What is a Hot Shot Load in Trucking

Posted On 13th October 2020

Hot Shot Freight ShippingDo you have a small load that you need to be delivered relatively quickly? Then hot shot trucking might be the best solution for you. FreightRun can help you find the best hot shot quotes for your next delivery to save you both time and money.

So, what is hot shot delivery? We’ll cover everything you need to know about these types of carriers so you can decide if they’re right for your business.

What is Hot Shot Freight?

What is the hot shot trucking definition, or the hot shot delivery definition? This refers to a carrier that makes smaller deliveries in standard pickup trucks. These companies are often smaller operations, or they might be run by someone who’s trying out trucking and thinking about eventually getting a commercial license.

And what’s a hot shot load? It’s basically any load that can fit in either the bed of a pickup or a small trailer towed behind it.

The biggest advantage of using these services is cost. When you’re dealing with a larger company any space they have in their trucks is extremely valuable. Those big trucks are expensive to run so they have to charge a fair bit. Smaller hot shot carriers will usually charge you less because they have less overhead.

Hot shot trucking companies can also take much smaller loads. If you have a really small package it doesn’t make sense to go with a big carrier. If it’s small enough to ship in a standard pickup truck you’re probably better off going with a hot shot service.

Hot Shot Trucking Requirements

There are very few requirements when it comes to starting a hot shot trucking business. Virtually anyone who has a pickup truck can do it.

As long as loads don’t exceed 26,000 pounds businesses don’t need either an international fuel tax agreement or an international registration plan. And if a company keeps their loads to less than 10,000 pounds they don’t need a commercial license either.

This makes it a great business to start for anyone interested in trucking or delivering. A lot of people already have the necessary equipment which means there aren’t a lot of upfront costs involved in getting started. If someone is thinking about becoming a trucker hot shot trucking can help them decide if that sort of career and lifestyle is a good fit for them.

What is a Hot Shot Driver and What are the Hot Shot Driver Requirements?

A hot shot driver is anyone who works for or owns a hot shot trucking company. As we already mentioned, hot shot drivers don’t need a commercial license if they stick to smaller truck loads. However, there are a few other requirements that need to be met.

All hot shot drivers must:

  • Have a Motor Carrier Authority Number
  • Get approval from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • Meet the FMCSA’s physical requirements for driving

Most healthy individuals should have no problem meeting these requirements. Anyone interested in becoming a hot shot driver can apply from the FMCSA’s website.

What are the DoT Regulations for Hot Shot Trucks?

As with everything else, when it comes to the Department of Transportation’s (DoT) regulations weight is very important.

If the combined weight of a truck, trailer, and load is under 10,001 pounds then none of the DoT’s regulations apply. This is why it’s so important for hot shot truckers to be aware of the weight that they’re carrying, as just going one pound over can result in a number of regulations that will lead to more work and more costs.

So, just what are those regulations? Hot shot trucks that carry loads over 10,001 pounds must:

  • Keep a driver logbook
  • Have a fire extinguisher on board
  • Have reflectors
  • Follow the DoT’s restrictions for driving time and rest time
  • Have a DoT license plate and load sticker

Businesses that stay under the weight limit can ignore all of these regulations.

Types of Trucks Used in Hot Shot Trucking

Virtually any pickup truck can be used for hot shot trucking. Businesses need to decide what type of vehicle is best for their operation based on what they’re hauling, the weight of their loads, and whether or not they plan to use a trailer.

That being said, most hotshot carriers use larger trucks ranging from 14,000 - 26,000 pounds, as they’re able to handle larger shipments.

In case you’re wondering what is the best hotshot truck, here are some of the most popular choices:

  • Dodge Ram 3500
  • GMC Sierra 3500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD
  • Ford E-350
  • Ford F-350
  • Dodge Ram 4500
  • GMC Sierra 4500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD
  • Ford E-450
  • Ford F-450
  • Dodge Ram 5500
  • GMC Sierra 5500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 5500 HD
  • Ford F-550
  • Peterbilt 325

There are plenty of truck options out there for hot shot carriers and as long as a truck is capable of hauling the types of loads a company needs it to it should be just fine.

Types of Trailers Used in Hot Shot Trucking

Many hot shot trucking companies will opt to use trailers to increase the size of the loads they can carry. As with trucks, there are plenty of options when it comes to trailers.

Many hot shot carriers will have several different types of trailers available depending on the type of load they’re carrying.

Here are the most popular types of trailers:

  • Bumper Pull Trailers: These may be the most common trailers for hot shot deliveries. This is because they’re very versatile and also affordable. They’re shorter and lighter than most other types of trailers which can help keep the total weight down. Of course, this also means they can carry less so they’re really only good for smaller loads.
  • Gooseneck Trailers: These trailers are longer than bumper pulls, have a better turning radius, and can handle heavier loads. Of course, this also means they cost more which may be a problem for companies operating on a budget. Depending on the type of gooseneck trailer some licensing and training may be required.
  • Tilt Deck Trailers: These trailers tilt at an angle that allows cars and other equipment with wheels to be easily loaded on and off.
  • Dovetail Trailers: These are similar to tilt deck trailers but they have a more gradual angle making them ideal for loading low-riding and longer vehicles.
  • Deckover Trailers: These trailers have a wider deck and no wheel wells, making them a great choice for hauling large equipment that needs a little more space.
  • Lowboy Trailers: As the name suggests, these trailers are low to the ground. This helps make sure that taller loads can meet height restrictions.

What is Hot Shot Trucking Used For?

As we’ve discussed, hot shot trucking is used for smaller loads that need to be delivered fairly quickly. Some common loads include:

If you have a load that’s relatively small and you aren’t getting the type of price you want from larger carriers it’s definitely worth looking into hot shot trucking.

Get Hot Shot Quotes with FreightRun

FreightRun has partnered with a number of hotshot carriers all across the country. This means when you search for a quote on our website you’ll get quotes from multiple different providers. This makes it easy to find the lowest quote for your shipment.

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