All You Need to Know About Hot Shot Trucking

Hotshot trucking is a type of trucking where the cargo is transported in a single trailer. The term “hotshot” is derived from the idea that these trucks can move goods “hot” off the loading dock and onto the highway, bypassing much of the traditional shipping process. This makes hots hot trucking an attractive option for businesses that need to move large or time-sensitive shipments quickly and efficiently.

Hot shot trucking hauls smaller LTL (less than truckload) loads that are time-sensitive and usually have to reach a single customer or location within a specific timeframe. Hot shot loads are typically delivered by medium-duty pickup trucks pulling flatbed trailers.

Depending on where you're going, what you need for your hot shot truck will change. If it's a shorter distance, you won't need as much. However, if you're going over state lines or even across the country, then you'll need to be prepared with everything that the trip requires.

What is hotshot trucking and what are the benefits

Hotshot trucking is a type of trucking where the cargo is transported in a single trailer.

The term “hotshot” is derived from the idea that these trucks can move goods “hot” off the loading dock and onto the highway, bypassing much of the traditional shipping process.

This makes hotshot trucking an attractive option for businesses that need to move large or time-sensitive shipments quickly and efficiently.

Benefits of Hotshot Trucking:

  1. Increased Speed: One of the biggest benefits of using a hotshot truck is that it can get your shipment to its destination more quickly than traditional methods.
  2. Fewer Delays: Bypassing traditional shipping channels means there are fewer opportunities for delays along the way.
  3. Reduced Shipping Costs: Since hot shot trucking eliminates many of the middlemen involved in traditional shipping, it can be cheaper in some cases.

Is hotshot trucking right for your shipment? At Revolution, our dedicated Operations Team is trained to find the most efficient and cost-effective way to move your critical freight. Contact us when failure is not an option.

A mid-size truck that could be used for hotshot trucking

Types of trucks used for hot shot hauls

The great thing about hot shot trucking is that there aren't many requirements. You can use all sorts of trucks, but the most common and practical ones are classified as "medium-duty" by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). These one-ton pickup trucks typically suffice for most hotshot deliveries. You need an operating authority, USDOT number, insurance, and proof of business ownership to use a non-commercial vehicle for hot shot trucking.

Hotshot trucks typically fall into the Class 3, 4, or 5 category.

Class 3

Most Class 3 medium-duty trucks weigh between 10,001 and 14,000 pounds. Some examples of these are the Chevrolet Silverado 3500, the GMC Sierra 3500, the Ford F-350, and the Ram 3500.

These are the tough and hardworking pickup trucks that you often see driven by contractors or last-mile delivery drivers. But, you can also use them for hot shot logistics if needed.

Class 4

If you think you will regularly haul bigger loads, then a Class 4 pickup truck would be a wise investment. Some popular examples of Class 4 trucks are the Chevrolet Silverado 4500, the Ford F-450, and Ram 4500--although these models tend to weigh more.

Class 5

Some of the most common Class 5 medium-duty trucks are the Chevrolet Silverado 5500, Ford F-550, and Ram 5500—weighing in at 16,001 to 19,500 pounds. However, this is also where you'll find some of the lightest commercial trucks like the Kenworth T170, Peterbilt 325, and International TerraStar.

A hotshot truck using a hitch

Types of trailers used for hot shot hauls

The kind of trailer you decide on depends mainly on the truck you’re using and the types of loads you want to haul.

Bumper pull trailers

Bumper pull trailers are generally shorter and less expensive, making them popular with civilian drivers. They’re easy to use, so anyone can enjoy their benefits.

The only disadvantage of bumper pull trailers is that they can't haul as much material or weight. Most of the time, the load you carry on a bumper pull trailer will be 10,000 pounds or less. If you try to haul more than that, it may sway and become unstable.

Gooseneck trailers

Gooseneck trailers have a good reputation for being stable. They're able to turn tighter radius than bumper pull trailers. Even though they may require you to get a special hitching system, gooseneck trailers can carry larger and heavier loads in general. If hot shot trucking is something you're dedicated to, then you should invest in a gooseneck trailer over a bumper pull trailer.

Tilt deck trailers

Tilt deck trailers are helpful because they can load heavy cargo more easily by tilting at an angle. They then become flat for transport. Even though they take some of the strain away from you, they still need to be maintained with oil and filter changes in their hydraulic systems. You will also need to occasionally oil moving parts on the trailer, so rust doesn't occur.

A tilt deck trailer on a hotshot truck

Lowboy trailers

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

Though lowboy trailers can haul heavier loads, they have less deck space and therefore can't transport as much material at once.

Dovetail trailers

Dovetail trailers are a cost-effective and convenient way to transport vehicles or other wheeled equipment. They are also easy to resell when you no longer need them.

