What is a spot quote?
A spot quote is when you get a rate from a carrier that goes outside of your contracted rates. This can be for less than truckload (LTL), truckload (TL), Volume LTL, etc.
How does spot quoting work?
When you send out spot quotes to carriers you generally will send the same information to multiple different carriers and choose the one who gives you the most bang for your buck. You will include the type of quote you need (TL, LTL, volume LTL, etc), equipment type (dry van, straight truck, 48 ft trailer, etc), weight, class (if applicable), and any other information you find critical for the carriers to know in order to offer an accurately valued quote for your shipment. You have the power to negotiate here since you are not using your contracted rates.
Why would I choose a spot quote if I have contracted rates?
People who have LTL rates will often choose to get a Volume LTL rate via a spot quote if the shipment is over 5,000 pounds. If the move isn’t on a time crunch, this can also be a good way to save some money in your shipping budget.
Besides large shipments, sometimes shippers will opt to send out a spot quote for a TL shipment if they have particularly fragile freight, and a limit of liability that would not be sufficient in the event of a cargo claim for freight damage. When your shipment goes dedicated TL it will be exchange fewer hands, which means there is less of a chance of damage.
The fewer times your freight is moved on and off of the trailer, chance of it becoming damaged is lessened.
How does transit time come into play?
Spot quoted volume LTL shipments are the lowest priority for a carrier. When you book a shipment using your contracted rates, that shipment, comes with a much smaller window for shipping time. Carriers make these shipments first priority. LTL volume pot quote shipments are moved out of the terminal when there is room available. It is important to be aware of this when opting to use a spot quote over your contracted rates in place.
A Truckload shipment will always be the fastest way to get something delivered.
What kind of relationship is required to spot quote?
You do not have to have contracts in place with a carrier to spot quote. You need is a contact and an email address. In many cases, you will probably need a credit relationship with the carrier as well. You can spot quote with carriers you have contracts with, carriers you have no contracts with, you can spot quote a truckload shipment with a carrier you have contracted LTL rates with, you can…. Well… you get the picture.
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