List Of Best Equipment Needed For Hot Shot Trucking

List of Best Equipment Needed for Hot Shot Trucking

In the trucking industry, you will find that there are many different types of loads truckers may be asked to haul. However, what happens when shipping companies have smaller, heavier loads which need fast and safe deliveries that flatbed truckers simply can’t do? They will call upon hotshot truckers!

Hotshot trucking differs from expedited shipping and traditional trucking because these haulers can deliver cargo with tight deadlines in the time it would take you to wait for a company to take a truck off standby. Hotshot haulers also have specific vehicles and equipment needed for hotshot truckings like vans, tractor-trailers, and even pickup trucks! They do not tend to drive heavy-duty trucks like Class 9 semis.

The term “hotshot” is almost directly related to the purpose of this niche industry – it’s all about speed. Hotshot truckers try to deliver their loads as quickly as possible, with their most common cargo being construction and agriculture equipment and industrial/heavy machinery. However, with the variety of the market, there is now a wide range of materials for hotshot haulers!

hotshot trucking

Hotshot hauling can be a very lucrative business as a good, responsible hotshot trucker in a good location can bring in anywhere between $60,000 to $120,000 gross income a year – and you have the opportunity to become an owner-operator which is a luxury few can afford with traditional trucking. Below, we will go into more depth about hotshot trucking rigs, the pros and cons of hotshot hauling, and must-have hotshot trucking equipment!

Types of Hotshot Trucks:

Though both hotshot truckers and expedited haulers’ goals are to get their cargo delivered quickly and safely, hotshot truckers can deliver smaller loads in smaller trucks that normally fall in Class 3-5 truck categories:

  • Class 3 (10,001–14,000lbs): Includes GMC Sierra 3500, Ram 3500, and Ford F-350
  • Class 4 (14,001–16,000lbs): Includes Chevrolet Silverado 4500HD, Ford F-450, and Ram 4500
  • Class 5 (16,001–19,500lbs): Includes Chevrolet Silverado 5500HD, Ford F-550, Peterbilt 325, and Ram 5500

Suppose you’re unsure whether your truck falls into any of these categories. In that case, the Federal Highway Administration dictates you are legally allowed to pull hotshot loads as long as you follow the following guidelines:

  • Have proper liability insurance and operational authority.
  • Have an updated DOT identification number.
  • Abide by all federally mandated hours of service regulations (HOS).
  • Possess a CDL when moving a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 26,000 lbs.

Types of Hotshot Trailers:

When it comes to the types of trailers you should have for hotshot hauling, try to choose the type that will be the best fit for your vehicle and the type of loads you want to haul. The two most common types of trailers in hotshot trucking are the Gooseneck and Dovetail hotshot trailers.

1. Gooseneck Hotshot Trailer:

These trailers are a favorite amongst experienced hotshot truckers! Goosenecks are favored for their stability and tight turning radius which make them ideal while on thin roads. Gooseneck trucking rigs are normally designed to be 40 feet long, though longer trailers may provide the ability to haul more cargo. Be sure to check any state laws or regulations about the legal amount/size/weight of the cargo you can haul. It’s important to remember Gooseneck trailers are considered commercial trailers, and therefore require specific training and license to operate! You will also need to invest in a special hitching system for them, as they will not attach to the bed of a pickup truck.

Gooseneck Hotshot Trailer:

2. Dovetail Hotshot Trailers:

Getting their name from its rear ramp that makes these trailers appear to have a dovetail, these trailers are the underdogs of the hotshot trucking rigs. Useful when hauling self-propelled cargo like construction machinery or tractors, these are the best hotshot trucking rigs if you need to haul small equipment or cars. The shorter ramps make it easier to load cargo at a gradual angle onto the trailer without much risk of damage happening to your load or trailer. However, they are not as versatile as Gooseneck trailers.

The type of trailer you decide on will ultimately come down to preference, cargo type, and vehicle type. If you are using a pickup truck or van for your hotshot hauling but don’t want to invest in the hitching device needed to hook up a Gooseneck trailer, then opting for a Dovetail will be more beneficial for you! Also, consider the size of the trailer you’re thinking of purchasing. While most trailers will be anywhere between 30-40 feet in length, remember that a 40-foot hotshot trailer isn’t suited to haul any freight that weighs greater than 16,500 lbs.

Must-Have Hotshot Trucking Equipment:

As previously mentioned, Hotshot trucking rigs differ from traditional trucks because of the type of trailers and vehicles considered to be hotshot trucks. Your options range from pickup trucks to flatbed hotshot trailers, but this variety of choices also may require different or new equipment for hotshot trucking with your vehicle.

