Do you want to start a hot shot delivery business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a hot shot trucking business with NO and no experience. Hot shot trucking involves cargo that is generally smaller and rushed; so many companies hire a contract driver to complete just one run. Figuring out how…


Are you wondering which city is best to start a hotshot trucking business? If YES, here are 5 best cities to start a hotshot trucking business in 2022. Hotshot trucking, like expedited trucking, is all about getting a load delivered within a particular time frame. Hotshot truckers are hauling loads that are delicate enough that…


Are you wondering what type of tire is best for Hotshot Trucking? If YES, here are 10 most durable tires for Hotshot Trucking in 2022. If you are looking towards starting a career in the hotshot trucking business, one of the major spare parts that must not be found missing in your collection of spare…


Are you wondering what type of ELD is best for Hotshot business? If YES, here are 15 best and most useful ELD for Hotshot trucking in 2022. If you are looking towards starting a career as a hotshot truck driver, one of the major work tools or gadgets or devices that can’t be found missing…


The best insurance company for hotshot trucking is the one that properly covers you at the best price and allows you to haul the loads that match your business plan. Hotshot trucking involves moving goods in a short time frame and as such, most hauling-for-hire businesses are high-risk and high reward businesses. The primary aim…


Non CDL Hotshot Trucking is hotshot trucking without CDL. According to regulations, a commercial driver’s license is not required in many states until you are driving vehicles commercially over of 26,000 lb. In some states, a CDL is required for vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lb. In the United States, if you are looking to…


Do you own a hotshot business and you need ideas to grow it successfully? If YES, here are 10 strategies and tips for running a hotshot business. Maybe you have always wanted to be a truck driver. Maybe you are or have been an OTR driver for a trucking company and are tired of not…


To make good and substantial money in the trucking business, it is advisable you get your own authority. Yes, you can offer your services to a leasing firm, and doing so is a wonderful and easier way for those with challenged credit to get their own rig. But getting an authority can help you to…


Do you want to know how much it cost to start a hotshot business? If YES, here are 13 factors that determine the cost of opening a hotshot trucking business. A hotshot job involves the expedited transport of freight. As a hotshot truck driver, you often haul much smaller loads than a standard trucker. You…


According to industry reports, a well-managed hotshot trucker in a reasonable location can bring in from $60,000 to $120,000 gross income per year, and possibly more. Most hotshot’s expenses—fuel, maintenance, insurance, licenses and fees, tolls, etc.—are approximately half of the gross income. Time and fiscal management are critically important to succeed as a hotshot. The…


In trucking, the term hotshot commonly refers to either the truck or the freight – often both. In the former sense, it is normally a Class 3-5 truck used in combination with a variety of trailers to run for-hire freight, whether for a single customer or less-than-truckload, though there are exceptions. A 40-ft gooseneck flatbed…


No, you don’t need a broker’s license to start and run a hotshot business in the United States. You only require a broker’s license if you intend to work as both a broker and as a hotshot carrier. Hotshot companies or drivers are known to make money from hauling loads. They provide shippers with more…


Maybe you have always wanted to be a truck driver. Maybe you are or have been an OTR driver for a trucking company and are tired of not being home more. Or maybe you have always wanted to have your own business, be in charge of your own schedule, and be home most nights, but…


According to numerous reports, the 2019 RAM Heavy Duty 3500 is the best hot shot truck on the market today. This heavy duty truck comes with two different engines with a total of three power levels and three unique transmission options. Although the basic 5.7L HEMI is no longer available, the RAM Heavy Duty new…


Do you want to start a hot shot trucking business without running it yourself? If YES, here are 11 best hot shot trucking companies you can lease on with. Hotshot is a term that is commonly used in the trucking industry especially in the United States of America. The word hotshot commonly refers to either…


In the United States, 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. Unlike most CDL jobs, have it in mind that hot shot trucking does not require driving a tractor trailer. Most hot shot drivers start with a heavy-duty pickup truck. Class 3–Class 5 trucks are the go-to picks.

