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What is Hot Shot Trucking
Published
August 30th, 2019

If you are in the hot shot trucking market and want to know if hot shot is right for you, we’ve got the news you need. Check out the benefits of hot shot truck driving jobs and how to get started in the industry. Hot shot trucking is similar to less than truckload (LTL) freight hauling. However, with hot shot freight, you are on a time crunch. You need to be able to get partial loads delivered on an expedited freight schedule. To do this means you are going to operate a Class 3 to 5 truck. Anything larger is too bulky and costly to meet the expectations of hot shot customers. At the same time, hot shot does not mean local trucking jobs all the time—you can take hot shot freight across state lines.

Hot Shot Trucking Requirements

To be a hot shot truck driver, you are becoming a trucking company owner-operator. However, you are operating a Class 3 to 5 truck, which includes:

  • Isuzu NPR
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • GMC Sierra 3500 to 5500
  • Ford F-350 to F-550
  • Ram 3500 to 5500
  • Peterbilt 325
  • International TerraStar

Once you have your truck you need to apply for a USDOT number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You’ll need to go through FMCSA forms to see which are applicable when applying for your USDOT number. You may also need to get a Motor Carrier (MC) number for crossing state lines.

Next, you’ll need to have your own truck and insurance for liability coverage. If you are crossing state lines and handling hazmat freight, then you will also need to have a commercial driver’s license and proper documentation for the driver, which may be yourself or an employee.

Do hot shot drivers need ELD? No, since you are not required to get a CDL. However, if you do get a CDL, you will need to also get your electronic logging device to record your driver data for the FMCSA and your state department of transportation.

Hot Shot Trucking No CDL

This brings up the question of whether you can get into hot shot trucking with no CDL. Yes, you can. DOT Regulations for hot shot trucks do not require a commercial driver’s license for operators.

However, you want to have your Class B CDL at least, if not a Class A CDL. If you have your Class A CDL you can get your hazmat endorsement and be able to transport hazmat hot shot loads. This is where the bigger money is at, keeping in mind you have to pay to get your CDL and endorsement.

How to Find Hot Shot Loads

Once you get set up as a hot shot truck driver and owner-operator, you will need to find trucking freight. Look for partial loads rather than full loads, as hot shot drivers are handling LTL trucking jobs and not truckloads. One way to bypass this is to work for a hot shot trucking company.

Hot Shot Trucking Companies Hiring

Examples of hot shot trucking companies hiring nationwide include:

  • A/M Hot Shot Express in Alabama
  • All Battery Sales and Service in Washington
  • Eagle Hot Shot in Oklahoma

However, given the nature of how this works for truck drivers, most drivers aren’t working for a hot shot trucking company. Instead, you are a hot shot owner-operator who is self-employed and finding your own freight loads.

If you want to work for a company as a driver, check out the trucking jobs we have here at Careers in Gear. These jobs range from dry van no touch freight jobs to hazmat oversized loads. We have trucking jobs in every state and for the best paying trucking companies from coast to coast.

Hot Shot Pay Rates

In terms of hot shot pay rates, DAT reports that rates for hot shot range from $0.80 to $4 per mile as of July 2019. The amount you make is determined by the total length of the delivery, fuel costs, and other factors. To get the best hot shot trucking rates you need to know ahead of time what your overall costs per mile are, which includes fuel and operating expenses. Other tips for getting the top rates for hot shot loads are:

  • Know what your fuel costs are ahead of time
  • Have your own operating authority if taking loads across state lines
  • For crossing state lines, take into account the cost for IFTA fuel taxes and include this in your cost estimate
  • Get your forklift operator certification so you are OSHA compliant to safely operate electric lift trucks

As a hot shot truck driver, you are not required to cross state lines. However, if you do have freight that involves going from one state to the other, you are going to have to have your commercial driver’s license. Be prepared for the cost and time it takes to get your CDL if you are crossing state lines. For hot shot truck drivers, this type of CDL is a Class B. This is because you are hauling less than 26,001 lbs. gross vehicle weight and operating a straight axle truck.

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