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What is a Spot Quote?

Spot quotes can offer businesses competitive pricing for one-time shipments. FreightCenter can assist with finding the best carriers for your spot quote needs.

What is a Spot Quote?

A spot quote, also known as a spot rate, is a one-time fee that a shipper pays to transport a load at the current market pricing. This is a short-term pricing method used in the shipping industry when a shipper must make a shipment and their contracted carriers have the capacity. Spot quotes can be useful during busy seasons or when unexpected shipments arise. 

Unlike contracted rates, which cover a particular type of freight and have a contract expiry date, spot quotes are requested on a case-by-case basis and reflect the current market condition. To obtain an accurate spot quote, it is important to provide precise shipment details such as origin and destination zip codes, pickup date, equipment type, commodity type, product weight, and any special requirements or accessorials. While spot quotes can offer flexibility and cost management options, they can also be time-intensive and potentially impact profit margins if not managed effectively.

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Key Components of a Spot Quote for Freight

  • Origin and Destination: Specifying the pickup and delivery locations for the freight.
  • Delivery Timeline: Providing the desired delivery date and timeframe for the shipment.
  • Type of Freight: Describing the goods being transported and including any special handling requirements or restrictions.
  • Weight and Dimensions: Providing accurate measurements to determine the appropriate equipment and space needed for transportation.
  • Insurance and Liability: Clarifying the extent of insurance coverage and liability responsibilities during transit.

What is The Difference Between a Rate Quote and a Spot Quote?

Rate Quote:

  • Pre-negotiated price offered by a carrier.
  • Based on a contract agreement with fixed terms and conditions.
  • Applies to a specific route or service.
  • Provides stabilities and predictability over a period of time.
  • Often used for regular or recurring shipments.
  • Can offer volume discounts or other incentives.


Spot Quote:

  • One-time price provided by a carrier.
  • Based on current market conditions and subject to availability.
  • Does not require a long-term contract.
  • Provides adaptable and quick solutions for time-sensitive shipments.
  • Helpful for urgent shipments when market conditions are unpredictable.


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When to Use a Spot Quote?

Spot quotes come into play in a variety of scenarios and industries, especially when businesses find themselves in need of transportation services for one-time or irregular shipments. Spot quoting is commonly used in situations such as:

  • Time-Sensitive Shipments: When businesses have time-sensitive shipments that cannot wait for traditional contract negotiations, they can rely on a spot quote to secure services quickly.
  • Seasonal Demand: During periods of high demand, businesses can use a spot quote to supplement their regular transportation capacity and ensure that their goods get delivered on time.
  • Supply Constraints: Businesses may consider a spot quote when a carrier cannot accommodate additional freight due to capacity constraints.
  • New Market or Customers: When businesses expand into new markets or service new customers, they may evaluate transportation costs using a spot quote before committing to long-term contracts.
  • Test Suppliers or Carriers: Businesses can use a spot quote to evaluate a carrier’s reliability, service quality, and price competitiveness before entering a long-term contract.
  • Ad Hoc Shipments: A spot quote is a good and cost-effective option for irregular shipments that do not justify having a long-term contract.
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Why Ship With FreightCenter?

  • Comprehensive Carrier Network: FreightCenter partners with various reputable carriers, providing businesses access to diverse transportation options tailored to your needs.
  • Competitive Pricing: FreightCenter leverages its extensive network and industry expertise to negotiate competitive customer rates. Businesses can often save money by obtaining quotes through FreightCenter compared to sourcing transportation services independently.
  • Flexible Shipping Solutions: FreightCenter provides less-than-truckload (LTL), full truckload (FTL), expedited shipping, and specialized freight services and can accommodate various cargo types, sizes, and delivery requirements.
  • Personalized Service: FreightCenter prioritizes customer service. Businesses have access to an experienced team who can guide, answer questions, and assist with the shipping process.
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Awards and Endorsements

