How to Setup a Hot Shot Trucking Company?

What is Hot Shot Trucking?

Shipper and brokers with relatively small loads that need to be delivered quickly depend on the services provided by the hotshot truckers. These drivers and operators specialize in delivering time-sensitive goods like medical supplies, agricultural equipment, construction materials. Hotshot drivers rely on pick-up trucks attached with a suitable trailer to get their work done.

Steps to Start a Hot Shot Trucking Business:

1. Get medically verified from DOT to drive a commercial motor vehicle which typically costs around $120. Once certified, you can operate for 24 months.
2. Getting commercial insurance whose premium depends on your driving experience and history- so if you just received your CDL or have a bad driving record, it’s likely that your insurance premiums will be through the roof, which makes leasing the most viable path forward. Leasing on is often a good choice for new drivers, as it can help you get your footing more cost-effectively.
3. Open a business through your state’s website. They will provide you Employer Identification Number (EIN), allowing you to open a business bank account to collect payments from customers.
4. Apply for a motor carrier or MC number with FMCSA; this will let you cross the state border. Designate a legal BOC-3 agent who will represent you in the states you operate.

The process will take weeks, so it’s critical that your applications are filled out correctly and free of errors the first time around. That’s where the experts at FSCS can help — they specialize in handling paperwork for authority, federal and state permits, and state DOT regulations for hot shot trucks. Hot shot trucking startup costs can easily reach the $15,000-30,000 range, but this will vary based on personal circumstances. If you already own a truck, for example, then you need a trailer and the various legal fees.

Equipment Needed for Hot Shot Trucking:

Whether you are a CDL or Non-CDL driver, first, you need a powerful pick-up truck with trailers like bumper pull, gooseneck, tilt deck, and dovetail, depending on what you are hauling. Beyond that, you will require straps, chains, and tarps to secure loads safely.
Searching hot shot trucking loads:
Hot shot freight is time-sensitive, and companies will be looking for trucks in their area that can pick up loads and get on the road ASAP, making load boards the most efficient method for truckers to find hot shot freight easily.

Some Good Load Boards to Check Are:

1. DAT Loadboard.
2. Truckstop
3. 123 Loadboard.
4. Trucker Path.
5. Direct Freight.


Run a Successful Hot Shot Business

One rule to follow is “half the weight, half the rate.” That means if a load takes up about half of what you can carry (either half of your weight capacity or half your actual space), then it should pay about half of the rate per mile that you are trying to achieve. So, if you are trying to achieve $2 a mile (which is a good standard) with a 40’ trailer and 9,000 pounds of capacity, a load that’s 4,500 pounds in 20’ or fewer must pay at least $1 a mile. The cost of operating a hot shot is typically around $0.75-0.80 per mile. The advantage of “half the weight, half the rate” is that it allows the first half of the load to cover your expenses. Whatever rate per mile you land for the other half of the trailer is profit in your pocket at that point. One mistake people make is not maximizing their clock. The more driving you put in, the more you get out — while making sure to follow the Hours-of-Service regulations.


Ultimately, there is no secret sauce to hot shot trucking — you have to put in the time and build up experience. That said, if you have a sound strategy and take advantage of the right tools, you can make smart business decisions and be sure that your company is properly supported and set up to succeed.

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