Is trucking for me?

Discussion in 'Expediter and Hot Shot Trucking Forum' started by Number21, Nov 25, 2014.

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  1. Number21

    Number21 Bobtail Member

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    I have an interesting situation. A close family member is moving from where I am in Oregon to the east coast. That means I'm going to be making that trip a lot. I've been doing the math on what it will take me to drive there and back in my truck, and it's not cheap. (almost 3000 miles)


    So I thought maybe I could start shipping things while I make this trip? I already have a nice diesel 1 ton truck that can pull a trailer. The cost of the truck and fuel is almost free because I would have made the trip anyway. (unloaded) I realize insurance is the deal killer for most people here, and I haven't got a quote yet, but I could stomach $10,000.


    So my question is, can a new guy that already has a truck and insurance find enough loads to pull across the country? If I could make $2000 per trip (gross, before expenses) I would be really happy with that. Am I delusional? Is that even remotely possible? Am I going to be able to find multiple loads going each way once or twice a month? I would be buying a trailer but not sure what yet.


    It seems like I would have a good chance at finding things, since I've already accepted that I am going to drive across the entire country, loaded or not. I could pick something up anywhere along the way. I don't have a problem taking a different route through another state if it pays. I have an alternate source of income, so I can take a risk with the time and insurance. I don't want to make huge profit so much as regular free trips to the east coast. It would really be great if I this could pay for my fuel, maintenance, insurance, and hotel stays.
     
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  3. inandoutoftrouble

    inandoutoftrouble Road Train Member

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    In the long run, it might be a lot less expensive if you also moved to the east coast to be much closer to the the family member who is moving to the east coast.

    Naturally, you would have to give up your Oregon CDL and replace it with a CDL of the state that you would be moving to. Are you working for a company that can transfer you over from the west coast to the east coast?

    It may also be a lot less stressful than having to constantly worry about getting loads to drive back and forth from one coastline to another.
     
  4. FarmerTransportation

    FarmerTransportation Light Load Member

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    Research, research, and then research some more. I'd advise against just trying to make enough to cover expenses. You'll end up burning up your equipment with no money to replace it.

    If you're gonna do this, do it as a business. There are cross-country loads to be had, but there are also a boatload of regulations in some of the states in between that you'll need to be aware of.

    Read through all the threads here to get a good sense of what hot-shotting involves. I think you'll probably want to do this, but go into it prepared so that you don't run yourself broke "covering expenses."
     
  5. Number21

    Number21 Bobtail Member

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    Don't get me wrong, I want to profit. Extra money is always nice, and I want to pay for the equipment. But if I end up in Virginia for $0 I'm actually about $700 ahead because I got a free ride. Its actually cheaper to fly but I really hate that. My hope is that I could have a lot of time off on both ends if I only had to make one or two trips per month. Think of it sort of like semi retirement. My other income isn't a lot but it's mostly passive so I have the time for this.

    My biggest concern is that I invest money in a trailer and insurance, and nobody wants to hire me because I have no previous experience to show. Is this something I need to worry about? I don't have to be real picky since I'm not looking for huge profits. Anything is better than going empty, but now I have to pay for the insurance. I can see stuff available now that seems profitable, but I'm always worried I won't find it when I need it. I don't want to be in a situation where I'm begging for work to pay for my insurance...

    Looking into the car trailers, would it be hard for me to find three different cars that want to go across the country? Is it a lot of work trying to book all the shipments?
     
  6. 67jeeptruck

    67jeeptruck Bobtail Member

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    I did the 1 ton and 40 ft gooseneck trailer hotshot truck for a while, and I was signed on to a carrier. They supplied my plates, I ran under their authority, the insurance wasn't that bad, and at first I thought, "this is cool". Then I got running. I ran a lot of deadhead runs, I often returned home empty. The 1 tons, at least my Dodge at the time wasn't wide enough to where it could be considered a "berth" legally. This meant motels all the time. Often brokers will get you a load that ends up being overweight. When I signed on to do this, I was told that 95% of my runs would be light, HOTSHOT freight, and local to regional. I ended up running coast to coast, and with trying to keep revenue on my truck, being gone longer at a time than I ever thought I would. If you are going to truck, get a big truck and get real revenue. Possibly you can sign on to a better company than I did. I looked into getting my own authority, I don't remember all the details, but that wasn't cheap. Good Luck.

    You might want to look into delivering RV's. Most are made in Indiana, and possibly you could pick one up going east, and then another heading back west on your return. This will be cheaper as you don't have to have a trailer. It's an idea.
     
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  7. Number21

    Number21 Bobtail Member

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    When you had to come home empty, did you still cover your expenses/equipment for the whole trip? I would definitely be staying in motels along the way. Part of the reason I would drive my truck, even empty, instead of a car is my own comfort.:biggrin_25525: I don't fit in an economy car...

