How to Start a Hot Shot Business | Rules & Regulations in Hot Shot Business


There are different ways to go into a Hot Shot business. You can list with a company or go as an owner-operator. Whichever you decide, the hotshot business is a way to make a really decent income.

To begin, you will need to know many DOT rules and regulations and get the required equipment and licenses.

Also, getting a Hot Shot company to train with and test the waters is an excellent way to get started.

Though the business is not a get-rich-quick situation, you can get better financially depending on where you are. So to get you started, let’s have a rundown of what hot shot business is all about, how to start, and the rules and regulations obtainable.

Related: How to Start a Profitable Crystal Business in 2023

What is a Hot Shot Business?

A Hot Shot business is a company that engages in hauling smaller loads equivalent to less than a truckload within a specific timeframe and usually to a single customer or location.

Hot shot loads are time sensitive and usually delivered in medium-duty trucks that pull flatbed trailers.

To engage in a Hot Shot business, you’ll need to invest in equipment that allows you to carry out diverse freight delivery activities. Or you can also decide to major in a specific cargo.

The main equipment you need to start a Hot Shot trucking business is a pickup or a trailer. The price of a truck depends on the year it was manufactured, the manufacturer, the model, and other features.

A high-end semi truck costs about $200,000+ for a new one and $180,000+ for a used one. On the other hand, a low-end semi truck costs about $99,000 for a new one and $35,000 for a used one (Source). But do you get yourself a truck and start the business right away?

Well, not exactly! There are some basic things you need to put in place. And to help you with that, we’ve researched various successful hotshot business owners, and below you’ll get a summary of the steps you need to take.

Related: 15 Small Business Ideas for Teenagers & Young Entrepreneurs

How to Start a Hot Shot Business in 2023

  • The first step to getting into hot shot is getting your CDL. Various schools are offering CDL across the United States.
  • After your CDL training, get your driving license.
  • Get your medical certificate.
  • Get a truck and prepare it ready.
  • Reach out to companies you can get a list unto. This will help you get your foot in the door. With this, you gain some experience before going out on your own. This will also help you earn some capital and credibility. But even if you already have the necessary capital, listing with a large trucking company can be quite helpful for building your credibility.

You can visit their websites and call their phone numbers. You can also apply via job sites like and LinkedIn.

  • Once you are approved, some companies might want you to pay for insurance. In addition, look out for the percentages each company charges. These are some of the factors that’ll guide you when finally deciding what company to work with.
  • Once you’ve gained considerable knowledge, you can decide if you want to go out on your own and be an operator. While at it, there are other Hot Shot business people you can connect with in person and online. Check out various materials on YouTube and Instagram to expand your knowledge.

Related: Small Business Quotes for Inspiration and Customers | 2023 (Updated)

How to Start a Non-CDL Hot Shot Business: Requirements

The following are most of the basic requirements you’ll need as an owner-operator start-up that is listed on a company. With this, you can also operate as a non-CDL which means you can skip number 2 below.

1. DOT Medical Certificate

2. CDL Permit

3. Master Hitch Setup

4. State Driving Licence/Records

5. Securement Items

6. Beddings

7. Trailer

8. Annual Inspection

9. Truck Payment

10. Personal Trailer Insurance

11. Personal Truck Insurance

Hot Shot Business Rules & Regulations

If you’re venturing into the Hot Shot trucking business, there are various regulations that you need to observe. However, since hot shot trucking is operated mainly on a smaller scale, most of these regulations may or may not all apply.

But getting acquainted with them prepares you in case any of these applies to you at any time. Below, you’ll find the list of various requirements for the Hot Shot business.

Related: How Much Will it Cost My Business Daily to Hire a Small Business Attorney?

DOT Medical Card

You’ll need to take and pass the Department of Transportation (DOT) medical examinations. This exam must be conducted by a licensed medical examiner listed on the FMCSA.

Get a Commercial Driver’s License

Depending on the weight of freight you tend to operate, you may or may not need the CDL. However,  according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), if you plan to convey loads that exceed a certain required weight, you will need the CDL.

Get Your USDOT and Motor Carrier Numbers

The USDOT Number is for operators who want to engage in interstate commerce and have vehicles that meet certain weight requirements.

However, you might need to check with your state’s requirements even if you plan to operate within a state. This is because some states require you to have the USDOT Number even if you run intrastate.

You’ll also need to get your Motor Carrier (MC) number if you plan to run interstate commercial freight where you get paid.

Related: How To Manage a 60-Hour Working Week | 2023 Helpful Tips

Get Insurance

Another important part of starting your hotshot business is getting insurance. If you are a carrier seeking your authority, the FMCSA requires certain insurance coverage.

Below, you will find an outline of the FMCSA insurance requirements:

Freight$750,000 – $5,000,000
Non-hazardous (under 10,001 lbs)$300,000
Household Freights$5,000 per vehicle, $10,000 per occurrence

Observe Hours of Service (HOS)

The HOS rules are listed below:

  • You can’t drive for more than 11 hours after 10 hours off duty.
  • Next, you get a 14-hour window for driving after 10 hours off duty.
  • You must take a 30-minute driving break if you have driven for 8 straight hours.
  • You have a 60/70-hour limit in 7/8 consecutive days.

However, the above rule is for those that involve in interstate commerce and meet the following:

  • Weight of 10,001
  • Gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more.
  • Meant to transport 16 or more passengers (inclusive of driver), not for compensation.
  • Meant to transport 9 or more passengers (inclusive of driver) for compensation.
  • Transports hazardous materials in quantity requiring placards.

Related: Google Apps for Business Reviews


Many people make good money doing hotshot business, but as the saying goes, hard work pays off. You’ve got to put your shoulder to the wheel.

Also, follow the rules and regulations provided and make sure to consult professional help when necessary.


How Much Money Do You Need to Start a Hot Shot Business?

From getting a medical certification to acquiring a truck and trailer and other materials, starting a Hotshot business might cost you about $14,041,97 – $30,000.

Do Hot Shots Make Good Money?

The average Hot Shot Driver’s salary in the United States is $52,366 as of December 27, 2022, but the salary range typically falls between $46,242 and $60,052.

However, Hot Shot drivers on the high end can earn up to $100,000. Owner-operators can earn about $127,000 per year, according to

Is Non-CDL Hot Shot Worth it?

If you plan on doing Hot Shot on a large scale, then doing a non-CDL is not worth it. With a non-CDL, you might be limited to hauling locally within the state though some states might also require you to have a CDL.


  • – Guidelines for Compliance of Commerical Motor Vehicles


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like