Shown below are answers to various questions that have been asked by our visitors the we think may be of interest to others. If you have any Hotshot Carrier related questions, comments, or, suggestions please use the form at the bottom of this page to submit them. We try to respond to all messages promptly. If we add your message to this page, we will only reference your first name and your state. Your email address will not be shown or shared. It will only be used by us to respond to your questions privately. You are also welcome to call us at 239-603-6080 about questions you might have.
If you are based in Texas and you are planning to get interstate authority, you need to be aware that if you operate a vehicle designed or used to transport cargo that has a gross weight, registered weight, or gross weight rating of greater than 26,000 pounds you are required to register in Texas as a motor carrier and be issued a TXDOT certificate number in addition to your USDOT number. Texas is a bit unique with this requirement and it is important that you are aware of it. For more information, please check this website: http://www.txdmv.gov/motor_carrier/registration/faq.htm
DOT Physicals when you are on insulin. Wil, from Texas asked this question: "I have diabetes and take insulin. I want to haul with my 1 ton dodge only. My question is can I get a medical card? Also if I wanted to pull a 24ft gooseneck with a gvwr of 14,000 could I get a medical card. Thank you all."
Will, That's a good question but you probably won't like the answer.
Here is information directly from the Medical Examination Report FOR COMMERCIAL DRIVER FITNESS DETERMINATION and it says if you are taking insulin you can NOT get a DOT physical card. Sorry about that. I'm sure its not what you wanted to hear. Here is a link to the complete Medical Examination Report For Commercial Driver Fitness Determination form
A person is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor
vehicle if that person:
Has no established medical history or clinical diagnosis of
diabetes mellitus currently requiring insulin for control.
Diabetes mellitus is a disease which, on occasion, can
result in a loss of consciousness or disorientation in time
and space. Individuals who require insulin for control have
conditions which can get out of control by the use of too
much or too little insulin, or food intake not consistent with
the insulin dosage. Incapacitation may occur from
symptoms of hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic reactions
(drowsiness, semiconsciousness, diabetic coma or insulin
The administration of insulin is, within itself, a
complicated process requiring insulin, syringe, needle,
alcohol sponge and a sterile technique. Factors related to
long-haul commercial motor vehicle operations, such as
fatigue, lack of sleep, poor diet, emotional conditions,
stress, and concomitant illness, compound the dangers,
the FMCSA has consistently held that a diabetic who uses
insulin for control does not meet the minimum physical
requirements of the FMCSRs.
Hypoglycemic drugs, taken orally, are sometimes
prescribed for diabetic individuals to help stimulate natural
body production of insulin. If the condition can be
controlled by the use of oral medication and diet, then an
individual may be qualified under the present rule. CMV
drivers who do not meet the Federal diabetes standard
may call (202) 366-1790 for an application for a diabetes
Here is information Wil sent me regarding the Federal Diabetes Exemption Program that offers some hope for those on insulin.
Department 1200 New Jersey Ave.
SE Of Transportation Washington, DC 20590
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Thank you for your interest in the Federal Diabetes Exemption Program. The information in this letter and the accompanying materials need to be read carefully. The applicant is responsible for providing all required information. The following information is required to be submitted:
Applicant Information Checklist;
Signed copy of the Medical Examination Report (completed by the Medical Examiner);
Signed copy of the Medical Examiner's Certificate (comcompleted by the Medical Examiner);
Endocrinologist Evaluation Checklist;
Vision Evaluation Checklist;
Copy of your driver's license and motor vehicle record.
How does the applicant apply for an exemption from the diabetes standard?
A. Medical Examiner
The applicant must be examined by a medical examiner, as defined in 49 CFR 390.5. The examiner can be a physician, (MD, DO), advanced nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or chiropractor if allowed by their state regulations to certify drivers. This examination STARTS the exemption process. The applicant MUST take the Certifying Medical Examiner Evaluation letter to the appointment with the medical examiner for him/her to review prior to performing the examination. In addition, the applicant must bring a copy of his/her 5 year medical history to the examination for the medical examiner to review. The medical examiner will have copies of the United States Department of Transportation Medical Examination Report Form and the Medical Examiner's Certificate. e. The applicant must meet all medical standards and guidelines, other than diabetes, in accordance with 49 CFR 391.41 (b) (1-13).
