The Best Size Trailer for Hotshot Trucking

Published on
A red pickup truck from the front

Getting started in Hotshot trucking can be a convoluted process. You need to understand laws, regulations, codes, how to calculate costs, and even how to get jobs. Going in blind is a surefire way to waste your money, and pay some hefty fines. 

Choosing the right trailer for your setup is important. Making the right choice will increase the jobs available to you and make driving easier and safer. 

What is Hotshot Trucking?

Hotshot truckers are the “special forces” of the shipping industry, Traditional shipping requires truckloads to be full before moving the freight. Hotshot truckers fill the gaps where traditional LTL freight can underperform.

These specialized shippers are tasked to bring their shipment directly to its final destination. No other stops. Businesses often turn to hotshot trucking when they need something expedited.

What Do You Need to Start Hotshot Trucking?

The two most important tools for a hotshot trucker are their truck and their trailer. They should also have other equipment like tools and ties.

Hotshot drivers also need a way to find jobs and loads. Hotshots are usually independent contractors so they can find jobs however they’d like. However, if you’re looking to get jobs easily check out Open Road.

Things to Consider When Choosing Hotshot Trucking Trailers

If you spend some time on hotshot trucking forums, you’ll probably notice a lot of math going on. That’s because when choosing a truck, trailer, or picking up a load, you need to know how much weight you can carry.

Finding a truck and trailer set up that lets you haul the most amount of cargo while staying within your legal limits is a balancing act. Here’s what you need to consider when choosing a hotshot trucking trailer.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of your vehicle and trailer might be the most important thing when choosing a trailer. That’s because GVWR defines how much your setup can weigh. Not added weight, but total weight.

Your truck and your trailer will have a GVWR as well as weight ratings for each axle. The combined weight of your trailer and truck is called the gross combined vehicle weight rating (GCVWR) 

Choosing a trailer that won't weigh down your vehicle will give you more space in your weight budget, but there is a ceiling to how much weight you can legally drive. 

CDL or Non-CDL Weight Class

Your setup’s max GCVWR will be dependent on whether you have your commercial driver’s license (CDL) or not.

There is a legal limit to the weight of your vehicle. Non-CDL drivers can drive vehicles with a GCVWR of up to 26,000 lbs. That means they are limited to what kind of trailer and truck they can use. 

If you plan on being a hotshot trucker for the long term, it might not be a bad idea to attend a class, take the test, and get your CDL. However, the only way to take advantage of the added capacity is to invest in a heavy-duty truck and trailer with a higher GCVWR.

What You Will Be Hauling

Why did you choose to join the hotshot business? Are you looking to take on a couple of jobs here and there or are you hoping to make it your primary source of income? How you answer that could affect what kind of trailer you choose.

Long story short, longer trailers can haul more than trailers with a short deck length. If you plan on picking up a job here and there, you won’t need all the bells and whistles. 

Whether you plan to pick up a hauling job when you can or if you’re looking to take on a lot of work, Open Road makes being an independent hotshot trucker easy. Just upload your vehicle and trailer information and start picking up jobs fast.

Things to Consider When Getting a Trailer

Trailers come in all shapes and sizes and some do things better than others. Here are the most important parts of a trailer hotshots need to consider.

Trailer Size

The size of your trailer will affect what kind of jobs you can take on as well as your GCVWR.

Best Trailer Size for Hotshot Truckers

The best overall trailer size for non-CDL hotshot truckers is between 30-35ft. This gives you the most amount of space for hauling while keeping you under the legal requirements.

The best overall trailer size for CDL hotshots is 40ft. This lets you take advantage of the added weight you can haul. Just make sure your truck can take on the additional weight.

Trailer Type

There are primarily 2 types of hotshot trailers:

  • Gooseneck trailers: Attach to the hitch in a truck’s bed. This eliminates sway and lets you make tight turns.
  • Bumper pull trailers: Attach to the ball hitch near the bumper of the truck. They’re the most common kind of trailer, but leave a lot to be desired for heavier loads.

Best Trailer Type for Hotshot Truckers

The best, and most common type of trailer for hotshot trucking is gooseneck trailers. They let you carry more weight by increasing stability as well as improving your turn radius.

the two most common hotshot trucking trailers are gooseneck and bumper pull

Add-Ons and Extras

Trailers are modular and have several features that can be included. These can include:

  • Roller straps
  • Toolboxes
  • Ramps
  • Handtrucks
  • Transport Chains
  • Tarps
  • Lasso straps

All of these accessories will affect the weight of your setup so choose carefully.

Overall Best Trailer For Hotshot Trucking

The best trailer for CDL hotshot drivers is a 40ft gooseneck trailer with ramps. Because you have your CDL you can take on the added weight from the ramps.

The best trailer for non-CDL hotshot truckers is a 33 ft gooseneck trailer, and if you have the added weight budget, add on some ramps.

Both of these trailers will let you take on most jobs.

Join Open Road and Start Hauling Today

Once you’ve completed your setup it’s time to start earning money. Open Road allows drivers to make their own schedule and only ship what they want.

Download the app to start the quick onboarding process and start picking up jobs today.

Ship with
Open Road.

Create your account and get shipping.

Being a driver
couldn’t be simpler.

Ready to work your own schedule and get paid that same day? Get in touch with us and we will get you on the road.