Geographic specialization, with Brady’s Hotshot Hauling owner-operator Jeff Ward

| December 02, 2014

Jeff Ward

Atlanta-area owner-operator Jeff Ward started his hotshot business with a big F450 cab and chassis outfitted with a flatbed body and gooseneck-type hitch. He was a trucking veteran, having run over-the-road long ago and spending much of his career with his own authority running dump trucks.

Brady's Hotshot Hauling specsWard got his start in hotshot when he was asked to help a shipper involved in high-rise building projects around Atlanta. Though the housing market crash had dealt a heavy blow to his dump outfit, this other business was going strong. Within five days, Ward bought a Ford F450 and flatbed trailer and started work. He rechristened his business Brady’s Hotshot Hauling, named for his youngest son who thought it was something else to have his name on the truck’s door.


Hotshot trucking: Pros, cons of the small-truck niche

Hotshot hauling offers lower start-up costs and other advantages over running Class 8 over-the-road, but other trade-offs make it challenging in its own right.

The eggs-in-one-basket tack was lucrative – Ward did $125,000 in revenue that first year as a hotshot, well better than he’s done since. Running with his own carrier authority with a goal of establishing a solid customer base for freight, however, Ward could see the eggs-in-one-basket approach wasn’t going to last. So before the building projects wrapped up, “I started branching out and going to different jobsites,” he says. “I stayed with it, met some people” and discovered there “seemed to be more opportunity in hotshot trucking than dump trucking.”

With the dump business, he’d been home every night, a big improvement from his OTR days with Averitt Express that ended in 1996. “I was married with a couple of kids and wanted to be at home with the family,” he says.


Hotshot hauling with owner-operator Jeff Ward

Meet Villa Rica, Ga.-based Jeff Ward and his Brady's Hotshot Hauling business, with a 2012 Ford F350 outfitted with a Cadet flatbed body, gooseneck hitch ...

Home time also has been good with his hotshot business, the majority of his freight centered in and around Atlanta. Customers, including a regional utility, were established over the years “from just word of mouth.”

One regular haul to Kentucky occasionally requires a layover. The freight is aluminum signal houses for railroad operations, big and bulky but light enough to keep Ward’s GVW under 26,000 lbs., where he’s tagged.


When the road leads nowhere

When the road leads nowhere

Hotshot hauler Jeff Ward crosses a road to nowhere; And mainstream media -- helped along by the Uber ride-sharing service -- works to turn "independent ...

The haul is the product of a relationship with a broker at Seamates in New Jersey that started when Ward’s original runs were dwindling. “I started getting on these load boards,” he says, with subscriptions to Internet Truckstop and DAT’s TruckersEdge.

A single instance of posting his hotshot truck’s availability led to the Seamates broker’s call. Today, “anytime they’ve got something” out of Atlanta that will fit his weight/size characteristics, “I’m the first person she calls,” Ward says.

[youtube hgpo8fvdi70&list=PLc1lg9rs1dUCfNfedpl8Iwc4-m0TsnqnX nolink]

Owner-operator Greg Cutler’s mobile equipment hauling business

There is one comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *