What is Hot Shot Trucking?

Learn With Nationwide: What is Hot Shot Trucking

Hot shot trucking is a great way to transport time sensitive smaller or LTL loads. As the name suggests, it’s all about speed of delivery. Hot shot trucking is different from regular trucking because of the equipment used and the size of the load shipped. Hot shot trucking can be local or across the country. However, it’s mainly done for short local hauls and regional routes.

Initially, hot shot trucking started as a service between oilfields and oil part manufacturers. Over time, that changed and now hot shot trucking is used for transporting anything from agricultural equipment, industrial machinery, construction equipment, one or two vehicles, and all kinds of heavy loads. Hot shot trucking services can either be door-to-door or terminal-to-terminal. Door-to-door hot shot trucking services are when your heavy load is picked up and delivered right outside your home or office. Terminal-to-terminal hot shot trucking means that your shipment is picked up and delivered at a nearby terminal and you have to get it by yourself. Terminals are used to reduce costs or because there is no access for pickup and delivery at the main location.

How Hot Shot Trucking is Used for Transport

Hot shot trucking starts with you planning to transport a heavy load within the shortest time possible. From there, contact several hot shot trucking services providers, like Nationwide Transport Services, and provide them with details about your shipment. Reputable shipping companies will provide you with a no-obligation quote.

Once you choose a hot shot trucking company to work with, they will put your shipping request into the schedule and identify the most suitable hot shot trailer depending on specifications of your shipment. Further in the article, you will find tips on how to choose a reputable hot shot trucking company. Below are some of the details you will need to provide the hot shot trucking companies you contact.

  • Weight and size of your heavy load
  • Pick up location
  • Delivery location
  • Pick up date

Tips on How to Choose a Hot Shot Trucking Service Provider

If you need expedited transport for a heavy load over a short distance anywhere in the country, hot shot trucking is the best service for you. As mentioned earlier, the first step should be to contact different hot shot trucking services providers and request shipping quotes.

You will then compare the different companies, looking at details such as rates, insurance, and hot shot transport experience. Hot shot trucking rates from different companies should be around the same range. If a company is too expensive or too cheap, be cautious about working with them. Below are some qualities of a good hot shot trucking services provider.

  • Fully Insured

A good hot shot trucking service provider should fully insure your load before it’s dispatched. This is important because anything can happen along the way and, in that case, you should be fully compensated. You should ask a hot shot trucking company about their insurance policy, to ensure they have the proper coverage when shipping your equipment.

Professional hot shot trucking services providers like Nationwide Transport Services will make you a holder of the insurance coverage and give you a copy with your name. This means that if your shipment isn’t delivered in the condition it was picked in, you can go directly to the insurance company without having to pass through the company.

  • Instant Quotes

Once you provide a hot shot trucking company with details about your shipment, you should receive an all-inclusive  shipping quote with no hidden fees. Depending on the mode of payment you choose, you should only pay once unless you request for a service that wasn’t included in the initial shipping quote.

  • Licensed

Make sure the hot shot trucking carrier is properly licensed to haul your equipment. To confirm this, you can ask for the company’s license number and search it on FMCSA to confirm. Here, you will also get to see if the hot shot trucking company has been in any accidents in the past. If the company has several accidents or other issues with their licensing, or no licensing at all, it’s best to look at a more well-suited company.

  • Online Reviews

Reading comments from previous clients will help you know whether you want to work with a hot shot trucking company or not. A hot shot trucking company should have positive reviews from previous clients. You can read legitimate reviews on Google, TransportReviews, TrustPilot, Facebook and BBB among others.

  • Response Rate

When you contact a hot shot trucking company, whether it’s by call or live chat, they should be prompt in their response. You want to ensure you’re working with a company that keeps in contact and won’t disappear for long periods of time while shipping your load.

  • Experienced

An experienced hot shot company is preferential, because they’ll have a history of service you can research. Online reviews can help you confirm whether the company has rendered hot shot trucking services to other clients. When you work with a new carrier that has no other experience, you take a gamble. A company with a history has a paper trail and reviews you can look into, to ensure you feel comfortable working with them.

  • Resources

The hot shot trucking company you choose should have resources and manpower near you. You shouldn’t wait for a driver to come from another city to transport your time sensitive heavy load. Hot shot trucking services should be easily accessible and reliable.

What’s a Hot Shot Trailer?

Hot shot trailers are specialized trailers used for transporting small loads that need to be delivered within the shortest time possible. Standard loads utilize a semi truck and trailer for transport. Hot shot shipments are pulled by a medium to heavy duty truck with a specialty trailer for that purpose. Below are types of trucks and trailers that make hot shot trailers.

Truck Types Used For Hot Shot Trucking

Unlike regular heavy load shipping services that are offered using trailers, hot shot trucking is carried out using medium duty pickup trucks that are fitted with a trailer at the back. These pickup trucks can either fall under class 3, 4, or 5. Below, we will discuss each class and give examples of pickup trucks that fall under that category.

