Home on Weekends
When a Home Run is not a “Home Run”
The cost of runs to and from home
Do you live in a freight ‘hub’? Is there a huge volume of load options near your home?
If not, you’re going to have to work to get out on the road. Or you may fight to get back home. (Nice to see you Alabama, Mississippi…)
And how does that affect your wallet?
Less options means less money.
But let’s dig even deeper.
If you live in an area where there are a lot of trucks (hey there Texas & Georgia), the rates for loads are gonna be low.
Because one of those trucks is going to take the load for a low rate. The brokers know this, so they simply hold out for one to come take it. Not much opportunity to negotiate the rates here.
Going home, Leaving home - costs you
That means every time you want to go home, or leave home to get back rolling, you’re gonna be faced taking a hit in the wallet.
Whatever your average rate is (we’ll get to that in a minute), the rate near home is going to be lower.
Limiting your radius, Limits your revenue
Some folks think it’s a good idea to just stick to areas that are no too far from home.
Well, first of all, if there’s less loads available near you - you’re gonna sit. And that doesn’t bring in the cash.
Secondly, if you are trying to be home weekends, you can only run maybe 1500 miles from home - because you’re trying to run that 1500 miles right back again.
Remember we just talked about limited loads in areas?
So how the heck are you gonna find a load, much less get a decent rate, when you’re playing only in your back yard?
Short answer; You’re Not.
So you basically are looking for Local area runs
That idea is loco alright.
You are not going to make the revenue - who’s gonna pay your operating costs with those restraints?
Mr Insurance Man wants his $Grand a month. Truck and trailer payment? Money for support the home?
Listen, if you want a turn around time of 5 days - your radius of how far you can go is pretty small. The loads available for that are gonna be even smaller. (post read: Why Hotshots Get Knocked Out)
You can’t follow the money when you’re following the road home all the time. Zero strategy is zero profits.
How can you earn more and still have home time?
First, start with the obvious. Make the run home less often.
That doesn’t mean less home time!
That just means making a better schedule, to reduce those hits and…..drum roll…..maximize your home time.
If you were to run 14-days, and then go home. You’ll earn more money than if you try to go home every week.
You’ll put your feet up for a 2 or 3 day weekend, and get back out.
Maximize home time and Maximize money!
What if you were to stay home for a full week?
Put your tootsies up, relax. Let the swelling go down. Ease your back. See the family.
Quality home time takes more than 2-3 days at a time. Be honest.
You need to go home long enough for those folks to get on your nerves. Just kidding.
If you go out for 3 weeks and stay home for 1 full week you will have better home time AND make more money!
You opened up your radius to run, so you can strategize and make the most! You won’t be constantly trying to find the load going to or from home - instead you can focus on the load that makes you the money.
And you’ll be home long enough that they start asking you to do chores. (that’s when it’s time to get back in the truck)
Did someone say 6 to 8 weeks off a year?
Yeah, I did. If you run a 3-out 1-home schedule, you’re gonna have enough weeks in to take off a LOT of time.
No, not weekends off. We’re talking a month or more.
A real vacation and then some.
Stay home Thanksgiving to New Years.
Or stay home for the whole month of winter’s snow-madness.
Let’s compare to a j.o.b. (gasp!)
What if I told you that most hotshot drivers work 34-38 weeks per year?
That comes out to about 250 days per year. Just like a ‘regular job’.
Making a profitable home-filled schedule
Make better use of your time
You need a larger radius that your willing to run, to have the most options and get the larger revenue.
Chances are, you’re taking a money hit each time you go/leave home.
Make your home time count - stay off a week rather than a weekend.
By now, you will have read all about freight season. The highs and lows of the load volumes and rates. You didn’t?! Go read it now!
If you live in an area that has low load volume and/or rates, then every time you go home or leave home, you take a revenue hit. Limit the number of times you do that, and still get plenty of time off - by going home less often but STAYING home longer!
So, by now you also know when the best time is to take off and be home…and when you need to hustle and earn them Benjamins.
Make a plan, Stan.
Plan to work during the highest paying weeks
And take time off during the lowest paying weeks. Makes good sense, right?
Pull out that calendar
You want to make the most money and have the most time off, right? This is how you do just that.
Here’s the easy part.
Most hotshots can work 34-weeks a year and make their profit. Same amount of time as a regular job.
Knowing the freight seasons & planning your year
Let’s start with January. First week is generally a bust anyway, ‘cause shippers/receivers are still hung over from the holidays.
OTR is just that, over the road
Let’s get ready to roll..
Second week of January, get yer butt back out there. I know, you been off for quite awhile (if you followed this plan), but it’s time to get rolling again.
If you went out for, say, two weeks and wanted to go home every other weekend…many of you don’t live in the freight lanes. This means, for each load to/from home, you’ll likely take a revenue hit. That’s four loads a month at a lower rate, and 4-days off a month.
It’s possible, but not as profitable.
On the other hand, if you went out for three weeks, you’d only have two loads a month at a lower rate. And you’d have 7-days off a month.
Twice as long home time, and more money in your pocket. Not to mention, a full week off, rather than a weekend. Who doesn’t need that?
Ok, so if you go OTR for 3 weeks - oh my god, I can hear you whining from here!
Then, go home for 1 week.
Why a week? Well, the idea of being off for just a weekend ain’t gonna really cut it. You need to decompress from the road. You need some real time out of that driver’s seat.
Plus, every time you try to get home and get back out there, you take a hit. A revenue hit. Minimize those hits and take more time off!
Road, Rest, Repeat
Been off for a week? Time to repeat the cycle.
You’re basically gonna keep chugging away at a 3-on 1-off cycle.
the Heat of Summer
As you know, summer is high freight season. So if you want to work more than 34-weeks per year, this is the time to throw an extra week in. Stick it in June or July - the hottest freight market time.
I know, you’re getting tired
Well, you my friend, have gotten your 34+ weeks of work in & done by Thanksgiving!
That’s right. It’s now the lowest/slowest time of freight season.
That’s right. GO HOME. From Thanksgiving all the way until the second week of January.
You’ve gotten your weeks of work in. It’s time to go ho-ho-home.
If you planned your year, made (and stuck) to your budget…you got it made.
Caution: Do Not Use this Plan if you Can’t Plan your Money
If you’re planning on working 34-weeks a year, that means that you’re socking away a solid 33% of your money for the weeks you’re off.
Self employed means paying your own damn vacations
Get yourself a savings account, put that money somewhere you can’t see or use it on a daily.
Do you want to see what each month looks like? Take a look HERE.
Guess what, being out for 3-weeks at a time almost always earns MORE than the same number of days broken up by runs home.
What regular job would let you take a WEEK off each month, and just about TWO MONTHS off every year?!
You work for yourself. Isn’t this nice?