The In's & Out's of

Hotshot Freight

It is believed that hotshot trucking originated in the 1970s in the Texas oil fields where pickups would make a quick run for parts to keep the rigs from having to shut down. Hotshot trucking has grown from local deliveries to loads moving cross country. Let’s explore the in’s and out’s of this fascinating new delivery method for shippers.

Hotshot Trucking is a type of trucking that carry smaller, time-sensitive loads to easily accessible locations. The Department of Transportation (DOT) defines Hotshot Trucking to mean as a trucker who uses a small truck and handles a single load or a group of smaller loads that total less than 10,001 pounds; including the truck, trailer, and anything else pressing down on the tires. The DOT allows hotshot truckers more latitude than other commercial truckers.

Expedited, Hotshot, and LTL – What are the differences?


Hotshot carriers usually are 1 or 2 ton medium to large pickup trucks with a 40-foot flatbed trailer used to haul for customers. Hotshot loads are time-sensitive.


Expedited carriers are sprinter vans, straight trucks, or dump trucks used to haul freight from origin to destination.


Less than Truckload (LTL) usually is a combination of multiple loads until a full trailer is established. The time is taken to put a full load together is a much slower shipping method than Hotshot.

What are the advantages to Hotshot Trucking?

The advantages of Hotshot trucking for owner-operators is the low cost to enter the business and start hauling. All you need is a pickup truck and a trailer and you are in business. The Department of Transportation (DOT) does not regulate hotshot carriers as they do other commercial truckers. The challenges for the owner-operator are unstable work and drivers must be ready at a moment’s notice.

It is important for customers to have a reliable source of drivers that can be counted on to deliver, on time, and communicate effectively. James River Logistics works with a network of drivers across the county that have earned our trust to represent us for our clients.
For more information on how Hotshot trucking can benefit your company, or to get a quote, reach out to us today!