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How to Start a Hot Shot Delivery Trucking Business

Hotshot Trucking Business

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 to start a hot shot trucking business isn’t too hard. It’s building the business and keeping up the chaotic pace that’s difficult. The hot shot trucking business is different from the regular trucking business because the former involves cargoes that are usually smaller and often varies time sensitive in nature and will therefore need to be urgently delivered.

Hot shot hauling is demanding, and generally doesn’t allow for breaks between pick-up and delivery because of the time sensitive nature of the cargo.

This kind of schedule can take its toll on truckers physically, mentally and can create a challenging life on the home front. Before you start your hot shot trucking business, be sure your family understands the demands it will make on family life.

If you have thought about it deeply and have decided that starting a hot shot trucking business is what you want to go into, then you must ensure that you conduct a thorough market research so as to determine what niche you intend to go into as this will determine what rig you should buy, what type of hauling you should go into, what deliveries you intend to make and who your customers will be.

One thing to note is that the hot shot trucking business is a very competitive one and as such building a customer base if you do not already have the connection might be very time consuming, thereby making you lose a lot of money.

One way by which you can make your hot shot business start generating revenue, without having to waste time in building a consumer base if you do not have the connections, is to either lease your services or sign with a trucking company that are in need of hot shot truckers.

If you choose this option, you will not only find it easy to get cargoes to haul, you will also be free from the responsibility of dealing with billing and paperwork. In getting signed with a trucking company means that about 25 percent of the hauling fee charge and give the rest of the 75 percent to you.

Before you can sign with a trucking company, you will need to get in touch with the terminal manager in order to know what will be required from you before you submit your application. Before you can get accepted, it is important that you not only pass a drug test but also a DOT (Department of Transportation) physical test.

In order to be able to run your hot shot truck business with as few hitches as possible, it is important that you designate a process agent that will on your behalf accept service of any legal summons or get documents that are related to your business. It is best that you get a process agent in every state where you have an office or where you have passed through.

A form BOC-3 must be filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) either by you or the process agent. If your intention is to have a contract with other independent drivers to help complete some jobs that you might not be able to handle, it means that you will apply to the FMCSA for operating authority.

Steps to Starting a Hot Shot Delivery Business

1. Understand the Industry

Businesses that need to have their goods and parcels delivered quickly to specific destinations can choose to contract with freight companies that offer hot shot business services. These types of freight companies accepts goods and parcels regardless of their weight and size, from small boxes and parcels to large ones, to factory machines that weigh tons.

Interesting Statistics About the Industry

Most of the time, the shipments are time-sensitive and freight companies need to have them delivered to their respective locations as quickly as possible.

Because shipments need to be delivered promptly and in a timely manner, hot shot load drivers are expected to deliver the shipments without taking any breaks on the way. Freight companies typically use diesel powered trucks and goose-neck trailers in order to deliver the shipments.

A Hot shot business is often mistaken for an expedited loads business. While they both may carry loads that are time-sensitive, there remains a big difference between the two. Expedited loads are those that are often carried and shipped by straight trucks, vans, and tractor trailers.

Meanwhile, hot shot load drivers often use flatbeds or medium-duty trucks designed to pull trailers that are intended for hauling loads.

The trucking industry is one that is considered as one of the backbone of the American economy and this is because 70 percent of cargoes shipped within the united states are done via trucks. According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), more than 80 percent of the revenue that was generated in the shipping sector was as a result of the activity of the trucking companies.

This amount is however still expected to increase as it has been predicted that revenue will continue to rise till 2022. This therefore goes to show that the trucking industry can be used to determine the economic health of America.

In order to be able to deal with the projected growth of the country, it is expected that trucking companies will see their capacity reach a threshold, and so many are expected to either increase their rates or start churning out services for preferred shippers by agreeing to a contract that is mutually beneficial to both parties.

This will allow trucking companies to maximize their productivity while also helping customers save their time and money. There is also the possibility that that shippers will in future form their own private fleet of trucks in order to solve the problem of finding a trucking company that will fit into their schedule.

According to a forecast report by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), there has been a jump in the revenue expected by the trucking industry which is expected to continue till 2026, where revenue is expected to climb to $1.52 trillion.

According to the Journal of Commerce, 21 trucking companies saw an increase of between 10 to a 12 percent increase in the second and third quarters of 2014.

