How to Start a Hot Shot Trucking Business – Complete Guide

This post may contain affiliate links and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links – at no extra cost for you. Please read my disclaimer here.

The trucking industry has a lot of potential for financial gain, which should be clear to you from the outset. 

It is not just driving the truck. It is hiring other drivers, training them correctly, figuring out which routes are the most lucrative, and following up on your investment to ensure all your money isn't going up in smoke.

This article that I created will guide you on starting a hot shot trucking business.

It will outline what a hot shot trucking business is, discuss legal considerations you should consider before setting up your new company, and share some tips for starting a profitable trucking operation. 

What is a hot shot trucking business?

A hot shot trucking business is a type of trucking business where the driver and owner jointly operate a truck with a small trailer.

How to Start a Hot Shot Trucking Business - Complete Guide

Hot shot trucks typically have low loads and low mileage, so they make perfect stores for large amounts of goods that are short-hauled or even delivered just to the loading dock or delivery point. 

A hot shot trucking company frequently follows a small fleet methodology. A company may consist of anywhere from one weekly driver to upwards of ten drivers in one fleet. 

A hot shot trucking operation typically has several trucks with a few drivers. A hot shot trucking company is frequently operated as a franchise.

Why should you start a hot shot trucking business? 

If you are looking for an exciting and safe way to expand your company, a hot shot trucking business offers you the chance to be your boss, set your schedule, and make good money

While the business of a hot shot hauler can be pretty rewarding, it is also challenging work. 

A driver working for a hot shot hauling company will typically have to work longer hours than someone working for a more traditional trucking company. However, the extra hours will mean an extra paycheck at the end of the week and on payday.

Legal considerations before starting a hot shot trucking business

A hot shot trucking business must follow federal guidelines and state regulations

Before heading out in your new hot shot business, you must get your employment and commercial licenses. However, in some states, a hot shot owner can work without commercial or professional licenses.

What are the costs of a hot shot trucking business?

When starting a hot shot trucking business, the costs will vary depending on your truck type.

All trucks need to be kept in good working condition, and you will also have to pay for all maintenance. When starting a hot shot business, you must charge per mile for all stops and dispatches. 

Funding your own new trucking company tends to be expensive. The more equipment you can rent, the lower your start-up costs will be, but the more money you will spend on the start-up. 

In addition to the truck and trailer, a hot shot trucking business typically requires you to purchase a computer and software to keep track of your company and drivers

There are also some other costs that new hot shot owners should take into account as well. 

A hot shot trucking company needs fuel, insurance, and drivers. These costs will vary depending on what type of truck you use, who you hire as a driver and other conditions.

Here's a quick guide I compiled about the costs of a hot shot trucking business:


The first cost many new owners don't think about is fuel. Fuel is the highest cost for a hot shot trucking company


You will need to purchase fuel for your tractor, engine, and fuel tank, plus purchase any other supplies related to your business, such as oils and filters. 

It's essential to know how much you'll need for your daily operations and how much you'll need for any long-haul drives during your first year of operation.

Older trucks will have problems keeping up with newer models regarding mileage and time on the road. A truck with a 6.0-liter diesel engine needs to be driven less than 10,000 miles per year. 

If you're working more than one run a day or often have to make multiple runs of different routes or stops, you'll need the extra fuel for your long-distance drives.


A hot shot trucking company will typically have 2 drivers working for it. One driver is the business owner, and the other is responsible for driving the tractor and trailer.

While the owner gets paid a salary or a percentage of the profits, drivers are usually paid by the hour. When starting a hot shot hauling business, you have to make sure that you have enough money for both salaries.

When starting a hot shot trucking business, it's crucial to consider salaries. Typically, the business owner will get a salary or a percentage of the net profits. However, ensuring that your driver is paid wages and working hours is also very important.

Insurance and taxes

Insurance is probably one of the most overlooked costs when starting a hot shot trucking company. Most owners of hot shot trucking businesses only insure their drivers and their vehicles. 

Still, they forget that they need to have an insurance plan in place. When looking into insurance plans, it's essential to make sure that you'll be covered for all your company's loads.

Insurance and taxes are two costs that many hot shot owners overlook when first starting their business. Liability insurance may be purchased in several forms, each tailored to your specific needs. 