    I like the idea of at least starting with RVs so I don't have to buy a trailer. Is it possible to buy 6 months or less of insurance?
     
  8. 67jeeptruck

    67jeeptruck Bobtail Member

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    The motels were all on my dime. They covered virtually nothing. The cheaper end of this was their insurance was cheap. The tags were cheap. What I didn't know at the time was all the road taxes that would be billed back to me. I had always been a company driver, and didn't have a clue about being an owner/operator. I had to cover my own fuel too. When I began the company I leased on with basically lied to me at the LOCAL trucking company here in TX. I wanted small loads, locally. They started me out with some oilfield equipment. All was well. I was running just in Texas. Then I got a load to carry a "Little ole Fuel tank". Come to find out it was a 32' x 10' underground fuel storage tank. Weight was 16,250 and an oversized load. I ended up delivering 4 of these things. The large frontal area of the tank killed my MPG, and almost destroyed my truck. I ran TX to Lexington KY, TX to Cheyenne, WY, TX to Oklahoma City, and TX to Wichita Falls, TX. NO pilot car, and with being 10' diameter, was close to being over height. Then I got a load for "building panels" that were supposed to be "lightweight" my paperwork showed I was legal, but I know I was loaded higher than stated. Made it through the scales fine, but it was a very rough run from South AR to Manchester, NH. I got runs back home, but it took many days longer than I thought. Certainly wasn't a direct route. Once you get out there and running empty and it is costing you fuel/motels, you find yourself seeking loads. 1 tons aren't really designed for this type usage. If you want to do hotshot freight you would be better off to get a medium duty Freightliner, Peterbilt, KW or other. I believe if you get a crew cab of the medium duty trucks, the back seat has a long enough width to be considered a "berth" and can reduce your $50 to $100 per night motel which believe me adds up quickly against your revenue. One more thing to look out for is some freight brokers a slow paying, and even NO paying. Occasionally you get a receiver of freight who will claim YOU damaged their freight in transit. This can keep you from getting paid altogether at worst, or a long delay. I don't know the ins and outs of delivering RV's. I had a friend who did it, and he enjoyed it. He is gone now so I can't ask him anything about it. I know my post sounds like a bummer. But I learned a lot by doing it wrong. Had things happen that an experienced Owner/Operator probably would have seen coming. Since you are new, I can expect you will experience things that I did. Also, the gooseneck trailer tires blow out more than you might think when you get hit with an overload. My trailer had tandem duals and I didn't buy cheap tires. But they can come with cheap under rated tires that can fail. Be sure to make sure your trailer has correct rated tires on it when you buy it.
     
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  9. Midwest1

    Midwest1 Medium Load Member

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    I would really find another source of revenue or a different way to earn money. To get your own authority, cargo insurance, trailer, plates etc.. its just not worth it for what your trying to do. This would turn into a job for you and from what your saying I don't think its what you want.
     
  10. Number21

    Number21 Bobtail Member

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    I disagree. People need shippers of all sizes. Sounds like you got overloaded and that sucks. But if that can be avoided, a one ton is smaller/quicker/cheaper. Some things you wouldn't pull with a big truck, like an RV. I have no idea if I can find enough small loads though.

    There is a guy that lives close to me that does this. I don't know him but he looks successful. He's got two nice Rams with his name on the side and a couple smaller goosenecks, probably 30 foot or so. I see him loaded up with all kinds of random stuff. Must be making money, he's got two nice trucks he parks at his nice house. Who knows, maybe he's running drugs...


    Not a problem, I made this post so you can scare me away. It all sounds great in theory but I want to hear about real life.


    Well, expenses are looking something like this:
    Insurance: $1000/month (probably over estimating)
    Fuel: $1400 per round trip
    Truck Maintenance: $200 per round trip
    Truck is paid for and will be driven out there either way.

    One trip/month cost $2600. That's an average of 43 cents/mile for the whole 6000 mile trip. Anything over that is profit and a free trip across country. How much do they pay to deliver RVs?

    Not trying to argue, just want to make all the numbers make sense.
     
  11. Lite bug

    Lite bug Road Train Member

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    It will be almost impossible to find loads coming out of your area going straight to the east coast on a regular bases, that will fit on a hotshot trailer, that would be profitable. Freight going long distance pays less per mile, because you will be competing with big trucks going the same way. You would have to hop scotch your way across country, depending where the paying freight takes you. Think about it that way. Also the time of year you travel will affect your plans. The learning curve of being a owner/operated is thing of it's own. You might think of it like getting in to this business then when the opportunity to come east take it, that is a way I could see working out for you. You could work with a dispatch service ( someone you pay, you are buying experance, and using their connection's ) they will have brokers calling them on a daily bases, let the loads going east find you. ( the best paying loads seldom come up on load board ) I have a question. What kind of background do you have?
     
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