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Hot shot trucking  is widely growing facet in the trucking industry.   There are many amazing opportunities within the trucking and transportation industry where you don’t have to get in a big rig and haul specialized freight. Sometimes all you need is a pick-up truck and a great opportunity! Put your truck to work, and start hauling recreational vehicles and less than truck loads around the U.S.A!

Hot shot trucking is different from expedited shipping, which usually involves vans, tractor-trailers, or even pickup trucks waiting on standby to get the job done. Instead of keeping expedited shipping vehicles on standby, hot shot hauling jobs are distributed to various drivers through load boards. That makes hot shot trucking a great opportunity for any owner-operator looking for their next load or to make some extra money on the side.

Here we look in detail at how hot shot trucking works, the pros and cons, and how you can find hotshot transport jobs and loads.

What do hot shot truckers do?

Hot shot truckers are experts at delivering small, time-sensitive loads that need to be delivered within a specific timeframe. Most hot shot truckers are freelance owner-operators who own their vehicles and find their loads on load boards. But company drivers sometimes take on hot shot jobs, too.

Hot shot truckers usually have experience transporting a variety of load types and the necessary equipment. They’re attracted to hot shot loads because they pay decent rates, especially if a company needs a piece of equipment delivered quickly to avoid a loss in productivity.

For example, if a construction company needs equipment delivered to a job to keep a project on time, they might post it as a hot shot load on a load board to get it delivered ASAP. Late equipment deliveries can lead to company downtime or project delays — and lost revenue.

Truck types used for hot shot hauls

There aren’t many requirements for hot shot trucking. You can use a variety of truck types, but the most common are one-ton pickup trucks classified as “medium-duty” by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). These are generally classified as non-commercial vehicles, but you can use them for hot shot trucking if you have your Operating Authority, a USDOT number (if you’re hauling over state lines), liability insurance, and proof that you own a business.

Hot shot trucks typically fall under Class 3, 4, or 5.

Class 3

Class 3 medium-duty trucks have a weight limit of 10,001-14,000 pounds. Some of the most common types are the Chevrolet Silverado 3500, the GMC Sierra 3500, the Ford F-350, and the Ram 3500.

Put simply, these are your basic heavy-duty pickup trucks. They’re commonly used by contractors and last-mile delivery drivers, but you can also use them for hot shot logistics.

Class 4

Class 4 medium-duty trucks have a weight limit of 14,001-16,000 pounds. The Chevrolet Silverado 4500, Ford F-450, and the Ram 4500 are common examples. These are heavier trucks, but they’re still classified as non-commercial. If you anticipate hauling larger hot shot loads, you may want to invest in a Class 4 truck.

Class 5

Class 5 medium-duty trucks have a weight limit of 16,001-19,500 pounds. Common models: Chevrolet Silverado 5500, Ford F-550, and the Ram 5500. Class 5 is also where some of the lightest commercial trucks are categorized. The Kenworth T170, Peterbilt 325, and International TerraStar fall into this category.

Trailer types used for hot shot hauls

Choosing a trailer is a big decision. The type you choose depends mostly on the truck you’re using and the types of loads you intend to haul.

Bumper pull trailers

Bumper pull trailers are generally shorter and less expensive. They’re easy to use, which is why they’re popular with civilian drivers.

The one drawback to bumper pull trailers is that they don’t haul as many materials or as much weight. In most cases, the load you carry on a bumper pull trailer will be less than 10,001 pounds. They may sway or lose stability with heavier loads.

Gooseneck trailers

Loved for their stability, gooseneck trailers have a tighter turn radius than bumper pull trailers. They can usually carry larger, heavier loads than bumper pull trailers, but they may require you to invest in a special hitching system. If you’re dedicated to hot shot trucking, you may want to invest in a gooseneck trailer over a bumper pull trailer.  

Tilt deck trailers

Tilt deck trailers tilt at an angle so you can load heavy cargo more easily. Then, you can turn them flat for transport. Although tilt deck trailers relieve you of a lot of heavy lifting, they do require maintenance. They operate using hydraulic systems that require filter and oil changes. You’ll also need to oil the trailer’s moving parts so they don’t rust.

Lowboy trailers

Lowboy trailers have a low center of gravity, ideal for the heaviest loads. They lay flat on the ground when they’re detached from your truck. If you need to transport a tall load, a lowboy can help you clear certain height restrictions.

The one drawback to lowboy trailers is the minimal deck space. You might be able to take a heavier load, but you won’t be able to haul as much material at a time.

Dovetail trailers

If you’re hauling cars or other equipment with wheels, a dovetail trailer is affordable and well-known, so they are easy to resell when you no longer need them.

One drawback: They hang low on the back of the trailer, so it’s difficult to haul anything up a steep incline without them dragging. Dovetails protrude out the back a bit, too, upping the chance you could be rear-ended.

Pros and cons of hot shot trucking

Hot shot trucking can be lucrative. With the right equipment, it can be a great side gig even if you work a regular job. That said, it isn’t for everyone. Like other types of trucking, hot shot has pros and cons, both as a career and a lifestyle.

The pros

It doesn’t take as large of an investment to get started with hot shot trucking. Class 3 trucks are much less expensive than class 8 long-haul trucks, and they’re cheaper to insure. The low startup costs are attractive to a lot of drivers who want to strike it out on their own but don’t want to haul large loads.

Hot shot jobs require tight turnarounds, so you can usually get premium rates for each job. You decide which loads to take and when you drive. You can even set your own rates, and you don’t have to worry as much about downtime.

Finally, hot shot trucking is fun! You get to haul interesting loads on almost every job. Many drivers enjoy the challenge of hot shot trucking and take pride in the fact that they’re helping customers on a tight deadline.

The cons

Work can be unstable if you’re driving hot shot loads exclusively. Hot shot trucking pays per mile, so you can’t expect a regular owner operator salary. You may also need to be ready at a moment’s notice to take on loads, and you will spend some time deadheading to get each job done.

You also have to maintain your vehicle yourself and comply with most of the same regulations as other carriers, including insurance laws, hours of service (HOS) logging, and drug and alcohol testing.

How do you find loads ?

Some new hot shot drivers turn to free load boards to avoid a monthly fee. But you get what you pay for. Free load boards aren’t always up to date or reliable, and they don’t always have enough well-paying loads.

When you search for loads on a load board like Truckstop.com, you get valuable rate information right at your fingertips and a high volume of well-paying loads. More importantly, all the brokers on Truckstop.com are vetted and approved, so you can be confident you’re getting the best loads from the most trustworthy sources.

Truckstop.com is the world’s first online load board. We’ve had a lot of time to perfect our product, so it’s one of the easiest to use. With a low entry price and no contract, it’s a low-risk investment.

We haul RV's from manufacturers to Dealers all across the Country. Bunper Pull, 5th wheels and some goose neck.