Everything You Need to Know About Hot Shot Trucking

Published on 07/15/21

Hotshot Trucking Professional Truck Driver on a weight scale

When it comes to Hot Shot Trucking is a niche industry inside of the professional trucking industry that helps to play a vital part in shipments getting across the United States from point A to point B. Hot Shot Trucking is a different take on traditional trucking as instead of only using a semi-truck and flatbed it can instead be done by using a heavy-duty diesel pickup truck that pulls a flatbed trailer. Let’s begin with everything you need to know about Hot Shot Trucking with today’s blog post.

Benefits of Hot Shot Trucking over Normal Flatbeds

Affordable Maintenance – When it comes to the professional trucking industry maintenance can often throw you quite the bill at times you least expect it for big rigs. When you remove a big rig from the equation and instead use a diesel pickup truck things become much more affordable as more people are trained and certified in working on the vehicle. This is one of the many added benefits of choosing hot shot trucking over normal flatbeds.

Finding Loads Quicker – Some companies often prefer using hot shot truckers as they are able to get to the destination without the risk of packages being lost, damaged, or in a timeframe that simply doesn’t work for the company.

Fuel Prices – One of the biggest advantages of a diesel pickup truck with a flatbed trailer vs a fully loaded big rig hauling a flatbed trailer is the fuel miles per gallon. On average a fully loaded big rig with a flatbed trailer may average 3 to 10 miles per gallon. Whereas a diesel pickup truck with less weight and better aerodynamics may see on average 12 to upwards of 25 miles per gallon depending on the truck. This can make starting in the professional trucking industry much more appealing to new drivers who have obtained a commercial driver’s license.

Cheaper Initial Investment – Anyone who is looking to get into hot shot trucking can look to spend anywhere from 50,000 to 85,000 dollars for a newer diesel pickup truck in either a 3500 or 5500 series with an average flatbed trailer that is approximately 40 feet in length. One of the things to consider with older diesel pickup trucks is that maintenance is maintained vs buying a newer vehicle model with less maintenance demand. The same can be said about finding an older trailer that may have seen the roadways more often or has been sitting for a period of time.

Fully Loaded Diesel Pickup Truck 8211 Professional Hot Shot Trucker

Hot Shot Trucking Requirements

When it comes to starting a hotshot trucking company there are a few important key steps that you will need to accomplish before you begin. We’ve created a list of some of the most important steps any person should take before hot shot trucking.

Commercial Driving License (CDL) – In order to drive a truck with hotshot trucking you will need to have a Class A CDL in most cases. Review driving without a CDL below.

Hot Shot Trucking without a Commercial Driving License (CDL) – Without a Commercial Driving License (CDL) you will need to ensure that the gross combination weight rating does not surpass 26,000 lbs or more with the driver in the vehicle.

Purchasing a Truck and Flatbed Trailer – One of the most expensive purchases for hot shot trucking is the initial investment in a reputable pickup truck and trailer. You will find that most professional hot shot truck drivers will opt for a diesel truck by design due to the amount of torque that makes pulling easier as well as the mpg benefit in doing so. One option would be finding a used older style diesel pickup truck or finding a newer style diesel pickup truck that may require less maintenance in the long term. The traditional size for flatbed trailers for hot shot trucking is on average 40 feet long but can vary depending on the type of loads that you are securing as well. Knowing the type of materials or cargo you are planning on transporting often can be a large factor in the purchase of the first truck and trailer.

Trucking Insurance – Once you have found a potential rig for hot shot trucking you will want to receive several insurance quotes for the premiums that fit your business best. Depending on your age, accident-free miles, and other factors these insurance rates can greatly fluctuate.

Equipment Needed for Hot Shot Trucking

Equipment Needed for Hot Shot Trucking

Diesel Pickup Truck – We strongly encourage the pickup truck of choice to be diesel in the trims of 3500-5500 in size generally speaking as duly trucks can benefit from the extra wheels when towing for stability and traction. No matter if you pick Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, or an alternative is based on personal preference as long as you are able to have the correct tow ratings for the diesel pickup truck for your loads.