Then, drivers usually pull some type of flatbed trailer. That could include a bumper pull, gooseneck, lowboy, or deck over trailer. Each trailer type has pros and cons, so it is important to read up on the differences and decide what’s ideal for you.

One well-known benefit of hot shot trucking is that the initial costs of equipment are usually lower than becoming a tractor trailer owner operator. However, as drivers will be quick to tell you that it doesn’t mean starting and running this business is cheap or immediate.

The pickup truck and flatbed trailer will be your biggest starting expenses. There will also be other miscellaneous equipment like chains and binders that you’ll want to have at hand. Finally, ensure you leave room in the budget for the paperwork. Registration, insurance, and legal fees (if you decide to become an LLC) should all be part of your budget plan.

Pros and Cons of Hotshot Trucking

A hotshot trucker is a freelance truck driver in the freight industry. They can own their own vehicle, but they are not always expected to have their own truck since some trucking carriers provide freelancers with a vehicle to deliver cargo. But a trucking company does not employ hotshot drivers. Hotshot trucking isn’t perfect, nor is it right for everybody. Here are the advantages and the disadvantages of hotshot trucking.


  • Lower initial start-up costs: These initial start-up costs such as small business supplies and new equipment are lower than for Class 8 long-haul company drivers.
  • Shorter waiting time due to expedited loads: There is a shorter waiting time to get a haul on the road because it is the carrier that usually expedites many of the loads.
  • The income is equal to or better than Class 8: Serious hotshot drivers can find steady work, which results in higher potential income than most Class 8 pay.
  • More home time, as many loads are local or regional: Since hotshot truckers deliver loads with the region they reside in or just within their local area, they drive shorter distances and can enjoy more time at home.


  • You shoulder all the costs: Being the owner of your own trucking business operation, you are fully responsible for all the needs of the company, including taxes (at least 25% of your gross), proper insurance, and vehicle maintenance.
  • Unpredictable demand for your services: Even with being your own boss, that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to have work all the time. Your services can be in high demand one day and you can be struggling for work the next.
  • The pressure to grow a steady client base: It is up to you and you alone to grow your base of clients. If you initiate contacts and do an excellent job for a carrier company; that can spell the difference between little to no work or regular trucking.

How to Start a Hotshot Trucking Business

Just like opening any type of business, however, starting a hot shot trucking business requires adequate planning and smart investment of your time and money. Here is a thorough guide on how to start a hot shot trucking business.

  1. Choose the Right Kind of Truck

Since hotshot trucking involves the transportation of time-sensitive loads, you will have to acquire a capable truck to get the job done. Hotshot loads require the use of a one-ton pickup truck, such as the Ford Super-Duty F-350 or Ram 3500.

Note that Hotshot loads can put an enormous amount of stress on smaller pickups, which causes more wear and tear over time. Since lighter-duty trucks limit your ability to take on heavier loads, you can expect fewer opportunities if you don’t have a heavy-duty truck.

Things to keep in mind when choosing which pickup truck is right for you to include hauling and towing capacity, fuel efficiency, and price. Standard, super-duty trucks will indeed be the safest bets, but it is necessary to note that price and gas mileage aren’t their strong suit.

  1. Find the Right Equipment

As a hotshot trucker, you will have to consider investing in a 30 ft. gooseneck flatbed trailer to carry the loads. Gooseneck trailers got their name for their unique shape. The neck of the trailer extends over the tailgate of the truck and attaches to a ball hitch in the bed of the truck.

Note that Gooseneck hitches can carry around 30,000 pounds. Although a good number of hotshot loads are no-touch freight, loaded with a forklift or other machinery, it is still a good idea to keep some basic equipment on hand. This includes the ratchet straps, bungee cords, stretch wraps, and dollies.

  1. Acquire Proper Documentation

So many hotshot trucking requirements are expected to be met before you can start hauling. For instance, a United States DOT (Department of Transportation) number and MC (Motor Carrier) number will have to be obtained.