The American trucking industry is however experiencing severe challenges in 2017 which is compounded from previous years and which has seen a number of truck manufacturers laying off their workers, shipping rates and volumes plummeting and carriers canceling order for new trucks.

The challenges that are being faced by the trucking industry include excess stock, capacity overload, sinking demand, port bottlenecks, tightening regulations and driver shortage. However, these challenges are expected to be short term as it is expected that consumer spending and manufacturing will improve.

Even though the trucking revenue has fallen by 0.2 percent, year after year, it is expected that the industry will improve in 2017. According to IBISWorld, the industry is expected to see a 2.4 percent increase which means about $187 billion and will annualize at a 2.1 percent growth which will mean $202 billion revenue.

Most trucking companies are for the most part worried that even though competition might be increasing, demand will shrink, thereby resulting in decreasing revenue for the various companies. The trucking industry is however expected to keep improving as there is expected to be a bump in business that is due to the weakening of the dollar, higher prices for oil as well as post-election stability.

Nowadays, anyone who has the appropriate driving license from DMV are allowed to get into hot shot load industry and drive different hot shot trucks, which include overweight vehicles and trailers.

Independent hot shot drivers are given the opportunity to find loads that they want to ship and choose their preferred locations and destinations through online freight matching providers. This means that they have all the earnings – no deductions of any kind – and that they handle all of the paper-work associated with the service.

The earnings usually depend on the loads and the shippers and on how much they work. The challenge, however, is finding a hot shot business to deliver. Hot shot drivers who choose to be independent can take advantage of the different online freight matching providers that can help them find a hot shot business.

Such a service works like online auction sites like eBay and can work well with drivers who want to go independent instead of contracting with a hot shot operator. This also works well for businesses that need to quickly deliver goods and parcels as they can easily find freelance drivers who can provide the type of service they need.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

Some men and women are not cut out for 11 hour shifts a day. Some don’t like being on a schedule. These are two main reasons why drivers prefer hot shot trucking. Some men and women can’t travel far from home. The main reason why men and women flock to hot shot trucking is earnings and no commitment.

Hot shot truck drivers can pick up a haul, work for a few hours and make a big pay check. If you can find the right load, just one trip can cover your monthly expenses. Some companies provide a truck for you, while others will require that you own your own diesel truck.

Just be aware that companies that provide a truck for you will usually take a higher percentage of your driving fee. You will also need to look into purchasing insurance for your truck. Insurance for a one ton or any truck that you drive is not cheap. There are other factors like your driving record and credit that factor in what you’ll pay.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

Hot shot trucking can be very rewarding and the type of lifestyle that many men and women look for. While a typical trucking job may be too demanding, hot shot trucking brings more freedom and often big rewards for your efforts.

Hot shot trucking just might be your gateway onto that path. Hot Shot Trucking, also known as Less Than Truck Load (LTL), is a part of the industry that has essentially been created for free lance drivers. You can make more money by channelling or targeting a particular niche. You can choose to move goods for a described set of business

  • Medical hot shot business
  • Commercial hot shot business
  • Agricultural hot shot business
  • Manufacturing hot shot business
  • Spare parts hot shot
  • Perishable cargo hot shot
  • Lightweight Cargo
  •  Heavy duty Cargoes
The Level of Competition in the Industry

The term “hot shot trucking” is applied to truckers who drive rigs smaller than the standard semi-truck and trailer. It also refers to moving less than a truckload or LTL. Unlike hauling conventional cargo that can be scheduled regularly, hot shot cargo is often time sensitive in nature.

Hot shot loads vary and will depend on the type of rig you operate. Items hauled may include things like a trailer full of urgently needed parts, hauling fresh flowers, or something as small as delivering one envelop for a same day delivery. This business is tough, competitive, and extremely unpredictable.

There is no such thing as a steady paycheck, and you are footing all of the expenses up front. You will also be in direct competition with a thousand other hotshots for every load you try to book. And some days, and weeks, you won’t win the work. That goes to explain that the hotshot industry is filled with eagle eyed competitors who are all looking for a pay check.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

  • JCW hotshot trucking
  • A & A hotshots
  • III’s hotshot trucking
  • Hazels hotshot
  • Eagle ford shale
  • United vision logistics
  • Hot shot express
  • JF transports
Economic analysis

Hot shot trucking can vary in just terminology alone. Some hot shot truck drivers may or may not be contracted by a company. Hot shot trucking can represent a freelance truck driver. While companies are always needing items and products shipped to their destinations, so do regular people all across the world.

