Starting your own hotshot business requires an initial cost of about $5,000 to $15,000. This initial cost just covers registration, permit, tax and other required documentation and not including your trailer, vehicle and other equipment.
Even with the high cost of initial investment, you shouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t have enough cash. There are several financing options for hotshot truckers that can help you get started.
1. Lease Purchase
A lease purchase program is a popular financing option for many drivers because it doesn’t typically require a hefty down payment on equipment. Also, most companies do not require a credit check. Lease purchase is an attractive offer to those with bad credit score or who don’t have enough savings for down payment .
How It Works
Many trucking companies offer lease-purchase options but they will require you to work solely for them during the entire duration of the contract. Depending on the company, you may be able to choose a new or used truck with the option to buy the vehicle outright and walk away at the end of the term. Typically, you can lease a new vehicle for 3 to 5 years while a used vehicle for 1 to 3 years. The contract may also include certain fees such as mileage, repairs, tires, taxes and insurance fees.
Benefits of a Lease Purchase Program
- Helps with administrative tasks
Many companies that offer lease purchase programs would assist you in specific administrative tasks such as load management. Since you will operate under the company’s lease provider, they may also help manage your taxes and reports.
- Helps secure the necessary permits to operate
If you lease and work as an independent contractor for a carrier, in most cases, you can expect that they will secure or help you with the necessary permits and requirements to get you on the road.
What to Watch Out For
While a lease purchase program may seem like a good idea, many drivers are skeptical about this program because of dishonest carriers. You may end up clocking fewer miles and earning less than what’s promised.
Different companies have different lease purchase terms. As a rule of thumb, before making a decision, compare your options from several companies, check the details about their program and if possible, learn from other drivers who are into that program.
2. Small Business Loans
Another financing option that you may consider if you are planning on starting a hotshot business is to get a small business loan from the local banks or lenders in your area.
How It Works
Business loans help startups and established businesses by providing the necessary funding to start and grow your business or cover you in case of cash shortage. With a traditional business loan, you can borrow $5,000 to several million dollars with interest rate that starts from 5% to 60% APR (this combines the interest rate plus relevant loan fees). Some lenders may require you to have a collateral which is often the equipment you are buying, while others will approve your application based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
There are different types of business loans that you can choose from depending on your needs and specific situation:
Equipment financing – This business loan can help in purchasing a trailer or other business equipment. It allows you to borrow up to the full cost of the equipment you are buying and then pay back the principal amount plus interest in installments with loan terms that can go up to 7 years. Equipment financing is secured by the equipment you are buying.
Vehicle financing – A vehicle that will tow the trailer is perhaps one of your biggest investments if you are starting a hotshot business. Fortunately, there are banks and lenders that offer a special type of business loan just for this purpose. Vehicle financing is also a secured loan with the vehicle as collateral.
SBA loans – The Small Business Administration (SBA) also offers loans for startups and nontraditional businesses with some of the lowest interest rates and longer terms. As these loans are quite popular, getting approved for one is not that easy. Also, it may take several months before you can actually get the loan proceeds.
Term loan – This type of loan can cover a one-time, one large expense such as purchasing a vehicle or trailer. The loan term is typically between 5 to 20 years.
Benefits of Small Business Loans
With different business loans available, you can easily choose one for your specific needs. Business loans offer more flexibility in terms of repayment with some loans offering up to 20 years. There are also more options to compare if you are looking for a low-interest business loan.
What to Watch Out For
Apart from interest, business loans also charge a one-time fixed cost which can be a flat fee or percentage of the loan amount. Some banks also charge an origination fee which can range from 2 to 5 percent of the loan amount. It’s also important to note that with business loans, banks and lenders will check your credit score as part of the assessment process. A high credit score may not guarantee approval but can help improve your chances of getting the loan.
A small business loan is a good choice to finance your specific business needs. It’s a smart move if your creditworthiness is good. With a wide range of business loans available, comparing your options is key to getting a good deal.
3. Seller Financing
Many companies that sell hotshot vehicles and trailers also offer financing options either in-house or through a third-party lender. The availability of seller financing is an important consideration when you are looking to buy your first equipment.
Benefits of Seller Financing
Many dealers offer a fast-approval financing option which is a good thing if you want to get started immediately.
What to Watch out For
Watch out for high interest rates and fees. Before making a decision, it’s a good idea to compare the cost of this financing options with other available business loans.
Not all dealers offer this type of financing. Shop around to see which dealers selling your preferred equipment brand and model offer this financing option also.
Starting any type of business requires a capital. Cash is king as they say. But don’t let money hinder you from having your own hotshot business as there are financing options that are suited for your specific needs.