Are you thinking about becoming a hot shot driver?
The trucking industry has been growing in the wake of an economy that demands quick, efficient deliveries. Hotshot truckers can make a perfect living; however, this is not your typical entry-level trucking job.
The position requires heavy amounts of concentration and proficiency behind the wheel. You’ll also need familiarity with both local and long-haul routes.
How can you become a hotshot trucker? Read on to find out!
What Is a Hot Shot Driver?
What exactly do hotshot carriers do? The term “hot shot” refers to the idea that you need to be quick as a whistle to receive your load on time. This is why it’s so crucial for hot shot drivers to have multitasking skills. You’ll also want to work on your time management skills.
What to Expect
You can expect to cover long-haul routes that can take up to 6 weeks or more at a time. Typically, you’ll work with several teams who will share the load between each other to complete your route faster.
Hot shot drivers get jobs from shipping companies. The pay depends on the number of deliveries they can complete. Drivers work long hours, especially during peak seasons like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. These periods are known as “peak season” because there is increased demand for shipping services due to all the holiday shopping.
The job of a hot shot can be quite arduous, but it can also pay exceptionally well if you’re up for the challenge. Pay varies from one company to the next. However, if you work during peak season, you could bring in 6 figures a year!
Finding Open Driving Positions
Where can you find open driving positions to apply for? To become a hotshot truck driver, you’ll need to approach a company looking for drivers. They’ll likely be hiring for both local and long-haul routes; many companies specialize in either one or the other.
You can use a staffing agency to help find potential employers as well as helping you land the interview. Once hired, you’ll complete several weeks of training before you hit the roads.
However, before anyone hires you, you’ll have to meet a few specific criteria. For instance, you’ll need a squeaky clean driving record.
Clean Driving Record
Is it okay to have a significant infraction on your license if you’re applying for a hotshot position? Not really.
As a hotshot truck driver, you’ll be hauling potential hazardous material around the country. That’s why a clean driving record is required to capture a job as a hot shot trucker.
If you have a DUI or other primary driving offense, you’ll likely have to wait several years before you can even apply to be a hot shot driver. If you’ve had a few too many citations or accidents in your past, consider taking a defensive driving course to help offset the damage.
Hotshot companies will want to know if you’ve ever worked as a truck driver in the past. Even if you don’t have substantial experience, most companies will offer paid training.
To become a hot shot trucker, you’ll need at least 6 months of experience working as a Class A commercial truck driver. This is the same classification that hotshot drivers fall under.
In some cases, the good news is that you may be able to convince your employer not to count the first six months of driving experience against you if you can show them that you’ve worked for several years in another role.
Do You Need a GED?
Many hot-shot trucking companies will require drivers to have a high school diploma or GED. However, this requirement does vary between employers. Some companies may let applicants slide if they’ve taken courses (and completed courses) in college or vocational school.
Are there any physical requirements that you’ll need to meet? Yes, hot shot companies will typically test applicants for color blindness.
Another primary requirement that you’ll need to meet is being able to work long hours. Hot shot truckers are often on the road for weeks at a time! If you aren’t open to working early mornings or into the night, a career as a hotshot truck driver isn’t for you.
Basic Rig Knowledge
Are you a detailed driver? Hotshot driving requires a great deal of stamina and dedication. You’ll have to remain alert at all times while behind the wheel, for hours on end.
Do you know how to operate a semi? Even if you’re not interested in driving the actual rig, hot shot companies will likely ask you about your basic knowledge of equipment. This is because some warehouse operations require time spent on maintenance or other activities related to the truck or trailer.
For instance, they may work on fueling and maintaining their vehicles throughout the week. This means that hot shot carriers often have to assist in fueling the truck, which involves connecting a nozzle from the pump to fill up the tank.
Reading Maps and Navigation Systems
Hotshot drivers also have to be well-versed in reading maps and navigation systems. Many of these truckers are required to work together with dispatch regularly.
In addition, hot shot drivers need to know how to handle hazardous materials on their own because many of them carry their equipment. This means that it’s necessary to learn about the proper protocols for handling hazardous materials, including chemical spills or other safety procedures.
In some instances, hot shot companies will ask you to obtain your Hazmat endorsement (if you don’t already have one). If you want to work as a truck driver, it can be beneficial to receive this endorsement early on in your career. You’ll instantly be more marketable, which means that you’ll have a greater chance of being hired.
Hot Shot Trucking School
Is there a specific school you’ll be required to attend to become a hot shot trucker? Yes, many companies will require their drivers to complete a hot shot trucking program to become certified.
Sometimes drivers will be expected to take part in this training before starting their job, but other times it can be something that they attend once they’re already on board with the company. This is because many of these classes come from third-party companies. They don’t affiliate with the company that hires drivers.
Training typically takes between 10 and 14 days, depending on whether or not it’s an in-house program. These classes encompass everything from fueling procedures to communication (paying attention to traffic signals) while driving.
Application Tips and Tricks
If you’re serious about starting a new career, start looking online at trucking companies’ websites. There may be an option for interested parties to submit their resumes, which you can do via email. Before you submit, perform a quick resume makeover to boost your odds of hearing back.
Working as a Contractor
Did you want to snag random hot shot opportunities? Then you may want to look into working as a contractor. This means that you’ll be responsible for finding your routes; however, you can often make more money this way.
Driving independently has its perks – and it can give you greater freedom – but there are also some downsides that you need to consider before signing on as an independent driver. If you’re not sure, it’s best to speak with someone who has worked as an independent contractor before.
Do You Need a CDL?
For the most part, hot shot trucking companies won’t require their drivers to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). However, there are some exceptions to this rule that apply in certain states. It’s best to look up the laws in your area before using them at any trucking company.
If you need to get a CDL, then you need to check with your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV) for instructions on how to do so. In some instances, drivers may need to participate in a training course before applying for a license.
When a hot shot trucking company hires you, it’s necessary to have a current DOT physical to drive. You can walk into any medical office and get these done, but it’s best to check with your hot shot company in advance so that you have a place in mind.
In some instances, drivers may be able to get their DOT physicals done by a paramedic or nurse practitioner instead of being seen by a doctor. This method can save you time and money.
Become a Hot Shot Carrier
Now you know the best tips and tricks for becoming a hot shot driver. If you want an exciting career, then get started on your journey to becoming a hotshot carrier today.
You can begin by looking for a hotshot trucking program near you. Once you meet all of the requirements, you’ll be on your way to a rewarding career choice.
Are you ready for more helpful tips and tricks? Then check out another one of our articles.