Hot Shot trucking is a specialty that requires hauling less than truckload (LTL) freight from a shipper to a receiver or multiple receivers in less time than typical carriers can pick up and deliver. It mainly involves hauling small shipments in a hurry, and bypasses normal logistics to deliver freight that is needed fast.
Getting into hot shot trucking generally takes a much lower investment than purchasing a tractor trailer as most hot shot owner/operators use lighter equipment. In fact, many hot shot drivers use heavy duty pickup trucks pulling smaller open or enclosed utility trailers (depending on the type of freight to be hauled and the gross vehicle weight). Hot shotting of smaller loads means lower fuel consumption and lower insurance rates than large trucks. Vehicle maintenance expenses tend to be much lower than operating a large truck.
Most hot shot loads involve hauling freight that is time sensitive and dependent on delivering freight that can keep a much-needed operation on schedule and prevent downtime or lost production for the receiving business. That means a driver must be ready to pick up as soon as the freight can be loaded and take all necessary load securement procedures for safety’s sake.
If your loaded trailer weighs 10,001 pounds or your combined truck and trailer is 26,001 pounds of gross vehicle weight, you will need a commercial driver license (CDL) to transport the freight. That will require you to pass a medical exam to qualify you for safe driving. You will also need to log your trips according to hours of service (HOS) regulations and have them up to date and ready for an inspection if necessary.
Most hot shot truckers search load boards online to arrange trips. You may find it necessary to compete for loads when using load boards. In that case, it is imperative that you have calculated your average trip per mile cost to avoid costing your business to haul at too low a per mile cost. Remember, you’re in business to earn a profit. Let the cheap freight truckers do their thing without you. After all, you are an owner/operator and must protect your investment and your livelihood.
A benefit of being a hot shot driver is that you are able to choose your preferred routes. Familiarity helps make trucking smoother and easier. Hot shot trucking can be lucrative if you conduct your travel as a business. Always keep records and be mindful of rates and taxes.
If you are interested in a hot shot business, why not try it as a side gig for a time to see if it’s viable for you and your family? Always keep loved ones in the loop. Who knows where it may lead you? Happy motoring. Enjoy your travels.