How to Start a Hot Shot Trucking Business

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Trucks used in hot trucking companies are smaller than full-size tractor trailers.
Trucks used in hot trucking companies are smaller than full-size tractor trailers. (Image: blank white delivery cargo truck 2 image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com)

While many companies utilize semis and tractor-trailers to distribute and move their products across a region, others utilize the services provided by hot shot trucking businesses. A hot shot trucking company uses smaller, heavy-duty trucks to transport items for clients. Often their services are used by smaller businesses that don’t have enough products to warrant the expense of a large semi or tractor-trailer.

Complete business paperwork. Register your hot shot trucking business with the federal government by completing the forms to obtain an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Learn what sales tax laws are applicable to your business based on your location by checking with your state and local department of revenue. Fill out the application to get a tax identification number if required to collect and pay sales tax. Obtain a local business license by completing a business license application form at your local government headquarters.

Obtain a license. Check with your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV) to learn what driving license you need to operate the trucks. Depending up the size and weight of the vehicles you plan to provide in your hot shot trucking business, you may need to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate the vehicles on public roadways. If a CDL is required, take the written test at the DMV and pass a road test driving your vehicle while being observed by a DMV representative.

Purchase vehicles. Use websites such as Trucker to Trucker to browse listings for hot shot trucks available for purchase. Review your start-up finances carefully to determine if it’s in your best interest to purchase new or used. Decide how many trucks you need initially based on how many drivers, if any, you’ll have in addition to yourself.

Obtain insurance quotes from insurance providers for how much it would cost to purchase general liability insurance for your business. Inquire about vehicle insurance as well for the trucks in your fleet. Once you find a provider that can give you the amount of insurance you need to protect your vehicles and your business, fill out the forms and pay the premiums to have your business covered.

If you need additional drivers to operate trucks in your fleet, recruit and hire individuals who have the proper credentials, such as a CDL if required by your state for hot shot trucking. Require drug tests to ensure drivers aren’t using any substances that may interfere with their ability to operate the vehicles in a safe manner. Before employing a driver, check also that they can be covered on your insurance based on their past driving history.

Promote your hot shot trucking services to small businesses in your local community and the surrounding region. Find out what products they manufacture, and provide them with information on how you can help them transport their items without the added expense full-size tractor-trailer haulers require.

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