Whether negotiating directly with a carrier or utilizing a 3PL service, following some best practices can help to lock in the best spot rate.
1. Provide detailed and accurate shipment information
It is vital to provide accurate information about the loads that need to be shipped. Inaccurate information about loads will likely lead to inaccurate spot rates.
Before posting a spot shipment on a Transportation Management System (TMS) marketplace, gather and double check the most important pieces of information.
For full truckloads (FTL) this typically includes:
Origin city (postal code)
Destination city (postal code)
Equipment type (such as refrigerated truck, dry van, flatbed, etc.)
If you are shipping a partial truck load, or less than truckload (LTL), you may also need to include the following commodity information:
Dimensions of packaged commodities
2. Clarify any special handling requirements
If the shipment involves special requirements such as multiple stops or additional handling, communicate these clearly when you confirm the rate with your provider.
Special requirements may increase a spot rate up front, but they will ensure that you avoid additional expenses or service disruptions later on.
Some non-standard load requirements include:
+2 hours loading/unloading
Equipment age restrictions
3. Arrange spot rates as early as possible
The spot market is volatile. Spot rates can change from day to day, or sometimes even from hour to hour.
That said, spot rates do tend to follow one pattern: they typically increase as the shipping date approaches. Therefore, securing spot rates as soon as possible is definitely the best practice.
Many shippers end up seeking spot rates one or two days in advance, but it is equally possible to ship spot freight on the same day or weeks in advance. When possible, secure your spot rates one or two weeks before your freight needs to move to save on shipping costs.
4. Try to avoid shipping outside of normal business hours
If possible, schedule all pick-up and drop-off times during regular business hours.
No one likes to work at night or on weekends. So capacity is often lower at these times, which is reflected in higher rates.
For the same reason, it is advisable to avoid shipping over holidays.
5. Consider the quality of the service provider
Keep in mind that, as with most things in life, the cheapest price is not always the best value. While shipping at the lowest possible cost may seem like the best deal, saving a bit on a spot rate is irrelevant if a pick-up is missed or a load is delayed or mishandled.
Especially if a load needs to be delivered by a certain time to preserve a good relationship with an important customer, you’re better off dealing with a reputable carrier.
If you’re working with new carriers or service providers, you may want to consider the following questions: How long have they been in business? Do they have many other customers? Do they have the proper equipment and services to guarantee peace of mind?
Stay tuned for more on spot rates and how sennder makes them fast and easy
Following the five tips listed above will ensure that you’re well on your way to securing the best value spot rate.
Check out our next blog to learn how sennder can make the process even easier to save you time and money when shipping on spot.
Contact us to learn more about meeting your spot and shipping needs.