Yes. You can hotshot under someone else’s authority in the United States. When looking to venture into the trucking business, you can choose to become an owner-operator — meaning that you own and operate a hot shot business under your own MC number — or you can lease on with another company.

However, note that both options come with their respective pros and cons, but ultimately, it boils down to your preference. Leveraging another person’s trucking authority remains one of the most convenient ways to earn great profits as an Owner-Operator.

The relationship between you and the company is commonly referred to as “leasing on.” Note that when you go down this route, you agree (contract) with the carrier – or trucking company – to haul freight using their authority.

This simply means that you operate under their motor carrier number, insurance, and terms. This agreement and contract terms can vary when it comes to responsibilities, length of term, charges for service, and termination process. Most often, as an Owner-Operator, you will have to provide the truck needed to haul the freight.

Pros and Cons of Using Someone Else’s Authority

Just as it was noted above, leasing onto a company and using someone else’s authority will come with its pros and cons. Below is a summary of the pros and cons of each option:

Pros
  1. Receive Back-Office Support

Most companies have a back office that works with the FMSCA and other compliance agencies. When you work under the company’s authority, you more or less use the DOT number that the company has. This type of support can help relieve you of all of the stress that takes you away from doing what is most vital – driving.

When you work under someone else’s authority, they are tasked with taking care of the billing and paperwork, including helping with filing IFTA taxes, purchasing state permits, and managing CSA safety scores.

  1. Easy to Start

Note that it can take months to establish and launch your business under your own authority. However, when you lease to a carrier – it is already an established company. This company already has the authority to operate. Instead of having to file all the paperwork yourself, the company would do that for you. You just have to enter into the agreement and begin hauling freight much more quickly.

  1. Receive Faster Payment

In the trucking world, have it in mind that getting paid can be a pain point, especially for new businesses. A good number of shippers tend to take a minimum of 30 days to pay off invoices. In some situations, it can be even longer – 60, 90, or 120 days.

However, when you work under someone else authority, payment is regular, stable, and predictable. You get paid weekly, irrespective of the shipper’s timing. Also, note there will be no need for factoring which can cost 1-4% for just the first 30 days.

  1. Pay Lower Operating Costs

When you lease onto a company, you can leverage already established systems, processes, networks, and more to the benefit of your young business. Note that this includes things such as discounts for some of the overhead expenses you are likely to face, such as liability insurance, fuel, and tires.

In addition, when you lease with a carrier, you can benefit from their maintenance network. A good number of modern larger carriers have their own maintenance shops at operating centers across the country. They also work with a network of tire banks where you can get discounted prices.

Cons
  1. Minimum Control

As an independent owner-operator with your authority, you have control over your business. You stipulate the terms of how you operate, at least within the boundaries of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.

But when you are working for another, you will be expected to stay under their chain of command. You will be expected to carry out the tasks you are required to do. The carrier’s terms may or may not be desirable to you. For instance, you may or may not have the ability to choose your routes and schedules.

  1. Pay a Higher Service Fee

In this route, you will not get the full portion of your earnings, since a part of it goes to the company. Have it in mind that all the support carriers provide comes at a cost. Each charges a service fee in the form of a set percentage of your gross revenue. Some carriers charge as high as 35%.

Top Hot Shot Companies to Lease On With 

In the United States, there are numerous companies that you can lease on with. The companies you can lease on with include:

  • ACME Truck Line

With over 6,000 loads of hot shots per week, this is one of the best companies to consider. Aside from the fact that the company owns no trucks of its own, they boast of an aggressive sales team that always brings in new loads.

  • Houston Hotshot Trucking Company

This trucking company provides hot shot opportunities in the fourth largest city in the country. They are well noted in the energy industry and have opportunities available across the state.

  • JF Express Fr8

Headquartered in Marysville, this company allows owners/operators to lease on with their company. However, you will be expected to meet certain criteria to be approved, including having a CDL-A and being at least 24 years old.

  • USA Truck Company

Note that this company provides you with a lot of different options not found in other hot shot trucking opportunities, including 401(k), vacation, medical and dental insurance.

  • Cheetah Hotshot Company

This hotshot company provides services in 48 states and allows for multiple hauling options, from tractors that are 40’, 45’, and 48’ to flatbeds and other options. Also, note that you will be able to lease on with low costs and insurance options.

  • CKJ Transport Company

Founded in Texas, this company works with a wide range of companies and independent drivers. You’ll find great reviews and opportunities for drivers available.

  • Greensheet

Also Texas-based, this company allows you to lease on and also make good money. Have it in mind that the company mainly hauls for the oil and gas industry, so you’ll always have a lot of opportunities to make money.

  • Hazel’s Hotshot Company

Established and headquartered in Houston, reports have it that this company has been in operation since 1977, and it offers opportunities throughout the United States.

  • Hot Shot Logistics

The Company always provides one of the highest retention rates in the industry. The company pays 75% line haul and there’s a fast sign-on lease program available. Also, note that they offer robust insurance options for free and provide trailer lease options with low monthly payments.