Are you a CDL Class A wanting to get into hot shot trucking?
Are you looking to hotshot under your own authority? This article will help you evaluate if this decision is the right one for you. If you end up choosing this route, we’ll give you some tips on how to find loads and book freight.
Should You Get Into Hot Shot Trucking?
If you’re a CDL Class A holder with experience, you may want to reconsider going into hotshot trucking. Why? Well, in general, it’s going a step back from being a semi truck driver. Freight is really tough. There aren’t as many opportunities to get loads. Because of this, we generally do not recommend it for someone who already drives a semi to step back or down to a hotshot.
How to Find Loads and Book Freight
If you do decide to go down this route, you will want to use one of two load boards. One of them is DAT, the biggest of them all. And a very close second is Truckstop. These are the two most common load boards. You don’t have to have both; you can just choose one or the other.
Loads on these boards are posted almost immediately because big brokers use an API to post to both load boards. Some smaller brokers prefer one over the other, but most of the time, loads do get posted to both right away. But to stand out, you need to be fast. Loads go quickly, so speed will set you apart — how quickly you call.
Develop Relationships With Shippers and Brokers
Load boards are where you start. Everyone starts on the load board. Eventually, only a percentage (say 50%) of your loads will come from load boards. The broker may just call you directly. If you’re not available, he or she will post it on the load board.
That’s why it’s important to develop relationships and friendships. That’s how you get calls directly. So it’s not like you’ve got a contract. That’s not the case. But essentially, you become friends and the guy calls you first.
And if you live in a good area, sometimes you can go to a shipper and say, “Hey you guys send stuff out on hotshots all the time. Here’s my business card. Call me. I live in this area. I can take any outbound freight you have.”
Of course, that’s outbound only. So you’ll still have to get a return load, and that means you’ll still probably use a load board. So regardless of what you do, get familiar with the load board because you’ll be using it a lot — whether you’re starting out or whether you’ve been doing this for a while.
Hot Shot Trucking Is Not For Everyone
Hotshot trucking isn’t for everyone. If you’re taking home say $850 a week, that means you’re probably making $1,250 before tax. In that case, hot shot trucking may or may not be worth it. It depends on your benefits.
In hot shot trucking, you’re basically self-employed. You don’t have any benefits — no health insurance, no investments, and no retirement. So if you have a family, it may or may not be a wise decision. So if you have experience and are a CDL Class A holder, do more research and weigh your options very carefully.
The Bottom Line
Today, there seems to be a trend of people going from driving semis to wanting to get into hot shot trucking. While that may be good in some cases, it may also seem to be going a step back. So you may want to consider doing something in semi trucking like pulling a different trailer or going into a different area of semi trucking.
However, if hot shot trucking still appeals to you, then, by all means, do it!