Other than the use of insulin to treat their diabetes, any other medical problem or condition that prevents the applicant from being certified by the medical examiner must be corrected BEFORE the rest of this application is completed. Therefore, the endocrinologist and vision evaluations SHOULD NOT be completed until the medical examiner certifies the applicant. The applicant must submit copies of the completed medical examination report and medical examiner's certificate. The certificate should indicate that the driver is certified ONLY IF the driver has a diabetes exemption. The certificate is not valid until the insulin exemption is obtained from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
B. Endocrinologist Evaluation Checklist
The applicant must be examined by a physician who is a board-certified or board-eligible endocrinologist. The applicant must take the Endocrinologist Evaluation Checklist and glucose logs to the appointment. The endocrinologist must complete all parts of the checklist. The applicant must submit the endocrinologist's signed letterhead, a completed checklist, and anyany additional reports outlined in the checklist to the exemption program.
C. Vision Evaluation Checklist
The applicant must have a vision examination by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. An applicant with diabetic retinopathy MUST be evaluated by an ophthalmologist. The applicant must take the Vision Evaluation Checklist to the appointment. The ophthalmologist or optometrist must complete all parts of the checklist. The applicant must submit the optometrist/ophthalmologist's signed letterhead and a completed checklist to the exemption program.
Please note that both the Endocrinologist and Vision medical evaluations are only valid for 6 months from the date performed. The medical examiner's evaluation is valid for 1 year from the date performed. Applicants will be required to submit a new examination for any of the aforementioned examinations if they expire during the application process.
D. Additional Applicant Information
The applicant must provide a completed Applicant Information Checklist, a readable photocopy of both sides of the driver's license, and a current motor vehicle record.
Additional medical information may be required, based on review of the information submitted. Prior to submitting the application, please review all information and make sure that each checklist is completely filled out and that all required information is included. Application review will be delayed if the information submitted is not current or if it is incomplete.
Mail all information to:
Federal Diabetes Exemption Program
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590
The application may be faxed to 703-448-3077. However, original documents must be mailed to the above address.
What Happens After a Completed Application Is Submitted?
The FMCSA will review the application and notify the applicant if additional information is required or missing. Please note, as stated above, that additional medical information may be required. Once the application is complete, the FMCSA will determine applicant eligibility for this program. 2
If the applicant is eligible for an exemption, the FMCSA is required to publish the applicant request for exemption in the Federal Register twice; this includes a 30 day period for public comment and notification of the Agency's final decision. The no notice discloses the applicant's full name, age, basic information related to the applicant's insulin use se to control diabetes, and the type of driving license held; however, the notice does not include any detailed personal information, such as the applicants address, employer, medical records, or driver's license number.
If granted, the Federal el exemption is valid for CMV operation within the United States and does not exempt the applicant from foreign requirements, such as Canada and Mexico.
If the Applicant Does Not Meet Eligibility Criteria
If the FMCSA determines that the applicant does not meet program eligibility criteria, a decision letter will be mailed directly to the applicant outlining the reason that the Agency is unable to grant the exemption from the Federal diabetes standard.
How Long Does the Process Take?
The FMCSA is required to complete the application process within 180 days from the date all required information is submitted by the applicant.
What Is Required of the Driver After an Exemption Is Granted?
The exemption certificate and requirements are sent to the exempted applicant by certified mail. The FMCSA can issue an exemption for a maximum of 2 years. Quarterly and annual medical monitoring and reporting are conditions of the exemption from the Federal diabetes standard of 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3). The driver will receive the necessary forms from the FMCSA and will be responsible for compliance. Additionally, the driver is required to reapply for renewal every two years, and, as with monitoring, the responsibility of reapplication rests with the driver. The driver must have yearly medical re-certification examinations.
If you have questions related to the application process outlined in this document, please call 703-448-3094.
Elaine M. Papp, RN MSN COHN-S CM Division Chief, Medical Programs
Do I need a DOT physical? Do I need a to have a DOT physical even if my combined GVWR is under 26,000 pounds.
This is a question I am frequently asked and the answer is YES!! If your combined GVWR is over 10,000 pounds, before you start operations you must pass a physical and get your DOT Physical card.