However, it's essential to check with your carrier before getting a policy to know what type of coverage you need and how much it will cost before purchasing your insurance policy.

It's vital that you get all of the insurance that your business will need to be protected and covered while on the road. If anything happens while you're driving, you'll want to be able to count on having insurance in place.

When choosing an insurance policy, it's essential that you select an on-the-road trucking insurance policy

Most states require these insurance policies, and all insurance carriers offer them. If you want to get an on-the-road trucking policy, it's crucial that you find a company that provides the type of policy.

It's also important to remember that you need to pay federal and state taxes on your profits.

Steps on how to start a hot shot trucking business

Starting a trucking business is like driving a semi through a minefield.

It's hard, and it will take more than just a few steps to get it done. 

Knowing your budget

When starting a hot shot hauling business, you first need to identify how much money you want to begin with. When setting a budget, it's essential that you don't spend more than what you have. 

Suppose you're planning on taking on a mortgage to invest in your business and find out that you don't have enough funds. In that case, it can be a setback for your hot shot trucking business. 

However, if you're able to save money for the down payment and financing, you'll be able to make up for the start-up costs.

Knowing the cost for each vehicle your business will have is essential. When deciding on the amount of money you'll spend each month on fuel, maintenance, and supplies, make sure that you consider your profit margin. 

Since you're running a business, it's essential to have enough funds in the bank to cover your expenses and make a profit.

However, there will be times when you'll pay for equipment repairs or vehicle maintenance costs; however, it's vital that you have enough money left in your account to cover those costs. 

It is essential that you make a decision on how much money you will have saved up to pay your expenses.

Identifying your goals

Knowing the goals you want to accomplish is essential when starting a hot shot trucking business.


As a new entrepreneur, you can get inspired by other businesses and model your company after one you like. However, suppose you want to work as an owner-operator in the trucking profession. 

In that case, it's essential that you find out what type of company you want to own. If you're interested in being your boss, all of the control is yours. If you're going to work for a company, you must identify the type of company that you want to work for

Now that you have all of this information, it's time to develop a name for your business.

Picking a name

When choosing a name, make sure that it will be easy for people to remember. It's essential to make your business name memorable. Several hot shot businesses choose a name that directly refers to their business. 

Suppose you want your trucking company to be successful. In that case, it's essential that you pick a name that people will remember and associate with your business.

Deciding on the trucks and equipment to be used

When starting a hot shot trucking business, the next thing you need to do is decide on what type of truck and equipment you want to use. 

When choosing your first vehicle, it's essential that you choose one that fits the purpose of your business. If you're planning on working in a city, the tractor you select should be able to maneuver around town. 

However, suppose your business is going to operate on an interstate highway. In that case, it's essential that you choose a tractor with the ability to move down the highway quickly.

In addition, you need to consider the kind of truck you want to use. If your business hauls heavy loads and materials, you must choose a trailer with room for more material. 

However, suppose you're a trucking company that will only operate on local routes. In that case, it's less critical for you to purchase a heavy-duty trailer.

Personally, the trucks and equipment you will be using are essential since it will be what's going to run your business. So I hope you do not forget to choose a nice truck that will last you a long time.


With your company name, design, and tractor in mind, it's time to start advertising your business.

When putting up ads for new customers and leads that you'll use for sales, make sure that you use the same language, tone, and approach as when talking to customers from other businesses. 

This will show that you're able to communicate well with customers

Also, when putting up ads, make sure that they're visible to everyone near the route where you'll be operating. This will make it much easier for potential customers to find your company.

When starting a hot shot trucking business, it's essential that you start marketing yourself to others. It's crucial that you don't wait until you have severe customers before advertising yourself

First off, make sure that you get on the internet and find popular search engines and social media websites to advertise.

Next, it's essential that you're using the same marketing strategies and methods that successful companies are using to find customers. Start searching for blogs, forums, social media websites, and more.

Knowing the importance of insurance plans 

With a profit margin in mind, it's time for you to decide how much you'll spend on insurance each month.

With the amount of money your business earns from one load and covering all of your expenses, there must be enough money left over to cover your insurance needs. 

The type of insurance coverage you'll need will depend on the type of trucking business that you're starting. The necessary level of coverage will vary from business to business. 