  • 2021, 2017 & 2016 Food Logistics’ Top Green Providers
  • 2021 & 2018 Supply & Demand Chain Executives’ Pros to Know: Matthew Brosious
  • 2020 & 2019 Top Food Logistics’ 3PL & Cold Storage Provider Award
  • 2020 & 2019 Business Observer’s Top 500 Companies on the Gulf Coast
  • 2020 & 2017 SmartWay® Transport Partner
  • 2020 & 2017 Food Logistics’ Champions: Rock Stars of the Supply Chain
  • 2020 Best of Palm Harbor Awards for Local Businesses
  • 2017 Green Supply Chain Award from Supply & Demand Chain Executive
  • 2017 Tampa Bay Business Journal Heroes at Work
  • 2016, 2015, & 2012 Food Logistics Top 100 Software and Technology Providers
  • 2013 Tampa Bay Business 100 by Tampa Bay Business Journal
  • 2013 Top 100 Great Supply Chain Partners by SupplyChainBrain
  • 2012 TIA Samaritan Award Honorable Mention
  • 2012, 2011 & 2010 TBBJ Fast 50 Recipient
  • 2013, 2011, & 2010 Diversity Business Top Businesses




Benefits of a Spot Quote

  • Flexibility: With a spot quote, businesses can secure transportation services on short notice, allowing them to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and customer demands.
  • Cost Savings: During periods of low demand or when carriers have excess capacity, a spot quote can help save money. Businesses can negotiate favorable rates for freight transportation compared to a rate quote.
  • Risk Management: Instead of relying on one carrier or route, a spot quote can help diversify transportation providers. This can help businesses reduce the impact of disruptions such as weather-related delays, labor strikes, and capacity shortages.
  • Immediate Availability: Businesses can access transportation services immediately without a long-term contract. This is useful for time-sensitive shipments or unexpected needs.
  • Opportunity for Negotiation: Businesses can negotiate pricing and terms with carriers.

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Challenges of a Spot Quote

  • Uncertain Quality: A spot quote can lead to uncertain quality and reliability of the transportation service, as a business may need to work with carriers they have not used before.
  • Higher Costs: Although a spot quote offers flexibility, it may also be more expensive than rate quotes, especially during peak demand periods or when market conditions are unfavorable.
  • Limited Availability: A spot quote may be unavailable or limited during peak seasons, which makes it challenging for businesses to secure transportation services on short notice.
  • Potential for Service Disruptions: Since a spot quote does not require a long-term contract, there is a higher risk of service disruptions, such as delays, cancellations, or capacity constraints, which can impact supply chain operations.
FreightCenter by the numbers
1998 Founded
1m+ Shipments Booked
93% On-Time Performance
99.1% Damage Free Shipments
FreightCenter Shipping Services

To create value for our customers by delivering customized shipping solutions that meet their unique needs and to fulfill shipping demands from simple to complex with expertise, guidance and ingenuity.

Full Truckload (FTL)

FTL shipping is ideal for transporting large shipments that occupy an entire truck. FreightCenter specializes in helping businesses find carriers to efficiently and cost-effectively transport their full truckload shipments.

Partial Truckload (PTL)

FreightCenter's partial truckload (PTL) services serve as a valuable link between less-than-truckload (LTL) and full truckload (FTL) shipping. Designed for businesses with shipments that surpass the size of typical LTL cargo but fall short of filling an entire truck, PTL offers a cost-effective solution. By opting for PTL, businesses can enjoy savings on transportation costs while still benefiting from faster transit times and reduced handling compared to traditional LTL shipments. With the added advantage of flexibility in shipment size, weight, and destination, FreightCenter delivers customized solutions that cater to the unique needs of each business.

Less Than Truckload (LTL)

LTL shipping is a great option for businesses with freight that doesn't fill an entire truck. FreightCenter assists businesses in finding carriers to transport their smaller shipments in a cost-effective manner by consolidating them with other shipments.


FreightCenter plays a crucial role in enabling businesses to engage in international shipping, facilitating the transportation of goods across borders. They offer valuable assistance in navigating the intricate landscape of customs regulations, documentation, and shipping requirements, ensuring seamless cross-border transactions.