This has helped the hot shot trucking sector grow and expand to be a global economy and provide an income to thousands of hot shot drivers. No matter if you choose to become a hot shot truck driver, choose to be a company driver or decide to become an owner operator, the trucking industry controls around 70 percent of all hauling.

There are pros and cons in trucking, just like with any job you choose. Trucking is a multi-billion dollar industry and that equals a lot of opportunity, hot shot trucking or any other type of driving for the industry.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

Start-up hot shot services businesses can be attractive because they allow the entrepreneur to have more control and greater influence. From a funding perspective, however, you may have a hard time finding lenders who are willing to take a chance on your hot shot services business concept.

If you are thinking about opening a hot shot services business, a smart move is to investigate whether franchise opportunities in your space might simplify your entering the business but for the sake of this article, franchising is a better option than starting a hot shot business from the scratch.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

There isn’t a business that is not faced with challenges. That is why if you own a small rig and are looking for a way to bring in more income, learning how to start a hot shot trucking business may be the answer. In fact it is the way to go. Becoming a hot shot truck driver is no easy task. Possible challenges and threats to starting a hot shot business may include

  • Getting a Truck and hiking price of Truck Fuel
  • Truck Maintenance
  • Likely No Regular Schedule
  • Registering the business
  • Finance
  • Applying for a U.S. Department of Transportation number online at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website or by mailing form MCS-150
  • Buying bodily injury and property damage insurance to cover you as a for-hire motor carrier

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

Setting up an LLC is in an option you should seriously consider when starting a hot shot business because it can protect you from personal liability if something bad happens. If you are planning on setting up an LLC for your business you can file for your authority at the same time the LLC is being formed.

An LLC is one of the most popular business forms available, and for good reason. There are many advantages of a Limited Liability Company including workplace benefits! Below are some of the primary benefits an LLC can offer your hot shot business!

  • Limited Liability
  • Pass-Through Taxation
  • Simplicity
  • Determine Your Own Structure
  • All Members Can Be Involved
  • Build Business Credit
  • Attractive to Foreign Investors

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

In order for a business to do well and be recognized, it is usually advisable that a catchy and attractive name is adopted. With that in mind, here are some possible names to consider adopting.

  • Alberta Express Hotshot
  • Dusty Derrick Hotshot
  • Midnight Oil Trucking
  • Fog Ducking Trucking LTD
  • Litespeed Trucking
  • Rock River Trucking Co.
  • Fast Freight Trucking Co.
  • RFN Hotshots Inc.
  • Sure Shot Hot-Shot
  • Ever-Ready Hot-Shot
  • Gordy’s Hot-Shot
  • Extreme Hot-Shot
  • Omega Hot-Shot
  • Express Hot-Shot
  • Sprinter Shot-Shot

9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

First off it is important to understand that hotshot trucking is a vital component in the commercial trucking industry. The drivers are usually single vehicle, owner-operators that work freelance for the freight industry. They transport smaller loads and usually operate in a smaller radius than the class 8 long haul drivers.

Hotshot haulers transport items such as vehicles, boats, freight and other equipment to a single customer that doesn’t have the time or need for a big rig to haul the freight. Accidents can occur and lives or properties might be lost. Your hot shot business just like any other business has a list of insurance needed to save you from unprepared expenses.

  • Primary liability
  • Non-trucking liability click to expand contents
  • 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

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

With competition and ideas being fierce in the hot shot industry, the need for an individual or a company to protect its intellectual property also tends to be very necessary. Intellectual property protection in the hotshot industry just like any money making business is about protecting the time, money and effort you put into your business.

In other to protect your intellectual property in the hot shot business, you need to register your trademarks and geographical indication, protect your IP, stay ahead of your game and fight anything trying to infringe your IP.

11. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

The need for businesses and individuals to move cargoes (documents, parcels and equipment) from one part of town to another part of town is an activity that has become part and parcel of a normal business life. There are people who are taking advantage of this need and they have successfully created services that will take care of the need – hot short business.

If you have knack for logistics and a sound business mindset, you can comfortably start your own hot short business and make huge returns on your investment especially if the business is positioned in a busy business district. Hot shot trucking business involves helping organizations and individual deliver their equipment, documents and parcels within the shortest time possible and this is usually done by truckers who drive smaller rigs.