However, one downside is that they are positioned low at the back of the trailer. This makes it difficult to haul anything up a steep incline without them dragging. Additionally, dovetail joints protrude out from the back somewhat, increasing your chances of being rear-ended in an accident.

Mid-size truck pulling a trailer

What type of cargo can be transported by hot shot truckers

Hot shot truckers transport construction materials, heavy equipment, machinery, or farm materials. Cars are another common type of cargo, as they need to be transported from the factory to the showroom quickly. Industrial equipment is also a common type of cargo for hot shot truckers, as it needs to be delivered quickly and efficiently.

Agricultural and construction companies usually need their machinery or resources as soon as humanly possible. Quick delivery is the only way this can be accomplished. The success of builders or agronomists rests upon speed, something that's very critical for our nation today.

Overall, hot shot truckers can transport any type of cargo that needs to be delivered quickly and efficiently. They are an essential part of the shipping industry and play a vital role in getting goods where they need to go.

Pros and cons of hot shot trucking

There are pros and cons to hot shot trucking. On one hand, hot shot trucking offers fast, reliable delivery for businesses that need to move cargo quickly. This can be a real advantage in cases where time is of the essence. Additionally, because hot shot trucking is a specialized service, businesses can often get better rates than they would through traditional shipping methods.

On the downside, hot shot trucking can be more expensive than other shipping options. Additionally, it can be difficult to find a carrier who is available for a specific shipment at the last minute. This can cause delays and frustration for businesses that need to move cargo quickly. Finally, hot shot trucking is not always the safest option for transporting goods. Because shipments are often moved quickly and without much planning, accidents can happen. This can result in damaged or lost cargo, as well as injuries to drivers and other personnel.

Hotshot trucking often involves automotive hauling

FAQs about hot shot trucking

What are the requirements to start hotshot trucking?

  • Conduct market research and feasibility studies.
  • Learn everything you can about hotshot trucking.
  • Once you have decided on a name for your company, register it with the appropriate government agencies.
  • Don't leave any stone unturned by creating a fool-proof business plan.
  • To legally operate your business, you will need to obtain the proper licenses and permits from your local government.
  • Get an EIN (Employer Identification Number) or Federal Tax Identification Number.
  • It is advisable to open a corporate bank account.
  • Establish your operations by renting, outfitting, and furnishing a base.
  • Hire staff to work for you.
  • Obtain the required hot shot trucks.

Do you need a CDL to do hot shot trucking?

You don't necessarily need a CDL to be a hotshot trucker, although it is recommended. All hotshot drivers must have a DOT number and an Interstate Operating Number (MC number). If you do have a CDL, you can haul loads up to 26,000 pounds with a larger trailer.

What is the cost to start hot shot trucking?

In short, it could cost upwards of $15,000-$30,000 to begin a hotshot trucking business. If you're only starting with one truck or trailer, be prepared to spend about $50,000 total. This budget generally covers the costs of the vehicle itself, office space and staff salaries, plus license/permit fees, insurance payments, tools necessary for repairs on the road, marketing efforts to draw in clients, and other smaller incidentals.

Insurance needed for hotshot trucking

What type of insurance is needed?

  • Primary Responsibility
  • For Non-trucking Get Liability Insurance
  • For Trucks, You'll Need Cargo Insurance
  • Also, Physical Damage Insurance For Trucks
  • Accident Insurance For The Workplace
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Umbrella Liability Insurance or Excess
  • For Trucking Employment Practices Get Liability Insurance
  • For Freight Get Surety Bonds

What are the DOT regulations for hot shot trucking?

  • Keep a driver logbook.
  • Fire safety is always a concern when traveling, so it is required to have a fire extinguisher.
  • Use reflectors to your advantage.
  • The Department of Transportation has driving and rest time restrictions in place to help ensure the safety of all motorists. Be sure to follow them whenever you are behind the wheel.
  • Make sure that you have a Department of Transportation license plate and load sticker.

How long do typical hotshot runs last?

This really depends on the company and the load you're hauling. Some hotshot deliveries might only be to the next town over, while others could be clear across the country. Just know that after delivering the load, you may not have another revenue-generating load to haul back (a deadhead), so you might have to return home empty-handed. You could potentially negotiate a fee that covers the cost of returning home. Therefore, you should always keep in touch with load boards or LTL brokers around areas where you usually run to improve your chances of picking up a load and making some payment for the journey back.

So there you have it, the basics of hotshot trucking. If you're looking to start your own business or are just curious about this industry, now you know what it is and what's involved. As with anything in life, there are pros and cons to consider before making a decision - so weigh them all carefully before jumping into the world of hotshot trucking.

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