What is Hot Shot Trucking?

Hot shot trucking refers to a type of for-hire-freight hauled by a Class 3 to 5 truck in combination with different trailer types. The term itself is often loosely used to describe a variety of freight types. Sometimes expedited freight runs are called hot shot.

A true hot shot load has four characteristics: truck type, urgency, freight type, and delivery area. Let’s take a closer look.

What kind of truck does hot shot runs?

A Class 3-5 truck hauls hot shot loads. Trucks like these are commonly a U.S. manufactured ¾ to one-and-a-half-ton pickup or cab and chassis rig. They’re made to handle weight and connect to a flatbed or trailer.


Hot shot freight is defined by its need to deliver fast. It’s rarely a planned shipment, originating out of a sudden, urgent need for parts or equipment at a specific location.

The term is said to have originated in the oil fields of Texas. When a rig or some of the machinery broke down and needed a part urgently, a call would go out to an independent owner/operator to pickup and deliver ASAP. A lot of hot shot haulers still perform roles like this for power companies, energy companies, and others dependent on the fast delivery of essential equipment.

The element of speed has led to the term hotshot also used by some to refer to expedited freight. While hot shot is a form of expedited freight, other forms including van, straight trucks, and T/Ts can deliver expedited freight too.  Whether it’s hotshot or expedited depends on these different factors.


Although owner/operators can decide how they want to haul, dock-to-dock or LTL, the urgency of true hot shot trucking typically limits it to a single customer. The freight travels on a flatbed trailer. Some call it flatbed expedite though a most often expedited shipment simply means it needs to ship and deliver fast.

Delivery Area

Hotshot loads don’t have lanes.  They go from point-to-point within a specific local or regional area. Due to their urgency, freight shipping nationally wouldn’t qualify as hotshot.

Do You Need to Ship via Hot Shot Trucking Service?

The urgent nature of a hotshot load makes finding a qualified hauler a top priority.  At Longshot Logistics, we typically recommend you have a list ready so when the need arises you know who to call.  To save time or for an immediate need, call a freight broker. They will have a list of vetted and top quality hotshot delivery teams ready to serve you.

Need a hot shot trucking solution? Contact us.