How to Find Hotshot Loads

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A pickup truck ready to haul an LTL shipment of boxes

Hotshot truckers are more or less independent contractors—they need to think about correct licensing, the best equipment, and a business plan. 

Although all this is really important, none of it helps you get paid. If you’re a hotshot, you need cargo loads. Without them, you won’t get paid. 

You can choose to find loads on your own by:

  • Using load boards
  • Becoming a government contractor
  • Networking and selling 

You can also get some help from: 

  • Brokers
  • Dispatch services
  • Open Road

We’ll cover each option for finding truck loads here.

Related Articles: What is Hotshot Trucking?, Is Hotshot Trucking Worth It? 

Finding Loads On Your Own

One way you can find loads is to find some on your own. Several tools that let you do this, or you can put in some elbow grease and find loads through networking and selling.

find hotshot loads on your own with load boards, government contracting, or networking and selling

Load Boards

Load boards, or freight boards, are online job boards where brokers and shippers can post jobs so drivers can find hotshot loads. 

They usually let drivers organize loads by important factors, often:

  • Weight class
  • Payout
  • Distance

This makes it easier to find loads you can and want to take on. Some boards can also send you a notification when loads are posted within your search parameters.

While load boards are easy to use, there are some downsides. The biggest issue with load boards is that the most desirable jobs end up paying less due to competition. If there’s a large number of drivers willing to take on a load, the pay will decrease. This makes great routes less attractive.

Government Contracting

The government always needs help moving goods across the country. You’ll still be running your own business, but you’ll have access to government load boards.

To access these jobs, you will need to register to become a government contractor. However, once you do, you’ll have access to several jobs you wouldn’t have otherwise. Becoming a government contractor won’t guarantee you a certain number of jobs a week, but there’s less competition. This registration will cover you for federal jobs, local government jobs, as well as state governments.

Registering as a government contractor is a great thing to do if you want access to a lot of jobs.


Nothing beats simply bumping elbows. Hotshots are always allowed to cold-call local businesses and find jobs on their own. You can be your own broker and create your own network.

The best way to do this is to attend as many business conferences and fairs as possible. Get to know your local business leaders and ask if they need anything moved.

The biggest issue with this option is it’s hard to do if you’re new to the hotshot business. There is a lot of paperwork, insurance, and licenses to get before you’re able to start working. And it’s definitely more difficult if you’re new to an area. However, networking is a great way to find new loads for veteran drivers. 

If you have the capital and maybe even a small team, you can use your network to create a working business without the need for external help.


Sales is not for everyone. If you go the route of networking and building your own leads, chances are you’ll have to do some selling.

Research local shippers and find out what they need. Build a portfolio of everything you can offer them then give them a call or knock on their door. Ask them questions about what they need and have a conversation about how you can fulfill those needs.

Expect to hear a lot of no’s, but through persistence, you can find great businesses to drive for. Keep track of who you’ve reached out to and maintain a relationship with each of them. It’s never a bad idea to check in from time to time.

Finding Loads With Help

Finding loads using your own time isn’t ideal for every driver. Some hotshots just want to be on the road and leave the paperwork for someone else. These options are great if you don’t quite know where to start networking.

find hotshot loads with help through brokers and dispatch services

Freight and Hotshot Brokers

Freight brokers are the middleman between shippers and independent drivers. They use their connections with other companies and multiple load boards to find loads for drivers. Instead of scouring through load boards, brokers find you loads.

Hotshot drivers can benefit from a broker in several ways:

  • Brokers can offer services for little to no cost
  • Brokers are protected through their own insurance
  • Brokers don’t require a lot of work on your end

The biggest disadvantage to brokers is they don’t scale well. Large freight brokers tend to become disorganized and can make the process overcomplicated.

Dispatch Services

A lot of hotshot drivers don’t want to spend their days in an office, scrolling load boards. A dispatch service will keep you on the road and save you from filling out paperwork. They’re also responsible for taking care of collections and finding new jobs.

Hiring a dispatch service is a great option if you’re nervous about getting caught in the business side of hotshot trucking. However, you’ll be spending some of the money you make from your deliveries on keeping them hired. Dispatch services will take a cut from what you make to cover overhead, usually between 5%-10%.

Use Open Road’s Shipping Marketplace App

Open Road is the easiest way to find loads for hotshot drivers. It lets you see available loads with all the information you’ll need. That includes weight, dimensions, distance, and pay.

Instead of dealing with a broker or a middleman, drivers are connected directly to the shipper. Simply download the app, make an account with the necessary documents, pass an inspection, and you’re ready to start driving.

Related Article: Driver Features

Once you’re signed up you’ll be able to see available jobs that match your truck’s requirements. You can also see how much you’ll be paid so you can see if it’s a good match for you.

Sign up to start driving today.

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