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Spot rates are a growing topic of conversation among the trucking community, with many long-time drivers and industry vets chiming in. We’ll break down all the need-to-know info on running the spot market and some useful tips that could help make you more successful.

Spot market rates are simple: they symbolize the price of shipping freight and cargo if you were to be hired on the spot, hence the name “spot rate.” This one-time rate quote is issued to a truck driver for one, or a group of transactions, rather than the static quote that is provided in contract rates.

Understanding the Difference Between Contract and Spot Rates

While contract rates are typically set for a specific term (a year, for example), spot market rates can change as frequently as hour-to-hour thanks to its close connection to market conditions.

These are the shipping prices at this very moment and are typically paid by brokers rather than standard shippers you may contract with. The rates vary, are not fixed and are likely to fluctuate more rapidly and with more frequency than contract rates.

These fluctuations can come from a variety of factors like:

  • Time of year
  • Economic and logistical approaches
  • Load-to-truck ratio
  • Value of the freight
  • Fuel prices
  • Supply and demand

Imagine this — if there are fewer trucks on the road in any given week, but there’s a surplus of freight, you can expect spot rates to spike.

The Spot Market Can Be Advantageous for All

Many in the trucking industry shy away from spot rates because they worry that it won’t offer any real sustainability, but many successful owner-operators exclusively run the spot market.

Using the spot market can help you establish long-term relationships with brokers who may be able to offer you loads before ever posting them on load boards in the future. Spot rates can save brokers time and stress of finding a reliable driver, and it can help reduce backlogs of shipping and keep expenses down.

Are you ready to run the spot market? Keep these simple tips in mind:

  1. Ensure that your rates are in line with the market average.
  2. Check the load-to-truck ratio.
  3. Be a great communicator.
  4. Get all of the information about the load (not just the rate).
  5. Connect with other truckers and see what’s worked for them.

Using these five tips could make all the difference in how you run the spot market. It’s not for everyone, but we do believe there’s real value there if you’re able to invest the time and energy it requires to power through. Are you ready to try your hand at running the spot market?

Register for the World’s Largest FREE Load Board Today!

Taking on the spot market by yourself can be much easier if you have the right tools.’s load board is one of those dependable tools! Sign up for access to the world’s largest FREE load board today! You can also find other resources in our blog or get answers from our Technical Support.

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