  • Class 3

Pickup trucks that fall under this category have a weight limit of between 10,001 to 14,000 pounds. These are heavy duty pickup trucks that are mainly used by contractors but can also pull hot shot trailers. Some of these include:

  1. Chevrolet Silverado 3500
  2. Ford F-350
  3. GMC Sierra 3500
  4. Ram 3500
  • Class 4

Pickup trucks under this category have a weight limit of between 14,001 to 16,000 pounds. These are heavier trucks compared to class 3 because they can haul larger loads. However, they’re still categorized as non-commercial. Some examples include:

  1. Chevrolet Silverado 4500
  2. Ford F-450
  3. Ram 4500
  • Class 5

The weight limit of class 5 pickup trucks is 16,001 to 19,500 pounds. They’re medium-duty trucks and can transport loads that class 3 and 4 trucks can’t. Some of the lightest commercial trucks, such as Kenworth T170, International TerraStar, and Peterbilt 325, fall under this category too. Examples of class 5 non-commercial pickup trucks include:

  1. Chevrolet Silverado 5500
  2. Ford F-550
  3. Ram 5500

Trailer Types Used For Hot Shot Trucking

Pickup trucks used for hot shot trucking don’t come with a trailer attached to them. The hot shot trucking company chooses the trailer to be fixed at the back of each pickup truck depending on its capabilities and the type of loads it will be transporting. Below are some trailers used in hot shot trucking.

  • Bumper Pull Trailers

These trailers transport loads that are 10,000lbs or less. Anything past that weight will cause them to lose stability. They’re less expensive and shorter. They’re common among civilian drivers because they’re easy to use.

  • Gooseneck Trailers

Gooseneck trailers can accommodate heavier loads than bumper trailers. They’re more stable and have a tighter turn radius. With that said, these types of trailers require a special hitching system.

  • Tilt Deck Trailers

As the name suggests, these types of trailers tilt at an angle that makes loading heavy materials easy. Afterward, you can turn them flat for transport. With tilt deck trailers, you don’t have to spend much energy on lifting. They require high maintenance because they have a hydraulic system that requires a regular change of oil and filters. Besides that, the moving parts need to be oiled to avoid rusting.

  • Lowboy Trailers

These lowboy trailers transport the heaviest oversize loads. They have a low center of gravity, meaning once they’re detached from the pickup truck, they lay flat on the ground. They’re ideal for shipping tall loads without exceeding the legal height limits. On the downside, they have a small deck space, meaning you can’t transport many heavy loads per trip.

  • Dovetail Trailers

These are suitable for transporting equipment with wheels such as cars, wheel loaders, and backhoes, among others. However, the back hangs low, making them low to the ground when transporting anything through steep inclined areas.

Hot Shot Trucking Cost

Hot shot trucking rates vary from one shipment to another. This is because the specifications of each shipment are different. Below, we will discuss some factors that influence hot shot trucking rates.

  • Distance

The distance from the pickup location to the drop-off point influences the cost of hot shot trucking. The more the miles, the more you will have to pay. Hot shot trucking services are for time-sensitive heavy loads meaning that if the driver has to travel a long way within a short time, the shipping cost will be high. Hot shot trucking rates mainly range from $1.25 to $2.05. It can be more or less depending on the circumstance. As previously mentioned, each shipment varies in price.

  • Types of Service (Door-to-Door or Terminal-to-Terminal)

Door-to-door hot shot trucking services are more expensive than terminal to terminal hot shot trucking services. Door-to-door hot shot trucking is when the driver picks up and delivers to your doorstep and you don’t have to go through the hassle of picking them from a terminal near you.

However, door-to-door hot shot trucking services don’t apply to every client because some areas have narrow roads, making it hard for hot shot trailers to turn or have high traffic. Here, it’s better to opt from terminal to terminal because it will be much easier for you to pick up the freight near you.

  • Size and Weight

Hot shot load pricing varies because the larger and heavier the cargo is, the more you will have to pay. Hot shot trucks have a weight limit. A load that is heavier and larger will require a truck with a high weight capacity, thus costing more. This also means that the driver might have to transport your load by itself because there’s no room to accommodate another load. Here, your load is treated as a full truckload meaning you will have to pay for all the space.

  • Make and Model

If you’re transporting a car or any other wheeled machinery, the make and model will influence the hot shot trucking rates. Luxurious, classic, and custom vehicles will cost you more than regular cars. The latest models of any vehicle or heavy machinery will also cost you more. This is because if anything happened to them, it would be expensive to insure them.

  • Season

Hot shot trucking services are more expensive during harsh weather and holidays. This is because the loads need extra care because they can be damaged by rain and snow, for example. In that case, the company has to invest in waterproof tarps and the insurance cost is much higher because of the risk. On holidays, a lot of drivers are on leave and the few that are available will charge more to get your load delivered safely and on time.

  • Condition of the Machinery or Vehicle

Hot shot trucking services for machinery and vehicles that can be driven into the trailer are affordable compared to inoperable ones. With inoperable machinery and vehicles, extra resources such as cranes and batteries for jump-starting are needed, thus increasing the trucking rates. Heavy loads will also require to be loaded by professionals, meaning you will have to cater for manpower.