Specialized Transportation

FreightCenter also offers specialized freight services tailored to shipments that demand special handling, including delicate items, hazardous materials, oversized cargo, or temperature-sensitive goods. They collaborate with carriers who possess the necessary expertise and resources to handle these specialized shipments with utmost safety and efficiency.

Intermodal Transportation

FreightCenter provides intermodal transportation services, which utilize a combination of transportation modes like truck, rail, and sea to transport freight. This multi-modal approach offers several advantages, including potential cost savings and increased efficiency, particularly for long-distance shipments. By leveraging different modes of transportation, FreightCenter ensures that businesses can optimize their freight transportation process and achieve the most cost-effective and efficient solutions for their shipments.


To cater to time-sensitive shipments that require swift delivery, FreightCenter provides expedited shipping services. This guarantees that businesses can meet tight deadlines and uphold customer satisfaction by ensuring prompt and efficient delivery to the intended destination.

White Glove

White glove shipping service offers the utmost level of care and support for your fragile cargo. Unlike standard curbside pickup and delivery freight services provided by carriers, white glove delivery goes the extra mile. It encompasses additional services beyond these basic responsibilities that are not typically offered by LTL carriers. With white glove delivery, you can expect specialized attention and handling for your delicate shipments.

Best Practices for Using A Spot Quote

  • Market Research: Businesses should stay informed about current market rates and trends to be able to negotiate competitive spot quotes.
  • Clear Communication: businesses should provide accurate information about their shipment requirements to receive accurate quotes.
  • Multiple Quotes: It is best to obtain multiple quotes from different carriers to compare pricing and services before making a decision.
  • Negotiation: Businesses can always negotiate pricing and terms with carriers to secure the best shipment deals.
  • Timely Booking: Businesses should quickly book a spot quote once they have received a good offer, as prices and availability may change rapidly.
  • Risk Assessment: Businesses should evaluate the risk of spot quoting, such as price changes and possible service problems, and prepare backup plans.
  • Relationship Building: Businesses should develop strong relationships with reliable carriers to ensure smoother transactions and potentially negotiate better rates in the future.


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Spot Quote Experts

Spot quotes offer businesses one-time prices for freight transportation compared to rate quotes. They offer flexibility and immediate availability but come with risks like price changes and service disruptions. Following the best practices above, FreightCenter provides an extensive carrier network and a user-friendly platform to help with your spot quote needs. Make sure to give us a call or get a quote. 


FAQ: Spot Quotes

Q. Are spot quotes more expensive than rate quotes?

A. Spot quotes can be more expensive than rate quotes during peak demand periods or unfavorable market conditions. FreightCenter can help find flexible and reliable carriers.

Q. Can I negotiate spot quote prices?

A. Yes, you can negotiate spot quote prices and terms with carriers, especially if you have multiple quotes.

Q. Can I track my shipment with a spot quote?

A. Yes, FreightCenter’s user-friendly website allows you to monitor your shipment’s status and estimated delivery time directly.

Q. How can I obtain a spot quote?

A. You can request a spot quote directly through FreightCenter by providing details about your shipment, such as origin, destination, weight, dimensions, and delivery timeframe.



Why Choose FreightCenter?

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Advanced Technology Platform

FreightCenter's easy-to-use website makes shipping simple, from getting quotes and booking shipments to tracking deliveries and managing logistics efficiently.


Diverse Carrier Network

FreightCenter teams up with many trusted carriers, offering businesses a variety of transportation choices customized to their needs.

Save Money Shipping Freight

Cost Saving

FreightCenter's wide network of carriers and negotiation skills help businesses cut costs on shipping, guaranteeing affordable transportation options for their goods.

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What our customers are saying

We provide competitive freight shipping prices and an all-inclusive, easy-to-use shipping experience for our customers. Exceeding our customers’ expectations results in thousands of satisfied customer reviews and repeat business. We believe in the power of our customer relationships. Check out FreightCenter reviews from real customers, and learn what they have to say about their freight shipping experience!