It can give you plenty of short hop flights depending on the size of your aircraft, area you choose your base in, etc.
Some days I fly 5 flights, somedays 1, samedays 0. Sometimes I don't play for a week. Reputation only goes down by .5% every time and only when you don't deliver something on time (or your AI crew). Just don't go accepting things you know you can't complete and you'll be fine.
You can start in easy mode if you just want to fly decent sized regional turbo props and jets. At 60% reputation you can take out loans, hire AI crew, lease planes, and schedule your AI crew to fly and make money for you while you sleep! So really, you don't even have to play AirHauler to make money with in. Infact, you've got a stock market, too, so if you dump your money into that, you're bound to make some money so long you aren't investing in stocks like Microsoft (Yeah, I just went there lol).
I'm playing in career mode and I really enjoy it. It gives you pilot ratings based on how many flights you've completed, which gives me some great pacing as I'm a relatively new and inexperienced pilots. It starts me out in small single prop planes with 40% reputation. As I gain reputation at 55% you can hire AI to fly for you (they'll get you money but not reputation) and at 60% you can take out a loan. Every flight gets you .5% reputation, so 40 successful flights and you'll be there. You can take multiple cargo hauls at once for increased gains, split hauls up if they are too big for the plane you are flying and fly them out in chunks, and it gives you goals to work for which I think is the idea of this.
If you want something more relaxed try FSPassengers - it won't give you directions to fly in, but it can rank you and you can fly when and where you want without limitations (so long as you make enough money to pay for the gas) or FSEconomy. I'm also using FSAirlines which is similar to economy, but more planes, less functionality I think though as in Economy you can own airports, select where flights go, and create a nice monopoly around short hop flights if you are a smart player.
Any who I would love to see more players in AirHauler for some more love from the developer. It's already awesome, but I'd love to see more awesomeness from it... or an AirHauler 2!