If you own a small rig and are looking for a way to bring in more income, learning how to start a hot shot trucking business may be the answer.
Hot Shot Trucking
The term "hot shot trucking" is applied to truckers who drive rigs smaller than the standard semi-truck and trailer. It also refers to moving less than a truckload or LTL. Unlike hauling conventional cargo that can be scheduled regularly, hot shot cargo is often time sensitive in nature. Hot shot loads vary and will depend on the type of rig you operate. Items hauled may include things like a trailer full of urgently needed parts, hauling fresh flowers, or something as small as delivering one envelope for a same day delivery.
How to Start a Hot Shot Trucking Business
If you're seriously thinking of starting a hot shot trucking business, before you buy your rig think through what type of hauling and deliveries you want to make. Another consideration will be whether or not you plan to build your own customer base as an owner operator. This takes time, and time is money when it comes to hauling loads, especially when you have truck payments to make. If you already have connections to get you started, though, you can build your hot shot trucking business into an independent and profitable venture.
The quicker route to getting your business going is to lease your services or sign on with a trucking company looking for hot shot truckers. This option not only takes the pressure off for finding loads to haul, but it also removes the responsibility of paperwork and billing from your shoulders. Typically the trucking company finds the loads to haul for a fee. Generally this arrangement puts about 75% of the freight charge into the pocket of the trucker, and the other 25% goes to the trucking company.
To sign on with a trucking company, you'll have to get in touch with the terminal manager to learn what steps need to be taken to submit your application. To get accepted, you'll have to pass a drug test and a DOT physical.
LTL Job Resources
If you decide you want to operate independently as an owner operator, the Internet provides resources to help truckers secure less than a load hauling jobs. This short list of resources can be used to initiate you to the world of hot shot trucking job banks, how to navigate them and to learn what they have to offer.
- FindFreightLoads.com: This site conveniently lists jobs by state, so whether you want to drive loads locally, or state-to-state, options exist. Truckers can also register and be added to the pool of available drivers.
- uShip: This site provides thousands of hot shot job possibilities. Truckers bid for the chance to haul specific loads. Registration is free and the forum boards open an avenue of communication with other hot shot truckers.
- TruckDriverJobs.com: This resource provides all kinds of trucking opportunities including expediate, hot shot trucking and LTL.
Buying Your Truck
If you don't already own a rig and your want to start a hot shot trucking business, it is best to buy a used truck to get started. Buying used over new will save you thousands in start up costs. Sites like TruckerToTrucker.com offer a large inventory of previously owned hot shot trucks. However, a word of caution must be extended with buying a used truck. Take the time to research manufacturers and models. Learn what's dependable and look for a truck that can be flexible in regards to what type of load it can carry. The most common features for trucks used in hot shot trucking include:
- Dual tire
- Tandem axle
- 24,000 lb gross weight rating
Disadvantages to Hot Shot Trucking
Figuring out how to start a hot shot trucking business isn't too hard. It's building the business and keeping up the chaotic pace that's difficult. Hot shot hauling is demanding, and generally doesn't allow for breaks between pick-up and delivery because of the time sensitive nature of the cargo. This kind of schedule can take its toll on truckers physically, mentally and can create a challenging life on the home front. Before you start your hot shot trucking business, be sure your family understands the demands it will make on family life.