects. You'll need to register your company, obtain licenses and get insured. Factor in the cost of buying or leasing a truck and trailer. A truck alone is anywhere from $31,000 to $70,000 and up; expect to pay at least $9,000 for a trailer plus a few thousand dollars for commercial insurance, among other expenses. Research your financing options before getting started.
Legalize Your Business
Consider setting up a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in order to protect your personal assets in case something goes wrong. A sole proprietorship will leave you vulnerable in the event of a lawsuit. You also need to register your company's name with the Secretary of State and apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number).
Once these steps are complete, you must fill out some paperwork, which typically includes:
Liability insuranceOccupational accident insuranceMotor truck cargo insuranceFreight surety bondsFMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) registrationMC (Get Authority to Operate) number registrationBOC3 registrationUnified Carrier Registration (UCR)Commercial driver's licenseFederal DOT inspectionsApplication for special platesDOT number registration
UCR registration, for example, is legally required for all companies and individuals that operate trucks and other commercial vehicles. If you will transport or arrange transport for federally regulated commodities, you must apply for an MC number as well.
Reach Out to Customers
The next step is to find customers for your hot shot trucking business. Go online and sign up on hot shot load boards, such as Expedite Loads, Uship, 123 Load Board and others. Uship, for example, is an online marketplace that connects truckers with individuals and businesses that need their services. It features more than 788,000 service providers and 5.7 million shipment listings.
Another option is to use hot shot truck dispatch services like LTL Rig. They handle the entire process from start to finish and perform credit checks on the companies that hire drivers. This ensures that you'll be paid.
Promote your services on other online platforms, too. Craigslist, local business directories and even social networks are a good choice. From local companies to individuals who need to move furniture, everyone needs a truck at some point – and they need it fast. Put yourself out there and spread the word about your hot shot business.
About the Author
Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK - The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.