  • Vehicle permits
  • Vehicle for service permit
  • Business license
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Drivers form
  • Commercial driver’s license

12. Write a Business Plan

If it includes hard numbers, a hot shot services company business plan can become the catalyst for an executable business strategy.

In contemporary business culture, business plans are also litmus tests used by external interests to assess real world viability and marketability. Early in the process, it’s worth your time to learn how to write the market analysis section of a business plan.

While a robust market analysis can be a selling point for a hot shot services business start up, weak market research is a sure giveaway for a business that hasn’t invested adequate effort in planning. While writing your hot shot business plan you need to access the following;

Access your competitors

Before you open a hot shot services business within your community, it’s a smart move to determine how strong the competition is.

Get a List of Nearby Hot Shot Services Businesses

Gain knowledge of how existing firms have positioned themselves in the marketplace, and then design your business in a way that sets you apart from the others.

Get Advice from Experienced Entrepreneurs

If you are interested in starting a hot shot services business, it’s a smart move to have a conversation with someone who is in the business. If you think owners of nearby hot shot services businesses will give you advice, think again. What’s in it for them?

Fortunately, somebody who runs a hot shot services business in a location that is not competitive to you may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, provided that you won’t be directly competing with them. In fact, they are often very willing to share start-up advice with you. It can take a while to find an entrepreneur who is willing to talk, but it’s well worth the effort.

13. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis

Setting a hot shot is not a bread and tea job. It’s a simple concept with a lot of moving parts. The biggest hurdle in getting started is the upfront costs of a truck and trailer and getting commercial insurance. Here’s a cost analysis of starting a small scale hot shot business.

  • A Truck – $12,000
  • A Trailer- $10,000
  • The Business End (Authority, Insurance, Compliance, Etc.) – $8,000
  • Office space and other equipment – $3,000
  • Miscellaneous – $5,000

It will take $38,000 to start a hot shot business but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The costs listed are approximate and will vary. It will take time to get set up and rolling but being your own boss can be very rewarding.

14. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

Capital is of prime importance in order to furnish trucks that will deliver the items quickly on the road. These trucks, however, need careful maintenance in its use with gasoline, service fee to the driver and machinery maintenance. In financing your hot shot business, your potential sources of financial support can either be internal or external.

If you are starting a business, you will most likely bring into play internal funds such as personal savings to finance you’re dealing but if you are previously in the spreading out stage, you should be drumming more on external financing in the form of debt or equity.

When borrowing money or raising funds from financier, you need to mull over three essential factors that could affect the feasibility and practicality of the financing package, specifically time duration, interest rate, and the administration participation of the funds contributor.

Be extremely careful with purchasing the trucks with your obtained capital. Double check if possible its function and machine condition.

15. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Location decisions are often important – to both large and small hot shot businesses. The location decision has a direct effect on an operation’s costs as well as its ability to serve customers (and therefore its revenues).  Also, location decisions, once made, are difficult and costly to undo.

The costs of moving an operation are often significant and run the risk of inconveniencing customers and staff. It is always best to get the location decision right first time. In the hot shot industry, many locations exist – Home based business, Commercial, and Industrial. In choosing a location in the moving industry one has to consider these factors listed below.

  • Demographics
  • Foot traffic
  • Accessibility and Parking
  • Competition
  • Proximity to other businesses and services
  • Ordinances
  • Utilities and other costs.

16. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

Technology might have altered the traditional way of doing things but we all know it is for the best. Just like in other businesses, technology has enhanced even the hot shot business. The requirements for your hot shot business may include all listed below and more

