Hotshot Trucking

Hotshot trucking Long Haul vs. Short Haul – Pros and Cons

Many of us are very familiar with what hot shot trucking is. Anyway, if you look at it from the transportation viewpoint, Hot shot trucking is hauling smaller, more time-sensitive loads within a specific timeframe. Usually, these get delivered to a single customer or location. Hotshot loads are typically carried using medium-duty trucks that pull flatbed trailers.

The requirements of Hotshot trucking vary. Some hotshot loads need to be delivered within a short distance, but others may need to cross the boards over state lines or even across the country. Then the legal requirements differ.

How does this happen?

Usually, the Hotshot truckers are professionals at delivering small, time-sensitive loads that should be delivered within a specific timeframe. Most hotshot truckers are drivers of their trailers as owner-operators. They find their loads and deliver. But there are also company drivers who sometimes take on hot shot jobs.

Hotshot truckers typically have experience delivering a variety of load types and the necessary equipment to specific places. Many drivers who work in the transport industry are attracted to hot shot loads because they pay a decent rate. The payments are outstanding in emergencies, like if a company needs a piece of equipment delivered quickly to avoid a loss in productivity.

Also, another example is if a construction company needs equipment delivered to a job to keep a project on time, they advertise it as a hotshot load on a load board to get it delivered ASAP. So Hotshot takes up this task as it is assured they will provide the goods in time!

The truck types used for Hotshot trucking

Let us briefly explain the types of vehicles used for hot shot trucking. Usually, the cars fall under Class 3, 4, and 5.

Class 3 vehicles are medium-duty trucks with a 10,001-14,000 pounds weight limit. Most commonly used vehicles are the Chevrolet Silverado 3500, the GMC Sierra 3500, the Ford F-350, and the Ram 3500. These are the essential heavy-duty pickup trucks used mainly by contractors and last-mile delivery drivers, but there is no restriction on using them for hotshot logistics.

Class 4 vehicles are medium-duty trucks with a weight limit of 14,001-16,000 pounds. Some of the most used vehicles are the Chevrolet Silverado 4500, Ford F-450, and the Ram 4500. These are heavier trucks than the class 3 vehicles, but they still fall into the category of non-commercial. If you wish to haul larger hot shot loads, investing in a class 4 vehicle is better.

Class 5 are medium-duty trucks with a 16,001-19,500 pounds weight limit. Common models that occupy this category are the Chevrolet Silverado 5500, Ford F-550, and the Ram 5500. some of the lightest commercial trucks are categorized under this category. The Kenworth T170, Peterbilt 325, and International TerraStar are some vehicles that fall into this category.

Some Trailers are used in hauling much larger loads.

Below are some of the details for your knowledge.

The most commonly used Bumper pull trailers are generally shorter and less expensive. They’re also easy to use and popular with civilian drivers.

But the bumper pulls trailers do not haul as many materials or as much weight. Most of the time, the load you carry on a bumper pull trailer will be less than 10,001 pounds. They may sway or lose stability with heavier loads if you transport more weight.

Below are some of the standard trailer types used.

  • Gooseneck trailers are Loved for their stability as they have a tighter turn radius than bumper pull trailers. They usually carry larger, heavier loads than bumper pull trailers, but sometimes, they require you to invest in a particular hitching system. If you’re dedicated to hotshot trucking, investing in this won’t go to waste.
  • The unique feature of the Tilt deck trailers is that they tilt at an angle so you can load heavy loads more efficiently. Although tilt deck trailers are easy to load, they do require maintenance. It is pretty expensive as They operate using hydraulic systems that require filter and oil changes—also oiling the trailer’s moving parts, so they don’t rust.
  • Lowboy trailers are famous for their low center of gravity. They are ideal for the heaviest loads. A lowboy is a perfect option if you need to transport a tall load. But remember, one drawback to lowboy trailers is the common deck space. Though you can take a heavier load, you won’t be able to haul as much material at a time.
  • Dovetail trailers are the best for transporting cars or other equipment with wheels. Typically a dovetail trailer is affordable and well-known for its ease of reselling when you no longer need them. But one drawback is that they hang low on the back of the trailer. It is challenging to haul anything up a steep hill without them dragging behind. So, this is one negative point in using this type of trailer.

Long hauls and short hauls

Do you know the difference between long haul trucking and short-haul trucking?

Let us see what this means and what factors determine the difference.

Short-haul trucking or local trucking is the driving smaller trucks within a 150-mile radius of the truck’s original place. Moreover, short-haul truckers typically drive smaller trucks that operate well within city limits and usually do not go out of their specified radius. Short-haul truckers usually deliver materials to construction sites, retail products from fulfilment centres, or food to grocery stores.

