What is hotshot trucking? Hot shot trucking (also known as hotshot trucking) entails transporting smaller, more time-sensitive LTL (less than truckload) loads within a specific timeframe, typically to a single customer or location. Flatbed trailers pulled by medium-duty trucks are typically used to deliver hot shot loads.
Various hot shot trucks are required. Hot shots may only need to travel a short distance in some cases, but others may need to cross states or even the entire country.
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What Do Hot Shot Truckers Do?
A hot shot driver is an expert at transporting little, urgent loads that must be delivered in a hurry. The majority of hot shot drivers are independent owner-operators who own their own trucks and find their loads on load boards. However, delivery drivers for businesses also occasionally accept prime freight jobs.
Hot shot drivers typically have the knowledge and tools needed to transport a variety of loads. Hot shot loads draw them in because they pay well, especially when a business needs an item of equipment delivered quickly to prevent a loss in productivity.
To keep a project on schedule, a construction company, for instance, might post equipment delivery requirements as a hot shot load on a load board. Late equipment deliveries can cause business downtime or project delays, which can cost money.
Truck Types Used For Hot Shot Hauls
For hot shot trucking, there aren’t many requirements. A hot shot trucker can use various truck types, but the most common are one-ton pickup trucks classified as “medium-duty” by the Federal Highway Administration These are typically categorized as non-commercial vehicles, but you are permitted to use them for hot shot trucking if you have your operating permit, a USDOT number (if you’re transporting across state lines), liability insurance, and documentation of your ownership of a business.
Typically, hot shot trucks are classified as Class 3, 4, or 5.
There is a weight restriction of 10,000–14,000 pounds for Class 3 medium-duty trucks. The Ram 3500, Ford F-350, GMC Sierra 3500, and Chevrolet Silverado 3500 are a few of the most popular models.
These are your typical heavy-duty consumer pickup trucks, to put it simply. However, you can also use them for hot shot logistics. Contractors and last-mile delivery drivers frequently use them.
The weight restriction for Class 4 medium-duty trucks is 14,001–16,000 pounds. Examples that are frequently used include the Ram 4500, Ford F-450, and Chevrolet Silverado 4500. Despite the fact that these trucks are heavier, they are still considered non-commercial. Consider purchasing a Class 4 pickup truck if you plan to transport bigger hot shot loads.
The weight restriction for Class 5 medium-duty trucks is 16,001–19,500 pounds. The Ram 5500, Ford F-550, and Chevrolet Silverado 5500 are popular makes. Some of the lightest commercial trucks fall under the Class 5 classification. This group includes the Peterbilt 325, International TerraStar, and Kenworth T170.
Types Of Trailers Used In Hot Shot Trucking
You want to be sure that the trailers you choose for your truck will work best with the kinds of loads you want to transport as well as the truck itself. The different kinds of trailers and their ideal applications are listed below.
Bumper Pull Trailers
Bumper pull trailers are a very popular type that are frequently used by both private and commercial drivers. They are therefore simple to use, and you may already be accustomed to them. Particularly when compared to a gooseneck, they are typically shorter and less expensive. You probably won’t need a commercial driver’s license because the combined weight of your truck and the bumper pull will be less than 10,001 lbs. However, this also means that they can transport fewer materials, so consider the kinds of loads you’ll be transporting before deciding on a more affordable trailer. In actuality, you will need to think more about your truck because heavier loads on the bumper pull. To avoid issues like lack of stability, loss of control, and the trailer swaying while driving, your truck must be properly weighted.
For more seasoned drivers, these trailers are well-known. Consider the routes you’ll want to travel before purchasing a gooseneck truck because of their excellent ratings for stability, limited swaying, and tighter turning radius. Gooseneck hot shot trailers are most frequently 40 feet in length. Longer trailers might enable you to transport more cargo, but depending on state regulations, they may also impose limitations. Due to their size, gooseneck trailer loads are probably considered commercial, necessitating additional education and licensing. They require more than just the bed of a pickup truck; they also require a unique hitching system, which could require additional funding. If you decide to seriously pursue trucking, this would be a great trailer.
Deckover trailers offer particular benefits for hot shot drivers, despite the fact that they can be used both commercially and recreationally. They work well for pulling heavier loads like tractors and cars.). You would have plenty of room for a lot of materials and be able to take more on a single trip thanks to the wider deck and lack of well wheels. The deck is not very high off the ground, though, so the ramps will be shorter. Although it’s not a huge drawback, it does affect how you load and unload materials from your trailer as well as how you support and secure them there while you’re driving.
The low center of gravity of lowboys makes it the most stable for loads of all sizes. Additionally, it indicates that the majority of machinery can pass through state-imposed height restrictions. It would be the simplest to unload heavy, track-style equipment on this trailer because, when it is detached from your truck, it lays flat on the ground. However, there isn’t much usable deck space. The amount you can actually load onto the trailer at once is therefore severely constrained. Although you can stack very heavy equipment on the trailer, you might only be able to fit one, which can seriously restrict what you can haul.
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Hotshot Trucking Vs. Expedited Freight
While both hotshot and expedited trucking are for-hire businesses that transport time-sensitive cargo without fixed lanes, they are not the same.
Typically, hotshots are Class 3, 4, or 5 trucks that are towing a flatbed or another kind of trailer for added capacity. The items they frequently deliver are those that are necessary to stop a failure from occurring, whether it be in the oil field pump, the power grid, a factory, or a plant. In addition, they frequently tow vehicles, machinery, boats, and even recreational vehicles. An interstate hotshot trucker needs to get a US DOT number and at least $750,000 in primary liability insurance coverage, unless they lease their hotshot to a company.
