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July 10, 2020

Hot Shot Trucking: Is it for You?

Just the name ‘hot shot’ probably seems appealing. But is hot shot trucking really the industry for you? Here, we’ll discuss the ups and downs associated with hot shot truck driving so you can assess whether this might be just the change you need.

What’s the Difference?

Many drivers work by operating company trucks. Hot shot trucking is a different ball game, though. A good portion of hotshot drivers act as owner-operators.

A hotshot truck would haul a considerably smaller load than you might be used to. Their hauls tend to cap somewhere between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds. They deal with time-sensitive loads but are different than Expedited services. Expedited loads usually contain more precious cargo and deal with truly time-sensitive material. Hot shot trucking is more geared towards moving goods quickly and cost-effectively by targeting accessible locations.

Hot shot trucking presents the ability to own your own business and therefore keep more of the money involved in transactions. But it also carries much more responsibility and far higher risk than life as a company driver.

Avoiding Potential Pitfalls of Hot Shot Trucking

If you don’t want to own your own business and you just want to drive for a hot shot company, make sure you vet the company thoroughly. Check in with past and present drivers. Look into their history and read up about them to determine if they’re financially stable.

If you do intend to own and operate, do a lot of reading before you put any money down. If you front the money for expensive equipment, you want to make sure it’s the right kind of equipment. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Will your truck and/or trailer require air brakes?
  • Will you need a light, medium, or heavy-duty fifth wheel?
  • How will you secure it to the truck bed?
  • Will I need to run a log book?
  • Will I need to stop at scales?
  • Where will I get my loads from? Do I need to join a load board to network with shippers and brokers?

You’ll also want to check insurance rates. Scour laws about commercial loads and driving licenses.

A significant portion of hot shot drivers may not be following rules as closely as they should. While they may have been able to fly under the radar initially, the DOT is cracking down now. Don’t get caught in a compromising position. You don’t want to lose your license or have to pay hefty fines.

Is It Worth it?

Whether or not you love the hot shot industry probably depends on your personality. Many drivers and owner-operators within it are happy, knowledgeable, and responsible. Just be sure you understand the full depth of what you’re getting into before jumping in.

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