Long haul trucking is the practice of driving larger trucks with heavier loads across long distances. It is also called over-the-road trucking. Usually, the coverage is typical, in a 250-mile or more radius from the truck’s origin. Some long-haul truckers work on hundreds of thousands of miles per year. It is often between cities, states, or even across the country. Long haul truckers usually drive on highways more than on city roads. So, the distance is not hectic or challenging to navigate.

There are a few facts to consider when comparing short-haul trucking versus long-haul trucking. They are similar to two types of professions as the goals of each differ.

  • The time spent away from home is different in each. Long-haul drivers spend more time away from home than short-haul drivers. According to the distance they choose to deliver the goods, it may be several days or weeks. The long-haul jobs are most suitable for those who wish to travel and those who do not mind staying away from their loved ones.
  • Also, the long-haul drivers get paid more than the short-haul drivers. It is mainly due to the risks of traveling long distances and their time away from home.
  • Also, the suites of each category differ according to the types of distances and the goods they carry. The logging, number of stops, traffic laws, truck maintenance, and loading and unloading the goods are the main things that need to be taken care of when driving long hauls.

Pros and cons of hotshot trucking

As in anything, hot shot trucking, too, has its pros and cons. It is better to clearly understand them if you think of taking hotshot driving as a career.

There are a considerable number of benefits of hotshot trucking. When you look into the details closely, below are a few essential points that you could consider as the positive aspects of hotshot trucking.

  • The most crucial thing is the cost of the initial start-up. In hotshot trucking, the initial setup cost is considerably low compared to the other companies. It is one significant advantage, and you can plan out well and start up your career.
  • As hotshot trucking is very popular and always full of tasks, you will get jobs more often than the other services. The waiting time to get a load is more significant as hotshot trucking is well recommended for its service.
  • As the number of jobs you get is higher, the income s good. If you’re an expert in delivering the service as promised, you can earn a good income.
  • You have the freedom to choose the location. If you are a home person, you can consistently accept the loads around your hometown for short hauling. It will allow you to stay more with your family and loved ones.
  • You have the freedom to work as you wish. If you are the truck owner you deliver, you are your boss. It is very satisfying to work independently as it is less stressful and more enjoyable.
  • Also, if you are a person who loves traveling, this is the perfect job for you. If you take up long hauls, you can enjoy a long peaceful journey while you do your job.
  • Also, you can select the type of vehicle you use according to your financial capacity and driving capability. It is a perfect chance as you can make sure you have the right choice. 

These are a few of the positive points of hotshot trucking.

But there are some negative aspects as well.

Let us see what they are.

  • Like the low investments for getting into the hotshot trucking business, you are the sole person responsible for all the maintenance. If you drive your vehicle and play the role of the owner-operator, you have the duty of maintaining the truck. The costs of this will be yours, and you need to bear it.
  • Though the hotshot industry is full of business, no one will guarantee you that you will have to work continuously throughout the year. It is mostly like freelance work. It would help if you found your work. Luck, as well as skill, plays a significant role here. And it is one of the main disadvantages as you cannot rely on job security.
  • You also need to put special effort into building up your client base and do your marketing to maintain the client base. Through this, you get more and more opportunities. In a way, this is a hassle. But this depends on your interest and marketing skills. If you are good at it, you sure can grow your client base in no time.
  • Also, sometimes it is additional pressure to find work. Especially if the country has a crisis, you are more likely to get less work.
  • If you are a home person, sometimes your job may keep you away from your home for days or weeks. If you take up long hauls, you are sure to drive far. So, it will make you stay away from your loved ones. It is one of the critical disadvantages, especially if you are a home person.


So dear readers, we hope you got a clear picture of hotshot trucking. It is pretty challenging. But if you are a person who is up for challenges, this will be the ideal business for you. Also, this job suits the people who love traveling a lot. Being single or with fewer responsibilities is an added advantage as you can spend enough time to deliver long hauls. Hotshot business though it incurs an initial investment is an excellent way to earn if done right. Being an owner-operator is the best way to get into the business. You will get more work if you have a good network of contacts and maintain a good client base. Also, targeting the heights paid loads is one way to earn more money than hauling an average load.

All jobs come with benefits and drawbacks, and it is the same with the hotshot trucking as well. So, if you are to take up this as your career, we advise you to evaluate the pros and cons properly. Also, think of work-life balance when you decide on long or short hauls as your career path.

However, suppose you are thinking of becoming an independent trucker. In that case, you first have to spend a considerable amount of time on the road until you earn sufficient money to buy a truck and reduce your overall costs. Then you can open your agency. You will then cut down on your expenses and make more money in the long run.

Well planning and analyzing will help you to pick up the best option. Good luck with hotshot trucking!

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