What Hot Shot Trucking is all about?

8 min read
What Hot Shot Trucking is all about?

If you've ever seen a smaller truck speeding down the highway, hauling a load that seems urgent and important, you might have witnessed Hot Shot Trucking in action. This specialized form of transportation plays a crucial role in delivering time-sensitive loads efficiently. In this guide, we'll break down the key aspects of Hot Shot Trucking, making it easy for anyone to understand.

Trailer Options

Hot Shot Trucking provides a range of trailer options, each designed to suit different types of loads and trucks. These options include:

  • Bumper-Pull Trailers: Ideal for smaller loads, these trailers attach to the rear bumper of the truck. Bumper-pull setups are known for their agility and versatility, making them a preferred choice when maneuverability is key.

  • Gooseneck Trailers: These trailers connect to the bed of the truck, offering enhanced stability and weight distribution. Gooseneck setups are commonly favored for larger and heavier loads, providing a secure link between the truck and the trailer.

  • Tilt Deck Trailers: Featuring a tilting mechanism, these trailers make loading and unloading more efficient. Tilt deck trailers are well-suited for equipment or vehicles that need a straightforward approach for getting on and off the trailer.

  • Lowboy Trailers: Recognized by their low profile, these trailers are suitable for transporting taller items. Lowboy trailers provide ample clearance for taller cargo, making them essential for certain types of hot shot loads.

  • Dovetail Trailers: These trailers have a sloping rear section, making it easier to load and unload equipment. Dovetail setups are beneficial for hot shot truckers dealing with machinery or materials that require a gradual incline.

Choosing the right trailer among bumper-pull, gooseneck, tilt deck, lowboy, or dovetail depends on factors like load size and type, as well as the capabilities of the truck.

Who are Hot Shot Truckers?

Hot Shot Truckers are a distinct breed of drivers who specialize in transporting smaller, time-sensitive loads with speed and precision. These professionals are known for their flexibility and ability to navigate various terrains swiftly. Unlike traditional long-haul truckers, hot shot drivers typically cover shorter distances but with a heightened sense of urgency.

Hot shot truckers often operate independently or work for small carriers, allowing them to respond quickly to customer demands. They take pride in their adaptability, as they may need to switch routes or schedules at a moment's notice to meet tight delivery windows.

These drivers need not adhere to the traditional 18-wheeler stereotype. Instead, hot shot truckers may drive pickup trucks, medium-duty trucks, or other vehicles with specialized trailers, depending on the nature of the load.

What are Hot Shot Loads?

Hot shot loads refer to time-sensitive shipments that require rapid delivery. These can include anything from urgent machinery parts to perishable goods. Hot shot truckers specialize in transporting smaller, often high-value, and critical loads that demand immediate attention.

The nature of hot shot loads means that they are typically smaller in size but carry a sense of urgency. Examples of hot shot loads include delivering parts for a broken-down piece of equipment to a remote location or transporting medical supplies that need to reach their destination promptly.

The key to hot shot trucking is the quick turnaround time. Hot shot truckers are relied upon to deliver these critical loads faster than traditional freight services, ensuring that businesses can maintain operations without significant disruptions.

How to Find Hot Shot Loads?

Finding hot shot loads is a crucial aspect of a hot shot trucker's business. Here are some effective ways to locate these time-sensitive shipments:

Load Boards: Online load boards, specifically designed for hot shot trucking, are a go-to resource. These platforms connect shippers with available hot shot drivers, allowing for quick and efficient load matching.

Networking: Building relationships within the industry can open doors to potential opportunities. Connecting with shippers, brokers, and other truckers can lead to word-of-mouth referrals and exclusive access to hot shot loads.

Freight Brokers: Partnering with freight brokers is a common practice in the hot shot trucking world. Brokers act as intermediaries between shippers and carriers, helping hot shot truckers find suitable loads and negotiate favorable rates.

Online Platforms: Utilizing online platforms and marketplaces can provide a digital space for hot shot truckers to connect with shippers. These platforms often streamline the process of finding and securing hot shot loads.

By leveraging a combination of these methods, hot shot truckers can maintain a consistent flow of time-sensitive loads, ensuring a steady and profitable business.