TRUCKS – $10,000+
  • 1 TON Truck or larger
  • Dually (no SRW)
  • 9000lb rear axle minimum
  • Diesel
  • Gooseneck or 5th wheel hitch in bed
  • Long bed (so trailer will not hit cab)
TRAILERS $6,000+
  • Depends on what you want to haul
  • Open 3 & 4 car wedge styles for autos
  • Enclosed trailers for autos, motorcycles, general cargo
  • Flatbeds for general cargo and equipment
  • Use goosenecks and 5th wheels
  • Make sure axles and tires are heavy enough
  • Remember more axles = higher tolls
  • Lap top computer for online access $1,000
  • Internet access on the road via Wi-Fi or cellular $50/month
  • 20ton jack
  • Cargo straps, chains, tie downs, pad, etc
  • Business checking account (i.e. Bank of America)
  • Tax ID number (online)
  • Customer contracts/receipts
  • Business expense receipts / book keeping
  • Business licence/service permit (city hall) $50yr
  • Certificate of assumed name (court house) $15
  • CPA $200 to do taxes
  • Dedicated business phone number
  • Website $25yr
  • account 7.9%
  • $35/month
  • Business cards ( free + S/H
  • Door magnets/signage $100
  • Business name, phone number, slogan
  • Local phone book ad $50monthly
FMCSA requirements
  • MCS-150 form online $300
  • USDOT #1553028
  • MC #576750
  • Insurance requirements $750,000 liability/$5,000 cargo (minimums) $6000 – $10000/year
  • BOC-3 form $35
  • Safety inspections will be scheduled for Fire extinguisher & safety triangles in truck
  • Bills of lading
  • Hours of service log book
  • CDL Class a $50 in NC
  • You will need medical exam form & card completed by MD $150
  • Vehicle registration, for hire tags 26,000lbs ($400 NC)
The Service Delivery Process of the Business

Every business has various service processes that it operates on. The service process of a hot shot business is the means and process ranging from the picking up, transit, to the delivery of belongings. A customer just have to tell what they want you to deliver and where, and then it lies you to make a safe delivery. Indeed it is not an easy task but it is a systematic process you need to adhere to be able to get jobs.

17. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

It is very vital that for a business to be known by everyone, there has to be great marketing plans in place at all times. The role of marketing in any venture cannot be over flogged because it is very essential. Therefore, you need to have very solid trucking marketing plan in place.

For such a business as hot short trucking, you may need to place adverts on the newspapers, the radio, as well as the internet. For the internet, look at starting a website and blog. Also, you can print fliers and brochures placing the right contact information about your business there.

Winning strategies combine common sense marketing with the constantly evolving demands of the marketplace.

18. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

“How much do hot shot truck drivers get paid?” Honestly, there’s really no right answer because the amount of money you make depends on what you’re willing to do as a hot shot truck driver. Here’s what will determine your pay as a hot shot trucker.

  • How many load boards have you joined or have your drivers joined?
  • How many loads are you bidding on?
  • What’s your availability to run with loads?
  • Do you have the proper equipment to carry various load types?
  • How far are you willing to travel?

All of these questions factor in to what you’ll make as a hot shot operator. Here’s the key element to remember, you have a high earning potential as a hot shot artist.

Many known drivers make $10,000 a year working a few hours out of the month and a few drivers are making $200,000 easily. If you put the time in, join some great load boards, you can make a lot of money hot shot trucking. But that’s up to you.

19. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

In other not to make costly mistakes and give your competitors a competitive advantage, you need to adhere to the following below:

Don’t go into this business thinking you can make the big bucks with a little passenger pickup truck, it’s too limiting to what you can load and carry. At minimum a 1-ton flatbed is required, (bigger is better) and there is a reason for this.

Loads will be fork lifted onto the bed of the truck and you can’t fork pallets or whatever over the sides of a standard pickup bed. A lot of what we carry won’t fit in a standard bed anyway. And while some loads may be 35 lbs, others will be 3500 lbs. You need the bigger truck to maximize your load capacity and flexibility.

Don’t go into this business thinking you can survive the first year without having at least $10,000 earmarked for operating expenses in the bank in addition to all equipment expenses. Some do, and they’re lucky, but the majority of new independent hotshots go out of business due to lack of operating cash within the first 6-12 months.

Don’t go into this business until you do extensive, exacting research on what is required, and if at all possible, actually find someone already established to ride with for at least a couple of loads to see how it all works. This work is not for everyone, and it’s better to find that out up front than after you plunked down 50K+ in start-up costs.

Don’t go into this business if your spouse is dead set against you being gone for days at a time, they don’t dig the idea of being in the hotshot business, or they are attached to the idea of having a steady weekly income coming in. At least, don’t do it if you value your marriage…

Don’t go into this business thinking it will be easy money. Trust when you’re told there is no such thing. Anyone who tells you different is blowing smoke up… It truly will take you a long time to recoup your investment.

20. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

It is generally more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one happy. Therefore, customer retention is crucial to growing a company.

