Running a hotshot trucking company can prove to be a very lucrative side of the trucking business. However, same as running a trucking business in the traditional manner, you need to have a steady stream of business to keep yourself profitable and your business growing. So you got your CDL. You are registered with the DOT and FMCSA but how do hotshot truckers find loads to keep their trucking company going? Well, we are going to take a look at the answer to that and more in this article.
Before we get too deeply into how to find hot shot loads, it is important to have a firm understanding of exactly what they are and how they differ from traditional trucking loads. Hotshot trucking is the hauling of smaller, more time-sensitive LTL (less than truckload) loads within a specific timeframe. Hotshot trucking loads are usually delivered using medium-duty trucks that pull flatbed trailers. However, other trailer types can be used depending on the carrier and the needs of the load.
Hotshot truck requirements tend to vary. Some hotshots need to be delivered a short distance, but others may need to go over state lines or even across the country.
What is hotshot trucking? Hotshot trucking is different from expedited shipping, which usually involves vans, tractor-trailers, box trucks, or even pickup trucks waiting on standby to get the job done. Instead of keeping expedited shipping vehicles on standby, hotshot hauling jobs are distributed to various drivers through load boards. That makes hotshot trucking a great opportunity for any owner-operator looking for their next load or to make some extra money on the side.
The type of trailer that you need can vary depending on the specific load and sometimes it can make sense for a hotshot driver to have multiple trailer types available to him to keep his business options wide open. These trailer types often include bumper pull, gooseneck, tilt deck, lowboy, and even dovetail trailers. However, the bigger trailer and loads that you haul you will need to ensure you have the right equipment type to safely haul it such as a super duty truck.
One of the best things you can do in the hotshot freight world is to develop quality and strategic relationships. However, building these relationships and learning how to get trucking contracts through them will take some time. These relationships with shippers can and will aid you in your hotshot trucking business. With a startup though, this can be difficult. If you are a new company, it is beneficial to hire a dispatching service that specializes in finding loads for a hotshot carrier. Once you are able to get your feet wet and foster some relationships within the industry, it will give your business credibility through those shipper relationships that vouch for you. The more relationships you build, the better. You may be able to use some of these contacts needing smaller loads to fill empty space along with larger loads on your hotshot trailer.
Being a great communicator is a crucial skill for truck drivers. Trucking in general is still a very personable industry so people skills go a long way. No matter what side of the industry you are on, when you are dealing with the transportation of other’s goods it is vital that you show clear and reliable communication skills to establish and maintain that level of trust for them to do business with you. This will aid you now and in the future.
While this is far from the best option due to the cost and rates, hotshot load boards are a grassroots level source for loads that cannot be ignored to find available loads. To keep your company profitable you need to keep moving. That means a constant supply of loads to run so you will need to source those from all means necessary to keep your schedule booked. You should know the flow and operation of a load board and be ready to hop on them whenever needed to fill in open slots on your routes. Not all of them are free but if you know how to use them effectively, they are well worth the subscription fee. You will also want to make sure when you are exploring a load board that is best for you that you inquire about the specific load types that you are able to haul with your current equipment.
Our team knows a thing or two about finding good loads in this market. Have more questions on the subject? Give us a call. 913-393-6110