Flatbed Dispatch Service

Get the best Flatbed Dispatch Service from 99 Freight

rate per load
Percentage rate per load booked
Unlimited number of loads per week
Broker verification
Paperwork setup
Dedicated dispatcher
Dedicated lanes

Pros and Cons of Hot Shot Trucking:


Flexibility: Hot shot trucking offers a high level of flexibility. Drivers can choose the types of loads they want to carry, the distances they're comfortable with, and the schedules that suit their preferences. This flexibility is particularly appealing for those who value independence in their work.

Quick Turnaround: The nature of hot shot loads demands swift action. This results in a quick turnaround for drivers, often leading to faster payments and more frequent job opportunities. The ability to complete more trips in a shorter time frame can contribute to higher overall earnings.

Diverse Equipment Options: Hot shot truckers can choose from various trucks and trailers based on the specific requirements of the load. This adaptability allows for versatility in handling different types of cargo, from construction equipment to perishable goods.

Independence: Many hot shot truckers operate independently or with small carriers, providing a sense of independence and control over their business decisions. This entrepreneurial aspect can be attractive to those who enjoy managing their operations.


High Stress Levels: Dealing with time-sensitive loads and tight delivery windows can lead to increased stress levels for hot shot truckers. The pressure to meet urgent deadlines and potential delays on the road can be demanding, impacting both mental and physical well-being.

Inconsistent Work: While hot shot truckers may experience periods of high demand, there can also be times of slower business. The inconsistent flow of work can make it challenging to maintain a stable income, requiring effective financial planning.

Variable Earnings: Earnings in hot shot trucking can vary depending on factors like the type of loads, distance traveled, and negotiation skills. This variability can make financial planning more challenging, as income may not be as predictable as with other trucking segments.

Limited Capacity: Hot shot trucks have limited space compared to traditional freight vehicles. This limitation may restrict the size and quantity of loads that can be transported, potentially affecting overall earnings. It's crucial for hot shot truckers to carefully assess load capacities and plan accordingly.

Understanding these pros and cons provides a comprehensive view for those considering or currently involved in hot shot trucking.

Hotshot Trucking vs. Expedited Freight:

In the world of time-sensitive deliveries, hotshot trucking and expedited freight are two closely related concepts, but they have distinct characteristics.

Hotshot Trucking

Hot shot trucking is a specialized form of transportation that focuses on quickly delivering smaller, urgent loads. Hot shot truckers typically use smaller trucks, like pickups or medium-duty vehicles, paired with trailers that suit the load's size and weight.

Advantages of Hot Shot Trucking:

  • Ideal for smaller, urgent loads.

  • Greater flexibility in terms of routes and schedules.

  • Diverse equipment options for various cargo types.

  • Suited for independent operators or small carriers.


  • Limited load capacity compared to traditional freight.

  • Potential for inconsistent work patterns.

Expedited Freight

Expedited freight, on the other hand, is a broader term encompassing various transportation methods, including air and ground. In the context of ground transportation, expedited freight involves fast-tracking shipments, often utilizing sprinter vans, straight trucks, or tractor-trailers for larger loads.

Advantages of Expedited Freight:

  • Suitable for a wide range of urgent shipments, including larger loads.

  • Utilizes various modes of transportation, including air for even faster deliveries.

  • Can accommodate different types of cargo.


  • Typically involves larger vehicles, limiting accessibility to certain locations.

  • May have stricter schedules and less flexibility than hot shot trucking.

Choosing between hotshot trucking and expedited freight depends on factors like load size, urgency, and personal preferences. Hotshot trucking excels in flexibility and adaptability, while expedited freight provides a broader range of options for urgent shipments.

Earning Potential in Hot Shot Trucking

Solo Hot Shot Truckers:

  • Solo hot shot truckers can earn anywhere from $0.90 to $1.50 per mile on average.

  • Daily earnings can range from $300 to $800, depending on the type of load, distance traveled, and negotiation skills.

  • Monthly incomes for solo hot shot drivers typically fall between $5,000 and $12,000.

Team Hot Shot Truckers:

  • Teams in hot shot trucking can potentially earn higher per-mile rates due to continuous operation.

  • Earnings per mile for team hot shot truckers may range from $1.00 to $1.70.

  • Daily team earnings can vary widely, often surpassing $1,000.

  • Monthly incomes for hot shot teams can range from $8,000 to $20,000 or more.