  • Word of mouth, positive reviews and 5-star ratings on social networks and online review sites make for powerful marketing when it comes to customers who are ready to hire a freight company – make sure you are asking your customers to leave reviews for you online with each successful transaction
  • Optimize your website’s meta tags and on-page content in alignment with Google and other search engines’ best practices
  • Establish an editorial schedule and regularly publish new, original, optimized content to your website and/or blog including articles, landing pages, pages with forms (such as subscription forms that help you build your contact list, instant quote or request for information forms)
  • Make it easy for customers to find out why and how they should do business with you; more and more, customers want to do most – if not all – of their research online before choosing a freight company, including making price and value comparisons and looking for reviews
  • Motivate prospects who might be looking for a change
  • Perceived employee indifference is the #1 reason people stop doing business with an organization; make sure that the way you and your employees treat each and every customer and prospect is polite, professional and knowledgeable
  • Make doing business with you as easy as possible by providing as much information as possible in your proposal and on your website; show comparisons with unnamed competitors that demonstrate how your transportation services can save your customers time and money
  • In your print and digital marketing materials, speak to the points of differentiation that set your trucking business apart from competitors that would likely be most important to your customers
  • Incentivize referrals and recommendations from your current customers

21. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

Organizational growth rarely occurs without a foundational plan that includes client attraction, customer retention strategies and creating a corporate identity. For organizations in highly competitive markets, such as transportation, coming up with strategies to attract new customers, keep customers happy and boost brand awareness is even more critical to business growth.

  • Be present – on line and off – where your prospects are; such as: trade associations, trade publications, social networks (especially LinkedIn and Google+), on the web (found in searches)
  • Publish original content to your website and blog that tells the story of your business that is search-engine optimized in order to increase the likelihood that prospects will discover and become aware of your brand
  • Leverage the good will and word of mouth marketing of your most satisfied customers in testimonials and reviews, and ask for referrals
  • Work your phone and email contact lists; send an email newsletter out at least once each month and follow up with prospects periodically to see if they are nearing a point where they need your services
  • Once a quarter or a couple of times each year, send out a large, colourful postcard with a call to action to drive prospects to your website for more information or motivate them to call you for a quote

22. Create a Supplier/Distribution Network of a Hot Shot Business

Many businesses in their quest to meet a target for growth often plan changes to their distribution networks to accommodate the anticipated increase in product volumes. Distribution refers to the steps taken to move and store a product from the supplier stage to a customer stage in the supply chain.

Distribution is a key driver of the overall profitability of a firm because it directly impacts both the supply chain cost and the customer experience.

Good distribution can be used to achieve a variety of supply chain objectives ranging from low cost to high responsiveness. As a result, businesses in the same industry often select very different distribution networks. Optimization of distribution networks are now the present trend being walked by modern establishments.

Things that have driven businesses to optimize their distribution network may include merger or acquisition, business growth/downsizing, competitive pressure, increase efficiency, new market opportunities, change in customer’s base, increase in fuel etc.

In other to optimize your distribution network in the hot shot business you need to keep looking for opportunities to expand your business and create more competitive challenge.

23. Tips for Running a Hot Shot Delivery Business Successfully

Starting a business is by itself an achievement and running it tests the entrepreneur’s aptitude in securing and managing assets. One type of a very feasible venture is the hot shot hauling business.

How able-bodied a business turns out depends on the owner’s knack to countenance challenges and triumph over difficulties. Flourishing entrepreneurs have earned their wealth and prestige through durable effort and by having the precise market at the right time.

A good business variety to endow your time and money is through a hot shot hauling business. This involves a specialty trucking industry having speedy expeditions to explicit destinations for on the dot package deliverance. Hotshot hauling can be an economical substitute to air cargo depending on the distance and the instance presented for delivery.

The best vehicle that could be utilized in hot shot hauling are the efficient and reasonably priced brand of trucks that could be capable of long term road driving and could endure the vast weight of the cargo equipment.

Hefty inner city vans and pack trucks can be very efficient in traveling end to end in the road however could not be capable for hasty on the highway deliveries. Research and thorough understanding in van and truck types should first be done before purchase.

Next to consider are the possible orders from prospected customers in the hot shot hauling business. Build a good reputation on the cargo industry by assuring customers that their packages are in trustworthy hands and that it will be delivered on exactly at the right time.

