Freight companies commonly use or contract full-load semi-trailer trucks in their various operations across the country. Hot shot trucking is the practice of using trucks that are smaller than a semi-trailer, usually for less-than-truckload (LTL) freight. Here’s how to get you started on the hot shot trucking business:
Be sure to know who or which company you will be working for. Leasing your trailer (and your driving skills) to an established company is one proven way to make fast and easy profits. There are lots of trucking companies that offer brokerage service or contract their shipments to individual or small-company truckers.
All overhead expenses are shouldered by the company, and you will not be burdened with office-related paperwork. The trucking company finds all the cargo that is awaiting shipment and assigns these to you, and the company takes care of any bills and collections. The usual arrangement is an 80-20 split in profits, in your favor of course.
In Hot Shot trucking, it is also entirely possible to completely bypass a trucking company offering brokerage service. There are also available freight matching services in freight matching boards on the internet, where shippers can post their cargoes and carriers can offer their hauling services. This is a highly competitive marketplace, with the lowest bidder usually getting selected by the shipper. Aside from the difficulty in getting a shipment in the first place, this system tends to result in lower profit margins for the trucker.
2nd step in Hot Shot Trucking
Upon choosing the trucking company you wish to work for, contact their terminal manager or the service area manager responsible for your region or state. Carefully read their application requirements, prepare all the required documents, and wait to get accepted.
When you succeed on your application, the company will require a medical exam and drug test (which you must pass, obviously). Also, in addition to your CDL, the company may require further endorsements if they are involved in transporting certain goods (e.g. hazmat) or specialized trucks.
3rd step in Hot Shot Trucking
Purchase a trailer after being accepted in the company you chose to work with. Verify that the rig you choose meets the requirements of the company. On most cases, the best and most cost-effective rig type is a 10.71-ton spring loaded dovetail, dual tire with a tandem axle. These specifications are suitable to most general cargo shippers.
4th step in hot shot trucking
Purchase your truck. Make sure it runs on a diesel engine, as gas engines won’t give you the mileage in hauling. If you can afford it, get the biggest, baddest four-wheel truck. Make sure that the cabin has enough room for a sleeper berth for your long-haul over-the-road assignments. Keep non-essential accessories at a minimum; focus instead on communications and navigation equipment if you have the extra money.
5th step in hot shot trucking
Schedule an inspection of your truck and trailer by the US Department of Transportation. You will get official stickers/decals after the DOT certifies that your truck meets their requirements. Make sure that you have ordered the proper government inspections before you report to the terminal manager for your first assignment.
Word of caution for new operators
If you are just starting on the trucking business, keep in mind that becoming an owner-operator as your first trucking experience can be quite different from your initial ideas about this job. You may not be used to the amount of work, time spent away from home, difficulties in managing cash flows, and other challenges encountered by those new to a hot shot trucking operation.