Best Hot Shot Load Boards [9 Great Free and Paid Options]

If you are looking for some great load boards for your hot shot trucking business, you are in the right place.

In this article, we are going to cover 9 of the best load boards you can explore to get a steady stream of great loads for your hot shot trucking business (and make more money in the process). I will cover both paid and free options, so I think you will find the information here relevant to you regardless of your budget.

We've got a lot to cover, so let's get into it!

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and complete a transaction, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only.  It is not a recommendation to buy or invest, and it is not financial, investment, legal, or tax advice.  You should seek the advice of a qualified professional before making any investment or other decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.

What is a Hot Shot Business?

Before we dive in to the list, I think it's important to give a proper introduction to hot shot trucking so we are all on the same page.

A hot shot trucking business is a business where you haul smaller loads (less-than-truckload or LTL) that are often critical and time-sensitive. For example, when construction companies need something urgently (i.e., a piece of equipment broke down, etc.), a hot shot trucker gets the job done quickly and on short notice.

These types of loads can provide some nice opportunistic extra income for the truck owner-operator or trucking business owner. Hot shot truckers deliver a wide range of cargo, including refrigerated items, manufacturing cargo, agricultural and construction equipment and materials, and much more.

Hot shot drivers typically operate heavy duty pick-up trucks with trailers, but can also drive larger vehicles. That being said, Class 8 semis are rare for hot shot loads and these vehicles are usually reserved for larger long distance loads.

If you want to learn more about how to start a hot shot business, check out my full article on the topic. It takes you through the process step-by-step and also includes additional ways to find loads (other than load boards).

Ok, now that we've sorted out the introductory stuff, let's dive into our load board list. We'll start with the high-quality paid options first.

Best Paid Hot Shot Load Boards

1. DAT [Top Recommendation]

When it comes to load boards, DAT is a clear market leader, with nearly 900,000 loads posted daily (including tons of hot shot truck loads as well).

Because of their size and scope, they also have leading edge tech and info, including unlimited searching, instant alarm match notifications, broker credit scores, days to pay, market rates, mileage routing and much more.

Their pricing is reasonable and in line with other major paid load boards. As of the date of this article, they are offering the following plans for the TruckersEdge load board product:

  • DAT TruckersEdge: Standard ($39.95/month) – includes unlimited search, alarm for new search results, company reviews, available loads by state.
  • DAT TruckersEdge: Enhanced ($75/month) – includes all standard features plus average rates for past 30 days, broker credit scores, average days to pay.
  • DAT TruckersEdge: Professional ($125/month) – includes all Enhanced features plus average rates for past 15 days, access to Tri-Haul: better paying rates, and IFTA fuel tax calculator.

There are no long terms contracts, so you can stop at any time.

I have an affiliate relationship with DAT and secured a deal where if you use my link, you can get a free 30 day trial for any of their plans. So, you get to try out this industry-leading load board for a full month for free. I would note that this deal is only for new DAT subscribers.

If you are interested, just click on the banner below to take advantage of this no-risk offer.

2. TruckStop

Truck Stop also has a robust load board that includes hot shot loads.

They have three pricing options for their load board, with the most affordable plan coming in at $39/month. The more expensive options are $125 and $149 per month, but you get access to more features, such as broker credit and days to pay information.

If you want to learn more, check out their website here.

3. 123Load Board

Another fairly well-known player in the industry is 123 Load Board. They are a general load board, but offer hot shot loads on their platform. I like their easy to use interface, which allows you to sort by size (choose LTL) as well as length and weight.

Their pricing is as follows:

  • Standard Plan: $35 (includes access to load board, real time load alerts, website and mobile access)
  • Premium Plan: $45 (includes everything that the standard plan includes, plus mileage and maps and document capturing and storage)
  • Premium Plus: $55 (includes everything that the premium plan includes, plus enhanced mileage and maps & tolls, industry freight rates, etc.)

They offer a 10 day trial for all of their plans, so you can try them out without risk and see if their platform works for you.

Ok, we've covered the paid options, now let's jump into the best free hot shot load boards.

Best Free Hot Shot Load Boards

4. Trucker Path

Trucker Path is an interesting option.

Perhaps one of the biggest selling points is that you can get hot shot loads for free. You simply go on their website and search for loads. You get a limited number of searches per day, but can upgrade your account to a paid account and get more robust features, as well as access to the best loads.

If you want to check them out, here is the link to their website.

5. Shiply

Shiply is another free load board that you can access.

They have a different business model altogether. You won't be charged any fees to access their load board. But they will tack on their fee when you actually book a load. That way, you don't pay them unless you actually book a load with them. Seems like a pretty low risk option and one worth exploring.

They offer a wide variety of loads, but their website specifically mentions hot shot loads, so they are definitely catering to hot shot operators.

If you want to learn more about using Shiply to find free hot shot loads, check out their website here.

6. Uship

Another free load board that uses this type of pay-as-you-go pricing structure is Uship. One of they key advantages of using Uship is that you have access to a wide variety of freight available for hot shot operators (so whether you have a pickup and trailer, box truck or other type of vehicle, there may be options for you).

They also have tools that allow you to set your rate, schedule and routes. You can also market your trucking business by filling out a carrier profile, which will allow people to search for you and find reviews and ratings for your business.

7. FR8Star

FR8Star is a free hot shot load board that has some interesting features.

They allow you to filter and find the exact type of load you are looking for. They also provide messaging capability so you can easily communicate with shippers. You can also use their chat feature, which will connect you to FR8Star's customer support if you run into snags along the way.

I also like how they show average line haul rates for the month, including price per mile for hot shot loads. You can see it here.

8. Freight Finder

Another free load board on the list, this one appears to be a bit more straightforward and no frills.

You can go to their website and simply type in the type of load you are looking for. There is, of course, a “hot shot” option that is part of the drop down menu. You then put in the date and route information and you can explore what pops up.

When I ran a search, there weren't nearly as many options as with some of the bigger paid load boards, but hey' it's free, so it doesn't hurt to check it out.

9. Free Freight Search

On their homepage, these guys claim to be “The World's Largest Free Load Board.” They boast that over 132,000 carriers and brokers use their platform. Bear in mind that in order to get access to their load board, you need to register through their website, so you can't play around and see the types of loads they have without doing that.

They do offer unlimited access to their load boards and freight broker credit reports, which is nice, because for some of the paid boards, you need to shell out extra to get broker credit reports.

This can be a nice tool to have if you want the potentially better load options offered by a paid load board, but don't want to pay more for a premium plan so that you can get the broker credit reports.

Conclusion

So there you have it – 9 great load boards you can check out to get more hot shot loads for your trucking business. If you want to learn more about ways to make money with your pickup truck, check out my article on How to Make Money With a Pickup Truck [9 Ideas that Work].

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