Employ sales representatives who will face and converse with the consumers such as post offices, larger trucking companies, cargo distributors and the like. The persons that will be representing the company’s prestige and stance are the driver of the truck and the cargo handlers.

Seek hauling contracts with local manufacturing businesses, agricultural producers, warehouses and large stores. Contact freight brokers in your area or use Internet hot shot boards that list jobs. Ask for referrals from companies you work with and advertise by creating a website, sending mailers to targeted companies and networking at industry conferences or through social media.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Is Hot Shot, and Is It Right For You?

A hot shot job involves the expedited transport of freight. As a hot shot truck driver, you often haul much smaller loads than a standard trucker.

You typically drive a one-ton diesel truck with a gooseneck trailer in this field. Although there is an initial investment when starting this type of trucking business, the money is recouped within a short period. Even with a few potential risks, hot shot trucking as a whole is an excellent career opportunity.

  1. What Is Hot Shot Trucking?

Hot shot trucking involves 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. These businesses provide a unique form of transportation that is beneficial to customers, as well.

  1. How Much Can You Make, Hotshot?

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. What Documentation Should You Have For Your Hot Shot Business?
  • 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. How Long Are Typical Hotshot Runs?

Hotshot trips can be to the next town or across the country. You have some control over the distances you want to travel. If you want to be home every night, then you will accept only short distance runs. If you are ready to be gone for several days, your loads may cover much of the country, working your way back home for the weekend.

  1. How Do You Run A Successful Hot Shot Business?
  • Draft a Business Plan
  • Legalize Your Business
  • Reach Out to Customers
  • Insurance and Bonding
  1. What Are The Pros And Cons Of Starting Your Own Hotshot Business?

There are pros and cons of starting your own hotshot business. They include;


  • The initial start-up costs are much lower.
  • You are more or less 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 are expected to 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.
  • You have to make sure that you obtain adequate and proper insurance for your business.
  1. How Do You Start A Hot Shot Trucking Business?
  • Open an LLC in Your State
  • Get a Tax ID Number
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get a DOT Physical (and Your Medical Card)
  • Get a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License)
  • Get Your MVR (Motor Vehicle Record)
  • Get TWIC-Transportation Workers Identification Credential
  • Get Permission From the Federal and State Government
  • Obtain Your Trucking Equipment
  1. What States Do Most Hotshots Live In?
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Kansas
  • Wisconsin
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Vermont
  1. What Are The Advantages Of Owning And Operating A Hotshot Trucking Service?

Here are few advantages of owning and operating your own hotshot trucking service

  • You are self-employed and can build your own business.
  • You can build a family business.
  • You haul what you want, when and where you want.
  • You enjoy more control over your schedule and are home most nights.
  • You have the potential to make good money in the process.
  • You can be home for holidays; maybe not have to work Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.
  1. What Hours Of Service Rules Apply To Hot Shot Trucking?

Hotshot drivers are expected to comply with the following:

  • The 11 hours driving, minimum 10 hours off-duty
  • 14 consecutive hour duty period
  • 60/70 hours in 7/8 days
  • 34-hour restart all apply
  • On any 2 days of every 7 consecutive days, the driver may extend the 14-hour duty period to 16 hours.
  1. What Is The Best Truck For Hotshot?

Dodge RAM 3500 Tradesman has proven to be the best truck for hotshot. This model has a heavy duty diesel engine made by Cummins, which is one of the biggest and oldest engine manufacturers in the world. Their engines power a great variety of equipment from semi-trucks (Volvo), agriculture, construction machines, school buses, to specialized industrial machinery.

  1. What Equipment Do You Need To Get Started?

Starting a hotshot business involves an enormous amount of initial investment as well as operating costs. 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. How Much Does A Hazmat Truck Driver Make?

As of Mar 19, 2022, the average hourly pay of a Hazmat Tanker Driver in the United States is $27.66 an hour. Although some drivers earn hourly wages as high as $39.18 and as low as $15.38, the majority of Hazmat Tanker Driver wages currently range around $22.12 to $33.17 across the United States.

  1. Should You Buy Or Lease A Truck For Your Hotshot Business?

The answer to the above question will depend on how much capital you have to invest in this business. A truck alone is anywhere from $31,000 to $70,000 and up; expect to pay at least $9,000 for a trailer plus a few thousand dollars for commercial insurance, among other expenses.