Below we list some of the most basic equipment necessary for hotshot trucking, but remember to always do your proper research before investing and/or purchasing specific equipment:

  • Hotshot Trailer – the two common trailers mentioned above, Gooseneck and Dovetail, are essential for your hotshot trucking business. Without a trailer, your options for what cargo you can haul dwindle. And depending on the size and type of your trailer, your options may yet change. Choosing the right hotshot trucking rig for your vehicle, including ensuring you can properly attach the two, is integral to getting started in the hotshot trucking industry.
Hotshot Trailer
  • Tarps – an essential tool for every trucker, tarping is a skill that you should invest in no matter what vehicle you use or cargo you haul. Being able to keep your loads dry and protected in extreme weather conditions only provide more benefit and increase your chances of a safe, scratch-free, dry delivery!
  • Certificates and Licenses: If you’re trying to go all out and start a Hotshot hauling business, you need to make sure all your ducks are in order first! Having certificates like your EIN (Employer Identification Number), a DOT physical, a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), and your motor vehicle record is important and required before you can start hauling. While a CDL isn’t required for hotshot trucking, there will be situations you are barred from without one – like trying to operate a vehicle or haul cargo that exceeds 26,001 lbs – and equipment you will be unable to purchase or use. Having these certificates on file and easily accessible could save you headaches and possible legal fines down the road!
  • Tie-Down Equipment: while it feels self-explanatory, having the proper tie-down equipment ready to go, like your chains, ratchet straps, winch straps, or bungees is necessary for all haulers. It is recommended for hotshot truckers to have at least twenty ratchet straps available and four 20’-long chains. With a typical hotshot trailer measuring up to 40ft in length, having between two to four 20-foot chains or straps will ensure you have tie-downs that fit the length of your trailer. On the off chance that you end up hauling cargo nearly the entire size of your hotshot trailer, you’ll be thankful to have enough tie-down length to work with!

Our Hotshot Trucking Equipment List:

If you’re unsure where to even begin looking for hotshot trucking equipment, here are some of our recommendations:

(1) 20 foot long, G70 Transport Chains

First on our list, comes the G70 Transport Chains. These tie-down tools are versatile and can secure a variety of different loads, making them the perfect fit for HotShot Trucking. They’re especially great to use because of their durable strength and versatility. Oftentimes, working as a HotShot Trucker means working in all kinds of weather, including unfavorable conditions. Not to mention, they travel long distances at a time. Fortunately, a G70 Chain’s alloy steel construction allows for them to withstand inclement weather and hazardous road conditions. At the same time, they keep your cargo safe and secured to the trailer bed at all times.

(2) 20’-30’ long Tow Straps

Similarly, Tow Straps can be used for load securement as well. This auto hauling equipment is made out of durable polyester but lacks stretching capabilities. Tow Straps can’t recover a vehicle but they can certainly help tow a car to a repair shop. Additionally, the driver has more control over the car, which prevents vehicle loss. Furthermore, 20-30’ long Tow Straps have a WLL of 3,333lbs and a webbing WLL of 12,000lbs, making them pretty strong. Hotshot truckers won’t have to worry about losing their cargo or vehicle on the road.

(3) 30 foot Winch Strap with Flat Hooks

Another type of heavy-duty strap, the Winch straps are used to tighten the straps as they utilize the rub rail that’s installed on the sides of the trailer and tightened by the winch. By using a winch system, a HotShot Trucker can secure their cargo faster and more efficiently. Since most HotShot trailers are 40ft in length, a couple of 30ft Winch Straps with Flat Hooks can effectively tie down their materials to their gooseneck trailer. Be sure to include winch bars, which can simply be inserted into the winch and can easily apply tension over your straps. A winch system can come in handy for HotShot Truckers.

(4) 30 to 40 Foot Ratchet Strap with Flat Hooks

Next on our list comes the 40’ Ratchet Straps with Flat Hooks. Ratchet straps can be found on many HotShot trucker’s trailers, as they’re very versatile and are used to secure various types of cargo. Furthermore, the strap comes equipped with a ratcheting mechanism that will ensure your cargo arrives in one piece to its desired destination.

Furthermore, a Ratchet Straps webbing is made out of polyester, making the strap strong enough to handle any type of load. In particular, the 30’-40’ Ratchet Strap with the Flat Hooks can anchor directly onto the side of the rail of the trailer. More importantly, the flat hook gives the ratchet strap added strength, allowing it to sustain various loads at high WLL.

