Since I know nothing about trucking I have a question that maybe someone out thier may have some knowledge in. I'm thinkin that what I may want to do because it seems as though it will give me freedom and it will pay decently is do Hot Shot Services around Tex OK and LA. I was told by one hot shot company that thay had more work than they have trucks. Especially if I pulled a 40' flatbed and had a Haz Mat endorcement. Of course I'd have to buy my own equipment but he said that I could make $1600 a week. It would be on a contract basis so, I wiuldn't have any benefits, but heck $5000 + a month ain't bad and I could negotiate and bid for my own jobs. I know it sounds rosy so maybe someone who's been thier and done that shed some light on the reality of doing this.
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If all you're making is $1600 a week you'd better get some dirt cheap, fuel efficient equipment.
To haul a 40 footer you need a Ford F-650, minimum. Think Ford F-750 if you want air brakes. Plan on spending $60,000+ for one half way decently equipped. Commercial truck insurance is far from cheap, especially on a new truck. Fuel, oh my. Maybe, on a good day you can squeeze 10 mpg out of the truck. Drive slow. Staying out overnight? Food and a motel room. Then theres the inevitable flat tire, that eats money quick. Then theres downtime if you have an accident, right now my Pete 379 is making me $0 sitting in a shop because some moron put an excavator bucket in the front end. Yeah, this deal sounds like a train wreck. I'd do an F-650 for $1.20 a mile, minimum if I have to pay for everything.
that $1600 per week had better be after all expenses.
I can see you burning more than that in fuel some busy weeks.
Boilermaker seems to have it covered, but I would use his $1.20 as your cost, and figure if you deadhead with non pay 25% of the time making that $1.50 per paid mile minimum.
Pulling a 40 foot flatbed you are looking at some serious weight possibly. With a tandem axle truck I would not run local for less than $3.00 per paid mile with only 50% of miles paid. If I had a round trip I would give a price break.
By the hour local running would be $65 per hour here in Maine. A good day would bring in $650 or more. I wouldn't turn the key for much less than that. $1600 per week wouldn't entice me AT ALL. $1600 per day would be nice. Actually it is posslble here in Maine. Two drivers, one truck, two 12 hour shifts, $800 gross per shift. You just need a local 24 hour industry.
One last thing: If you are going to be "bidding" on your freight that is a sure way to work cheap. The freight will go to the lowest bidder. The other component of that is if you take a load to point X you will need to underbid a load leaving there, or have sufficient resources to deadhead back home.
Good point, I was thinking highway on an F-650. Running around town with stops and starts wears on a truck faster than running down the highway with the cruise on. Uses more fuel to get that load going too. If you're making a lot of runs in town then yeah, $1.50 per mile minimum.
I run my dump truck on a combination of hourly and mileage. I make a lot of short trips, but I also spend a lot of time sitting with the engine off waiting to load, unload, for the job site to untangle itself. Still get paid for sitting in my cab listening to the radio.
So far I have 3 solid contracts for my services:
1. $28.35/hour $2.00 per mile
2. $35.00/hour $2.75 per loaded mile $1.75 per deadhead mile
3. $38.00/hour $4.00 per loaded mile $3.00 per deadhead mile
I'm in the process of negotiating a few more contracts for my services. This is for a Pete 379 tridem drive 25 foot dump. Big truck + lots of experience = $$$.
With a big truck comes a lot of expense, that 550 horse 3406 requires lots of go juice and TLC. An F-650 would be significantly cheaper to run, provided you don't go nuts on specing it out.
Check the owner operators forums for more info.
If you really want to drive and make a living, you may want to consider wreckers. Get on with some police call lists, motor clubs, and hang out a shingle. International DT466 wreckers can be found used for reasonable money. Yeah being on call 24/7 can suck the life out of you. No CDL needed for most wreckers. Don't make the mistake of buying one on a 1 ton pick up chassis, they're virtually useless on anything bigger than a 4 door sedan. Also don't limit yourself with a rollback, wreckers are more versatile. I know a few guys that make a good living out of their house doing this. Insurance is killer on a wrecker, hope you have a good driving record. You can charge (in Seattle) $50 to hook up, $2.00 per mile, and $.75 per mile to the car for a private tow, double after hours (5pm to 8am). If you get into the police thing you need an impoundment area. Basically a spot where you can put 5-6 cars with a 12 foot high chainlink fence around. Police call and motor clubs set their own rate. Impounds pay really, really good. Most motor clubs suck, you need to aggressively negotiate. Check it out, might be worth it to you.
You don't need a big truck to pull a 35,40, trailer. The hotshotters have and do use F350 dually 1 tons for years. Take the time to go and see these hot shot companies personally. They don't haul really heavy loads hotshotting,they haul insulation alot,a 40 ft trailer load is only about 5000 lbs to pull. The hotshotters i have talked to make 1.oo a mile on just the cheap loads, when you do LTL,you can really clean up,you stay loaded all the time and hardly ever running empty if your careful and go where the freight is. Also,haul trailers for uhaul, rv trailers, canoes, all kinds of boats,legal size,boat trailers,thers no limit. You have to spec your truck out with the sweet spot and gearing and rpms to get the most mileage with the most torque. The investment is less than half of a big truck and twice the mileage. I would go with F350,with cummins in it.with a 35 or 40 fifth wheel trailer, and heavy duty receiver hitch on truck to pull towaways also without the trailer. I"m sure if you do your homework,1600 a week would be a low figure if you really apply yourself and check around hotshot brokers,trailer manurfacturers etc. You are in a perfect area tx and la, great hotshot area. good luck.
Good luck getting a Ford F-350 with a Cummins in it. You'd have to buy a truck without drivetrain, then have a specialist shop adapt the truck to accept a Cummins. You can only get a 5.4 V-8 (weak), 6.8 V-10 (torquey), or a 6.0 Powerstroke (nowhere near as good as a 7.3). Best bet is to buy an 93 to 02 Ford F-350 dually with the 7.3 Powerstroke and a stick. Mines a stock 02 4x4 and it's a real workhorse. 02 is the last year for a 7.3 diesel. With a Banks Performance kit it could be a real stump puller. Stay away from the old autos, prone to wearing out behind that beasty 7.3 PS. Tough as my truck is I wouldn't use it for commercial towing. Main reason is brakes, fully loaded they like to keep going.
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