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Everything You Need To Know About Hot Shot Trucking In 2024

Did you know that truck drivers play a dominant role in the supply chain of goods? They use their driving experience to transport products from one location to another. A hot shot trucker is an expert who makes rapid shipments for companies with strict deadlines. Knowing more about hot truckers can help you decide if this is a career path you want to take. 

Despite continuously growing market share in recent years, hot shot trucking remains a comparatively small section of the cumulative transportation industry. It arose from the requirement for shippers to move freight speedily, cost-effectively, and with more inconvenience and planning than was traditionally the case with the industry’s major powers. Compared to the truckload and LTL sectors, it largely dominates the single-truck contractors and small fleet operators. Minimum wages and poor living conditions with driving company trucks have become too much for these operators.

In this article, we’ll look at what hot shot truckers are, what they do, the different types of trucks they operate, and how to find hot shot trucking opportunities.

What Is Hot Shot Trucking?

Hot shot trucking is a category of truck driving service that entails distributing smaller packages to one place on short notice. The essentials for an effective hotshot delivery will differ depending on whether the driver must commute a short distance or across the country. Companies frequently hire hot shot truckers if they have a tight deadline and need delivery as quickly as possible. 

Hot shot truckers specialize in loads of urgent demand, generally for instances in which the inability to transport goods within a certain period could result in difficulties within the organization. The title “hot shot” originated in the Texas oil fields of the 1970s, when pickup trucks delivered critical parts to excavation operations as rapidly as feasible. It is gaining traction as a viable option in contrast to traditional commercial truck driving.

How Do Hot Shot Truckers Work?

Since hot shot truckers generally don’t make big deliveries, they use utility trailers- and they work hot shot deliveries on a request basis, which means several of them freelance with their vehicles and find opportunities on their own. While some hot shot truckers work for a specific contractor or trucking corporation, these jobs are often filled by whoever is accessible. Several truck drivers undertake these time-critical jobs to provide a favorable opportunity to offer decent wages.

Hotshot truckers enroll their commercial vehicles to comply with legislation and avert fines. Since many hot shot truckers operate as sole proprietors, they must keep track of their business records, including monitoring their timeframe between consignments, recording the distance they traveled for the shipment, and assessing the accurate weight of their gains. Though states have different laws for transporting objects across interstate highways, the mass of a haul is crucial. Hotshot truckers are well-versed in the legal aspects and demands placed by agencies for them to deliver their loads.

The Types Of Trucks Used For Hot Shot Hauls

Hot shot trucking does not have many specifications. A hot shot trucker can operate several trucks, the most common of which are one-ton delivery trucks labeled as “medium-duty” by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). They are categorized as non-vehicles, but you can utilize them for hot shot haulage if you can operate authority, a USDOT number (if hauling across state lines), liability coverage, and evidence of business ownership.

Class 3, 4, and 5 hotshot trucks are the most common.

Class 3 

The maximum weight for Class 3 medium-duty trucks is 14,001 to 16,000 pounds. The most popular ones are the Chevrolet Silverado 3500, GMC Sierra 3500, Ford F-350, and Ram 3500.

Simply put, these are your standard consumer-grade heavy-duty pickup trucks. Contractors and last-mile shipment drivers frequently use them. They can be beneficial for hot shot logistics too. 

Class 4 

The weight limit for Class 4 medium-duty trucks is 16,001 to 19,500 pounds. Common examples include the Chevrolet Silverado 4500, Ford F-450, and Ram 4500. Although these are larger trucks, they categorize as non-commercial. If you intend to haul huge hot shot shipments, you should consider purchasing a Class 4 pickup truck. 

Class 5 

The weight limit for Class 5 medium-duty trucks is 19,501 to 26,000 pounds. The Chevrolet Silverado 5500, Ford F-550, and Ram 5500 are renowned models. Class 5 also includes some of the swiftest commercial trucks.

The Types Of Trailers Used For Hot Shot Hauls

Purchasing a trailer is a significant investment. The type you select depends on the truck you plan to use and the different kinds of loads you aim to transport.

Bumper Pull Trailers 

When compared to other options, they are considerably shorter, easier to use, and less costly to purchase. Because of their adaptability, they are a popular pick for commercial and civilian drivers. Regrettably, the trailer’s size may work against you when using it. They cannot haul large or heavy loads because they are shorter. The highest mass you can carry on a bumper pull trailer is no more than 10,000 pounds. When used to transport bulkier materials, they sway and become unsteady.

Gooseneck Hauling Trailers 

Because of their reliability, gooseneck trailers are prominent. Compared to bumper pull trailers, RGN trailers are longer and have tighter maneuverability. As a result, they are used to shipping larger and bulkier hot shot loads over new terrain. However, Gooseneck trailers are expensive to buy and may necessitate additional investment in specialized hitching structures. Based on the state of operation, operating these trailers may be restrained. Longer gooseneck trailers may entail additional training, licensing, and authorizations, which will incur additional costs. 

Lowboy Hauling Trailers 

The lowboy trailer has a low center of gravity and is ideal for carrying bulkier hot shot luggage. These trailers will rest flat on the surface once separated from the truck, making loading and unloading easier. You can avoid some size restrictions with lowboy trailers when shipping tall loads. These trailers, however, have a smaller deck area. Hence, they can haul greater loads but cannot transmit many loads together.

