Hot Shot Trucking

A guide for hot shot truckers and anyone starting up in the car hauling business.

What is Hot Shot Trucking?

Hot shot trucking is a very popular way for anyone with a truck and flatbed trailer to start a company. The main reason for this industry’s growth is that you don’t need to own a class 7-8 semi tractor. All you need is a reliable truck and trailer, and you are ready for that next load.

Hot shot truckers use class 3, 4, 5, or 6 rated trucks instead of much more expensive semi-tractors. This is a big reason the hot shot trucking industry is growing because of the low cost of entry. Another reason hot shot trucking is popular is the speed at which a product can be delivered. A hot shot load is much smaller than a full semi-tractor load and usually is sent to an individual customer and allows drivers to meet much tighter delivery schedules.

Hot shot truckers often offer “for hire” jobs. This allows loads to be smaller and more time-sensitive. Some may assume a hot shot rig is less capable than a semi-tractor trailer. While the load size is not as large, many times a hot shot load is preferred because it is much more cost-effective. The customer doesn’t have to book a full semi-trailer to transport their product. Sometimes these loads are delivered locally but many times hot shot truckers run cross country. 

Your medium-duty pickup trucks are considered to be non-commercial vehicle; the Federal Highway Administration allows an expedition to this rule when it comes to hot shot trucking. You are able to drive a class 3-5 truck, operate as a commercial vehicle, and make money if you follow the following guidelines. 

  1. Hold and maintain the proper liability insurance and operational authority.
  2. Have a functioning DOT identification number.
  3. Submit the proper paperwork to signify their ownership of a business.
  4. Abide by all federally mandated hours of service (HOS) regulations.
  5. Possess a CDL when moving a pickup and loaded trailer with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 26,000 pounds.

What type of trucks are used for hot shot trucking? 

Typically a Class 3, 4, or 5 truck will be needed for hot shot trucking. 

A Class 3 truck is a medium-duty truck with a GVWR of 10,001-14,000

An example of a class 3 truck would be the Chevy Silverado 3500, the Ford F-350, and the GMC Sierra 3500. 

A Class 4 truck is a medium-duty truck with a GVWR of 14,001–16,000

An example of a class 4 truck would be the Chevy Silverado 4500, the Ford F-450, and the GMC Sierra 4500. 

A Class 5 truck is a medium-duty truck with a GVWR of 16,001–19,500

An example of a class 5 truck would be the Chevy Silverado 5500, the Ford F-550, and the GMC Sierra 5500. There are also some commercial trucks like the Freightliner Business Class M2 106, Kenworth T170, & Peterbilt 325 that fall into the Class 5 trucks. 

What types of trailers are used for hot shot trucking?

Bumper Pull Trailers

This is the most common trailer type used in the hotshot business. They are popular because they are versatile. One advantage of using this trailer is you do not need a CDL as long as the combined weight is not over 10,000 lbs. Another reason these are favored is that they are more affordable than a gooseneck trailer. 

There are some disadvantages though. One would be that bumper trailers are smaller than other trailers, limiting your load sizes. Another disadvantage is that you are in for trouble if your truck weight is less than your load weight. Very likely, you will encounter trailer swaying & trailer instability. 

Gooseneck Trailers

The gooseneck trailer is an ideal trailer for the hot shot business. There are a number of advantages of using a gooseneck trailer. One of those advantages is its tight turning radius. Being able to turn sharply comes in handy when getting into those tight spots. For most in the hot shot business, the stability of the gooseneck trailer makes it a favorite. You can feel comfortable carrying a large load and delivering it safely to a customer. Something to keep in mind is that some states do have laws restricting these trailers. You also might have to get licensing and training to operate some of the longer gooseneck trailers. 

Tilt Deck Trailers

The tilt deck trailer provides a safe and efficient way to unload big heavy loads in an easy way. With this trailer, you can load large items right from the ground. If your item has wheels, you simply roll it onto this trailer. This increases safety by removing some of the hazards of lifting items onto a traditional trailer. 

Lowboy Trailers

The lowboy trailer is designed to carry heavy loads with a low center of gravity. When they are unhooked from the truck, they lay flat on the ground, which makes it easy to load.   

Dovetail Trailers

The dovetail trailer is one of the most used trailers in hotshot trucking. These trailers are defined in large part by the gradual angle down at the tail end of these trailers. Because of this gradual angle, it makes it easy to load vehicles with low clearance. These trailers often have a good resale value because they are so useful. There is one drawback though, and that is the fact that the dovetail hangs down, and there are some places where this might drag on the ground if the incline is too steep. 

Car Hauling Trailers

The car hauling trailer plays a big role in the hot shot industry. Car companies and dealers have recognized how efficient and cost-effective this new industry is. As a result, this business has been growing and is projected to grow substantially in the next few years.

There are a number of trailers in the car hauling family. There is the Single Car Trailer, Two Car Trailer, Gooseneck Car Trailer, and the most popular trailer in this family, the Wedge Car Trailer. The Wedge Car Trailer has a number of benefits. One of which is the ability to place a vehicle above the bed of your truck. This gives you a much longer deck length than a gooseneck trailer. Also, the deck on the wedge trailer is at an angle, so all you need is some ramps, and you can easily load vehicles right onto the trailer.

Why choose a Buckeye Trailer?

Value – Buckeye Trailers are built with durability in mind. You might find a cheaper trailer on the market, but you won’t find one that will run as hard and as long. We guarantee you will get your money’s worth with our products. 

Customer Service – We pride ourselves on our customer relations. One advantage we have as an emerging company is you won’t get lost in the shuffle. Our customers have direct access to key decision-makers in the company. 

Customization – We are not afraid to turn your dream into reality. Our engineers and fabricators have worked with customers to engineer custom solutions that have changed the car hauling industry.

Paint – Our trailers are coated with an automotive-grade two part epoxy primer that will be durable even with intense use. 

Frame – Our wedge trailers are constructed with a rugged I-beam frame that gives them incredible durability for those heavy loads.

In summary, you will find at the heart of Buckeye Trailers is the red, white and blue; we believe in the American Dream. We believe that a quality product can be made right here in America! Our trailers are sold at a competitive price and will outwork, outlast the competition. Today, we are forging our way in this very competitive industry. You can count on Buckeye Trailers to imagine and manufacture an exceptional product! Join the Buckeye family and see the American Dream come to life in your business.

The Buckeye Trailer Family

Max Light 48′ Low Profile

Max Light 48′ Low Profile 12K

Max Light 50′ Low Profile

Max Light 48′ Wedge

Ultra Max 53′

Ultra Max SD 53′

Max Light 40′ Gooseneck

Buckeye 53′ Stepdeck