The DOT number and MC number are used for receiving permission from the state and federal government to haul freight. A CDL is a requirement if you are transporting hotshot loads exceeding 10,000 pounds. Even though a CDL isn’t always mandatory for hotshot trucking, you should consider acquiring one if you plan on tackling heavy loads.

Another important action to take before starting a hot shot trucking business is to acquire the right type of insurance. Have it in mind that insurance can easily hike up the start-up costs of a hot shot trucking business, so it is imperative to do your research and reach out to a commercial insurance broker for your best options.

  1. Incorporate Your Business

Although not a necessary requirement, there are many benefits to incorporating your business. Most sole owner-operators categorize their business as a sole proprietorship. But, there are benefits to incorporating as an LLC. Consider leveraging third party services and consulting with an accountant and attorney to make an educated decision on business registration for your trucking company.

Right before incorporating your hotshot business, pick a unique and creative name. This might not seem like an important step in the start-up process, but a good name can lead to greater awareness and success of your business.

  1. Find Hotshot Loads

As an owner-operator, you are tasked with setting your own schedule and obtaining reliable work. Once your hotshot business has been formed, it is time to find customers who can provide you with hotshot jobs. In the United States, a traditional method to finding freight is to search load boards, which are a source for transportation professionals to post jobs for hotshot drivers.


If you are ready to get started as a hotshot driver, grab a computer and start the paperwork. Like with most things in life, hotshot trucking has both its pros and cons. So it is imperative to do your own research and “due diligence” before you dive in. Get conversant will all the relevant laws — both federal and state.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is Hot Shot Trucking Used For?

Hot shot trucking are basically used for hauling smaller, more time-sensitive LTL loads within a specific timeframe, and usually to a single customer or location. Hot shot loads are usually delivered using medium-duty trucks that pull flatbed trailers.

  1. How Do You Get Started In Hot Shot Trucking?
  • Conduct your market survey and feasibility studies
  • Learn everything you need to learn about owning and operating a hot shot trucking business
  • Choose a name and register the business
  • Draft a detailed Business Plan
  • Secure the needed licenses and permits
  • Apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • Open a corporate bank account
  • Lease, equip and furnish your operational base
  • Hire employees
  • Purchase the needed hot shot trucks
  • Market and promote your hookah lounge
  1. What Do Hot Shot Drivers Haul?

Typically, hot shot truckers will haul construction materials, heavy equipment, machinery, or farm materials.

  1. Is There Money In Hotshot Trucking?

Sure, there is money in hotshot trucking. A well run hotshot trucker business in a reasonable location can bring in from $60,000 to $120,000 gross income per year, possibly more. Most hotshot’s expenses—fuel, maintenance, insurance, licenses and fees, tolls, etc. —are approximately half of gross income

  1. Why Consider Hot Shot Trucking?

You should consider hot shot trucking because, hot shot truckers usually have experience transporting a variety of load types. They’re attracted to hot shot loads because they pay decent rates.

  1. Is Starting A Hotshot Trucking Business Worthwhile?

Absolutely, a hotshot business is still worth it. As long as you come in with the right frame of mind and your expectations are reasonable and you have a little bit more money in your nest egg, then hot shot might be worth it.

  1. Do You Need A CDL For Hotshot Trucking?

Not really because Hotshot trucking doesn’t always require a CDL, but it is recommended. All hotshot drivers are required to file an Interstate Operating Number (MC number) in addition to a DOT number. If a hotshot trucker has a CDL and a larger trailer, he or she could haul loads weighing up to 26,000 pounds.

  1. What Insurance Do You Need For Hot Shot Trucking?
  • Primary Liability
  • Non-Trucking Liability
  • Motor Truck Cargo Insurance
  • Trucking Physical Damage Insurance
  • Occupational Accident Insurance
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Workers Compensation Insurance
  • Umbrella or Excess Liability Insurance
  • Trucking Employment Practices Liability Insurance
  • Freight Surety Bonds.
  1. What are Hot Shot Trucking Insurance Requirements?

