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If you know me at all, you know I love hot shot trucking. I have nearly 7 years experience in hot shotting. I spent a year hauling RVs as an owner operator. I also spent almost 6 years hauling livestock with a 1 ton dually and goose-neck trailer. I made good money doing both. I also had great home time and spent most weeks working 40 to 50 hours. These hot shot trucking game changers would make me think twice about going back into hot shotting.
I’ve always thought I’d return to RV hauling as a semi-retirement job, but these are things that will definitely weigh heavily into that decision. The rules have definitely changed.
Hot Shot Trucking Game Changers
My time in hot shotting started back in 2005, but a lot has changed in the last decade or so. Three things specifically come to mind when it comes to using a dually as a commercial vehicle. These may not be a good enough reasons to stay out of hot shot trucking. But they are serious things that have changed drastically in recent years.
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Newer Equipment Costs A Lot More
The newer trucks aren’t cheap. As a company driver, I was driving $65,000 pickup trucks. You can easily spend a lot more on a crew-cab with full options. The used truck market has gone up quite a bit too. You’re definitely going to spend a lot more on that truck, new or used.
The initial cost isn’t the only thing that’s more. Maintaining the new trucks has definitely gone up. Newer trucks have hundreds of computer sensors, and they’re everywhere. High pressure fuel injection, DEF, DPF and new computer technology has drastically reduced the amount of work you can perform yourself. And those shop rates aren’t cheap.
I’ve seen a lot of hot shot truckers get a million or more out of that Cummins 5.9 liter engine. A good friend of mine made it to 1.3 million, then performed a complete overhaul and ran it up over 2 million before finally retiring the truck. He performed nearly all the work himself. I doubt that will happen on the new trucks.
Fuel Mileage Is Not What It Used To Be
They’re coming a long way with this one, but it’s still not what it once was. I could deadhead that old 5.9 and get 24 mpg at 70 mph. Even towing the bigger RVs, I was able to average at least 14 mpg if I kept my speed around 62. I did get an occasional pig of a trailer that would test my will. Between the huge frontal area and the North Dakota headwinds, that instant mileage gauge would drop to abut 9.5. If it looked like the wind was going to die down, I’d just park for a few hours.
E-Logs Are Here
Electronic logs are a game changer for the industry, but hot shotters could easily feel it the most. This is especially true if you run a lot of dead head miles. I learned early on that I could run 62 mph, loaded and dead head, and save money. (There are no empty miles pulling RVs. You’re either loaded or dead head.) I soon discovered I could run 56 mph loaded and 72 dead heading back, saving even more fuel. Needless to say, e-logs will create a new cost of slowing down, less miles covered per day.
E-logs also create more work when it comes to personal conveyance miles. Those are the miles we put on our trucks for personal use. You can still do it, but you’ll have to keep track via notations in your logs.
DOT Cop In The Studio
Kevin Colton is back again. A former US Marine, trucker and career law enforcement officer, Kevin spent 5 years in CMV enforcement in the Atlanta area.
This time the topic is hot shot trucks. We covered a wide range of topics. Some of my favorites were discussion about home built trailers and hitches. You’ll enjoy the conversation. We also talked about auxiliary fuel tanks, length limits, load securement, even a case of a CMV using bungee cords for seat belts.
Really Bad Ads
I don’t know if we should call this week’s show Really Bad Ads or Really Bad Daughter. Either way, it’s definitely funny.
If you find a really bad ad, be sure to send it our way.