This question actually came from a friend who’s thinking about hot shotting full time. We’ll line out a few assumptions. Then we’ll help decide whether to use load boards or a dispatch service.
Full disclosure here. The Trucking Podcast does get a commission from sales of Trucker’s Edge, but that’s not the point of this article. The point is to help a new independent owner operator get a strong start. Big truck or hotshot, we want to help you succeed.
Starting Point Assumptions
- You want to do your own thing, with your own authority.
- You want to find your own freight, and have some in-house contracts.
- You’ve already decided, and your ready to buy your equipment, big truck or hot shot.
- You want your virtual back office (virtual because it’s in your cab) up and running quickly.
Gas or Diesel For Hot Shotting?
We talked about this back in episode 79, Ford Triton V10 For Hot Shots. It’s worth a second listen. I have to follow the example of some of the larger fleets on this one. I’m not thinking trucking companies here. I’m thinking utility trucks, service trucks and other companies that use small and medium duty trucks.
Miles per year would be my deciding factor. The general consensus of fleet management uses 55,000 miles per year, give or take 5 grand. If you’re miles are less, go gas. If you’re going OTR, go diesel.
The Peter Principle
The Peter Principle is a book originally published in 1969. I truly believe it’s alive and well today. In my years of working in car dealerships and other businesses, I saw the principle play out. Mostly dealing with corporate America, author Laurence J. Peter was focused on a major theme. “managers rise to their level of incompetence.”
Truck drivers are somewhat isolated from the day to day B.S. associated with this principle, but not completely. I have no doubt it’s alive and well in many trucking companies.
- Zone of Incompetence
- Zone of Competence
- Zone of Excellence
- Zone of Genius
These four categories tie right into the discussion, so I have to bring them up. The book mostly deals with why we place limits on ourselves, so it ties right in with the discussion above.
The hook. My goal is to help you NOT become one of the thousands of incompetent independent owner operators who fail in their first year. Start with the proper guidance. You’ll know when you’re ready to be completely independent.
Begin with the end in mind. Start where you’ll learn the skills you need to succeed. Learn the business, freight and lanes. Build up the credibility of that DOT number and establish yourself. Find your “duck eggs” and step out. You’ll land in your zone of excellence, and move to your zone of genius in time.