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How to Start a Profitable Hotshot Trucking Business

Do you want to start a hotshot trucking business? If yes, you are in the right place. Here in this article, we have provided all the steps to follow to initiate a successful hotshot trucking company with choosing the right vehicle, licenses required, costs, and more.

What is Hotshot Trucking Business?

Hotshot trucking is a unique type of transportation service. It involves the use of smaller trucks to haul time-sensitive and less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments. In fact, it is a niche sector within the trucking industry. This trucking business is popular for speedy delivery services for customers who need their goods transported quickly and efficiently.

Read: Best Trucking Companies for Leasing Trucks

In hotshot trucking, generally smaller trucks, such as pickup trucks or medium-duty trucks.  These trucks are generally equipped with trailers or flatbeds to carry the cargo. Furthermore, the drivers of Hotshot Trucks mostly operate as independent contractors or owner-operators. As a result, it allows them to have more control over their schedules and work arrangements.

It must be mentioned here that the term “hotshot” originated from the oil and gas industry. In this industry, there was a frequent need for urgent deliveries of equipment, tools, or materials for keeping operations running smoothly. However, slowly and steadily the hotshot trucking business expanded beyond the energy sector and began serving various other industries that required prompt and reliable transportation.

Before starting your hotshot trucking company, you have to gather important data about the demand, industries, and payment structure of the area where you want to start the business.

Here are the 14 Steps to Start Hotshot Trucking Business

1. Understand the Local Market

This is a vital decision. Choose an area where there is demand for a hotshot trucking business. For this, you have to collect data on various aspects. Research well on the sectors where there is demand for hotshot trucking, the price paid for that, the number of competitors, demographic profile, road network, etc. All these data will give you a clear picture of your business prospects in the area, thereby helping you to choose it. You have to find a place that is convenient for you, well as has good potential for the business.

2. Get a Commercial Truck Driving License

You must be a licensed truck driver to start your hotshot trucking business. One must acquire a commercial driver’s license(CDL) from the appropriate authority. Every country and state has a different set of commercial driving licenses depending on the type of vehicle.

For example, you will need a hazmat certificate for carrying and transporting hazardous materials in the United States.

If budget permits, it is always advised to start the business as an owner-operator. That will give you the highest returns since you need no driver for the business to start with. After the scale of your business increases, you have to hire drivers for multiple vehicles. Therefore start your hotshot trucking business as an owner cum driver.

However, one can start a hotshot trucking company by investing little money in hiring or leasing a truck.

3. Choosing the Right Vehicle

To make your hotshot trucking company successful, you have to choose the right vehicle, which is of utmost importance. You have several options in choosing the vehicle. Medium-duty trucks of different classes can carry loads between 10,000 to 20,000 pounds. Trailers are also good vehicles for the hotshot trucking business. Bumper pool, Dovetail, Gooseneck, or Lowboy trailers are some of the options for you.

Suggested Read: Best Trucks for Hotshot Trucking

4. Write a Business Plan

After you have chosen the vehicle and selected the area, now it is time for you to write the business plan for your hotshot trucking business. It should contain the necessary details of your business like

  • Importance of Hotshot Trucking Business
  • Your Mission
  • Area of your Business
  • Reasons behind Choosing the Area
  • Your Niche
  • Money Needed to Start the Business
  • Where you will get the Money?
  • Legal Requirements
  • Expenses
  • Projected Profit from the business

Discuss all the points with relevant data and research findings to make the business plan authentic.

5. Select a Name for your Hotshot Trucking Company

Choose a catchy and relevant name for your hotshot trucking business. Keep in mind, that the name must be easy to remember for your probable clients. If you need it, take the help of any online name generator. Get the domain the name of your business. Change the name, if the domain is not available.

6. Setting up Office

You will need a registered office for your hotshot trucking company. Find a strategically located place for your office. It does need much space, however, you will need parking space for your vehicle.

7. Make your Hotshot Trucking Company Legally Complaint

First of all, register your hotshot trucking business. You have several options regarding the nature of your business like LLC, S Corp, C Corp, Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship. Consult a legal expert in this regard. Along with the registration, you have to get the EIN.

8. Open a Business Bank Account

Open a bank account in the name of your hotshot trucking business. Applying for a business credit card is also important for your business.

