This guide covers the definition of hotshot trucking, the risks, obtaining insurance, and other important information you need to know operating a hotshot trucking business.
Let’s start with what is hotshot trucking insurance and why it is important.
What is Hotshot Trucking?
Hotshot trucking is when you operate a medium-duty truck to haul materials or goods usually on a time sensitive basis. Generally, the loads that you will haul will be consisting of machinery, parts, specialty equipment, and more.
This vehicles operation can range from intrastate which is operating within the state or some interstate and go across country.
The purpose of hotshot trucking is to deliver goods and products quickly, efficiently, and safely.
Why is Hotshot Trucking Important?
Since the majority of loads that hotshot trucks haul are usually time sensitive, this can be the difference between mills being able to continue to operate or a piece of machinery to complete a job on site which can lead to lost revenue.
The biggest solution hotshot truckers solve is delivering freight quickly and efficiently.
What Types of Trailers do Hotshot Truckers Use?
If you want to become an owner-operator or start your own hotshot trucking company, it is important to know the different trailer types and their uses.
Here are trailers that are generally used in hotshot trucking businesses.
1. Gooseneck trailer
Gooseneck trailers are known for their stability and weight distribution allowing the ability to haul heavier and larger loads.
2. Lowboy trailer
A lowboy trailer is the ideal trailer for the heavier loads due to their low center of gravity and the trailer allows them to haul taller freight due to sitting 18 inches off the ground.
3. Dovetail trailer
Dovetail trailers are the known for hauling automobiles or machinery with wheels.
A big disadvantage to the dovetail trailer is that the rear of the trailer hangs low to the ground increasing the chances of rear end collisions and dragging the group going uphill on steep inclines.
4. Tilt Deck trailer
Tilt deck trailers are tilted at an angle and allows the ability to haul cars, and equipment.
It is important to remember that with a tilt deck trailer there is more maintenance compared to other trailers. This trailer requires oil changes due to hydraulic systems and could be prone to rust.
Best Practices for Hotshot Trucking
Hotshot trucking can be a lucrative business and it can get your foot in the door before moving to truck tractors, still there are some best practices that can help improve your hotshot trucking experience:
- Maintain your equipment to avoid out of service (OOS) violations, fines, and more expensive costs in the future.
- Standardize pre-trip inspections and monitoring driver safety using dash cameras and electronic logging devices (ELDs).
- Using your time efficiently and staying in compliance with Hours of Service regulations.
- Managing the costs of running your business can be daunting due to fixed and unexpected costs. Investing in good sound equipment can go a long way and prevent future headaches.
How to Become a Hotshot Truck Driver
If you want to become an owner-operator or start a hotshot trucking company, you will need to obtain several things before you get started.
Here are a list of things you will need to become a hotshot truck driver.
1. Obtain the correct driver’s license or CDL
To get started with becoming a hotshot trucker you will need to obtain a Class D driver’s license or CDL to be in compliance.
2. Obtain a Medical Card
As a driver you will need to also obtain a valid medical card from DOT.
3. Apply for an MC & DOT number
To operate a for-hire trucking operation, you will need to obtain a US DOT number. If you are traveling across state lines you will need to obtain an MC number.
4. Register your business with the state
It is important to register your business with the state and obtain a Tax ID number (EIN). This will allow you to open a bank account in your business name and get everything setup correctly.
5. Purchasing equipment
Investing in your truck and trailer is very important to ensuring a successful trucking operation. Not only are you less likely to break down, but you can also save money on maintenance costs, labor, and insurance.
6. Obtaining loads
If you are starting out, likely you will be booking loads through load boards. Once you start building relationships with various load brokers, you may even get access to direct contracts which can be very beneficial for your company.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Hotshot Trucking Company?
The amount needed to start a hotshot trucking company can vary greatly depending on your circumstances.
For example, you may already have a truck and just need to purchase a trailer. If you are starting from the ground up, you can expect costs from $15,000 to $65,000 depending on many factors.
Get Insurance for your Hotshot Trucking Company with Russell Agency
Russell Agency provides trucking insurance to many kinds of trucking companies including hotshot trucking companies. With Russell Agency, you will have access to a team of trucking insurance experts who understand your industry, unmatched customer service, and transparency.