Best Hotshot Load Board: Ultimate Guide for Truckers

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Written By Randall Henson
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Our Team of Trucking Industry Veterans has been working to improve the Fleet management and trucking industry for over a decade with hands on knowledge of what it takes to run your business quicker, easier and more profitably. We work with leading brands to find the best tools for each business.

Hotshot trucking, often seen as a lucrative and fast-paced sector of the transportation industry, relies on a critical resource – hot shot load boards. These platforms connect carriers with shippers, allowing hot shot truck drivers to find and manage loads based on their desired parameters. With the right hot shot load board at their fingertips, drivers can maximize their income and keep their trucks moving, ensuring the efficient delivery of goods.

Among the many load boards available online, some stand out due to their large networks, comprehensive listings, and user-friendly interfaces. These resources serve as the essential hub for hot shot trucking businesses, granting access to high-paying loads and trusted partners. A top recommendation in this field is DAT, known for its market leadership and almost 900,000 loads posted daily, including numerous hot shot truck loads.

Choosing the best hot shot load board means considering aspects like cost, ease of use, and the volume of available loads. In addition to paid options like DAT, there are also free load boards like FR8Star, with thousands of specialized loads and communication tools for connecting with shippers. By utilizing these platforms, hot shot truckers can optimize their businesses and ensure timely, efficient deliveries.

Top Hotshot Load Boards

DAT Load Board

DAT Load Board is a market leader when it comes to hot shot load boards, offering nearly 900,000 loads posted daily, including hot shot truck loads. With a user-friendly platform, DAT enables carriers to easily find and secure loads suitable for their operations.

Truckstop Load Board

Truckstop Load Board is an ideal platform for carriers looking to keep their trucks on the road and making money with hot shot loads. Truckstop offers an easy-to-use platform for carriers to find profitable loads without the large upfront cost of investing in a big rig.


123Loadboard provides a comprehensive hot shot load board with integrated tools to help carriers streamline their search for high-paying loads. With a strong focus on user-friendly design and functionality, 123Loadboard is perfect for carriers looking to optimize their hot shot operations.


Uship is a unique hot shot load board that connects carriers with shippers directly, making it easy for hot shot drivers to find lucrative loads that fit their schedule and preferences. Its innovative platform allows carriers to bid on loads or accept offers from shippers, providing flexible options for hot shot operators.


FR8Star is a free hot shot trailer load board that allows carriers to quickly filter loads according to their desired parameters. While FR8Star’s listings are not as comprehensive as DAT’s, their free load boards list thousands of specialized loads, making it accessible and cost-effective for carriers.

Freight Finder

Freight Finder is one of the longest-running freight matching services, featuring a hot shot load board which allows carriers to easily locate the best hot shot loads. Its extensive database and simplified search features make it an essential tool for carriers looking to grow their hot shot operations.

Free Freight Search

Free Freight Search offers carriers a no-cost solution to finding hot shot loads in their desired regions. Its easy-to-use platform and growing database of available loads make it an attractive choice for carriers looking to expand their hot shot business without investing in premium services.

Features and Benefits

Search and Filter Options

A quality hot shot load board offers various search and filter options, allowing carriers and owner-operators to quickly find loads compatible with their equipment and preferences. Users can customize their search to find specific types of hot shot loads, weight limits, and destination points, ensuring they only view relevant results.

Credit Score and Carrier Profile

One essential feature of a load board is the ability to view credit scores and carrier profiles of potential business partners. This information helps carriers and owner-operators avoid potential financial risks by reviewing brokers’ ratings before accepting a hot shot load.

Rate Insights and Market Rates

Having access to rate insights and average market rates is essential for hot shot trucking businesses. A top-notch load board provides users with information regarding the current market rates per mile and lane, ensuring carriers negotiate better rates for their loads.

Mobile App and Alerts

A user-friendly mobile app is a must-have to access the load board on the go. Carriers and owner-operators can benefit from real-time alerts for new hot shot loads that match their specific criteria, making it easier to find and accept loads quickly.

Customer Support

Reliable customer support is crucial in addressing issues or concerns users may encounter while using the load board. A top hot shot load board will have dedicated customer support teams, available through various communication channels, such as messaging, live chat, or phone, to provide assistance when needed.

How to Choose the Best Load Board

Subscription Fees and Trial Period

When selecting a hot shot load board, consider subscription fees and whether a trial period is offered. Some load boards offer both free and paid versions with various features, while others only have paid subscriptions. A trial period allows users to test the platform before committing to a paid plan. Note: Trial periods vary in length, so it’s essential to choose a load board that aligns with your budget and briefly test its functionality.