9. Hiring Staff

If you are the owner-operator of your hotshot trucking business, you will not need a driver to start with. However, it is wise to keep a stand-by driver on a freelance basis. Apart from that, you will need an accountant, office assistant, and marketing personnel.

10. License and Permits

Hotshot trucking business needs several licenses and permits. You have to get them to run the business free from hassles and fines. As driver and owner of the hotshot truck, you must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) as mentioned earlier. The other licenses you might need depending on your type of hotshot trucking services are the following:

  • Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) of the respective state
  • Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) number
  • DOT physical and medical card to ascertain that you are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit for driving hotshot trucks

11. Buy Insurance

Since you have to transport different types of consignment in your trucks, your hotshot trucking enterprise will need good insurance coverage. Apart from the General Liability and Workers’ Compensation Insurance, you will also need Motor truck cargo insurance, Occupational accident insurance, Trucking physical damage insurance, etc. Consult an experienced insurance agent before deciding on the types of insurance you need.

12. Fix Pricing

It is extremely important to fix the charges for the hotshot truck services you will be offering to customers. Check with the pricing structure of local competitors and create your own rate-per-mile (RPM) rate. It is observed, that the average rate for hotshot hauling rates is in the range of $1.50 to $2.00 per mile depending on the urgency of delivery of the load.

For beginners, platforms like can be an excellent source of finding truckloads and getting the best pricing.

13. What is the equipment needed for Hotshot Trucking Venture?

The necessary equipment required for your hotshot trucking venture is the following:

  • A good pick-up truck
  • A strong trailer
  • Gear equipment like tarps, straps, chains, binders, etc.
  • Safety triangle
  • Lights
  • Flags
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • P.P.E

Keep in mind the rules and regulations of DOT and keep the necessary equipment for safe and trouble-free delivery.

14. Have a Marketing Plan

Plan your marketing strategies well, so that you can get clients from the beginning. Follow common as well as innovative marketing methods to get maximum benefits.

a) Lead Generating Websites

Include the name of your hotshot trucking business in the lead-generating websites to get contacts of prospective clients. These websites will also portray your name as a vendor. You can check websites like for getting leads online.

b) Build Your Website

Make the website of your hotshot trucking company attractive and informative to attract the attention of possible clients.

c) Personal Visits

Make personal visits to the clients and let them know about your hotshot trucking company. Give them brochures and other printed literature to create an impression.

d) Ads and Publicity

Give ads in local newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV about your hotshot trucking business. Also use posters, banners, hoardings, glow signs, etc at strategic locations. Distribute flyers and pamphlets in crowded places.

e) Online Ads and Social Media

Give ads in online publications and audio-visual platforms to get noticed. Also, use the social media handles like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc for the publicity of your hotshot trucking business. Create pages and accounts in the name of your business and update them regularly. Share the link to your company’s website on these pages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Cost of Starting a Hotshot Trucking Business?

If you start your hotshot trucking business with one truck or trailer, you will need approximately $50,000. This will include your truck/trailer, office, the salary of staff, license and permit charges, insurance, tools, marketing expenses, and other miscellaneous expenses.

How much one can earn from your Hotshot Trucking Business?

Your income, as well as profit from the hotshot trucking business, will depend on how much work you get and how many consignments you carry. The rates for hotshot trucking are higher than normal trucks. Considering this fact, you can earn between $ 80,000 to as high as $ 2, 50,000 per year. You have to subtract the running expenses and other costs.

Therefore you will get half of this amount home, which is between $ 40,000 and $ 1, 25,000 annually. Keep in mind that you can earn even more if you can set your rates per mile higher. Also, for valuable and important consignments, the rates are always higher. Therefore the more you work, the more profit you get. Apart from that, if you can start with two or three vehicles, your start-up cost will rise, but your income and profit will also be higher.

Can you start a Hotshot Trucking Business with no money?

You can start a hotshot trucking business with no money! Sounds impossible, but it can be done. If you follow certain things, you can start this business without any personal expenditure. First of all, you can hire a vehicle or take it on lease. This will save your initial down payment for the vehicle. Secondly, bank loans can give you start-up capital. Thirdly, you can get money from Federal Grants. Apart from these, angel investors, crowdfunding, or personal loan can also help you in starting the hotshot trucking business without spending your savings.

However, the best way to start a hotshot trucking business with no money is to have a tie-up with a truck owner on a profit-sharing basis.

If you can plan well, the hotshot trucking business can be a lucrative business for you. Moreover, it is a prospective business too.