How do you feel about driving your own vehicle and getting paid to do it? Hot shot trucking combines the freedom of working on your schedule and the comfort of driving your own truck. The best part is, you probably already have everything you need to get started.
Anyone with a well-maintained truck and clean driving record can become a hotshot driver with Open Road, but there are a few requirements and pieces of equipment that you’ll need in order to do the job. So, what do you need to start hotshot trucking?
If you're thinking about hotshot trucking, you should already have:
A trailer hitch
There are a few things important to the job that you won’t need to supply yourself. This includes any item-specific things for a particular job, special documentation, badges, or equipment required to be in the warehouse to pick up or drop off the cargo.
Of course you’ll need your driver’s license, insurance, and vehicle registration. If you’re driving around anywhere, for any reason, you should have all of that with you anyway.
Basic Equipment Needed for Hotshot Trucking
There isn’t much more equipment hotshot truckers need than what anyone with a truck and trailer should already have.
When you haul cargo, especially when it’s someone else’s property, you want to make sure everything is set up properly to ensure the safety of yourself, others, and the cargo. Correctly using these pieces of equipment can help with that.
Safety, authority, and reliability will make you stand out as a hotshot trucker. It will lead to first pick on future jobs and more money in your pocket.
Straps and Tie-Downs
Drivers need to fully secure their load before they race down the highway. You definitely don’t want anything flying off or breaking en route to your next location.
Basic tie-down equipment includes:
Car tie-downs if you’re transporting vehicles
The more secure the cargo, the safer it is for you and other people on the road. Plus, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules and regulations when it comes to securing cargo that hotshot truckers must adhere to.
If your trailer isn’t enclosed, you’ll want to have tarps on hand. They provide weather protection, as well as some extra safeguarding against debris flying around during transportation.
Moving Blankets or Corner Protectors
Moving blankets and corner protectors are useful in protecting not only the cargo, but the equipment used to load, transport, and unload the shipment. They cover sharp corners and keep debris off of the cargo in order to protect it and the shipping equipment from dings, scratches, and breaking.
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is not strictly required, but it can seriously help you during loading, unloading, and safety checks. Leather gloves are a hotshot trucker's best friend for hand protection when moving cargo around.
Steel-toed boots and goggles might be nice to have, but it is up to you and what you need on a regular basis. More protection is never going to hurt, but it might help you avoid getting hurt.
Other Safety Equipment
Though you aren’t driving a semi-truck, you can still take a few cues from CDL drivers. If something goes wrong and you have to pull over on the side of a busy highway, you need a way to attract attention.
A high-vis vest, reflective triangles, and flares help you stay safe on the side of the road. The National Safety Council recommends a number of other items to keep you safe in any weather including:
A compass and a map in case you lose service or your phone dies
Blankets in case you end up stuck on the side of the road in inclement weather
Snow brush in cold weather climates for whatever weather you may encounter
Plenty of drinking water. You want to be prepared for your planned drive and if you get stuck along the way
A flashlight for protection, signaling for help, or just to check out your engine when looking for a problem
Jumper cables in case you or someone else needs a jump start
Again, these are things most people have in their vehicles at all times. It's equipment you'll want to be prepared for the what-ifs when driving long distances. Hopefully nothing will, but with how much time hotshot truckers spend on the road, they should to be prepared.
Don’t Forget Your Equipment Checks
For any long journey on the road, it’s always a good idea to check your tires and your oil before departing. But once you’re ready to be a hotshot trucker, you need to do some standard safety checks before every delivery.
Make sure your trailer is wired and both brake lights and turn signals are working. In some cases, like extra-large loads, you may need tow lights that adhere to the top of your cargo for extra visibility.
Check to ensure that all your straps are in good shape and safe to use, and your strap attachments on the trailer and truck are sound.
For the truck itself, hotshot drivers need to be extra attentive to vehicle maintenance. Keep the documents and receipts in your vehicle. Make sure you have a spare tire for your vehicle and trailer, and the necessary tools to change a tire if needed.
If You Have Everything You Need, Get Started Today
Now you know every piece of equipment needed for hotshot trucking, getting into the hotshot trucking business may be the right choice for you. If you want to start earning money on your own schedule, contact Open Road today and get started.