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Surviving the Spot Market

February 16, 2021

Being an owner-operator gives you freedom, unlike hauling company freight. You’re your own boss. However, this is not without its challenges. The spot market is a volatile place. Because it is based on current supply and demand and for one-time load volumes for specific origins and destinations, it can be difficult to predict and depend on. You’re always at the mercy of the market.


You can’t profitably navigate the spot market without knowing how to sort out high-paying lanes that will make you money both ways. Dead hauling can be a big reason you’re not making good money on your loads. 


But it doesn’t have to be so difficult.


Carriers today are getting smarter by using precision technology to find above-market loads in real-time. Not only that, but this latest tech makes sure you’re not dead-hauling home and finds you the hottest lanes that make the most profit wherever you’re going.


Additionally, when navigating the spot market, there are many more factors to consider to make sure you’re driving a profitable load, including:


Transit time
  • Make sure to consider how many days you’ll be on a load. That good load with a high RPM might not be so great if the delivery date is too far out.
Weight
  • Consider the load’s weight and if your trailer can handle it and the wear and tear on your vehicle.
What kind of load it is
  • Characteristics of certain loads can lead to hidden or unexpected costs and possible time delays
Market (Headhaul vs. Backhaul)
  • Assess market conditions of your destination and nearby locations so you can plan a profitable way out
Who the shipper and receiver are
  • Ask about appointment times, and any conditions of the site that could cause complications or delays
Special requests or requirements
  • Make sure to factor in the time/money costs for special requests during negotiations


An independent owner-operator needs to consider all of these factors to ensure every load maximizes net profits. Technology, back-office support, broker connections, and sound decision-making all play a part in making any carrier successful. When you have all of these tools available, you can thrive in the spot market and grow your business. If all the above sounds overwhelming, give us a call. SmartHop provides a complete solution that helps small carriers maximize profitability on the spot market.

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