hot shot trucking

What is hot shot trucking and how can you start business?

Here is a complete guide about hot shot trucking business in this article. I’ll guide you through each step to create your own hot-shot business.

What Is Hot Shot Trucking?

Hotshots are classified as Class 3, 4 or 5 trucks that pull a unibody or another type of trailer to provide additional capacity. They’re typically delivering something needed to stop a failure, for example, on the electricity grid, the plant or factory or within an oilfield. They may also tow vehicles or equipment, machines, and boats and RVs.

When brokers and shippers have small quantities of goods that need to be transported promptly, they rely on assistance from hotshot truckers. They specialize in delivering time-sensitive and project-critical loads, such as construction equipment, agricultural equipment and other materials such as heavy machinery. Hotshot drivers generally utilize super-duty pickups with trailers instead of heavy-duty Semis of Class 8.

If it is done properly, Hotshot trucking can be profitable. It is possible to become an owner-operator – meaning that you run an operation that is hotshot under your MC numbers or lease the business to another business. In this article, I’ll walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of this company and begin with a few strategies to help you succeed.

The Pros and Cons of Hot Shot Trucking

The hotshot method of trucking is typically the initial step for many motorists. As the requirements for insurance become ever more stringent and more stringent, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is working to prevent new drivers from obtaining the commercial driver’s license (CDL) and immediately purchasing a semi-truck, an option that often fails.

The better approach is to get the driving skills on an open-top truck while your CDL develops, so that should you choose to move on to a semi-truck, then you’ll have a far more streamlined process to qualify for insurance. Additionally, the rules and regulations to operate a hotshot and semi-business largely overlap. So, gaining experience in the hotshot industry is the ideal way to get ready for the transition into transporting bigger loads (if it’s the path you’re considering).

Another benefit that hotshot trucks have is an entry barrier with lower operating costs. The cost of truck payments, for instance, could reach up to $2,500-3,000 per month. It is for semis of class 8 semis; however, they typically, they’re close to $1,000 per month for pickups.

Additionally, smaller trucks generally have better fuel efficiency. That usually allows hotshot truckers to make the same amount as Class 8 drivers. These savings in costs are typically transferred to the customers, too. Since the rates are higher for trucks with heavy-duty, such as semis. These drivers and carriers are naturally required to cover less than truckload (LTL) and even partial freight to ensure that the cargo is worthwhile.

But, since the hotshot trucking industry is more accessible and is much less expensive, you’ll have to face some very fierce and constant competitors. That is why owner-operators must focus on service quality to ensure that competitors don’t under-bid.

Is Hot Shot Trucking profitable?

motor carrier number

If done correctly, hot shot trucking can be a profitable business. You can decide to be an owner-operator – meaning that you run an operation that is hotshot with your MC number or lease the truck with a different business.

How Do You Start a Hot Shot Trucking Business?

Two main disqualifiers for trucking are insurance and health. Therefore, before you open your LLC, it’s crucial to ensure that you don’t get caught off guard by sudden high premiums or back-ups.

Anyone who operates commercial motor vehicles, such as hotshot drivers, must obtain their Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card. The initial step should be to arrange an appointment with medical examiners on the FMCSA-approved national registry. These exams will cover fundamental issues like your medical history and hearing, vision and urine tests. They generally cost about $120. If you’re in good health, you’ll receive your medical certificate issued by the Department of Transportation, which allows you to drive commercial vehicles for 24 months. In the next 24 months, you have to take a physical examination to renew your certificate.

Next Step for commercial business

The other thing I would recommend is to request an insurance test quote for commercial businesses from Progressive, and it just requires the vehicle identification number (VIN). High insurance premiums can reduce your profit margins, and having a ballpark figure is an effective method. It is to determine whether it’s more sense to start an individual LLC (i.e… change into owner operators) or lease the other business.

Insurance quotes are based upon the history of your driving and your experience, which means that even if you’re getting a CDL or you have a poor driving record. It’s probable that your insurance costs will go through the roof and leasing on the best option. It’s usually the best option for first-time drivers since it can aid in establishing yourself at a lower cost. However, if you’ve got more time in the industry and your insurance rates appear to be in good shape, you might be able to decide to create your LLC.

Following that, you need to register your own business on the state’s website. You’ll be issued the Employer Identification Number (EIN) that allows you to establish an account at a corporate bank and receive payments from your customers. You then apply to FMCSA for an MC or motor carrier number (operating Authority). It permits you to move across state lines and also designate BOC-3 legal agents to represent you in the states where you are operating.

Requirement for MC number

But one of the most important requirements to activate an MC is insurance for commercial use. A majority of brokers have a requirement of $1 million liability as well as $100,000 cargo insurance policies. It is based on your background, age, and your state of residence — can be between $1,000 and $2,500 per month.

The process could take weeks, so it’s vital that you fill out your application correctly and free of mistakes the first time around. The experts from the owner operator Authority can be of assistance. They specialize in processing forms for authorities, state and federal permits, and state-specific regulations for a hotshot truck.

In, all in all, hot shot trucking starting costs can easily go into the $15,000-$30,000 mark. However, this can vary depending on your situation. For example, if you already have trucks, and you only require a trailer and various legal costs. However, if you don’t own an automobile or trailer, then you’re required to pay the payment of a down payment of $5,000 on your vehicle, $10,000 to $15,000 for campers and $3,000 for insurance down payments. In addition to the $1,000 required to establish your LLC as well as the other costs that are listed above. Each of which could quickly increase the cost of starting your business.