Dovetail Shipping Trailers 

They are ideal for transporting motorized hardware, including cars. Dovetail trailers are well known for being affordable and easy to resell when no longer needed. Nonetheless, these trailers usually hang low on the trailer’s rear, making it tough to transport cargo up a sharp incline without dragging them. Furthermore, the slow hanging tail at the end increases the chances of being rear-ended.

Step Deck Shipping Trailers 

Step-deck trailers are easily tiltable, giving them a loading benefit. While tilt deck trailers eliminate heavy lifting during loading, they require heavy maintenance. That is because they use hydraulic systems, which require standard oil and filter changes to function efficiently.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hot Shot Trucking

Hot shot trucking can indeed be profitable. Even if you have a regular job, it can be an excellent side gig if you have the correct equipment. However, it is not suitable for everyone. Hotshot- like other aspects of the trucking industry, has advantages and disadvantages as a career and a way of life.


High Wages 

Hot shot trucking positions are expensive because of urgent and time-sensitive tasks given. Hot shot truckers can make more money compared to a regular trucking job. If you’re a hot shot trucker managing your work deadlines well and living in a suitable area, you may reap more benefits than others.

Low Maintenance 

Hot shot truckers frequently have lower maintenance needs. Their equipment demands less company-mandated service because they utilize their trucks and transit hauls with utility trailers. Hot shot truckers may be able to fix their equipment if something goes wrong. Lower maintenance requirements may also mean that hot shot truckers can save more money.

Balance In Their Work And Personal Lives 

Many hotshot trucker jobs are limited to a specific area or region. As a result, they may not have to travel as far to perform a task. They may be able to spend more time at home and enjoy their individual lives. It may also give them the freedom to decide when they want to work.


Occasionally, operators cannot effectively monitor their freight’s transit progress and touchpoints when sharing the trailer space of a bigger trailer. It can result in costly delays when receivers aren’t prepared for a shipment’s arrival or falter when shipments arrive late. Sharing trailer space with other shippers can frequently impede load-tracking functionality, making visibility an essential cog in a smooth supply chain. Hot shot trucking eliminates these obstacles because each delivery has a specialized truck, trailer, and driver who are encouraged to provide the best service possible to the shipper.



The majority of hotshot trucking jobs fill on an early bird basis. As a result, there may be some competition among truckers vying for a specific placement. A well-paying job that’s close to their place of residence is especially attractive.

Lesser Benefits 

Hotshot truckers typically freelance and thus do not operate for a particular corporation. As a result, a hot shot driver may not have direct connections to the employee benefits and protections as a regular trucker. Many hotshot truckers manage their income to take deductions and pay the correct amount in taxes. 

Irregular Work 

Because hot shot trucking jobs are available on an as-needed basis, they can be unpredictable. A hot shot trucker may plan their job schedule to guarantee they receive adequate jobs to meet their financial goal. The demand for hot trucking jobs can be cyclical, which means there are more open jobs at certain times of the year.

Freight Limitation 

Hotshot trailers can legally load only 16,500 pounds of cargo on their deck and are only 40 feet long. As a result, hot shot trailers will not be a viable option for shippers who require more potential than these limits allow. The problem aggravates because the drivers of these trailers – and many others – do not want to put unnecessary strain on their equipment by exceeding their capacities. As a result, finding a hot shot driver inclined to haul 16,500 pounds of freight can be challenging at times.

Average Salary Of Hot Shot Truckers 

Hot shot drivers earn around $100,000 yearly, but that’s on the higher end. Ask hot shot truckers how much they make, and you will get many responses. However, the average annual owner-operator income for hotshot truck drivers ranges between $49,000 and $75,000.

The amount you can earn as a hot shot trucker depends on several factors, including:

  • How much time do you devote to hotshot trucking
  • The hauling equipment you’re using
  • The geographical area in which you operate
  • The number of available loads The types of loads you transport
  • Your years of experience
  • Fuel costs
  • Your prices
  • Your expenses

How To Find Hot Shot Trucking Jobs And Loads Easily?

To help you find hot shot trucking jobs, follow these three steps:

  1. Explore Load Boards – Load boards are primarily discussion boards for transportation and logistics professionals and are the most explored ways to find hotshot trucking jobs. Companies post hot shot trucking tasks on these bulletin boards for truckers hoping for a quick load to deliver. These job boards enable them to find work often and with little difficulty. Because there are so many load boards online, it can be beneficial to oversee several of them to maximize your chances of landing a hot shot trucking job.
  2. Consulting Your Supervisor – If you are a truck driver for a legitimate transportation company, discuss hot shot trucking opportunities with your supervisor. They may be affiliated with industry experts or receive information about hot shot trucking jobs from other organizations.
  3. Join The RSS Feed – You can remain updated about hot trucking jobs by subscribing to the Simple Syndication (RSS) feed. An RSS feed is a program that offers users updates and notifications on their phones whenever a website adds new posts. If the load boards you use have an RSS feed feature, you can integrate their RSS feed code to an RSS feed app on a smartphone, which will notify you when a company creates a new hot shot trucking job on a load board.

We hope you’ve gained considerable knowledge on hot shot trucking and how they function. Hot shot trucking may be tricky once you start, but it is a great option to consider.