Here are the specific requirements for Medical Certification:
In the interest of public safety on the highways, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations require interstate commercial drivers to be medically fit to operate their vehicles safely and competently. You are required to have a physical exam and carry a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) medical certificate if you operate a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR) or gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross combination weight (GCW) of 4,536 kilograms (10,001 pounds) or more in interstate commerce.
Part time hot shotting. Justin, from Texas sent this question in: "I'm wanting to do some hot shot driving. What I'd like to do is buy a one ton truck and trailer and do some hot shotting on the side. Say, hauling under 10,000 pounds per load. I already have a truck in mind to purchase and am wondering how to get started."
Justin, If you are going to do this, I would suggest that you consider handling Intrastate freight only and look for companies in and around your home base for business. I would not buy a truck without having some potential customers lined up first. I really don't think it is practical to try to do this on a part time basis and expect to handle Interstate freight because the insurance costs will make it impractical. It just doesn't lend itself to part time work. I also question the wisdom of even doing it locally on a part time basis. I don't know how you can maintain any customer base and only be available part time.
What exactly is "Hot Shot" courier service? Hello Fellow Couriers, I was wondering if anyone could answer a question for me. I currently live in Florida and have been a courier for a number of years both in Florida and the Midwest. My wife and I are considering a move to Houston and I have been looking at a number of advertisements for couriers in the Houston metro area. One ad I saw recently was from a company called Transnet which was asking for IC couriers. At the bottom of the ad they stipulated that all applicants needed, "verifiable 'Hot Shot' Courier service experience in all areas of Houston". What exactly is "Hot Shot" courier service and where would I go to get it? Is it a certification the State of Texas requires? Montgomery from Florida
Montgomery, I think you might be reading too much into the words "Hot Shot". The terms, "Hot Shot" and Courier are a bit redundant in that they both infer express delivery or smaller loads. Personally I think of Hot Shot operators as having a pickup truck and a trailer whereas I think of couriers more as drivers with cargo vans. I also think of couriers as generally being more localized. I can only guess that Transnet may want drivers with a pickup and a trailer who can handle more than a cargo van but who have operated primarily in and around the Houston area. An easy way, of course, to find out is to give them a call and ask them. Unless you lease on to a company with authority, you must have a DOT number. In addition, Texas requires a Texas DOT Certificate for all Texas based carriers to handle intrastate freight provided your combined gross vehicle weight is over 26000 pounds. If you are going to operate across state lines you must also have an MC number. See information about this on our "Get Your Own Authority" page.
What do I need to get started? I would like to know how to get started and what do I need to get started in the hot shot business, like do I need a DOT number or stuff like that. Jose from Texas
If you are going to transport freight across a state line you must have a DOT and an MC number. In addition, since you are in Texas, you need to get a TX DOT number. When you have a few minutes, click the "Get Your Own Authority" on our site for more detailed information about getting your own authority and be sure to check out the various topics in our "Helpful Information" tab. That covers a number of subjects you need to learn about. For our visitors from other states, you need to check with your state's department of transportation to see what it requires you to have to legally operate within the state.
Part Time I want to do this part time. Is there anyone that would hire me I got a 02 F250 4x4 7.3. Thanks, Dennis, from Texas
Ken, I suspect you will have a hard time trying to do this part time because of the monthly fixed insurance costs. Working part time probably won't generate enough profits for you or any potential employer to cover the cost of the liability and cargo insurance to make working part time worth while.
Perhaps some of our visitors can offer some suggestions for you.
IFTA fuel tax Where do i register for IFTA fuel tax? Dennis, from Texas
You do your IFTA registration with your home state so in your case you would register with the state of Texas and you send your quarterly fuel tax reports to them. Here is a link to a Texas website that should answer your question in more details.
How much I should charge per mile? I'd like to start my hotshot service but my biggest doubt is how much I should charge per mile. Is it approx 1.80? Santos from Texas
Because what you wind up doing is unknown at this point, it is difficult to know what your average rate will turn out to be but I think your $1.80 per loaded mile can be a realistic number but only time will tell.
I assume you plan to get your own authority. This will enable you to solicit the local manufacturers so no one gets any of the revenue but you, and, you need to charge enough so you can afford to deadhead back home. Then if you happen to find a backhaul from loadboards, such as ours, just consider it frosting on the cake.