(5) V-Bridle Straps with RTJ Cluster Hooks

Another type of hook, V-Bridle Straps with RTJ Cluster Hooks are another commonplace item you’ll find amongst HotShot Truckers. The name refers to a combination of three different hooks; a ring, a triangle and a J-Hook. By using all three cluster hooks, HotShot Truckers will have the ability to secure various types of loads regardless of shapes or sizes. More specifically, these straps were built to protect cargo, such as vehicles, from damage while being towed. V-Bridle Straps with RTJ Cluster Hooks are HotShot Trucker’s best friend.

(6) Heavy Duty Rubber Bands

In turn, Heavy Duty Rubber Bands are often used in HotShot Trucking for protecting, securing and bundling your materials during transit. In greater detail, the elasticity of these bands allows them to bundle several smaller items together, securing them as one unit. By having a more condensed load, you’re able to optimize your space on your trailer and prevent your materials from being scattered. Furthermore, these bands can absorb shocks and vibrations of the truck, and reduce cargo damage. You’ll create a better unloading and delivery process as well.

(7) Corner Protectors

Corner Protectors are especially crucial in HotShot Trucking. These protectors come in various sizes and colors, making them suitable for all types of loads. Even their polyethylene construction gives them impressive strength. With Corner Protectors, you’ll establish a protective barrier between the strap and your load, preventing cargo damage. HotShot Truckers won’t have to waste time with securing their load, especially those in a hurry. Not only do Corner Protectors protect your materials but they also extend the life of your ratchet straps. You can’t go wrong with this HotShot equipment.

(8) 27 foot long trailer tarps

Trailer tarps are also used to secure your materials during transit. Though, 27 foot long tarps are especially vital to HotShot Trucking since their trailers typically extend out to 40ft. A couple of these tarps on board will keep your cargo protected from hazardous road situations and inclement weather. That way, a HotShot trucker’s fragile or small materials can stay secure throughout the entire ride.

(9) Side Mount/Lasso Straps

For HotShot Truckers hauling cars, Side Mount or Lasso Straps can make sure their vehicle remains secure over their dovetail trailer. These straps are made of durable polyester webbing that stretches underneath heavy loads. Additionally, it prevents your car from being damaged, due to outside forces. Furthermore, the longer ratcheting handle gives you better leverage and allows for better tensioning. The mechanism and O-ring connection point are both constructed out of gold chromate, which prevents early signs of wear and tear. Lasso Straps are a must-have for HotTruckers hauling vehicles.

(10) Tow Dolly Wheel Nets

Tow Dolly Wheel Nets make cargo securement for HotShot Truckers easy and effortless. These tie-down straps are constructed of polyester webbing that can stretch around any type of load. Its net basket design makes it capable of withstanding the weight of all types of cargo. Furthermore, they come with various end fittings, such as the heavy-duty snap hook and the flat hook. These hooks can meet the needs of all your towing applications as well, making the securement of your vehicle all more better.

(11) Wheel Chocks

Making your towing job all the more safer, Wheel Chocks prevent a vehicle or trailer from rolling away, causing a potential accident. When a HotShot Trucker has to park their trailer on a hill, the wheel chocks are positioned beneath them to prevent movement. Often made out of either rubber, plastic or wood, these tools are used in situations involving anything from trucks, off-highway construction equipment, aircraft and even RVs. Wheel Chocks are a definite must-have for a hotshot trucker.

(12) Oversized Load Banners

Oversized Load Banners are used by HotShot Truckers when they’re hauling materials that are larger than the average size of their trailer. This type of signage also helps HotShot Truckers stay compliant with driving regulations as well. Oversized Load signs can also warn other drivers on the road to keep a safe distance from the truck. Clearly, these banners are needed to keep the road safe.

(13) Two 20 foot long, G70 Transport Chains with Lever Binders

A chain is only as strong as its binder. With these two items combined, you’ll have your cargo secured in no time. HotShot Truckers use two 20ft. Long G70 transport chains with lever binders to bind their cargo, preventing any type of movement during transit. It acts very similar to the heavy-duty strap bands but packs tons more strength.

(14) Star Warning or Towmate Lights

Additionally, Beacon lights can make sure to keep construction zones and roads safer. Specifically, they bring attention to possible road hazards, which can include a HotShot Trucker towing a vehicle. Moreover, these warning lights come in a variety of styles, such as Star Warning or Towmate Lights. They can also be separated into three categories, such as Class 1, Class 2 and 3, which helps truckers determine their end usage.

When considering a career in HotShot Trucking, a person should know all the ins and outs of the job. These 14 must-have tools are essential to any flatbed trucker, as they help them get the job done more efficiently and faster. With HotShot Truckers being tasked with transporting time-sensitive cargo, it’s crucial that they use equipment that’ll help them make the deadline.