Number of Available Loads and Quality

The number of available loads and quality of posted freight are critical factors when selecting a hot shot load board. Consider the daily average of posted loads and the types of shipments available. A wide variety of loads enables carriers to identify better rates and routes that suit their needs. Some load boards, such as DAT, are known for having nearly 900,000 loads posted daily.

Matching Criteria and Relevant Loads

Choose a load board that provides relevant matches based on your preferred criteria, such as location, equipment type, and cargo weight. This will streamline your searching process and ensure that you are viewing appropriate freight options. Platforms like Trucker Path and Truckstop offer advanced search and filtering options to help find loads tailored to your requirements.

Company Reviews and Reputation

A load board’s reputation and user reviews are vital when assessing its suitability for your business. Look for platforms that have positive feedback from users and have earned a reputation for being reliable and trustworthy, such as FR8Star, Truckstop, and Trulos. Be cautious of exaggerated claims and opt for load boards that are straightforward, transparent, and user-friendly.

Additional Services and Features

Lastly, evaluate additional services and features that enhance your load board experience. These can include integrated tools like route planning, fuel cost estimation, and power select options to optimize your operations. Also, consider load boards that offer connection to potential partners, such as freight brokers, shippers, and carriers, while providing market rates for comprehensive decision-making.

In summary, the best hot shot load board should cater to your budget, fulfil your load requirements, optimize searching with matching criteria, have a positive reputation, and offer additional services to help you succeed in the freight business.

Hotshot Equipment and Vehicle Choices

Pickup Trucks

Pickup trucks are at the core of hot shot trucking operations. They provide the necessary pulling power and versatility needed for a range of jobs, especially when time is critical. Depending on the size and weight of the load, various makes and models can be used to match the specific requirements, such as half-ton, three-quarter-ton, or one-ton trucks.

Box Trucks

Box trucks are another choice in hot shot trucking to transport time-sensitive and larger loads. These trucks come with an attached cargo area built onto the chassis, and their size makes them suitable for transporting various goods while still being easy to maneuver. Box trucks offer a more enclosed and protected way of carrying loads when compared to other trailer types, making them ideal for fragile or sensitive items.

Gooseneck Trailers

Gooseneck trailers are a popular choice for hot shot trucking due to their ability to handle larger loads and increased stability. The gooseneck design connects to the bed of the truck, distributing the weight more evenly and improving hauling capacity. Gooseneck trailers are particularly useful in hauling oversized or heavy items, offering added flexibility to the hot shot trucking operation.

High weight capacityRequires specialized hitch
Increased stabilityMay require additional permits
Ideal for oversized itemsLimited maneuverability

Flatbed Trailers

Flatbed trailers offer an open hauling space that makes it easy to load and unload various items for hot shot trucking. These trailers are known for their versatility, as they can be used for standard loads, oversized items, and oddly-shaped cargo. While they may not offer the same level of protection as enclosed trailers, their openness allows for greater flexibility when it comes to cargo size and weight.

  • Pros:
    • Versatile for various cargo types
    • Easy loading and unloading
    • Greater weight capacity than some other trailers
  • Cons:
    • Less protection for cargo
    • Possible need for additional securing equipment
    • Possible need for permits when hauling oversized loads

Maximizing Profits and Efficiency

Establish Relationships with Shippers

Building strong relationships with shippers is crucial for your hot shot trucking business. This can lead to more regular, reliable, and higher-paying loads. Maintain clear communication with shippers, ensuring on-time delivery of their time-sensitive loads. This will help you create a reputation as a trusted carrier and attract more business.

Choose Higher-Paying Loads

Consider prioritizing high-paying loads, which will have a more significant impact on your bottom line. Leverage the available load boards to identify these opportunities. Ensure that you also factor in the broker credit scores and market rates for the locations you serve. Utilize tools that provide rate insights, helping you project earnings and negotiate better rates with shippers.

Consider Factoring Services

Since hot shot trucking businesses can face payment delays, consider using factoring services to improve cash flow. Factoring companies can provide advances on your invoices so that you can continue investing in your business—drivers, vehicles, and operational expenses—without waiting for the invoice payment.

Plan Optimal Routes and Schedule

Efficient route planning is crucial in hot shot trucking. With time-sensitive and expedited loads, optimizing your routes can save you time, fuel, and money. Plan your routes according to the location and urgency of the loads, considering factors like traffic and weather conditions. Additionally, scheduling your drivers and vehicles effectively can ensure that your business runs smoothly and contributes to your overall success.

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