In trucking, the term hotshot commonly refers to either the truck or the freight – often both. In the former sense, it’s normally a Class 3-5 truck used in combination with a variety of trailers to run for-hire freight, whether for a single customer or less-than-truckload, though there are exceptions. The truck often will be one of the big three U.S. auto manufacturers’ three-quarter- to one-and-a-half-ton cab-and-chassis rigs or pickups outfitted for weight-distributing gooseneck- or fifth-wheel-type connections to a trailer.
Hotshot freight is hauled for a single customer and needed in expedited fashion. Freight is often needed as soon as possible to avoid a shutdown.
The hotshot term originated in the Texas oilfields, where decades ago pickups delivered quickly-needed parts to offroad drilling and pumping operations. The niche survives to this day and has benefited from the growth in U.S. fracking operations.
The advantage for all hotshot customers is avoiding service downtime while minimizing costs. The average pickup truck will run for 85 cents per mile, as opposed to a minimum of $2.50 a Class 8 operator will spend.