Hot shot trucking is one of the fastest-growing forms of commercial haulage in the United States. It is the perfect entry point for people looking to start a career as an owner-operator in the trucking industry, which is currently suffering from a driver deficit that needs to be filled. Hot shot trucking can be completed without the purchase or leasing of a full-sized tractor. Instead, standard large pickup trucks can be easily adapted to haul loads on special trailers.

Most hot shot truckers specialize in local, small-scale deliveries. They can offer clients efficient ways of moving equipment that would not fill up a conventional semi-truck. Depending on the size of the trailer and the weight of the loads hauled, hot shot trucking can be completed without a Heavy Goods Vehicle commercial license, making it far less expensive and time-consuming to get started in than big rig trucking. 3, 4, 5 or 6 Class vehicles can typically be used. Here are some of the kinds of trailers typically used in hot shot trucking.

Goose Neck

Goose neck trailers are some of the most used pieces of haulage equipment in hot shot trucking and can be used for all kinds of shipping work. Instead of connecting to the trailer hitch of your truck, goose neck trailers attach to a ‘fifth wheel’ mounted in the bed of the pickup. This has two major advantages. Firstly, it allows the trailer ‘bed’ to be longer without drastically increasing the overall length of the combined truck and trailer. Secondly, it massively improves the turning circle of the vehicle, making driving in tight spaces far safer and easier. The one downside of this arrangement is that it necessitates the modification of the pickup to include a fifth wheel.

Tilt Deck

Tilt deck trailers are commonly used by hot shot truckers that are transporting wheeled vehicles and tracked farm equipment. The entire deck of the trailer can be tilted so that one edge sits flush on the floor. This makes the loading and unloading of heavy mobile equipment far safer than it would be using a detachable ramp. Loading and unloading tracked and wheeled vehicles can be very dangerous, so many hot shot truckers relish the added safety and ease of operation that tilt deck trailers facilitate. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Bumper Pull

Bumper pull trailers are the most popular kind of hot shot trailers for people just entering the industry. Most trucks do not need any kind of modification to haul these trailers. They attach directly to the trailer hitch that is included in most high-spec pickup truck designs. Although bumper pull trailers are convenient, they are less space efficient than goose neck models and typically have lower maximum weight limitations.


Lowboy trailers have their carrying surfaces slung at the level (or slightly below) the level of the wheel axles. This enables them to have a low center of gravity, which can increase stability when carrying heavy loads.