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Old 04-18-2017, 01:21 PM   #1
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Doing research, need feedback on Insured freight services, aka hotshot shipping

Doing some research on this biz, so I am very open to whatever feedback you all may have and any experience with this. If you are not sure just let me know, I still welcome it because regardless any feedback I do get will be researched thoroughly.

It is something I am starting for myself and my dad, also hire a driver if possible later. I've already looked into, working on getting the MC#, dot, company registered and all the fun paperwork. The mc# i will get will already have about a solid, active year's worth of clean history. So getting work will not be an issue. My dad has been getting some experience by pulling about 30k miles of loads in the past couple months.

What I am focused on figuring out next is

Truck and trailer

Both me and my father are going to be driving without CDL's in the beginning. Though we want the capability of being able to in the future, mainly my father. Ive looked at everything between dodge 2500-5500 and ford f250-550's. I didnt know anything about trucks beforehand, though from my understanding the difference is springs, brakes, tow load capacities, etc. I dont see the benefit of buying brand new for a work truck like this? After calculating some numbers out, with the amount of miles being put on the truck and considering deappreciation im not sure a new truck makes the most sense tho I'm open to feedback. My plan is to buy a used truck, maybe below 150k miles? Then drive the of it (but with good maintenance). Also would like to open the option of hiring a driver to run loads as well once I get the business set up 100%. By now I'll have enough money saved up to invest into something bigger maybe a bigger truck but eventually into a different biz. I have options of buying through private sale is well

recommendations on trucks with reliability and capabilities to haul CDL loads later down the road, why, more reliable trailer brands, best place to buy, any weight, trailer length numbers, truck equipment requiring a CDL is also appreciated. whatever information you got, let me know. things that you might want to warn me about, whatever.
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Old 04-18-2017, 01:54 PM   #2
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First off, avoid telling people you will be working as a commercial driver without a commercial drivers license.

Second you want to figure out which market you want to be in. I did the RV/Boat market and racked up 30K miles in 4 months. This was easier because I didn't need a trailer. but I also had to depend on maintenance being done correctly on other peoples boats/RVs and that left me stranded a few times.

Once you figure out the market you want to be in, at a minimum you will want a 1 ton long bed Single Rear Wheel (SRW) These will put you in the 15-17K load range. If you think you will be moving more than that then get a dually to begin with and they are good for loads north of 20K

As far as brand pick your poison, I did 95% of my loads west of the Mississippi and for the majority I saw older 5.9 Dodges or newer 6.7 fords with a little of everything else thrown in there.

I used a 06 Ford 6.0 that apparently has the worst reputation for an engine, but never I never seemed to have a problem with it and I surprisingly saw a lot of them on my travels. Stick with a 5.9 Dodge, 2011+ dodge I think that was when they figured out the emissions .
Ford 6.0 or 6.7. the 7.3 is a workhorse but too slow for modern standards and getting up there in age. The 6.4 had issues.
GM Any of them from 2004(LLY engine code) on could be looked at but you'll have emissions to deal with from 2007.5+

If you don't want to worry about it find a good used 2005+ dodge 5.9, but you'll pay a nice premium for it over the other choices.

As far as trailer it will depend on what you are trying to do car trailer, step-deck gooseneck, enclosed transport. They all have their purpose. If you end up getting good and want to expand you can move straight to the heavy duty trucks or you can can baby step it into the the medium duty trucks like a freightliner m102 as far as getting a 4500 or 5500 you won't be able to haul more than a 3500 truck, what they do have is the 19.5 wheels that run commercial tires and "usually" bigger brakes. So you wont be towing any more but you might do it more comfortably if you're towing close to the max weights.

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Old 04-18-2017, 01:56 PM   #3
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I work in this business and I would suggest a RAM pre DEF with a new DPF filter or one that has been bypassed and as far as a trailer the best bang for the buck is any PJ with electric over hydraulic brakes I would suggest at least a class C CDL to begin with and make sure that your combined GVWR with truck and trailer is below 26,001 lbs. The combination will be considered commercial when you cross state lines and you will have to run logs you just will not need a class A CDL to operate. As long as you stay in TX you don't need to run logs but you need to adhere to hours of service rules. Also keep in mind that if you go into a combination vehicle or single vehicle rated at 26,001 lbs or greater then you will have to run an Electronic Logging Device for interstate commerce. Basically you really need to become very familiar with FMCSA rules which I would suggest taking a class for. You need to start out right because when you are audited, not if but when then you need to have your ducks in a row or you are going to have a very expensive fine that will have to be paid promptly.
I am not an expert by any means but with my experience the RAM and PJ combination that are kept up tend to last as we have several trailers with well over 300k miles and four trucks above and just below the 300k mark.
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:08 PM   #4
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Texas DPS has a hard on for these types of drivers too. Just a fair warning. I have friends get stopped taking cars to car shows all the time and it gets expensive quick.
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Old 04-19-2017, 01:50 PM   #5
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40' gooseneck will require a CDL. If I were you, I'd locate a decent 24' dual axle dually gooseneck, with ratchet rails and sliding ratchet straps. Also, make sure you have under body tool boxes and a decent under body cage (or use bed angle supports) for dunnage. Shorter trailers will usually fly under the DPS radar if you are slightly overloaded.

