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Hot shot trucking provides a higher degree of flexibility and time-sensitive solutions when compared to the larger tractor-trailers commonly seen in the trucking industry. In essence, hotshot drivers can be thought of as the rapid responders of the trucking world. They operate smaller vehicles designed for lighter cargo, typically catering to a single customer within a local vicinity.


The kinds of trucks commonly employed in hot shot transportation are medium-duty pickup trucks. These medium-duty pickup trucks fall into the classifications of class 3, class 4, or class 5 and are regarded as non-commercial vehicles.

Truck categorizations are established based on the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), which specifies the maximum permissible weight for both the truck itself and its fully loaded configuration. The fully loaded weight encompasses the truck’s weight, fuel, occupants, trailer tongue weight, and cargo.

Using a medium-duty truck for hot shot trucking necessitates meeting specific prerequisites, which we will delve into later. Below, you’ll find the classification GVWR along with examples of trucks commonly employed in hot shot transportation.

Class 3 Pickup Trucks

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): Ranging from 10,001 to 14,000 pounds or 4,536 to 6,350 kilograms. Illustrative Models:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 3500 Pickup Truck
  • Ford F-350 Pickup Truck
  • GMC Sierra 3500 Pickup Truck
  • Ram 3500 Pickup Truck

Class 4 Pickup Trucks

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): Falling between 14,001 and 16,000 pounds or 6,351 to 7,257 kilograms. Exemplary Models:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 4500 Pickup Trucks
  • Ford F-450 Pickup Trucks
  • Ram 4500 Pickup Trucks

Class 5 Pickup Trucks

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): Ranging from 6,001 to 19,500 pounds or 7,258 to 8,845 kilograms. Illustrative Models:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 5500 Pickup Trucks
  • Ford F-550 Pickup Trucks
  • Ram 5500 Pickup Trucks

Which kinds of trailers are commonly employed for hot shot hauling?

Gooseneck Trailers: These are among the most popular choices for hot shot trucking. They attach to a gooseneck hitch in the bed of a pickup truck, providing stability and allowing for heavier loads. Gooseneck trailers come in various configurations, including flatbeds, enclosed cargo trailers, and specialized trailers for different types of freight.

Car Hauler Trailers: Car hauler trailers are designed for transporting vehicles. They are commonly used in hot shot trucking for delivering cars, trucks, or other vehicles.

Hot Shot Trucking Rates

On average, hot shot trucking rates typically start at around $1.50 to $1.69 per mile. It's important to note that this is a baseline rate and does not account for other influencing factors. In reality, hot shot trucking rates can vary significantly, ranging from as low as $1.00 per mile to as high as $4.00 per mile. The actual rates you'll encounter depend on various mitigating factors such as specific requirements, fuel costs, and other variables in play. These rates are subject to fluctuations based on the nature of the job, prevailing fuel prices, and other relevant considerations.

Factors That Go Into A Hot Shot Trucking Rate

Distance of Transport

The distance between the pickup and delivery locations is a key factor in determining the expense of hot shot trucking. Shorter hot shot deliveries come at a lower cost compared to longer-distance ones. While hot shot trucking is typically associated with local or regional transport, factors such as crossing state lines and other considerations can impact the quoted rate for hot shot trucking.

Size and Weight of Freight

The size of the cargo is consistently a determining factor in hot shot trucking pricing. The width, height, length, and weight are crucial because they can influence the necessity for permits, impact fuel expenditures, and more. Generally, larger and heavier cargo incurs a higher transportation rate.

Condition of the Machinery or Vehicle

Hot shot trucking services for self-loaded machinery and vehicles onto the trailer typically incur lower costs compared to equipment that requires load assistance. This assistance can be necessary for non-running vehicles or malfunctioning equipment. The rate increases when the freight necessitates the use of a crane or forklift for loading.

Season of Transport

Winter’s inclement weather conditions can lead to increased costs for transportation due to the challenges drivers face. Shipping during the winter months can also result in potential delivery delays, contingent upon road safety. On the contrary, summer marks the high-demand season for shipping and transportation services, which can drive up the demand for drivers. Depending on your geographical location and the level of activity, prices may rise during the summer season.

Location and Route

Hot shot trucking rates are impacted by the origin and destination of the cargo. Certain pickup and delivery points may have restricted access, necessitating additional measures for secure delivery, which can result in a higher rate. Routes and cities with elevated tolls for tunnels, bridges, and highways can also lead to rate increases.

Given the multitude of factors that influence hot shot trucking rates, it is crucial to collaborate with a company well-versed in these intricacies. When you engage with a logistics company, you typically obtain a more favorable rate compared to attempting negotiations independently.

Currently, Yves Paul Demesmin serves as the creator and proprietor of IMAN Logistics and Paul&Son’s Transportation. This is the hub for the leading training platform in the transportation sector, where he provides motivation and instruction on achieving success in the trucking industry. His journey remains a source of inspiration for many due to its relatability to a wide audience.

An average owner-operator has the potential to earn as much as $8,000 per week.

The map displayed above illustrates the monthly fluctuating average per-mile rates for each region.

"What is the earning potential for a Hot Shot business?"

On average, a hotshot driver earns between $1,500 and $2,500 per week when using someone else’s equipment.

In contrast, an owner-operator has the potential to generate up to $8,000 in weekly earnings.

Hot Shot jobs typically involve quick turnarounds, which often result in premium rates for each job.

We've assembled our fleet... and now it's your opportunity!

The current trucking industry is brimming with prospects

so what makes hot shot trucking the ideal choice?

  • Flexibility: Hot shot trucking offers flexibility in terms of the types of loads you can transport and the distances you can cover. This adaptability can help you find and seize various opportunities in the industry.
  • Lower Startup Costs: Starting a hot shot trucking business typically requires less upfront investment compared to launching a full-scale trucking company. It's a more accessible entry point for many aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Quick Turnaround: Hot shot loads often require fast deliveries and tight schedules. This can result in quicker payments, improving your cash flow compared to longer-haul trucking.
  • Diverse Clientele: Hot shot trucking serves a broad range of clients with diverse needs, including businesses that require expedited shipping and specialized freight services.
  • High Demand: The demand for hot shot trucking services remains consistent, especially for time-sensitive deliveries, which means a steady flow of potential clients.
  • Adaptability: Hot shot trucking can adapt to economic fluctuations and changing market conditions. You can pivot your services to meet evolving customer demands.
  • Profit Potential: While rates can vary, hot shot trucking can be profitable, especially when you establish a reliable client base and operate efficiently.
  • Profit Potential: While rates can vary, hot shot trucking can be profitable, especially when you establish a reliable client base and operate efficiently.
  • Growing Industries: Hot shot trucking serves growing industries such as construction, oil and gas, agriculture, and manufacturing, providing a consistent stream of work.
  • Control: As an owner-operator in hot shot trucking, you have more control over your business operations, schedules, and financial decisions.

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