4 min read

3 Tips to Get the Best Spot Quotes

Featured Image

Unfortunately, many shippers do not have a strategy for obtaining spot quotes. Here are some tips on when to use spot quotes and how best to secure them.

What is a Spot Quote?

Spot quotes are on-the-fly freight quotes requested by a shipper to carriers. It can be a request for a single load or partial load, or it can be for a group of shipments. 

Spot quotes are used instead of a contracted rate. Contracted freight rates usually cover a class of freight, type of truckload, and contract expiry date. Contract rates can be useful to help establish relationships with carriers and to lock down pricing, which can fluctuate wildly due to fuel costs, weather, and driver shortages.

Carrier Rate Shopping Guide

When are Spot Quotes used?

spot_quotes_largeSpot quotes are usually requested because a shipper:

  • Is shipping outside their usual shipping lane 
  • Is shipping with freight classifications outside their contracted agreements
  • Is shipping freight of considerable size and/or with unique handling requirements
  • Does not have the volume to attract carriers for yearly contracts at negotiated rates
  • Is troubleshooting a shipment - something has gone wrong, and there is now an urgency 

3 Tips for Better Spot Quotes 

1) Ask for spot quotes from carriers you have contracted rates with

Many shippers are not aware that they can ask carriers they have a contract with for spot quotes. If a load falls outside your contracted specifications, or if you feel you could obtain a better quote due to current demand, ask your carrier for a spot quote.

2) Always use volume to your advantage  

The larger your shipping volume, the more leverage you have to negotiate better rates. Carriers need to fill up their trucks, planes, and ships. If you can help them quickly fill up the empty spaces, you have some power to work in the negotiation. You can also request spot quotes for smaller loads, but understanding how valuable a large load can be to a carrier should help you obtain good rates on your large loads.   

3) Use a Transportation Management System (TMS) to help streamline spot quoting

The process of asking for and obtaining spot quotes can be a headache without software to support you.


The right TMS can help you obtain spot quotes by:

  • Integrating carrier websites and emails into one platform 
  • Enabling you to contact multiple carriers in one single action
  • Bringing all carrier responses and bids into one platform, with comparisons side-by-side for your review
  • Enabling real-time acceptance and response to carriers

Carrier Rate Shopping Guide

Experienced shippers know that spot quotes are necessary in addition to contracted rates. A shipper should never rely on just a handful of carrier contracts to help ensure they are getting the best rates. (Please see our post on How Giving All Your Business to One Carrier Does Not Make Sense).  

freightpop_tms_rate_comparisonFreightPOP’s software allows you to compare carriers side by side. You can even examine all modes (FT, LTL, ocean, air) at the same time.

With FreightPOP, you can upload your contracted rates into our TMS for better carrier rate shopping. And you can still request spot quotes from those same carriers in our system. If you want to get a better rate, take rate shop against your current negotiated rates. 

Our TMS solution offers the best tools to fully integrated carrier and business ERP systems in a seamless, supportive experience. 

Please see our free guide to carrier rate shopping below for more shipping rate tips.

Download the Guide