  • Location

Hot shot trucking rates are influenced by where the load is picked up and delivered. Some pickup and drop-off locations are far from the highways giving drivers a hard time to access. In this case, you will have to pay more because it’s also hard for drivers to maneuver. In such areas, it’s better to request terminal-to-terminal hot shot trucking services and you can pick your load near you. 

  • Type of Truck

Hot shot trucking services are offered using class 3, 4, or 5 pickup trucks. The major difference between these trucks is their weight limit. This means the truck used will influence the hot shot trucking cost. A class 5 hot shot pickup truck will cost you more than a class 3 pickup truck, for example.

  • Route

The road leading to the pickup and drop-off location will influence how much you pay for hot shot trucking services. For areas that don’t have good infrastructure, you will have to pay more because drivers have a hard time accessing your load or delivering it. If you’re in an area with poor roads, it’s better to take your load to the nearest city with good roads if you’re not prepared to pay an extra fee.

What’s the Difference Between Hot Shot Trucking and Expedited Shipping

Hot shot trucking and expedited freight are similar, but done in different ways. Hot shot trucking and expedited shipping will get your goods delivered within the shortest time possible. However, these are two completely different services because of the size of trucks used to transport the goods. When it comes to hot shot trucking, class 3, 4, or 5 medium-duty trucks are used for transporting time-sensitive loads. Expedited shipping on the other hand uses straight trucks or vans to deliver goods to the desired location.

Advantages of Hot Shot Trucking Services

Hot shot trucking services are mainly used by individuals who don’t want any inconveniences. For example, a construction site might need some materials delivered urgently to keep working or an electrical company might need to have some cables or any other device delivered urgently to avoid a power outage. Hot shot trucking is the way to go for anyone who needs to transport a load that might cause inconvenience if not delivered urgently. Below are some of the benefits of hot shot trucking services.

  • Fast

The main benefit of hot shot trucking is that your equipment will be delivered within no time. Hot shot trucking services are popular because goods are delivered on time despite the tight schedule. A professional hot shot trucking company will go over and beyond to avoid inconveniencing you.

  • Affordable

Hot shot trucking is an affordable way to transport loads that need to be delivered within short notice. Because you’re transporting a small load on a small truck, it means there’s not much overhead to cover.

  • On-call drivers

Drivers offering hot shot trucking services are readily available to get your load from point A to B as fast as possible. When you contact a hot shot trucking company and make a booking, they immediately contact a driver near you to ensure your load is picked and delivered in a short period of time.

  • Smaller loads

Unlike other shipping options, hot shot trucking allows you to transport a small load without having to wait for people with smaller loads to fill a truck before the shipment is dispatched. Regardless of how small your load is, it will be transported by itself.

Hot Shot Trucking FAQs

  1. What’s the cost of hot shot trucking?

The cost of hot shot trucking varies from one shipment to another depending on factors, such as distance and specifications of the load. Larger loads and long distances will cost you more. The carrier you plan on working with should provide you with a free shipping quote before you make a booking. Compared to their efficiency, hot shot trucking services are affordable because they help you get a load to your project urgently and continue working as if nothing happened.

2. Can I use hot shot trucking services to transport a small load?

Absolutely. Hot shot trucking services are meant for transporting many time-sensitive loads. As long as you want your load shipped from point A to B within the shortest time possible, hot shot trucking services are the most suitable for you. Depending on the weight and size of load you will transport, the hot shot trucking company will identify the most suitable hot shot trailer for you.

3. Does hot shot trucking guarantee timely delivery?

Yes. Hot shot trucking will get your load to a destination of your choice within a short time frame. As soon as you make a booking, on-call drivers are ready to transport your load immediately. Despite factors such as heavy traffic and road works slowing down hot shot trucking services sometimes, the carrier is always ready to use an alternative route to ensure there are no inconveniences caused.

4. When will my hot shot delivery arrive?

Hot shot trucking drivers have a fourteen-hour driving window out of which they can drive for eleven hours with a thirty-minute break in between. After this, they can’t resume duty until ten hours of rest are finished. Depending on the average time taken from the pick up to drop off location, you can estimate whether your shipment will be delivered on the same day depending on when it was dispatched. In most cases, hot shot deliveries are made on the same day because they’re short distances. In case of adverse weather, drivers can have an extension of two hours. Eleven is the normal maximum limit.


If you have a smaller load or heavy machinery that needs to be transported within a short time frame, don’t hesitate to contact a professional like Nationwide Transport Services. It’s a reliable way of getting your load delivered urgently without having to worry about filling a truck. A professional like Nationwide Transport Services not only has on-call drivers near you, but we will also assign your shipment to a specific agent who will ensure it’s dispatched within the shortest time possible fully insured and accompanied by the right paperwork. The specialist assigned to your shipment will keep you updated until your heavy load is safely delivered.

"The cost of hot shot trucking varies from one shipment to another. This is because the specifications of each shipment are different. Below, we will discuss some factors that influence hot shot trucking rates."


Reach out to a logistics specialist from Nationwide Transport Services, LLC for more information on any topic in logistics by dialing (877) 278-3135.

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