The FMCSA requires $750,000 in liability insurance coverage to cover others’ bodily injury, physical damage/property damage insurance and environmental restoration after an accident. However, most load brokers and shippers require $1,000,000.

  1. How Do You Find Hot Shot Trucking Jobs And Loads?
  • Direct from shippers
  • Freight brokers
  • Load boards
  • Load matching apps
  1. How Do Hot Shot Drivers Find Work?

When it comes to finding work for hot shot truckers, most turn to load boards. Load boards are essentially marketplaces for transportation professionals to post quick, small load jobs for willing drivers.

  1. What Are The DoT Regulations For Hot Shot Trucks?
  • Keep a driver logbook.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on board.
  • Have reflectors.
  • Follow the DoT’s restrictions for driving time and rest time.
  • Have a DoT license plate and load sticker.
  1. What Type Of Trucks Can Be Used For Hotshot Trucking?

Some of the most common types of trucks used for hotshot trucking 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.

  1. How Long Do You Lose Your CDL For A Failed Drug Test?

DOT drug and alcohol violations stay on a driver’s record for three years, although employers must maintain certain drug and alcohol testing records for at least five years, including positive test results.

  1. Can You Make Good Money In Hot Shot Trucking?

Sure, you can make good money in hot shot trucking. As a matter of fact, hotshots with full deck & weight capacity, rolling in regions that offer the best rates & volume, gross $150,000 to $180,000 per year. Carriers with newer authority are on the lower end of that spectrum, while carriers with 90-days or more are on the upper end of that range.

  1. How Much Does A Hotshot Trucker Make A Year?

The average hotshot driver salary in the USA is $67,550 per year or $34.64 per hour. Entry level positions start at $34,125 per year while most experienced workers make up to $105,300 per year.

  1. How Much Does Hot Shot Trucking Pay Per Mile?

Generally speaking, hot shot hauling rates are around $1.50 per mile. Some jobs, typically urgent ones, pay as much as $2 per mile, but they are not common. This is balanced by loads with a more typical minimum of $1 to $1.25 per mile.

  1. How Much Do Truckers Make If They Own Their Own Truck?

According to Indeed, an independent truck driver’s gross pay averages $183,000 per year, but expenses can run over 70% percent. Hence, the average owner operator pay drops to around $50,000-$60,000 take-home. Many independent truck drivers sign with a carrier to get consistent work.

  1. Do Hotshots Have To Stop At Scales?

Yes, you do. It varies a little state to state but if you’re over the threshold for being subject to the hours of service, which is a commercial vehicle with a GVWR of more than 10k, then its a safe bet you have to enter weigh stations.

  1. How Much Does It Cost To Start Hot Shot Trucking?

Basically, hotshot trucking startup costs can easily reach the $15,000-30,000 range, but this will vary based on personal circumstances.

  1. What Size Trailer Do You Need For Hot Shot?

Actually, the most common length for gooseneck hot shot trailers is 40 feet. On a PJ Gooseneck this gives you a total length of 49 feet. Longer trailers might give you the ability to haul more freight, but can be restrictive depending on the state laws.

  1. Which Load Board Is Best For Box Trucks?

Here some top load boards for any carrier;

  • Trucker Path.
  • Direct Freight.
  • DAT Load Board.
  1. Can Hotshot Drivers Have Passengers?

Under USDOT rules, passengers are not allowed to be transported in a commercial vehicle unless written authorization has been granted by a motor carrier. The written authorization must contain the name of the person transported, the date and where the transportation starts and ends.

  1. What Kind Of Trailer Do I Need For Hot Shot Trucking?

The most common trailer type used by hotshot truckers is the bumper pull trailer. It is a favorite for both commercial and civilian drivers. Bumper pull trailers are a popular choice because of their versatility.

