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What is Non CDL Hotshot Trucking?

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 haul commercial loads, it is easier to get hired anywhere with a Class A CDL. A clean driving record and a CDL gives your hotshot business a starting point to build your reputation.

If you are driving hotshot as a stepping stone to bigger things, then hauling hotshot with no CDL is not worth it especially since you do not have a backup plan. With a CDL, you can start your business driving smaller hotshot loads locally that might not need a CDL to haul.

Note that if you are not generating enough income this way, you can move up to a larger vehicle or 40-foot trailer for bigger and more lucrative loads and haul interstate across state lines. If this is not enough, you can step up to a semi or be a company driver.

However, without the CDL, you are stuck hauling smaller local freight, and it will be more challenging to grow your business and ultimately harder to make more money. The only one reason why someone may not have a CDL is maybe because they have a bad driving record. Maybe something happened recently that makes them an undesirable hire if they were to get a CDL.

But if you have a clean driving record, then it is pertinent to get your CDL. You’re more likely to get hired with a CDL than without one. Even if you get your CDL and you drive a non-CDL hotshot — basically a truck and a trailer that has under 26,000 pounds — and for some reason, it doesn’t work out, then you can easily move up to a dually or a 40-footer.

If that also doesn’t work, you can move up to a semi. And if a semi still doesn’t work, you can be a company driver. You could do local, you can do whatever — you have way more options. Nevertheless, it is not beneficial — and very limiting, both in loads and in opportunities — to drive a non-CDL hotshot. On the other hand, having a CDL gives you more possibilities regardless of what equipment you drive.

Pros and Cons of Non CDL Hotshot Trucking

There are some who think this is a good option to consider. However, here are the pros and cons of this option, based on the experience of some hotshot truckers.

  • Less regulation in general. No IFTA, no IRP or apportioned plates, no KYU number, etc. All those little but necessary things that make it more of a burden don’t affect you.
  • Low start-up cost. A trailer for $9,000 is more affordable than a $50,000 semi trailer.
  • No CDL is Required. Obviously, you don’t need a CDL — that is a benefit. That means, if you have a good, clean driving record, you can jump right into the non-CDL hotshot.
  • Cheaper repairs. Since it is just a pickup truck, you can take it anywhere for repairs. But because there’s more competition, the prices are generally lower.
  • Cheaper tows. Also, since it is just a pickup truck, you can easily get another pickup truck to pull your trailer out if it is stuck. (Or have somebody else with a pickup truck pull you out.)
  • Better MPG — Depending on how you drive. But for the most part, you get better MPG.
  • Fewer freight options. Aside from the fact that there are fewer options, they’re also cheaper because there’s a lower barrier to entry, creating more competition.
  • It is not very comfortable. This is quite obvious, due to limited space to rest and sleep.

How to Start a Non CDL Hotshot Trucking

Starting a Non CDL Hotshot Trucking business means you don’t need to obtain a commercial driver’s license to operate big rigs and other heavy vehicles. Although this limits the size of deliveries you make, you can still achieve enormous success with a new business by focusing on a niche and targeting the right potential customers. Nonetheless, here are basic steps to take;

  1. Establish a Niche

Note that a hotshot trucking business can courier blueprints from an architect to contractors or developers. Furniture delivery service is another popular idea. Medical transport carriers ferry blood work and other test items from collection facilities to labs.

Residential hauling and relocation are other areas where you can try to specialize. Have it in mind that m a niche helps you focus marketing efforts and develop a solid reputation for success with referrals.

  1. Register a Business

You will also have to pick a business name for your delivery service. Ensure to visit the secretary of state website and search the name to ensure it doesn’t compete with other businesses. If it does, make changes to avoid rejection. Complete the online business registration and pay the fee.

Have it in mind that cost and fees vary widely from state to state; they run anywhere from $100 to $800. Once registration is complete, go to the IRS website and get a tax identification number so you can establish bank accounts, finance company vehicles, and register for any required state permits.

  1. Acquire Hotshot Vehicles

Depending on the type of deliveries you intend to make, pick a truck or vehicle that suits your goal and also maximizes your ability for cargo. Many cargo vans and transit vans are used for small types of cargo movement such as paperwork and medical tests.

A box truck better suits a larger need such as furniture deliveries. Also, note that you can finance the vehicle through the dealership or a local bank. Vehicles can range in price from $18,000 to $50,000 or more depending on extras such as automated lifts. You may require additional items such as dollies, straps, and moving blankets.

You might not be able to finance these with the vehicle so consider them part of the entire required start-up investment. A small business loan might be crucial to fill the gap; consult your local Small Business Administration regarding options with local lenders.

  1. Acquire Adequate Insurance

In the United States, there is no requirement for insurance for a non-CDL hotshot trucking business other than the state-required liability insurance on the vehicle.

Therefore, it is necessary to protect yourself with commercial liability insurance that covers you from liability and protects the cargo you transport. Not only does this protect your business from a lawsuit, but it also gives clients confidence that you are a responsible business owner who takes all precautions to protect their cargo.

  1. Marketing and Advertising

Note that a great way to market your business is by getting a vehicle magnet or wrapping the hotshot truck with your business name and contact number. Place ads on online job boards such as Craigslist and GoShare. When focusing on your niche, ensure to find businesses that meet the criteria.

For instance, if you want to deliver furniture, meet with the owners of local furniture stores, consignment shops, and thrift stores that have furniture. Ensure to do a good job and build a positive reputation to gain long-term clients and repeat business.