Chances are, you’re seriously considering the merits of hotshot trucking.

You may be thinking, is it really worth it? With all the negativity around, you’re just not sure.

As you know, a hotshot trucker is a freelance truck driver in the freight industry. They can own their own vehicle, but they’re not always required to have their own truck since some trucking carriers provide freelancers with a vehicle to deliver cargo. But a trucking company does not employ hotshot drivers. Without signing an obligation statement, hotshot truckers simply transport goods for various cargo carriers and companies whenever they want work.

That’s a big part of what attracts people to this business: You are your own boss. You get to make your work schedule. You can select the carriers you want to work for. You can choose the routes you want. You don’t even have to file or fill out any paperwork as it’s usually the carrier company that will complete all these necessary paperwork for the driver.

Having said that, hotshot trucking isn’t perfect, not is it right for everybody. So let’s consider both the advantages and the disadvantages of hotshot trucking — both pros and cons.

The Pros of Hotshot Trucking

What are some of the benefits of hotshot trucking? Here are four of them:

  1. Lower initial startup costs — These initial startup costs such as small business supplies and new equipment are lower than for Class 8 long-haul company drivers.
  2. Shorter waiting time due to expedited loads — There is a shorter waiting time to get a haul on the road because it is the carrier that usually expedites many of the loads.
  3. The income is equal to or better than Class 8 — Serious hotshot drivers can find steady work, which results in higher potential income than most Class 8 pay.
  4. More home time, as many loads are local or regional — Since hotshot truckers deliver loads with the region they reside in or just within their local area, they drive shorter distances and can enjoy more time at home.

The Cons of Hotshot Trucking

Hotshot trucking does have its drawbacks. Here are three potential disadvantages:

  1. You shoulder all the costs — Being the owner of your own trucking business operation, you are fully responsible for all the needs of the company, including taxes (at least 25% of your gross), proper insurance, and vehicle maintenance.
  2. Unpredictable demand for your services — Despite being your own boss, that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to have work all the time. Your services can be in high demand one day and you can be struggling for work the next.
  3. The pressure to grow a steady client base — It’s up to you and you alone to grow your base of clients. If you initiate contacts and do an excellent job for a carrier company, that can spell the difference between little to no work or regular trucking.

The Bottom Line

Like with most things in life, hotshot trucking has both its pros and cons. So it’s important to do your own research and “due diligence” before you dive in. Understand all the relevant laws — both federal and state — if you plan to start your own hotshot trucking company. It may even be best to discuss your situation and business plan with the Department of Transportation (DoT) and get all of the legal issues — especially licensing — taken cared of before hauling any loads.

Please leave a comment below: Which of the pros or cons resonate with you the most?