Howbeit, if you already have a truck, just start with that. If you don’t yet have a truck, you are advised to lease a truck. But if you don’t want to get a lease for some reason, consider getting a new truck over a used truck. It will save you a lot of headaches down the road.

  1. What Is The Best Truck For Hotshot Trucking?
  • Ford F-250 XL Super Duty Commercial.
  • Ford F-350 XLT Super Duty Commercial.
  • Ford F-450 Lariat Super Duty Commercial.
  • GMC Sierra 2500 Denali HD.
  • GMC Sierra 3500.
  • Nissan Titan XD.
  • Dodge Ram 2500 Big Horn.
  • Dodge Ram 3500 Big Horn.
  1. What Size of Truck And Trailer Do You Need?

The minimum size of truck you need to start a hotshot business is the equivalent of a Ford F250, while most operators have trucks equivalent to a Ford F450/550 Super Duty for towing. Note that the trailer should be suitable for the types of loads you plan to carry. A 40-ft gooseneck flatbed trailer is the maximum length you can use and is the most versatile.

You also need to have tarps and tie-downs to protect and secure loads. If you plan to specialize in vehicle transport, a three-vehicle V-trailer would be ideal.

  1. Should You Get Your Own Authority Or Lease On To A Company?

To make real money in owner-operator trucking, you need to have your own authority. As they say, in life, the harder it is to get the goal, the more success it brings. The same goes for the hotshot trucking business. Earning one’s own authority gives business owners more benefits in the long run. If you are considering this path, have a plan and get your finances ready.

  1. What Is A Common Carrier In Trucking?

A common carrier is simply a business enterprise that transports goods and people from one location to another. Trucking firms, shipping firms, bus lines, airlines and rail services fall under the common carrier category.

  1. How Much Can You Make As A Delivery Driver With Amazon Flex?

Most delivery partners earn $18 – $25 per hour delivering with Amazon Flex. Note that actual earnings will depend on your location, any tips you receive, how long it takes you to complete your deliveries, and other factors.

  1. Who Does Enterprise Employ To Do Their Maintenance?

As at last year, Enterprise employed Goodyear and Firestone to do maintenance, however, there has not been any recent information in that regard.

  1. What Are The Best Custom Truck Sleeper Cabs?
  • 2016 Western Star 5700 w/132” ARI sleeper
  • 2013 Volvo w/144” ARI sleeper
  • 2019 Kenworth T880 w/168” ARI sleeper
  1. Do You Need To Get a Broker’s License for Your Hotshot Business?

Yes, and that’s if you intend to broker your own jobs. You will be expected to pay the $300 dollar application fee to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and apply for a freight broker’s license and a USDOT number.

  1. What Is The Best Owner Operator Company To Work For?
  • Cheetah Hotshot Company
  • Houston Hotshot Trucking Company
  • ACME Truck Line Hot Shot Company
  • JF Express Fr8, LLC
  • CKJ Transport Company – Odessa, TX
  • Greensheet Hot Shot Trucking Company – Pearland, TX
  • Hazel’s Hotshot Company – Houston, TX
  • Spectrum Brands Hot Shot Trucking Company – Overland, MO
  • USA Truck Company
  • Hotshots Moving Company, Plano, TX
  1. Will Enterprise Allow Me To Install A Fuel Transfer Tanking In The Bed Of My Truck?

Yes they will, but it is always advisable you speak to them before doing this.

  1. What Are The Best Trucking Companies For Veterans?
  • Roehl Truck
  • CRST Trucking
  • Averitt
  • Celadon Trucking
  • New Penn
  • Schneider National
  • TMC Truck
  • US Xpress Truck
  1. Do Your Financials Prevent You From Buying A New Truck?

Yes, your financials can prevent you from buying a new truck. However, if it does, then a lease might be the best option for you.

  1. Best Truck Driving Companies for New Drivers?
  • Swift Trucking Company
  • US Xpress
  • CR England
  • Werner Enterprises
  • XPO Logistics
  • B.
  • Werner Enterprises
  • Roehl Transport
  • Schneider
  • Heartland Express
  1. Is It Beneficial To Put Less Than 12,000 To 15,000 Miles On Your Hotshot Vehicle In A Year?

Have it in mind that hotshot drivers are mandated to file an Interstate Operating Number (MC number) in addition to a DOT num