Why do many startup hotshot businesses fail? Some attribute it to lack of loads, negative cash flow and too much competition. While there are risks that you may encounter not only in your first year but as long as your business exists, there are also ways on how you can avoid them. We can get inspiration from those who have ended their first year of operation well. Their success stories are no secret.
So here are five tips that you can do to massively improve your chances of survival as you enter the hotshot trucking industry:
1. Master your driving skills.
There’s no doubt that your first year as a hotshot owner-operator is going to be hard and challenging. That is expected. You’ll be making a lot of adjustments and learning experiences to get accustomed to the job and lifestyle. Don’t surrender. Instead, keep pushing and learning.
Fear is one of the common hindrances to success with many new hotshot truckers. They are afraid to accept deliveries to locations they are not familiar yet. They are afraid to face road obstacles including bad weather, difficult terrain and narrow streets and bridges. But how will you master your driving skills if you will not try? As they say experience is the best teacher. So don’t be afraid to explore new locations.
Mastering your driving skills takes more than just guts. You also need advance planning. If the destination is new to you, take the time to research about the area including possible road obstacles. Preparation is key to reaching your destination safely and on time.
2. Expect a low cash flow.
Do your best but expect the worst. With that in mind, expect that you’ll not be making good money in your first few years as a hotshot trucker. It’s a sacrifice that you must take in stride if you want to succeed.
Low income for start-ups is often attributed to lack of shippers. This is where load boards can help. Also, generally, new drivers are not as efficient as experienced ones, and this can add to your cost. Consider it as part of the learning curve. At the same time, you could follow our fuel saving tips.
With the expectation that you’ll not be getting good income while still starting up, be prepared for thin living. You need to budget what little cash flow you have, make adjustments on your spending, and be prepared to shell out extra cash for your operation.
3. Do your best to avoid accidents.
Accidents can be costly and they will hurt your driving record so make it your goal to avoid or minimize them. It is very common for new hotshot truckers to get involved in road accidents as they are still getting used to having a trailer in tow. Be extra careful when making difficult maneuvers and when dealing with bad weather and difficult roads. Also, it helps if your get the right insurance coverage to help you financially, just in case.
4. Be ready to be away from home.
If you have a family, it’s important to be prepared to be away from home for days. Your family should also be prepared for this arrangement. Loneliness and depression are common among hotshot truckers especially those who are new. You need to be prepared mentally and emotionally for this kind of situation.
5. Focus on your goal.
Your first year as a hotshot trucker is never easy and it is important not to get discouraged. Identify your challenges and match them with the right action plan. If you make it a practice, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your goal.
Starting a hotshot business is not that complicated but is also not a walk in the park. It requires a lot of learning, determination and sacrifice. With the five tips we listed above, you’ll have a greater chance of success on your first year in the business.