How to start a non cdl hot shot business?

How to start a non cdl hot shot business?

How to start a non cdl hot shot business?



Starting a non-CDL hot shot business can be a lucrative venture for individuals looking to enter the transportation industry. Hot shot businesses provide expedited delivery services for smaller loads, typically using trucks that do not require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to start a non-CDL hot shot business, covering everything from the necessary equipment and licensing to finding clients and managing operations.

1. Determine the Business Structure

Before diving into the logistics of starting a non-CDL hot shot business, it’s essential to determine the legal structure of your business. You can choose to operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s crucial to consult with a legal professional to make an informed decision.

2. Obtain the Required Licenses and Permits

While a CDL is not required for a non-CDL hot shot business, you will still need to obtain certain licenses and permits to operate legally. These may include a business license, motor carrier authority, and a USDOT number. The specific requirements vary by state and country, so it’s important to research and comply with the regulations in your area.

3. Acquire the Right Equipment

To start a non-CDL hot shot business, you will need a reliable truck and trailer combination suitable for hauling smaller loads. Popular options include pickup trucks with gooseneck trailers or flatbed trucks. It’s important to ensure that your equipment is well-maintained and meets all safety standards.

4. Secure Insurance Coverage

Insurance is a critical aspect of any transportation business. It’s essential to obtain proper liability and cargo insurance to protect your business and clients’ goods. Consult with insurance providers specializing in commercial transportation to determine the coverage that best suits your needs.

5. Establish a Pricing Structure

Setting competitive yet profitable rates is crucial for the success of your non-CDL hot shot business. Consider factors such as distance, load size, fuel costs, and market demand when determining your pricing structure. Research your competitors’ rates to ensure you remain competitive while still making a profit.

6. Find Clients

Building a client base is essential for a successful hot shot business. Start by networking within your local community and reaching out to businesses that may require expedited delivery services. Utilize online platforms, such as load boards and freight marketplaces, to find potential clients and secure loads. Providing exceptional service and building strong relationships with your clients will help generate repeat business and referrals.

7. Manage Operations Efficiently

Efficient operations are crucial for the success of any transportation business. Implement systems to track and manage your loads, including dispatching, scheduling, and invoicing. Utilize technology such as GPS tracking and fleet management software to optimize routes, monitor fuel consumption, and streamline operations.


Starting a non-CDL hot shot business requires careful planning and attention to detail. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can establish a successful and profitable venture in the transportation industry. Remember to comply with all legal requirements, invest in reliable equipment, secure proper insurance coverage, and provide exceptional service to your clients.


– Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
– Small Business Administration:
– Trucking Truth: