Should You Hot Shot As An Owner-Operator, or Lease on With Another Company?
Hot Shot trucking is a popular option for anyone who wants to be an owner-operator. If you’re considering a career as a hot shot trucker, you’ll find plenty of opportunities available.
What Is Hot Shot & Is It Right for You?
Hot shot trucking can refer to one of two things:
- Your truck
- Your freight
When you use your truck, you’ll often use a truck that is Class 3 to 5. You’ll be hauling run-for-hire freight that can either be for a single customer or for a trucking company looking for LTL freight to be hauled.
If you’re speaking directly about freight, you’ll be working on delivering expedited freight in most cases.
“Expedited” is a term used loosely because you won’t be running from one terminal to the next. You’ll be delivering small to medium loads, but the jobs are distributed to a variety of truckers, typically on load boards.
You won’t be on standby like with regular expedited trucking.
You may be in charge of delivering electrical equipment, or you may be working for the oil industry. Texas, known for its oil industry, was where the term hot shot trucking originated.
The oil industry was in demand of drills and other specialized equipment that needed to be hauled rapidly to keep operations running smoothly. Small owner-operators started to fill the industry void by offering hot shot trucking.
Costs are kept low because:
- Smaller trucks are used, requiring less overhead and costs
- Downtime is minimized
If you’re comparing a Dodge Ram 2500 to a Class 8 vehicle, you’ll realize that you have massive towing capacity at a fraction of the cost of a big rig. A lot of these truckers will choose car hauling as their go-to option
There’s also a major difference when purchasing a Class 3 to 5 vehicle or a Class 8.
You can get started with a lower-class vehicle for $25,000, whereas a big rig is much higher in cost. A lot of would-be owner-operators opt for this lower-cost option because it allows them to get started with owning their own business faster.
It’s an economically smarter way to get started, but you will need to need to find hot shot trucking companies hiring owner-operators. The good news is that you’ll have a lot of opportunities to lease with great, well-established companies.
9 Hot Shot Companies to Lease on with
When it comes to hot shot trucking, there are a lot of companies that you can lease on with. The companies that you lease on with include:
- ACME Truck Line offers over 6,000 loads of hot shot per week and has an aggressive sales team that always brings in new loads. The company owns no trucks of their own. Instead, ACME works with owner operators to haul loads in a timely fashion.
- Cheetah Hotshot Company offer services in 48 states and allows for multiple hauling options, from tractors that are 40’, 45’ and 48’ to flatbeds and other options. You’ll be able to lease on with low costs and insurance options.
- CKJ Transport Company operates in Texas with a variety of company and independent drivers. You’ll find great reviews and opportunities for drivers available.
- Greensheet is a Texas-based company that allows you to lease on. The company hauls primarily for the oil and gas industry, so you’ll always have a lot of opportunities to make money.
- Hazel’s Hotshot Company operates out of Houston. The company has been in operation since 1977, and it offers opportunities throughout the United States.
- Hot Shot Logistics prides itself on offering one of the highest retention rates in the industry. The company pays 75% line haul and there’s a fast sign-on lease program available. The company offers robust insurance options for free and also provides trailer lease options with low monthly payments.
- Houston Hotshot Trucking Company provides hot shot opportunities in the fourth largest city in the country. The company works extensively in the energy industry and has opportunities available across the state.
- JF Express Fr8 is based out of Marysville, Ohio and is currently allowing owner/operators to lease on with their company. You will need to meet certain criteria to be approved, including having a CDL-A and being at least 24 years old.
- USA Truck Company is a great option from one of the industry’s best-known companies. The company provides you with a lot of different options not found in other hot shot trucking opportunities, including 401(k), vacation, medical and dental insurance.
These are some, but not all, of the hot shot trucking companies that owner operators are working with today.
While you can lease on with a company, you can also go out on your own and find jobs. This may be a little more difficult at first, but it’s a way to make more money and really choose which loads are best for you.
Keep in mind that when working on load boards, you’ll have to find insurance options that cover your loads and make all of the respective payments on your own. A lot of work and planning goes into load boards, but there’s ample opportunity for you.
Hot Shot Load Boards
If you don’t want to lease on with a company, you can take it upon yourself to scour for work. Many companies often use load boards where you’re able to pick and choose the loads that you want to take.
Since you’re your own boss, this gives you the autonomy and freedom to work when and how you want.
The leading load boards in the industry, at the time of publishing, include:
- 123 Load Board where you can sign up, for a fee, to find a variety of different loads. You’ll find LTL, TL and numerous other loads. There are three monthly tiers that allow you to find loads and also sign up for 24/7 loads.
- FR8Star, which allows you to find specialized loads and other options. The system uses blind bidding to eliminate undercutting issues and provides quality leads from the industry’s most popular platforms, including Truck Paper, AuctionTime and Machinery Trader.
- Getloaded is designed to make you your own boss. You’ll be able to find hot shot and LTL. Monthly subscriptions are available and allow you to browse through over 100 million loads per year.
- Trulos is a free load board that includes multiple options from LTL to boards, with rates and even state truckload search options. The company works with over 900 brokers and direct shippers.
- TruckersEdge is a platform that has been around since 1978 – well before the Internet. The platform offers a free trial but has a lot of great subscription options to help you find loads and grow your business.
You have to remember that when you’re a hot shot trucker, you’re going to be running your own businesses. You’ll need to make sure that you cover all of the legal aspects of running your business, including but not limited to:
- Registering your vehicle commercially and ensuring that you have all of the licensing requirements met before going out on the road.
- Controlling all of your trucking logs and knowing how haul rates may differ from one location to the next.
- Obtaining all of the necessary insurance needed to haul your respective freight. There are also a lot of legalities that need to be met. Speak with a legal or accounting expert who can help you through these potential legal issues.
A lot of factors do need to be considered. Really think about the differences between being an employee and being your own boss as an owner operator. If you’re an owner, you have the potential to make more money, but you do forfeit a lot of the benefits, such as company health insurance.
Of course, if you’re business-oriented and want to run your own business, being a hot shut trucker offers a low-cost entry into a lucrative career opportunity.