  1. What Size Trailer Do I Need For Non CDL Hotshot?

Simply, if you do not have a CDL, the max weight must be 26,000 lbs. or less. If you have an F-350 that weighs 10,100 lbs. and a trailer that weights 7,000 lbs. empty, then this only gives the non-CDL hotshot the ability to haul a maximum of 8,900 lbs. If you have a CDL, you can haul over that 26,000 GVWR limit.

  1. What Are HotShot Driver Requirements?

The qualifications you need to work as a hot shot truck driver include driving skills and the proper driver’s license. A commercial driver’s license (CDL). To earn a Class A CDL, you need to pass written and behind-the-wheel exams.

  1. Is There A Demand For Hotshot Trucking?

Interestingly, hotshot trucking services started out as a “good idea.” Today, they are one of the most sought-after transportation solutions available. With tremendous benefits, demand for these services continues to grow throughout the country.

  1. What Do You Need To Drive Hot Shot?
  • Business License.
  • Vehicle documents, including title, registration.
  • Proof of Insurance.
  • Vehicle for Service Permit.
  • USDOT number required for interstate hauling.
  • Operating Authority (MC) obtained with the USDOT.
  • Commercial Driver’s License (highly recommended)
  • Papers of incorporation of LLC status
  1. What Are The Pros And Cons Of Starting My Own Hotshot Business?
Pros (Compared to an independent OTR owner/operator):
  • The initial start-up costs are much lower.
  • You are essentially the manager of your business and your time.
  • Loads are often local or regional giving you more time at home.
  • Hauling expedited loads means less waiting time.
  • Income can be very good, potentially better than Class 8 operators.
  • It will be your business, so you must manage maintenance, schedules, and costs.
  • Demand will vary from day-to-day, especially in the beginning.
  • You must work to develop your client base.
  • You must be aware of local and state laws; be aware of applicable taxes that can be as much as 25% of your gross receipts.
  • Make sure that you obtain adequate and proper insurance for your business.
  1. What Equipment Do You Need To Get Started With Hotshot Trucking Business?

The following is a typical list of equipment you should have:

  • Truck (1 Ton or Larger), Diesel or Gasoline
  • Trailer (Gooseneck, Box, and/or Auto Hauler)
  • Trailer Hitch: Fifth Wheel and Ball
  • GPS
  • Dependable Phone
  • Laptop/Computer Access
  • Internet Access on the Road
  • Cargo straps, Chains, Tie Downs
  • Safety Equipment/Basic Tools
  1. Can Hot Shot Drivers Sleep In Trucks?

Yes, hot shot drivers can sleep in their trucks because there isn’t any rule that says all 10hr off duty has to be in a sleeper or motel. As long as he’s not sitting on driver’s seat, he can just log off duty while the other driver drives.

  1. How Long Are Typical Hotshot Runs?

It depends because hotshot trips can be to the next town or across the country. Of course, after you deliver the load, you may have to return home without a revenue load (deadhead). There may be instances when you will be able negotiate a fee that includes the cost of returning. It is important to stay in touch with load boards or LTL brokers in the areas where you typically run to increase the opportunity to pick of a load that helps pay for the trip home

  1. Who Is Considered A Hot Shot Driver?

A hotshot driver is a truck driver whose responsibilities are to haul and deliver freight to a customer. In this career, you usually drive a pickup truck with a trailer or other specialized hauling equipment, but you may also operate a larger vehicle. Many hotshot drivers operate as independent contractors.

  1. Do Hotshot Drivers Need A Logbook?

Yes, because drivers are required to prepare hours of service RODS (Records of Duty Status).

  1. How Much Does Hot Shot Insurance Cost?

Insurance policies for hotshot truckers usually range from $7,000 – $12,000 per year. The average price for hotshot insurance is $10,284. This is based on 1-truck and trailer and being new in the business.

