A hotshot load is a load transported by a midsize class truck, like a super-duty pickup truck. Most often, trucks used for hauling these goods tow trailers that can range from 20 to 40 feet. These hotshot loads are often referred to as LTL loads.
LTL stands for “less than load”, meaning less than a full container or truckload. An FTL load, or a full truckload, tends to need a semi-truck with a trailer to haul one load of cargo. For instance, moving a shipment of 500 pieces of furniture from a manufacturer to a distribution warehouse.
One of the most difficult challenges of being a hotshot driver is finding loads to haul, especially if you are just new to the industry and don’t have consistent clients.
A good number of hotshot drivers search for work on load boards. Hotshot load boards are known to be highly competitive, and truckers can undercut each other to get jobs. However, a good number of hotshot drivers are beginning to lease their services to Motor Carriers.
Have it in mind that the biggest benefit of this agreement is that the motor carrier or company is tasked with finding loads for these drivers, and they always have an abundance of loads needed to be hauled. A good number of these companies may also cover some parts of the trucking expenses like fuel, truck repairs/maintenance, insurance, and more.
Truth be told, leasing onto a motor carrier is a good idea especially for drivers just starting out in the hotshot trucking industry. With a capable pickup truck like a Ford F250 or equivalent and an appropriate trailer, you can make reasonable money leasing your services to a hotshot company.
Steps to Lease your Pickup Truck to a Hotshot Company
Just like it was noted above, leasing your pickup truck to a hotshot company can provide you with substantial income. If you are looking for a way to make good money with your pickup truck, here is a simple guide on how to lease your pickup truck to the hotshot company.
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Decide The Type of Freight You Want To Haul
If you are going to lease your pickup truck to a hotshot company, you should ensure they provide the sort of business opportunity you’re looking for. Have it in mind that any type of freight you intend to haul will influence the hotshot company you lease your pickup truck to, the equipment you need to have, and the sort of experience/qualifications you need.
You will need to find companies to apply to. Ensure you extensively research each one to understand if their culture suits your business goals. You can also ask the company to provide a list of its past clients. Take your time to speak to a few of the clients to see whether the company has been dedicated and trustworthy in its business dealings.
Find out as much as you can about the company, including their credit rating on credit report databases such as Experian and Cortera.
Check If You Have Enough Experience and The Necessary Qualifications
A good number of companies in the hotshot market expect their drivers to have certain basic qualifications. These qualifications may include:
- Clock a certain amount of driving experience.
- Have a valid Class A Commercial Driver’s License.
- Using a truck that is within a specific year or newer, with an engine meeting certain requirements or specifications.
Note that the only way to know the qualifications or requirements needed is to carry out research on numerous companies’ websites or even reach out to their recruiters.
Obtain The Necessary Documentation
Obtaining the required documentation remains one of the most vital steps of leasing your pickup truck to a hotshot company. Note that you may need to obtain permits, licenses, endorsements, and more. Also, take time to understand the type of truck insurance you are expected to have.
A good number of hotshot trucking companies will want lessees to carry Workers’ Compensation or Occupational Accident insurance, physical damage insurance, and Non-Trucking Liability insurance (often referred to as “Bobtail” or “Unladen” insurance).
Apply For the Business Opportunity
Once you know the type of loads you want to haul, acquire all necessary documentation, meet all the requirements of the lease opportunity, and have a reliable pickup truck for the job, you need to start sending in your applications. Today, a good number of these companies ask owner-operators to apply for business opportunities on their website.
Negotiate The Terms of The Lease
Once your application gets accepted, you have to negotiate the terms of your lease agreement. These terms may include the rental price and how many miles per year the company may drive the truck. Note that you can come up with the lease agreement, sign it, and send it to the company before the company does.
Although there is a greater chance that the company will revise the contract, writing the first draft gives you more control over the terms. Don’t forget to note in the lease who takes charge of certain expenses of operating the pickup truck, such as fuel, maintenance, licenses, and toll payments.
Also clearly note who is tasked with loading and unloading the vehicle’s cargo. Do not forget to include a notice to the lessee to stipulate that the lessee will take charge of any damages to the vehicle for overloading it, and also they will be charged with paying for any base plates bought for the vehicle’s use during the lease.
Hotshot trucking has become a popular way for folks with trucks to make money as a side-hustle or full-on career because drivers are not expected to obtain a special license to haul loads below 10,000 lbs. However, before leasing your pickup truck to a hotshot company, ensure you understand the legal procedures for leasing.
Note that this will ensure you don’t get scammed or ripped off. Also, remember to put together a lease that both parties must sign. Don’t forget to keep copies of all vital documents in case of a disagreement between you and the hotshot company.