Hot Shot Trucking
Shippers and brokers use hotshot truckers when they have relatively small loads and need to have them delivered quickly. Operators and drivers of these vehicles provide time-critical, project-critical loads, including agricultural equipment, construction equipment, heavy machinery, and more. A hotshot driver usually drives a super-duty pickup and a trailer instead of a Class 8 semi.
In the right hands, hot shot trucking can be profitable. Owner-operators own and operate a hotshot business under MC numbers under their control, while lessees lease from another company. The following guide will walk you through the pros and cons of the business, how to get started, and some tips for getting ahead.
How to start a hotshot trucking business?
The following five steps will guide you through the entire process. Following this guide, you will be on the right track to starting a hotshot business.
1. Know the business
Hotshot is a term that may confuse many people. Towable flatbed trailers pulled by a truck hauling loads to local, regional or national destinations are included. A typical tow truck is a midsize, four-axle truck such as a RAM 3500. Owning and operating a business are both your responsibilities. Even though you can set your schedule, you will have to balance your finances, maintain your rig, and find potential loads if you decide to be your boss.
It is essential to understand that you may go through financial strains when you start because you need financing to purchase the rig, and you have to set aside extra money for operational expenses. Your business will pay off if you operate it correctly.
Is Hotshot Trucking Right For You?
You can take time off whenever you want. Travelling is possible. As a hotshot business owner, you’ll get these privileges. While it may provide more income opportunities, it could also mean more time spent on the road or missing important family events. Usually, hotshot drivers stay at truck stops and eat, sleep, and shower while on the road. Business owner-operators who can handle this kind of lifestyle will be hotshots.
A chief economist for the American Trucking Association predicts that the industry will grow by about 2.3% each year between 2021 and 2024. Be sure, however, to check first the rate and load ratio of your region before you start your own hotshot trucking business. The best-negotiating power is to be in areas where at least 18 trucks carry loads per day.
How profitable is Hotshot Trucking?
The rate per mile (rpm) changes according to the season. When is peak season? It’s going to be awesome! During the low season, it is cheaper to take a vacation. An rpm could range from $1.5 to $2.5 on average. Earning at least $3000 for logging at least 2,000 on a particular week would be possible.
Taking your operating costs and loan repayments into account will ensure that you can enjoy your labor. Fuel, insurance, food, and accommodations during trips are the four most essential costs.
2. Prepare your finances
As well as the initial investment, starting a hotshot business has high operating costs. Here are the ballpark figures:
- Pickup truck: $15,000 to $45,000
- Flatbed trailer: $7,000 – $20,000 or more, depending on what you need
- Other equipment (binders, chains, tie downs, bungees, straps, etc.): Estimated at $1,500. Dollars 1,000
- Registration (FMCSA, DOT, BOC-3, United Carrier Registration and Electronic Logging Device): Estimated. Dollars 1,000
- Insurance: down payment of $3,500 – $4,000 plus approximately $1,000 monthly payment
- Limited Liability Company (Optional): $400
3. Securing the requirements
Your only requirement is a 3/4-ton pickup truck and flatbed trailer for this job. To secure your load, you will need to invest in straps, ties, chains, and bungee cords. Adding hot shot trailers to your business will increase flexibility on what you can load as your business grows.
The pickup truck
- At least one ton
- 9000 rear axles at least
- Engines powered by diesel
- 5th wheel or gooseneck hitch
Hotshot Trailer (Depends on what you plan to haul)
- Open with wedge-style vehicles of 3 and 4 cars.
- An enclosed trailer for motorcycles and general cargo
- General cargo and another equipment flatbed
- Goosenecks and fifth wheels
Consider your targeted niche when purchasing a truck and trailer, as that will dictate the type of loads you will haul. Listed below are some popular places:
- Industry of medicine
- The commercial sector
- The agricultural industry
- The manufacturing industry
- A spare part
- Perishable cargoes
- Lightweight cargo
- Heavy-duty transport
Loads weighing less than 10,00 lbs do not require a CDL. A CDL, however, will also allow you to haul heavier loads. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirements also apply to hotshot drivers. They must apply for an MC number or operating authority. In addition, you will need:
- Licenses for businesses
- Licenses for vehicles
- Permit to drive a car for service
To secure active authority, you would need to complete everything in time. It usually takes about three days for your name to appear on the FMCSA list after registering. The protest period continues for ten days after that. Your BOC3 would be activated after six business days if you filed it sooner.
4. Prepare for the first load
Your business will be able to run smoothly if you have contacts with potential load providers. Those who register with hotshot load boards can also build their client base. Check online for load boards that match your equipment, loads, and destinations.
Keep in mind that load boards pay differently if your primary source of loads is from load boards. You may receive payments within days, while others may require up to 60 days of waiting time. Also, you might consider asking your current clients for referrals. In addition to emails, you could make a website that advertises your business, creates an online presence, or increases your social media visibility.
5. Maintain your business
After you start your business, don’t expect to profit right away. If you are passionate about what you are doing, your business will continue to thrive even after recovering your initial investment.
Here’s how you can start a hotshot business by following the steps listed above. There’s a good chance you’ll succeed in this industry if you’re serious and do your research before you start.
Pros of hotshot trucking business
Hotshot trucking has the following benefits:
- Small businesses typically have lower start-up costs than Class 8 long-haul company truck drivers.
- In many cases, carriers expedite loads to minimize the wait time for a load to be delivered.
- Truckers can find steady work if they are serious about becoming hotshot drivers. Profits are therefore high. Often, it is just as good as or even better than Class 8 pay.
- Hotshot truckers usually make local deliveries or deliveries within the region they live in. This type of driver can spend more time at home since they have less distance to drive.
Cons of hotshot trucking business
The following are some potential cons to consider:
- The cost of maintenance and repairs is your full responsibility as a hotshot trucker, as it is for any small business.
- Owning your own business in any industry does not guarantee you a job. The need for hotshot drivers may change from day to day.
- It’s your job to grow your client base because you’re your boss. Making contact with a carrier company and doing good work for them makes the difference between getting regular trucking jobs and not getting any.
In the end, hot shot trucking is not a secret – you have to work hard and accumulate experience. In other words, if you have a good strategy and use tools effectively, your company will be well supported and prepared to succeed.