Ford's have flooded the market when it comes to utility trucks, so sourcing a nice 6.7L with a good flatbed shouldn't be hard. Try to find one that already has the gooseneck ball built into the bed with a cover plate. Also, make sure the 7-pin plug has already been installed in the gooseneck attachment area as well. Same goes with the flatbed of the truck, try to get the ratchet rails with the sliding ratchet straps on it... trust me, it'll make life easier and keep physical movements to a minimum.

I've hauled a ton of products all over Texas with my last company. When we had hot items and hotshot companies couldn't come through in time... I personally delivered the material orders to the oil rigs. Many late night runs, with well over the maximum capacity of both the truck and trailer. Not the smartest decisions I've made, but the job needed to get done and the pay off, was well worth it.
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Old 04-19-2017, 02:50 PM   #6
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Steer clear of the 3500/F350s. A buddy of mine bought a 3500 and doesnt have a CDL. He is very limited on what trailers he can pull because he will be over the 16,000lb limit easily.

I myself have hauled a 28' gooseneck with a dodge 2500 for work. No issues whatsoever and was completely legit even though i do not have a CDL. We get US Healthworks cards regularly that allow us non-CDL drivers to haul loads less than 16k. Everything is by the book.
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:01 PM   #7
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40' gooseneck will require a CDL. If I were you, I'd locate a decent 24' dual axle dually gooseneck, with ratchet rails and sliding ratchet straps. Also, make sure you have under body tool boxes and a decent under body cage (or use bed angle supports) for dunnage. Shorter trailers will usually fly under the DPS radar if you are slightly overloaded.
Well i guess i just need to read into how much heavier the 30ft is vs 24ft. 6ft more takes away more weight i can carry for a trade off in more space
What about a 30' dual axle trailer? 24 is what they're using now tho its a POS trailer. Currently looking at 24'-30' PJ's and they have the same GVWR. dad will be looking at 40' because he's about another week done with his class A.
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Old 04-19-2017, 03:08 PM   #8
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Steer clear of the 3500/F350s. A buddy of mine bought a 3500 and doesnt have a CDL. He is very limited on what trailers he can pull because he will be over the 16,000lb limit easily.
Its a limit of 26000 GVWR. A 3500 ram can be under 12000 gvwr. Leaving room for a trailer with gvwr of 14000. Dual axle rated at 7k will get you a 24' ro 30' trailer np.
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Old 04-19-2017, 09:53 PM   #9
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Well i guess i just need to read into how much heavier the 30ft is vs 24ft. 6ft more takes away more weight i can carry for a trade off in more space
What about a 30' dual axle trailer? 24 is what they're using now tho its a POS trailer. Currently looking at 24'-30' PJ's and they have the same GVWR. dad will be looking at 40' because he's about another week done with his class A.
The additional 6' is not worth the price tag. You will find your limitations in the axles and tires on your trailer. Keep in mind, if you haul steel, it's either 20' sections or 40' sections and pallets are typically 4'X4'. So a 30' trailer will still only provide you room for the same amount of steel or 14 pallets, whereas the 24' will be cheaper and only short you 2 pallets by providing you up to 12 pallets... which if you have the additional 2, they could be relocated to the flatbed of your truck.

So if you go with a dual axle you are still limited to the weight they can carry and the load ratings on the tires... so dual axle dually tires will be the winning choice, no matter the brand.

Also, make sure you don't get a full wood bed trailer. If you ever have to lay thin (less than 3/16" thick) 96"X240" steel plate on it, you will regret everything once you see the plate biting the wood and folding under on themselves.
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Old 04-20-2017, 06:56 AM   #10
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Its a limit of 26000 GVWR. A 3500 ram can be under 12000 gvwr. Leaving room for a trailer with gvwr of 14000. Dual axle rated at 7k will get you a 24' ro 30' trailer np.
Dual 7k axles will still provide you with (4) 3,500 pound tires (14,000).