Our Hotshot Trucking Equipment

Pros and Cons of Hotshot Trucking

Like with anything, there will always be pros and cons with hotshot trucking. While there are plenty of advantages to investing in this industry, there are considerations one should think about before committing fully to hotshot hauling.

Advantages of Hotshot Trucking :

  • Bigger Cargo Pool: Hotshot trucking can increase the number of cargo hauling you can choose from. If you or your company have hotshot vehicles and haulers on standby, you can more readily agree to smaller deliveries with quick turnaround times!
  • Cost-Savings: A full-length flatbed, step-deck, or semi-truck can be pricey so utilizing the vehicles that fall under Classes 3-5 saves you the money and the need to buy a bigger truck. Hotshot trucking rigs offer great service at more cost-effective rates!
  • Visibility: With larger trailers, it can be harder for a shipper to track the vehicle’s transit. This can be an annoyance at worst and reflect poorly on the shipper if the cargo is delayed or late to the destination. Hotshot hauling can remove this barrier since each delivery has a dedicated trucker and hauler whose goal is to get the cargo to the location on time and safely!
  • Time-Saving: When a deadline for delivery is approaching and you or your clientele cannot afford to wait for a larger truck, hotshot trucking can be a lifesaver! The sizes and versatility of these hotshot trucking rigs almost eliminate prolonged loading! And remember: speed is in the name! Additionally, hotshot trailers are easier to maneuver through tight roads or towns that larger freighters would struggle to fit through.

Hotshot hauling is a convenient option for shippers that have tight deadlines to meet, smaller loads to haul, or who want to save a bit of money!

Disadvantages of Hotshot Trucking:

There are three big disadvantages that come with hotshot trucking:

  • Freight Capacity Restrictions: Hotshot trailers usually max out at 40 feet in length, which means they are limited in the weight they can legally carry – 16,500 lbs. Shippers who have cargo that exceeds this weight need to understand that – no matter the size of the load – hotshots are no longer an option for delivery. Additionally, cargo that is nearing the weight capacity of 16,500 lbs will still put stress on the trailer. There may be hotshot haulers that refuse to risk damaging their only means of transportation and finding hotshot drivers who will haul cargo of that weight is slim.
  • Freight Capacity Restrictions: While it’s becoming a more popular alternative to traditional flatbed hauling, hotshot hauling is still a niche industry. There is a very limited amount of cargo a hotshot hauler can deliver, and oftentimes a shipper may need to put more work into finding a hotshot trucker that meets specific requirements compared to purchasing or using a flatbed trailer or semi-trailer.
  • Competition: Hotshot trucking is an industry that is niche and easy to get into – so, you’ll be up against a lot of competition as well. To ensure you are either choosing the best hotshot trucker or want to BE the best, quality of service regarding the speed and safe delivery of your cargo should always be your top priority!

Of course, when it comes to delivering your cargo safely and in a timely manner, you can only do so much without the proper equipment.

How to Find Good Hotshot Trucking Loads:

When you’re just starting out as a new hotshot trucker, you can’t exactly sit around and wait for jobs to find you. Hotshot hauling is a time-sensitive task, and suppliers are constantly seeking out truckers close by to collect and deliver their loads. The best place to find new hotshot trucking loads is to seek load boards, which are the most efficient method for hotshot haulers to find cargo-specific for this industry!

Initially, it may be very tempting to use smaller load boards especially if you’re seeking work that is local. However, larger (and higher-paying) loads will be on larger boards, such as the DAT’s load boards. DAT’s load boards are one of the most comprehensive trucking networks you can use and they make it very easy to find hotshot trucking loads. Their system allows you to save specific routes and to find loads in specific locations or areas. Additionally, you can set up alarms to be notified when a new cargo that fits your specifications comes up!

Though traditional flatbed trucking isn’t at risk or in direct competition with hotshot trucking, hotshot haulers are a unique and niche group of truckers in the industry. If you are interested in getting involved with cargo hauling but aren’t sure where to start, starting your own hotshot hauling business could end up being a very profitable venture so long as you have all the necessary hotshot trucking equipment.

It’s important to recognize that you will get the best loads when you have a good network system. For hotshot truckers, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is a great place to start making the connections you may need to find or maintain a hotshot trucking business! As mentioned briefly above, the DAT One Platform is also an incredibly helpful, all-in-one tool for independent truckers. It provides load boards and factors in services, tracking, and fleet compliance tools which may come in handy while out on the road!

Hotshot Trucking Loads

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way to do hotshot hauling – just responsible or irresponsible methods. Hopefully, this article has helped lay out the important tools, equipment, and tips necessary to help propel you on your hotshot trucking journey!