The word hotshot has a long history in English and has found its way into a wide range of professional contexts throughout time. The dictionary meanings imply something along the lines of someone very knowledgeable in a given profession, someone admired, or a significant person in an organization, among other things. The nomenclature says it all. For example, when people think of firefighters, they usually think of the hotshots—the elite squad of firefighters specializing in battling the most dangerous wildfires. In the business world, it sometimes means describing traders who specialize in making the fastest, most profitable moves in the stock market. In the auto transport industry, it signifies a hauler. The term may have originated in the oilfields of Texas in the seventies, but hot-shot drivers can be traced back much deeper in antiquity. In our profession, hot-shotting requires dedication, dependability, and punctuality. The last attribute is crucial since being late in delivering cars means dissatisfied customers. That is something Tempus Logix strives to eliminate when working with carriers.
When logistical companies need speedy delivery of minor loads, such as agricultural and industrial equipment or a car or two for short distances, the demand for such carriers soars. They are both freelance drivers and the ones working within a company.
The Benefits of Becoming a Hotshot Driver
Low initial investment: The hotshot trucking business requires the cheapest initial expenditures. It is less expensive than training to be a class 8 driver.
Licenses are simple to get: If your hotshot truck weighs less than 10,000 pounds, there is no need to enroll in CDL classes.
Close-to-home work: Many hotshot drivers work in their local area or region. Hence, they have plenty of time to spend with their families.
Lucrative job: Because hotshot drivers are free to choose the cargos they want to transport or pick their prices by themselves, they can earn as much as or more than Class 8 drivers.
The owner of your schedule: Your work-life balance will not suffer as far as you will have the ability to choose where and when to drive.
Steps to Becoming a Hotshot Driver
Get a driver’s license: You will need a class D license. There is no need to apply for a commercial driving license (CDL) as cargo loads are usually under 10,000 pounds.
Apply for USDOT and MC Numbers: Hotshot drivers need a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. It identifies you as a driver or company when dealing with safety reports, incidents, accident investigations, inspections, or audits. If you also plan to cross-states, apply for operating authority, also known as an MC number.
Buy liability insurance: To protect you and your business, you should purchase liability insurance. During this process, you have to show your USDOT number. Be sure to learn what the insurance policy covers, how to submit an insurance claim for accidents, and how much the insurance will pay for accidents.
Purchase equipment: As a hotshot driver, you will make two major purchases – a truck and a trailer. The truck model you buy is up to you. It depends on the size of cargo you want to haul. While purchasing a trailer, consider the weight and equipment of the loads. Here are a few types of trailers you can choose from:
- Dovetail trailers: suitable for transporting automobiles and other vehicles.
- Three-vehicle V-trailer: if you plan to specialize in vehicle transport.
- Tilt deck trailers: the tilt makes it easy to load and unload heavy machinery and other freight with the help of a hydraulic system.
- Gooseneck trailer: ideal for hauling massive objects. They require a special hitch. These trailers are highly durable. That is why they are suitable for a wide range of loads.
- Lowboy trailer: the adjustable height makes it easier for the trailer to lower onto the ground for loading and unloading freight.
- Bumper pull trailer: affordable and compact, yet it can hold up to 10,000 pounds.
If you wish to specialize in hotshot auto transport, find out how it differs from other vehicle shipping options. Hotshot auto transport utilizes smaller trailers, usually holding around four vehicles and delivering a fast shipment.
Other non-mandatory equipment for hotshot driving may include chains, bungee cords, straps, tarps, and other security tools.
Look for cargo hauling job opportunities. There are many free load board websites that you can use to find your potential clients. You can also use subscription-based websites. They offer relatively high-cost and reliable requests. You can collaborate up with a reliable auto transport company to guarantee orders.
Develop Your Professional Network
If you want to have more job opportunities, you should not miss any chances of networking with potential clients and fellow-hotshot drivers. You will learn about the industry news, plus your contacts may refer you for possible job opportunities. The best way to build such a network is by participating in discussions on social media niche groups or attending offline industry events.