When setting your rates, I would suggest you consider setting target rates for anything up to perhaps 50 miles, another rate for 51 to 100 miles and a third rate for 101 to 150 miles and then go to a mileage charge for mileages over 150 miles. However, after you establish your target rates you will have to adjust them to the market as necessary to be competitive in your market and still make a profit.
To get a feel for where your target rates need to be, go to our profit calculator page and adjust the variables to reflect your operating costs. Then test the impact of changing the average loaded and deadhead miles per trip and adjust the trips per week you might be able to accomplish for those miles and you will see the impact on you annual profits of hauling loads very short miles versus much longer miles at a fixed rate if $1.80 per mile and you will quickly discover how you need to charge far more per mile if your runs are all local runs versus longer distance runs. When using the calculator, if you assume all your local runs average 25 loaded miles you can determine where you need to set your rate for very short runs to achieve your annual profit goal. Then assume all your runs are 50 loaded milesand you will be able to establish target rates for this mileage and then do the same thing using various longer mileages. This technique will help you establish rates necessary to achieve your annual profit goal. It will also help you determine if your goal is even realistic.
How much weight can I legally carry? I have an '09 Ford F-450 with a GVWR of 16,500lbs. It actually weighs 9,180 lbs. My 40' gooseneck weighs 10,300 lbs and it's GVWR is 30,000lbs. How much weight can I legally carry? Jim from Texas
Thank for your question, Jim. This can be an extremely confusing subject and I don't know if there is really a single answer that everyone would agree with. Here are my thoughts on the subject but don't take them as gospel because the official at the scale may have different ideas.
I think you will find that the most important legal limit is what you register your truck at. Whatever figure you use, you better not cross a scale grossing anything over that figure. Consequently, your question really comes down to what weight should your register your truck at.
Technically, if you ignore everything else, you could register at 46,500 lbs because this is your combined GVWR (truck @ 16,500 lbs + trailer @ 30,000 lbs). The problem, of course, is you can't ignore other factors. Of particular importance are the tire and axle capacities for your truck and trailer and I suspect these will probably total less than 46,500 lbs and I would not register at a weight that exceeds this total.
I think your next consideration must be that the fifth-wheel towing capacity of your truck is probably 24,500 pounds. You generally don't want to exceed this figure either so the maximum payload you would want to put on your trailer would be 14,200 lbs (Towing capacity @ 24,500 lbs - Trailer weight @ 10,300 lbs). If you add this payload to the weight of your truck and trailer you get 33,680 lbs (Truck @ 9180 lbs + Trailer @ 10,300 lbs + Payload @ 14,200 lbs). With all this in mind, and assuming your axle and tire capacities allow it, I would be inclined to register the truck at 36,000 lbs. This will give you a bit of a cushion and it is probably a practical figure that you generally don't want to exceed for many reasons. You will also find that this is a registered weight that is pretty commonly used by Hotshot operators.
Don't forget about the potential legal problems that can develop if you have a serious accident and you have exceeded any of your vehicles rated capacities. Remember too that more important than the ability to pull a heavy weight is the ability to be able to stop it in an emergency.
I would like to ride with someone. I live in East TN and I am interested in getting into the hot shot business, but I would first like to team with someone for a short while or a few runs to see how the hot shot business works. It can only be one run or a couple non-consecutive runs. flometa36 *Show Response(s)*
Flometa, that's an unusual request.
I suggest you go to the Guestbook on our HotshotCarrier.com site and look for entries from carriers in or near you and give them a call and talk to them and perhaps you can ride with one of them. The problem you may have is you are a potential competitor for them so that may complicate things as most companies are not inclined to help a competitor. On the other hand there are probably thousands of potential shippers in and around Knoxville so its possible you could even develop some working relationships and help one another find and share customers so when your shipper has a load you can't cover, your friend can cover it and when your friend has a load he can't cover, you can help him.
Our premium hotshotcarrier.com subscription would give you a listing of all the manufacturers in the area who have 15 or more employees and many of them will have the kind of partial loads you are looking for and they are probably shipping via the LTL common carriers at rates that you can compete with. This requires cold calling which can be slow going and a bit tough but its one of the ways you can let shippers know you exist and develop your business.