How to Plan Your Hot Shot Haul

Hotshot freight is expedited freight hauled for a single customer, often a piece of equipment required to keep an electrical grid or oil pump going. Over the years, we’ve delivered hotshots throughout much of the U.S., to the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Northeast, among others.

Here are some tips for planning your hotshot haul.

Prepare to pay a premium rate

Hotshots are more expensive than typical hauls. This is for two reasons:

  1. The last minute, time-sensitive nature of the hauls.
  2. The carriers only get paid for a one-way delivery.

Many hauls allow drivers to drop freight off in one location, pick up another load (called back-haul freight), then drive back to their origin. In these cases, the carrier gets paid for each leg of the trip.

This is rarely the case with hotshots. For example, if we’re driving to a major metropolitan area, like New York or DC, there’s likely freight nearby to be picked up, but chances of it coming back to Atlanta are very slim.

Customers will always pay a premium for a hotshot, so it’s a good idea to shop around a bit to ensure you’re getting competitive pricing. Of course, if there’s a carrier you know and trust to be reliable and flexible, the peace of mind may be worth spending a bit more than a new, unknown company.

400 to 500 miles is the optimal range

We’ve found that trips in the 400-500 mile range tend to be optimal. This is because many of these jobs require same-day delivery, and drivers can only go so many miles in one day. Customers pay a premium for expedited rates for their time-critical loads, and their investment loses value if the trip takes more than one day.

Because of our location in Atlanta, we specialize in hotshots in the Southeast. Common routes include Atlanta to New Orleans, Orlando, Charleston, Savannah, Nashville, and parts of Mississippi. Trips within 400-500 miles of Atlanta get your cargo delivered on time, with optimal driver performance.

To get the best value, keep the trip under 700 miles since you’re losing time and money each extra day the freight is on the road. The only exception is when you choose a carrier running teams, so the drivers can relieve each other without taking long breaks.

It’s sometimes difficult to prepare for hotshot hauls because they are, by nature, last-minute and time-sensitive. But, if you find yourself in the position where you’re looking for a carrier for this type of trip, be prepared to pay a higher rate than usual, and try to find a carrier within 500-600 miles of your freight’s final destination.