It will be directly proportional to your firm's amount of money. It's essential to determine what insurance carriers are available in your state before deciding. 

Some insurance companies offer on-the-road policies that include land damage, liability coverage, and worker's compensation. However, if you want to keep the insurance you have now, you won't need to purchase a new policy.

Registering your business

When launching a hot shot trucking firm, you must first register your company. Registering your new business will allow you to have the legal rights to run a business

Suppose you want to write your business in your state. In that case, it's essential that you follow the steps needed to complete the registration process. 

While registering your business is a simple process, it's vital that you choose a company name and address before completing the registration process. When selecting an address for your business, consider using one of two addresses

First, you can use the home address or office address of the person helping you start your new business. 

If you don't have a home or office address for this person, you can use a PO Box. However, before registering your business, it's vital that you take the time to make sure that the name and address that you're using are registered with the state

You'll also be able to obtain information about your business and access the internet when it comes time to find customers and suppliers.

Choosing a bank to work with

When starting a hot shot trucking company, it's crucial that you decide on a bank where you will want to keep your operating accounts.

When choosing a bank, it's essential that you choose a bank with branches in the state where your company is registered. The bank's location will be convenient for you and help you save money with fees. 

Finding business partners

When starting a hot shot trucking business, choosing a partner or partner is essential.

A partner can help you run the business and give you the assistance you need when starting your new trucking company. It's crucial for you to choose a person who will work well with you and share similar goals. 

It's essential for both of you to have an equal investment in the business; otherwise, it may cause problems in the future. When hiring a partner, find one who will help you with your business and encourage you to succeed in this business.

Pros & cons of a hot shot trucking business


  • Because the material loads much more quickly, there is much less time to wait.
  • Class 8 or better in terms of income.
  • You'll have more time to spend with your family since most cargoes are either local or regional.
  • Your own hotshot business gives you more control over your work schedule and the cargo you transport than working for a large trucking firm does.
  • You are in control of your personal timetable.


  • Owner-operators work harder than corporate truck drivers since they have more jobs to do on their own
  • Being an owner-operator for the first time might be a challenging experience.
  • The initial investment required to start a hot shot trucking business can be pretty high.

Frequently asked questions about how to start a hot shot trucking business

Hot shot trucking is a business growing in popularity for a good reason! It's a fast-paced, exciting industry with lots of room for growth.


I went around and asked some people questions they have on how to start a hot shot trucking business, and all of these are listed below:

What are the laws of starting a hot shot trucking business?

Suppose you are planning on starting your own hot shot trucking business. In that case, it's essential that you go through the correct process to get a license to operate

It's vital that there are no regulations that will hinder your ability to run a successful trucking company. You may get in touch with the DOT office in your area if you are uncertain whether or not there are any restrictions currently in effect.

How much do you need before starting a hot shot trucking business?

Before starting your hot shot trucking business, it's essential that you have enough money saved up to cover the initial costs of getting the company started

It's critical to have enough money in place. If any problems arise during the beginning phase of your business, you'll have enough money to cover any costs. 

What truck specifications do you need to start a hot shot trucking business?

When you are deciding to start a hot shot trucking company, it is crucial that you consider the type of vehicle that you'll be using to transport freight. Most people will operate their trucks with hotshot vehicles

Still, if this isn't a choice for your business, you must consider other options. Hotshot trucks are rated and designed for different purposes, such as hauling many products over long distances and heavyweight loads.

The takeaway

I'm referring to the fact that most individuals, in fact, practically everyone I know and question about the issue, fantasize about launching a hot shot trucking business but have no idea what it takes to make it a reality.

The reasons are easy to find. Making money is easy, and entrepreneurship is glamorized on television and movie screens.

There are too many examples of multi-millionaires who start with nothing but an idea and make it happen; we have all heard stories of friends whose bright ideas became a front-page story overnight. 

I could go on, but what I wanted to say is this:

Starting a hot shot trucking business can be a lucrative opportunity, and it's vital that you're aware of all the requirements before starting this business

Hot shot trucking is a business that can easily become profitable, mainly if you're dedicated to this type of work. With this information I provided, you'll be able to start your own hot shot trucking company with no problem. 

Hot shot trucking is an advantageous industry that you'll enjoy, so see if it is right for you and do the research first.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}