  1. What Is The Best Truck For Hot Shot?
  • 2021 Ram 3500.
  • 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD.
  • 2021 Ford F-350 Super Duty.
  1. Why Are Truck Drivers Paid So Much?

According to the BLS, most trucking companies pay drivers between $0.27 to $0.40 cents per mile. You may find some companies paying more because of the high demand for Class A licensed Truck Drivers due to the ongoing truck driver shortage.

  1. Do Truck Drivers Make 100k?

Although you might not be able to make $100,000/year off the bat, but given the truck driver demand, and with experience, specialization, CDL training and the right company, you can make $80,000+ on a trucker salary.

  1. What Is The Best Company To Lease To For Hot Shot Trucking?

Cheetah Hot Shot Company offers the best Hotshot leasing program in the trucking industry.

  1. Do I Need A Dually To Hot Shot?

A dually certainly isn’t a requirement for hotshot trucking.

  1. Do Hotshot Drivers Need Elogs?

Yes, and as a matter of fact, all applicable hotshot drivers and carriers must comply with the ELD mandate. Drivers should be aware of their responsibility to keep Records of Duty Status (RODS), electronic logs, and maintain their electronic logging devices (ELD).

  1. What Are The Advantages Of Owning And Operating your Own Hotshot Trucking Service?

Here are some advantages of owning and operating your own hotshot trucking services:

  • Be self-employed and build your own business.
  • Build a family business.
  • Haul what you want, when and where you want.
  • Have more control over your schedule and be home most nights.
  • Have the potential to make good money in the process.
  • Be home for holidays; maybe not have to work Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
  1. How Much Is A Custom Sleeper Truck?

While a basic sleeper might run you $55,000, a large, customized build could cost upward of $150,000.

  1. Do Sleeper Cabs Have Toilets?

Some modern semi truck sleeper cabs have very nice travel bathrooms installed right inside. There are also a variety of portable toilets on the market today.

  1. What Happens If You Fail A Dot Drug Test?

If you fail your DOT regulated drug test, DOT regulations require your employer to immediately remove you from performing any DOT safety-sensitive job. There may be other consequences, too, like losing your certification or license.

  1. How Much Does A Class A CDL Cost?

For a standard CDL License, expect to pay between $75 and $100, some states do charge more. Expect to pay between $5 and $10 for each endorsement, which can include additional knowledge and skills exams.

  1. Which is Better Class A or B CDL?

A class A license is considered the “universal” CDL, providing the opportunities for driving several different types of commercial trucks and tractor trailers. A class B license also allows operation of different types vehicles such as straight trucks and dump trucks, but it is more limiting than a class A CDL.

  1. Why Is There A Strong Demand For Truck Drivers Now?

A big reason to get into the trucking industry right now is the increase in pay that companies are implementing for beginner drivers. Spot rates are increasing compared to earlier in 2020 due to the high demand and manufacturer supply, which motivates drivers to carry more loads.

  1. What Is The Highest Paying Truck Driver Job?
  • Ice road trucking.
  • Hazmat hauling.
  • Tanker hauling.
  • Oversized load hauling.
  • Luxury car hauling.
  • Team driving.
  • Owner-operator jobs.
  • Private fleets.
  1. Best Truck Driving Companies For New Drivers?
  • Swift Trucking Company.
  • US Xpress.
  • CR England.
  • Werner Enterprises.
  • XPO Logistics.
  1. Is uShip A Good Way To Make Money?

Yes, and as a matter of fact, many carriers have used uShip as supplemental income. Some have used uShip as their main source of business, creating their own fleets off of the money they make on uShip. Winning transport jobs on uShip is all about providing value, not just offering the lowest price.

  1. Do Truckers Need To Invest In A Professional GPS System?

Absolutely, as a matter of fact, trucker GPS systems can help with your route planning, allowing you to maximize your time and even perform many of the tasks you have to do by hand, including logging fuel usage. If you’re a trucker without a proper Trucker GPS, it’s time to invest in one today.