Typically, hotshot truckers haul construction materials, heavy equipment, machinery, or farm materials. Hauls can be anywhere from 50 miles away to across the country (though most often they are local). Hotshot trucking is used for hauling smaller, more time-sensitive LTL loads within a specific timeframe, and usually to a single customer or location. Hotshot loads are usually delivered using medium-duty trucks that pull flatbed trailers.

Data made available by the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that some of the most common types of trucks used for hotshot trucking are the Chevrolet Silverado 3500, the GMC Sierra 3500, the Ford F-350, and the Ram 3500. These are your basic heavy-duty pickup trucks. They’re commonly used by contractors and last-mile delivery drivers, but you can also use them for hotshot logistics.

Steps on How to Start a Hotshot Trucking Business

  1. Conduct Market Research

If you are considering starting a hotshot trucking business, you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process for your hotshot trucking business should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.

In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business, give you reliable information about what your potential market will be looking out for from a hotshot trucking business, and also help you operate your hotshot trucking business with less stress and build the business to profitability.

a. Who is the Target Market for Hotshot Trucking Business?
  • Construction companies
  • Heavy equipment and machinery manufacturers and dealers
  • Farmers and key players in the agriculture sector
  • Oil and gas companies
  • E-commerce businesses
  • Merchants and Warehouse Operators
  • Retailers who would want to move their goods from one location to another
  • Manufacturers (food products, spare parts, furniture manufacturers, home appliances manufacturers et al).
b. Is Hotshot Trucking Business a Profitable Business?

Yes, the hotshot trucking business is very profitable. Hotshots with full deck & weight capacity can gross $150,000 to $180,000 per year. Carriers with newer authority are on the lower end of that spectrum, while carriers with 90-days or more are on the upper end of that range. A well-run hotshot trucker in a reasonable location can bring in from $60,000 to $120,000 gross income per year, possibly more.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No, there are no existing niches when it comes to the hotshot trucking business because the business is a subset of the trucking industry.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • ACME Truck Line Hot Shot Company
  • A2C Logistics Co.
  • CKJ Transport Company.
  • Expedited Freight.
  • Hazel’s Expedited Freight.
  • Hotshot Logistics.
  • Hot Shot Trucking.
  • Hotshot Final Mile
  • JF Express Fr8
  • Patriot Freight Group
  • Spectrum Brands Hot Shot Trucking Company
  • USA Truck Company
  • Cheetah Hotshot Company
  • Houston Hotshot Trucking Company
  • Greensheet Hot Shot Trucking Company
  • Hotshots Moving Company.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Hotshot Trucking Businesses?

Yes, there are county or state regulations or zoning laws for a hotshot trucking company, and players in this industry are expected to work with the existing regulations governing similar businesses in the county where their business is domiciled.

Please note that trucks are required to stop at motor carrier safety and weight inspection stations when signs direct them to do so. Driving large trucks and buses requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must adhere to the hours of service. Drivers must be at least 21 years old to drive on the interstates, with efforts being made to reduce the age to 18.

f. Is There a Franchise for Hotshot Trucking Business?

No, there are no franchise opportunities for hotshot trucking businesses because the nature of the business doesn’t support franchises.

g. What Do You Need to Start a Hotshot Trucking Business?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • Trucks
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
  • Insurance
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • Interstate Operating Number (MC number) in addition to a DOT number
  • Employees
  • Operational Capital (For Ongoing Expenses)
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.

Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a hotshot trucking business are;

Creative Hotshot Trucking Business Name ideas
  • Cross Nations© Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Vera Tail® Hotshot Trucking Company, LLC
  • Jack Daniels© Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Trucking Solutions® Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Trucking King™ Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Green Line™ Hotshot Trucking Company, LLC.
  • Loaders Team© Hotshot Trucking Company, LLC
  • Sol Reel® Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Star Line© Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Game Board© Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Safe Hands® Hotshot Trucking Company, LLC
  • Nigel Raul® Hotshot Trucking Company, LLC
  • Cally Convoy™ Hotshot Trucking Company, LLC
  • Trendy Trailers© Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Road Masters® Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Denis Mace™ Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Oak Trailers™ Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Silver Box© Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  • Fred Nevile® Hotshot Trucking Company, LLC
  • All Carrier™ Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Hotshot Trucking Business?

