BLUE COLLAR HAULER JAMES BALLA WITH JWB ENTERPRISES!
Are you a decade into your career and still feeling like you just haven’t found the kind of work you are looking for? That was James. He had dreamed of being an over-the-road trucker, but spent years doing other jobs. Last year, he took the leap. He got a truck, gooseneck flatbed trailer, and started non-CDL hotshot hauling, and he loves it. The freedom, the road, being your own boss…
Let’s check out his story!
WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
“My name is James William Balla II (James Balla will suffice), and I’m from McKinney, TX. I currently live in Van Alstyne, TX with my wife, Ashley and our three Dachshunds – Herschel, Harper, and Hailey.”
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
I worked in retail/customer-facing jobs for the majority of my adult life, with a 13-year jaunt at Lowes. I tried to leave several times, always in search of greener pastures, but always ended up back at Lowe’s. Now non-CDL OTR/Hotshot Hauling is my livelihood.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
“In October 2021, after returning from our 1-Year Anniversary in Destin, FL, an opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream presented itself – acquiring my dream truck. I’ve always wanted a 2003 F350 Crew Cab Long Bed Dually, and a new blue sticker 2022 F350 Platinum DRW just so happened to pop up at a buddy’s dealership, so, we bought it.”
“Once I had the truck, I started thinking about what I could do with it – I’ve always been interested in Hotshot Hauling since high school. In fact one of my many attempts at leaving Lowe’s was to go to school to drive a truck. So, I did a substantial amount of research – reading forums, reaching out to contacts in the industry, joining Facebook Groups and scrolling and reading until my legs went numb – and decided that I was going to give OTR/”Hotshotting” a try.
A few months later, I bought a trailer and dabbled in hauling and absolutely LOVED it – the freedom, the road, being your own boss, not reporting to anyone. The shackles of retail had been shattered! After a couple of months, I was able to leave Lowe’s (this time indefinitely) and become a hotshot hauler. I’ll get my CDL eventually, but for now I’m doing all right. A tricked-out 40′ YHX 40K Hydraulic Dovetail Flatbed is the end-game!
Initially, I reached out to one of my buddies from high school, Brandon, owner of 360 Freight LLC. I bombarded him with questions, and he was kind enough to give me answers and point me in the right direction. He gave me droves of information (including suggesting that my trailer should be from a specific manufacturer, one of which was MAXX-D), and to this day still provides me with value and knowledge whenever I reach out to him.”
“My biggest help getting into the industry has been Zach and Ebony, owners of Green Speedy Logistics LLC. I made a post in one of the Hotshot Facebook Groups, and Zach reached out to me via Messenger one evening. We got to talking over several days; he was explaining the ins and outs of non-CDL hauling, trailer ratings, equipment suggestions, things to look out for, how to find loads, necessary documentation – overall, he was onboarding me into the industry. As we kept talking, they gave me the opportunity to lease on with them to get started in hotshotting.”
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF WHAT YOU DO?
“My favorite part of what I do, at the end of the day, is that I do not punch a clock nor collect a paycheck from someone else. I am my own boss, and I’m reliant upon myself-failing is not an option.
Yes it is stressful at times, especially being stagnant and waiting, but it’s incredibly rewarding! I enjoy all aspects of hauling – traveling, loading, learning, and living on the road! I cannot tell you the amount of excitement I had when I took my first shower at a truckstop – it was awesome!”
HOW DOES YOUR MAXX-D GOOSENECK FLATBED TRAILER HELP YOU GET WORK DONE?
My MAXX-D 30′ GSX Flatbed GN is the heart of my business. It stands out (among other trailers), and I’m complimented on it by shippers and receivers. I’ve learned that it truly is built different: Chain spools, I-beam, solid welds, quality and type of hardware (show me a BigTex that DOESN’T have a strap holding down its heavy equipment ramps; the latches securing my MAXXD ramps are a testament to the top-tier build quality of MAXX-D).
I’ve learned that there are things that I want/need to make life easier, and am actively building a 40′ GSX loaded to the teeth and built to my heart’s desire to replace my 30′ GSX with. I hope to get it ordered and built sooner rather than later.
Tom, Luis, and the crew at North Texas Trailers in Lewisville, TX were instrumental in developing my fondness of MAXX-D Trailers. I still remember calling Tom and looking for something, but they didn’t have anything immediately available. He called me about 30 minutes later and informed me of the 30′ GSX Flatbed GN they had inbound – it was meant to be.
BEING A HOTSHOT HAULING BALLA!
James, it’s cool to see someone that is so passionate and giddy about hotshot hauling. Our country needs more people like you that are fired up about what they do. Here at MAXX-D, we envision a world where honest, hard working Blue Collar people are respected and valued for the work they do.
Keep trucking man, we’re rooting for you!
Facebook – @JWB Enterprises LLC
The trailer that James uses is a MAXX-D GSX 14-21k Flatbed Gooseneck.