Owner-operators and businesses with cargo vans, sprinters, straight trucks, and/or tractor-trailers, known as expediters, fill urgent or urgent orders. They typically deliver straight through with no stops or other pickups because they are exclusive vehicle users. Also required for interstate travel is a US DOT number for the expediter. However, depending on the type of truck, their liability requirements vary.
Pros And Cons Of Hotshot Trucking
Hotshot trucking has many benefits, including low startup costs for equipment and higher per-mile pay. A Class 3 truck and trailer are much less expensive to purchase than a Class 8 long-haul vehicle, and they also cost less to insure. Another advantage is that since drivers work for themselves, they can decide when to accept loads and set their own rates, which are frequently higher due to the short turnaround.
Hotshot trucking has its difficulties as well. Drivers must be ready to act quickly and may become deadheaded due to the unpredictable nature of their jobs. The need for maintenance is frequently greater, and maintaining a vehicle’s resale value is challenging. Similar state and federal regulations that apply to other carrier types must also be followed by hotshot drivers, including those governing insurance, qualifications and licenses, drug and alcohol testing, hours-of-service (HOS) logging, and IFTA reports (depending on the weight of the load hauled).
How Much Money Do Hot Shot Drivers Make?
Hotshot drivers can earn up to $100,000 or more annually, but that is the upper end. Hot shot drivers will give you all kinds of responses if you inquire about their pay. But the typical annual owner-operator wage for hotshot truck drivers ranges from $49,000 to $75,000.
The amount you can make as a hot shot driver depends on several factors:
- The amount of time you’re devoting to hotshot trucking
- The equipment you’re using to haul loads
- The region in which you operate
- The number of loads available
- The types of loads you carry
- Your years of experience
- Fuel prices
- Your rates
- Your costs
How To Find Hot Shot Trucking Jobs And Loads
You must locate loads to carry if you want to become a hot shot trucker. Though most hot shot drivers use load boards, you can occasionally find loads through your network.
Free load boards are a popular option among some rookie hot shot drivers in place of monthly fees. Nevertheless, you get what you pay for. Free load boards aren’t always accurate or dependable, and they don’t always have enough lucrative loads.
An abundance of well-paying loads are available when you search for loads on a load board like Truckstop.com. You also have access to valuable rate information. The brokers on Truckstop.com have all been thoroughly checked out and approved, so you can rest easy knowing you’re getting the best loads from the most reliable sources.
The first online load board in the world is truckstop.com. Since we’ve had a lot of time to develop it, our product is among the simplest to use. With a low entry price and no contract, it’s a low-risk investment.
Find Good Rates For Hot Shot Trucking
If you’re just getting started, aiming for $1.50 per mile as your average rate is a good idea. Depending on your driving expenses and what you’re willing to work for, you could go as low as $1. Eventually, you’ll want to set your prices between $2 and $3.
Make a detailed list of your driving expenses before you start hot shot driving. These typically include:
- Fuel costs
- Factoring/dispatch services
Ideally, you’ll be able to calculate your cost per mile of driving. To determine how much you can deposit in the bank, deduct this rate from your earned-per-mile rate.
Search for loads on Truckstop.com that match your criteria to find the best prices. To begin, aim for at least two or three of the highest-paying loads.
Additionally, you can look for loads that include deadhead coverage. If you are based in Dallas, Texas, and you are transporting goods to Jackson, Mississippi, for instance, it only makes sense to pick up a load there to transport back to Dallas. You won’t be wasting time or miles that aren’t being reimbursed in this manner.
Logistics And Requirements For Hot Shot Trucking
Although it’s a crucial step, getting the car and trailer you require is the last. Before you can begin hot shot trucking, you must first take care of some paperwork.
Even if you’re driving a “civilian” truck, you must register it commercially. If your car doesn’t have the proper license, you risk being fined.
You are in charge of keeping track of your driving logs as an owner-operator. In accordance with hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, use these to indicate the duration, length, and weight of your hauls. If hauling across state lines, be aware of the rules in each state and how to record hour hauls for interstate transport.
Before you get into the business, do the following:
- The CDL is something you should obtain.
- Get adequately insured (for liability, property damage, and cargo).
- Obtain a USDOT number and an MC number (for interstate commerce and regulated goods).
- Recognize HOS guidelines.
- know how to properly secure loads.
- abide by the rules and specifications regarding brakes.
Use the FMCSA’s Unified Registration System to submit an application to receive a U.S. Department of Transportation number. The insurance requirements you need to operate are also listed by FMCSA. Alternatively, let Truckstop.com handle the work to assist in obtaining your authority.
Even though it’s not always necessary, a CDL is strongly advised for hot shot trucking. A CDL is necessary if your trailer has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more and the gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of the truck and trailer is 26,001 pounds or more.
You can get a Class A CDL — sometimes called the “universal” By way of your state, CDL. Start with the CDL manual. In order to proceed, you must first obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP), enroll in a CDL program, pass a knowledge test, and pass a driving test. To ensure your safety while driving, you must also have a medical examination.
With GPS tracking, ELD-compliant eLogs, in-cab messaging, navigation, and maintenance scheduling, an integrated telematics solution maximizes communication and routing while also helping hotshot and expedited carriers increase efficiency and profits.
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