When it comes to the business structure of a hotshot trucking business, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits. Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Hotshot Trucking Business?
  • General Business License
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
  • Interstate Operating Number (MC number) in addition to a DOT number
  • Zonal Permits
  • Signage Permit
  • Operational State Facility Inspections for your parking
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to start a Hotshot Trucking Business?

You don’t need any certifications to start a hotshot trucking business.

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Hotshot Trucking Business?
  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Building Approval (For your parking)
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
  • Interstate Operating Number (MC number) in addition to a DOT number
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Contract Document
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting a hotshot trucking business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Hotshot trucking business?

A hotshot trucking company will cost from $50,000 to over a million dollars to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives.

For example, the price of a truck depends largely on its size, and light-duty class 2 and 3 trucks run from $25,000 to $45,000. Medium duty class 4 trucks run $35,000 to $50,000. Medium duty class 5 trucks run $45,000 to $70,000.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Hotshot Trucking Business?
  • The total fee for registering a business in the United States of America – is $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services total – $1,200.
  • Marketing promotion expenses (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $80.
  • The cost for hiring a business consultant (writing of business plans inclusive) – is $4,500.
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, and Motor Truck Cargo Insurance) coverage at a total premium – of $12,400.
  • The cost of logistics software, accounting software, CRM software, and Payroll Software – is $1,500
  • The cost for leasing a facility (long-term lease agreement) – is $105,600.
  • The cost for facility remodeling and installations – is $20,000.
  • The cost for the purchase of trucks: $100,000
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery – $500
  • Phone and utility deposits will cost – ($2,500)
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $50,000
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $3,150
  • The cost for the purchase of office furniture and gadgets – is $8,000.
  • The cost of launching an official website – is $850
  • Miscellaneous – $5,500
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Hotshot Trucking Business?
  • The size of the hotshot trucking business (number of trucks to start the business with)
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the hotshot trucking business
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the facility
  • The cost of insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

It is not compulsory to build a new facility for your hotshot trucking business, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your own parking facility and administrative office. The truth is that building or reconstructing a facility will help you come up with a facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Hotshot Trucking Business?
  • Gas and lubricants
  • Toll fees
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
  • Trucks maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $68,000 Per Year
  • Admin and HR Manager – $48,000 Per Year
  • Transport and Logistics Manager $48,000 Per Year
  • Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer) – $42,000 Per Year
  • Accountant $38,000 Per Year
  • Truck Drivers – $36,800 Per Year
  • Material Handlers / Yard Spotters / Forklifts Operators – $28,000 Per Year
  • Customer Service Officer (Receptionist) – $26,100 Per Year
  • Security Guard -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Hotshot Trucking Business?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

Oak Trailers™ Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc. is a registered and licensed Houston, Dallas-based dispatch and hotshot logistics company. The organization offers the option for owner-operators to negotiate their own loads from our load boards, allowing them to cut dispatch costs if preferred.

Oak Trailers™ Hotshot Trucking Company, Inc. will handle hotshot and expedited freight deliveries across the United States of America and Canada. While the company is located in Texas, it maintains a load board across the United States of America, Mexico, and Canada.

b. Products and Service
  • Short and long-distance transportation of heavy-duty cargoes, spare parts, lightweight cargo, medical goods, manufacturing goods, perishable cargo, construction and building materials, agricultural and farm produce
  • Delivery Services. E-commerce Business
  • Home Moving Services.
  • Hauling Services.
  • Towing Services.
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to ensure that we build a successful hotshot trucking company that will operate not just in Texas but in the United States of America and Canada.

Vision Statement

Our Vision is to become one of the nation’s largest trucking and logistics solutions and to make our hotshot trucking company one of the well-known options you can lease on with.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a hotshot trucking company are to haul goods from one location to another, making it the ideal option for local and international freight-hauling jobs.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
  • Admin and HR Manager
  • Transport and Logistics Manager
  • Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer)
  • Accountant
  • Truck Drivers
  • Material Handlers / Yard Spotters / Forklifts Operators
  • Customer Service Officer (Receptionist)