Most dually axles will be rated at 10k and some dealers can option 15k axles if you have them build it. That'll give you the option to run (8) 3,500 pound tires (if you go tandem dually), which will limit you to 28,000. This way, you get the most bang for your buck and will not have to worry so much about not being able to handle certain loads. If you go this heavy duty, you might want to consider 5th wheel hook up.
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Old 04-20-2017, 07:35 AM   #11
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Its a limit of 26000 GVWR. A 3500 ram can be under 12000 gvwr. Leaving room for a trailer with gvwr of 14000. Dual axle rated at 7k will get you a 24' ro 30' trailer np.
Yes, you are correct. My bad. Point being a 2500/F250 GVWR is going to be lower than a 3500/F350 which gives you way more options as far as trailer setups.

14,000 is not much for a trailer, very easy to be over that especially when considering hotshot setups. And if it's a 4x4 3500/F350 you will be overweight.

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Old 04-20-2017, 10:00 AM   #12
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Its a limit of 26000 GVWR. A 3500 ram can be under 12000 gvwr. Leaving room for a trailer with gvwr of 14000. Dual axle rated at 7k will get you a 24' ro 30' trailer np.
A single wheel 3500 may be under 12,000 and I know you can get a 3500 single wheel with the option to have it de-rated down to 10,000 on paper but on the new duallys of any brand I've ever seen is 14,000 GVWR with no way around it so you're limited to a 12K trailer until CDL is done.

Once you get the CDL it's no question to get a dually with a 40ft trailer with dual tandem axles to max out loads
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:29 AM   #13
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...If you go this heavy duty, you might want to consider 5th wheel hook up.
Do you know I can find more info about this, I've just always been curious about the physics invoked between the two systems. I've tried looking on the web for the explanation of the mechanics involved with ball/coupler vs. kingpin/plate dynamics but most I find is people trying to convert their RVs. When I did hotshot I looked into converting a GN neck to a kingpin but got out of it before investing in a trailer.
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:42 PM   #14
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Get your CDL first. If you get a violation for driving without it, it will be that much harder. Written test is easy, driving not so much, if you have no prior experience with double clutching and or backing up a 40 or 53 foot trailer.
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Old 04-20-2017, 02:57 PM   #15
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Get your CDL first. If you get a violation for driving without it, it will be that much harder. Written test is easy, driving not so much, if you have no prior experience with double clutching and or backing up a 40 or 53 foot trailer.
test can be taken in an auto with no license restrictions.
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:39 PM   #16
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test can be taken in an auto with no license restrictions.
Class A or B?
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Old 04-20-2017, 05:46 PM   #17
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test can be taken in an auto with no license restrictions.
This is from the Texas CDL handbook.
A driver must take a Road Test in the vehicle he plans to
drive or one in the same class. The Road Test will consist of
the following maneuvers:
1. Start
2. Quick Smooth Stop
iv
3. Parallel Parking
4. Backing
5. Upshifting
6. Downshifting
7. Lane Change
8. Merge
9. Use of Lanes
10. Right-of-Way
11. Posture
12. Approach to Corner
13. Traffic Signals
14. Traffic Signs
15. Left Turns
16. Right Turns
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Old 04-21-2017, 12:15 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Class A or B?
Doesn't matter

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbfoot View Post
This is from the Texas CDL handbook.
A driver must take a Road Test in the vehicle he plans to
drive or one in the same class. The Road Test will consist of
the following maneuvers:
1. Start
2. Quick Smooth Stop
iv
3. Parallel Parking
4. Backing
5. Upshifting
6. Downshifting
7. Lane Change
8. Merge
9. Use of Lanes
10. Right-of-Way
11. Posture
12. Approach to Corner
13. Traffic Signals
14. Traffic Signs
15. Left Turns
16. Right Turns
I know what it says and class only means ABC driving an class A with an auto is still a class A. The handbook also covers driving an auto.

There is a restriction the state has for autos only but talking to guys who took the tests and in autos and some of the schools around here that only teach in autos and these guys don't end up with a restriction/endorsement on their license. I see no reason for them to lie about something like that.
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:23 AM   #19
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Doesn't matter



I know what it says and class only means ABC driving an class A with an auto is still a class A. The handbook also covers driving an auto.

There is a restriction the state has for autos only but talking to guys who took the tests and in autos and some of the schools around here that only teach in autos and these guys don't end up with a restriction/endorsement on their license. I see no reason for them to lie about something like that.
That is scary.
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Old 04-21-2017, 05:54 PM   #20
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