"Hot shot" is the term for an expedited delivery by an express courier service. Hot shot businesses range in size from a single van to hundreds of vehicles, and they make deliveries of everything from lumber to legal documents. Texas is an ideal place to start a hot shot service, with many large, commercial cities and a regional oil industry that demands speedy delivery of drilling samples and rig equipment. Starting a hot shot in Texas offers owner independence and keeps many deliveries near home. Owners should be ambitious, good marketers and communicators, and flexible in dealing with fluctuating economic environments and multiple industries.
If necessary, apply for or renew a commercial driver’s license (CDL) at the nearest Texas Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Office.
Pick a name for your business and register the name with the County Clerk to obtain a doing business as (DBA). The name should convey speed and not limit you to a single delivery market.
Hire an attorney and incorporate your business to protect your personal property in case your business does not fare well.
Join frequent customer rewards programs at filling stations and truck stops, and use cash wherever possible to save money on your biggest expense, which is fuel.
If you are new to the road, consider joining a trucking industry organization like Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association or the National Association of Independent Truckers. A small yearly fee gives you access to industry information and rebates on truck insurance.
Contact freight brokers to register your business with them and learn about the current market for shipping in Texas and the region. Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi are states with potential opportunities related to oil and gas drilling operations.
Contact local businesses to offer your services directly to shippers, or reach out to existing hot shot companies to round out your schedule as a subcontractor.
If you have a vehicle and CDL, but do not yet feel comfortable developing your own business and customer base, consider working for an established company until you have learned how to run a successful hot shot business.
Gauge the size of the market before establishing a new business. Freight brokerage firms can help give you a sense of how much work is out there.
- van fano denmark image by david harding from Fotolia.com