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
Strength:
  • Excellent operational history
  • The only hotshot leasing companies to offer a guaranteed 75 percent of line haul truck pay.
  • Accurate estimates with no hidden costs.
  • Experience and trained professionals.
  • Provides fuel cards and accessorial charges
  • Excellent customer testimonials.
  • Reliable and efficient trucks and service.
Weakness:
  • Not enough existing clientele to run at full capacity immediately
  • The owner is new to large scale marketing
  • Lack of economies of scale.
Opportunities:
  • Growing shipping and eCommerce activities in the United States.
  • Build upon existing clientele
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
  • Increase in the number of families moving from one apartment to another.
  • Increase in the movement of goods from one location to another
  • Increase in production activities and warehousing.
Threat:
  • Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
  • The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
  • Competition in the area could increase
  • Management of employees and contractors requires time, money, and efforts
  • The transport department could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate a new business.
b. How Do Hotshot Trucking Businesses Make Money?

Hotshot trucking businesses make money by charging clients for moving their goods from one location to another and also by offering towing services.

c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via bank draft
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Introduce Your trucking company by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to corporate organizations that are into manufacturing, merchants and warehouse operators, construction, farming, and key stakeholders in and around your city and state
  • Print out fliers and business cards and strategically drop them in offices, libraries, public facilities, train stations et al.
  • Use friends and family to spread the word about your business
  • Post information about your company and the services you offer on bulletin boards in places like local coffee shops et al
  • Place a small or classified advertisement in the newspaper, or local publication about your company and the services you offer
  • Leverage on referral networks such as agencies that will attract clients who would need your customized services
  • Advertise our business in relevant magazines, newspapers, TV and radio stations.
  • Attend relevant expos, seminars, and business fairs et al to market our services
  • Engage in a direct marketing approach
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied customers
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industry to market your services.

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?

Generally speaking, hotshot hauling rates are around $1.50 per mile. Some jobs, typically urgent ones, pay as much as $2 per mile, but they are not common. This is balanced by loads with a more typical minimum of $1 to $1.25 per mile.

b. How Much Profit Do Hotshot Trucking Business Owners Make a Year?

It depends, but according to Indeed, independent hotshot trucking business owners get an average of $183,000 per year, but expenses can run over 70% percent. Hence, the average owner-operator pay drops to around $50,000-$60,000 take-home.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the hotshot trucking business (number of trucks owned)
  • The types of related services and products offerings
  • The location the hotshot trucking business is covering
  • The management style of the hotshot trucking business
  • The business approach of the hotshot trucking business
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the hotshot trucking business.
  • The number of years the hotshot trucking business is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Hotshot Trucking Business?

The profit margin of a hotshot trucking business is not fixed. It could range from 35 percent to 65 percent depending on the distance of the goods to be transported.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for a Hotshot trucking business. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;

  • First Fiscal Year: $520,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: $880,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: $2.2 million
  1. Set Up your Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Hotshot trucking business?
  • The demography of the location especially as it relates to construction, farming, manufacturing, eCommerce activities, and shipping
  • The demand for the haulage services offered by hotshot trucking businesses in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses in the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of hotshot trucking businesses and owner-operated trucking businesses in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Hotshot trucking business?
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Great Fall, Montana
  • Louis, Missouri
  • Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Montpelier, Vermont
  • Bowling Green, Kentucky.
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Hotshot Trucking Business?

Electronic Logging Devices (ELD), forklifts, loaders, pallets, and crates et al.

  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for standard hotshot trucking business, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), admin and HR manager, transport and logistics manager, marketing and sales executive (business developer), accountant, truck drivers, material handlers/yard spotters/forklifts operators and customer service officer (receptionist).

  1. Launch the Business Proper

No hotshot trucking business opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening party if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.

The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the hotshot trucking business, you will officially inform people in your city that your hotshot trucking business is open for business.

a. What Makes a Hotshot Trucking Business Successful?
  • Choose a good location and reliable trucks for the business
  • Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your hotshot trucking business
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your hotshot trucking business
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Hotshot Trucking Business?
  • The business is open for the day’s work
  • The trucks are washed, cleaned, and ready for hauling goods
  • Customer requests are taken and they are scheduled or attended to
  • Schedule maintenance of trucks is carried out
  • Marketing/website upkeep
  • Supply ordering
  • The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Hotshot Trucking Business?
  • Good driving skills
  • Customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Logistics and material handling skills
  • Business management skills
  • Bargaining skill
  • Work experience in the transport and logistics industry
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in handling logistics and transportation software.
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