What are the best ways for hotshots to go about getting work?


Once you’ve obtained the appropriate licenses and equipment to transport cargo, you can search for jobs. Hotshot drivers search for employment through-loading boards with advertisements from private and commercial customers who need speedy delivery. There are load boards that are free that drivers can access to locate jobs.

The Equipment Needed for Hot Shot Trucking

The first and most important thing is that hotshot truck drivers require an auto pickup and some flatbed trailers to haul loads. I would recommend buying a dual-pickup truck, but it all is a matter of the personal preference of each. For campers, including Gooseneck and bumper pull trailers, dovetail and tilt deck all have advantages and disadvantages based on the cargo you’re shot trucking

In addition, straps, chains and tarps are a handful of the essentials. There’s no need for robust chains for driving hot shots since the weight of your vehicle won’t be so high that you’ll need something that is extremely thick. Tarping is an art that requires more of a learning process (think of it as wrapping a huge present for Christmas). It is nevertheless beneficial for keeping your cargo dry.

I typically recommend that hotshot truckers carry 20 straps equipped with ratchets, four 3/8” long 20 chains inside your truck, and four binders, a winch bar two drop tarps of 6. These are just a few of the essentials. However, you could go through the hot shot checklist to get more precise suggestions.

How to Find Hot Shot Trucking Loads

The hot shot industry is a time-sensitive process, and firms will be searching for trucks capable of picking uploads and getting them on the road in a hurry — making load boards the best method for truckers to locate Hotshot cargo.

Although small load boards might be a tempting option to find hotshots loaded, especially for those who operate regionally or locally, however, they are usually not useful because they’re usually less flexible in terms of choices. Save your preferred routes and lanes to do quick searches in the future. If you’re searching for loads within an area of a particular geographic region, it is possible to set alarms that will notify you whenever a match appears.

How Do You Run a Successful Hot Shot Business?

A few general suggestions I’ll give you upfront are to do much work on weekends (they are expensive) and keep it going for at minimum three years. It might seem like an extended period of the period when you’re just beginning your journey. However, I’ve got a couple of other tips to assist you in establishing yourself quickly.

A good rule of thumb one rule to follow is “half the weight, half the rate.” This means that if a load is about half of the weight, I’m able to transport (either the halfway mark of my capacity for the weight (or half my real space), that means it will cost about half of the amount per mile I’m aiming to get. If I’m trying to get $2 per mile (which is a good benchmark) using the 40′ trailer with 9,000 pounds of capacity and a load of 4500 pounds in 20′ or less must pay at least $1 per mile.

The price of operating a hotshot generally is approximately $0.75-0.80 for each mile (though it can differ based on the individual payment). The benefit of the concept of “half the weight, half the rate” lets the first half of the haul be used to cover my costs. The rate I get for the remaining portion of the trailer is a profit for me at this moment.

Common Mistake

A common mistake is not using their time to the fullest. The more time you drive into your schedule, the more time you’ll be out of the road. It will make sure you follow your hours-of-Service regulations. The trucking industry is known for its long hours, regardless of the season (which could mean little or even time for side hustles or pursuing the degree).

So it will require a while to figure out how to manage the most efficient. Besides, how to plan your schedule for the week and what areas to avoid. So that you can avoid driving to home with nothing (deadhead). The knowledge you can gain from the ground to help you make better business decisions. It must be learned by taking the time to remember and track the miles.

It’s equally crucial to remember that trucking hotshots are a numbers-based game. It’s unlikely that you’ll make a single phone call and be able to get a great amount of money immediately. The more quickly you make 20 calls and the more likely you will be to find a profitable load. It is also true for your driving skills — the quicker you’ll be able to cover 100,000 miles of driving, the faster you’ll be able to identify which regions are most suitable for locating loads.

If you’re only beginning your journey, DAT offers a free weekly report called Trendlines that can provide you with a glimpse of what’s happening in the truckload market. When you’ve gained more knowledge, you’ll also have an idea of what you’re able to charge for your services, which can help give better rates to customers and brokers so that you don’t run at the expense of losing money.

The Right Tools for Success

Another device that can assist you to manage and running your business more effectively is a spreadsheet program known as Airtable. Instead of having one program to input loads, another to track expenses, and a third one for making invoices, Airtable lets you manage all of the areas of your company within the same application. So, information loaded is directly integrated into invoices while keeping your expenses current. Airtable is no cost for the essential features. Subscription plans are available for either $10 for a month or 20 dollars for more information and services.

Once you’ve learned how to utilize Airtable, Airtable is a highly customizable tool.It can be a great help to small-scale businesses in many ways. For example, I’ve used Airtable to build an application form. If someone would like to work as a worker for me, they’ll need to upload their driver’s license as well as a medical card. After that, I’ve gathered the necessary documents to fill out a formal job application. They don’t need to fill out any additional forms. It means that new applicants don’t have to worry about filling out multiple forms. If I hire them, I have all of their documents in the file.

Final Thoughts

In the end, there’s no secret formula to hotshot trucking. You need to invest the effort and gain experience. However, if you’ve got a solid plan and use the proper tools, you’ll be able to make the right business decisions and ensure that your business is equipped and supported to achieve success.


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