Hot Shot TruckingTrailer – This trailer we strongly recommend to be a fifth-wheel trailer hitch and at least 35 feet long and preferably for most suitable hot shot trucking applications 40 feet long.

Ratchet StrapsRatchet Straps with wire hooks or rather straps with flat hooks can play a huge part in ensuring your next cargo securement arrives at its next destination safely. Ratchet Hardware has a ratchet mechanism that flows in one direction that helps to ensure your cargo is being transferred safely and secured.

Winch StrapsWinch Straps is a much cheaper alternative to using ratchet straps are used no tie-down hardware in order to tighten the straps as they utilize a rub rail that is installed along the sides of a trailer and tightened by using a winch. The major benefit in doing such is the ability to replace the straps at almost half the cost while still being able to ensure the cargo will arrive safely at its destination as winch straps are sold in 2 inches, 3 inches, and 4-inch wide polyester tie down webbing to fit all sizes and weights of cargo.

Log Books – No matter if you are recording your miles and destinations electronically or old fashioned or both you will want to make sure before the first destination that you have plenty to avoid costly fines by the Department of Transportation (DOT). It is extremely important to look up the rules and regulations on logbooks before you leave for your next destination.

Spare Parts for the Truck and Trailer – Since you will be on the roadways for long periods of time you should always include spare tires for both the truck and trailer with a jack to lift both in case of an emergency. A few extra added tips would be extra coolant, serpentine belts, oil, and transmission fluid to keep inside of the vehicle.

Emergency Kits – You should highly consider keeping an emergency kit inside of your vehicle at all times in case of emergencies that should include flares, high visibility clothing, phone chargers, fire extinguishers, snacks, water, and any medicine that you may need if you were to become stuck for periods of time on the road.

Different Types of Cargo for Hot Shot Trucking

Hot Shot Trucking Average Yearly Pay

We often hear around the industry how much can I make hot shot trucking and the answer is for a well-run hotshot trucker can expect between $55,000 to $135,000 dollars gross income per year. This does not include fuel prices, taxes, or any maintenance expenses that the average hotshot trucker may face throughout the year. This can greatly change from area to area and the amount of available higher paying loads from companies as well.

Another one of the main factors is finding reputable Load Boards to use inside the trucking industry. Load Boards are essentially a marketplace for companies to post quicker smaller loads for hotshot truckers that are willing to take on the job or may be able to fit some more cargo on their trailer during their destination. Without a good load board of choice, this can make finding loads difficult and can make the return on investment much lower.

Frequently Asked Hot Shot Trucking Questions

Can someone be a Hot Shot Truck Driver as a side job? – Yes, we often find a lot of CDL Class A Truck drivers who take on hot shot trucking jobs on the side for extra added income or spending money. The main difference is the weight of the cargo being secured is much less than professional big rigs and so is the type of truck that is being used to haul.

What is the average MPG for a Hot Shot Truck Driver? – Depending on the year and if the truck has been tuned or deleted there can be a great difference in MPG. A normal average for a newer stock diesel truck with a 20,000 lbs load normally can expect 12-18 mpg. A tuned or deleted truck can expect 16-22 mpg. It is important to look at the rules and regulations for your state before modifying the emissions of your vehicle and to use them at your own risk.

What is the biggest advantage for Hot Shot Truckers? – The cost of fuel is much lower than traditional big rigs as you are getting more mpg per gallon of diesel as well as the ability to fill up at any gas station vs truck stops. Normal gas station diesel prices can be drastically less in price compared to truck stops but the pumps may take longer to fill up.

What is the biggest disadvantage for Hot Shot Truckers? – The size of the load is much smaller making the normal-sized loads less money per mile than big rigs. The one upside to this is you are using less fuel and maintenance costs which help to make the rates around the same as long as you are doing preventative maintenance for both diesel pickup trucks and big rigs as needed.