Where Can You Find the Best Truckload Rates?

If you’ve got a truckload shipment, you want the best truckload rates, right? Of course, you do. The challenge is finding them.

Let’s start with where you won’t find them. You won’t find the best truckload rates on the internet. Yes, you can do a search and you’ll find ads for companies as well as results on your Google page. If you click an ad, you might even be directed to a page where you can key in a little information and get a free quote. (Like you see at the side of this page.)

truckload rates

Online forms and internet ads are great ways to find a company and get a fast quote. But don’t expect to get the best truckload rates.

Several factors determine your best truckload rate. Yes, price is one factor, but it’s not the one. Another vital factor is delivery time. And yet another is post-delivery support.

Before you can know what your best rate is, you need rate the value of the price. For example, you wouldn’t choose the lowest rate if you knew it would result in an unhappy customer due to a delivery mishap, right? If customer satisfaction comes first, then make sure to consider other factors before price.

After all, many factors can influence a truckload rate. Weight, class, delivery distance and urgency are only a few. Urgency for example is often a customer-determined factor.

Another factor most companies overlook is post-delivery support. If something happens during delivery, will it become a head-ache for you and your customer? After all, even if the mishap isn’t your fault, you need to deal with it.

So before you even look for a rate, ask these questions:

  • How soon does my customer need the delivery?
  • Does the shipment have any special needs?
  • How important is support to me and my customer if something should happen?
  • Will this be a one-time shipment or do I have an ongoing need?

And then, the final question –

Carrier-direct or Truckload Broker?

One-time shipments or shipments that will always be the same cargo and go to the same destination may be a good reason to go carrier-direct. If your needs will vary, a truckload broker may be a better option. Companies like these have access to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of truckload carriers and owner/operators who may be ideal for your freight.  And most of these carriers and owners “bid” for your business through a freight broker, so you get the lowest possible rate.

Freight brokers also have experienced logistics experts who can walk you through shipping all different types of freight. Many even help with post-delivery issues like when you need to file a claim.

Plus, they often provide logistics analytics and reporting. Data like this helps to identify areas where you can lower your truckload rates. Based on this, they may even be able to work with you to develop strategies to lower your entire supply chain budget.

Now You’re Ready to Go Online…

Once you determine the best option for you, now you can go online to do a search. Once you find some options, then here’s what we always recommend – call them! A phone call can answer all your questions faster than a back-and-forth email exchange.

In the end, the best rates won’t come from an online form. But the online form is a great place to start a conversation to get you the best truckload rates possible.

Questions to Ask To Get the Best Trucking Rates

trucking ratesGetting great trucking rates should be simple.  Most truckload carriers and LTL freight companies have established rates and adjustments based on preset standards.  With a few simple questions, you can find out what they are.  Then you’ll position yourself to take advantage of them.

The best trucking rates don’t come from asking a carrier about rates and discounts though.  They come to companies that ask themselves a few simple questions first.

With that in mind, let’s look at the questions a company should ask before contacting a carrier. Then, we can look at the questions to ask the trucking service.

Questions to Ask Yourself

A good rate meets your need. A great rate meets your need and delivers value.  To get great rates every time, ask yourself these questions before you call a carrier.

Is this a one-time need, or will it be ongoing?

The answer to this question establishes both your immediate and long-term need.  It also clarifies whether you should work directly with a carrier or if you’d benefit from working with a third-party logistics broker. An ongoing need may require flexibility in both delivery location and services. For a need like this, a business might need a larger national or international carrier.

One factor to consider here: while companies that ship large amounts of freight might be able to get great low rates, a smaller volume shipper might not. Frequent but low volume shippers may find a freight broker can get them lower rates.

Am I shipping locally, regionally or nationally?

Some carriers ship within specifically defined areas while others ship all across the country.  If the need always ships within the same lane, it may be possible to arrange great low rates.  For needs that vary, low negotiated rates could be lost in the time spent contacting multiple carriers. For a varying need, a freight broker can provide pre-negotiated rates and save a company a lot of  time.

What am I shipping?

Will ever shipment require a full truckload?  Or will some shipments benefit from LTL or partial truckload services? Volume is one consideration.

Another consideration is whether you’ll always need to ship the same type of freight.  Will it always require a dry van?  Or will hotshot, refrigerated or flatbed services be in your future?

This may be the simplest question to answer.  To get the most benefit, answer it for the immediate need, the need one year from now and the anticipated need three years from now.

Now, once you’ve answered these questions, consider whether it makes sense to work carrier direct or with a freight broker.  It might be worth looking at both if you’re not sure.

Questions to Ask to Get Great Trucking Rates:

  • What is your service area?

Find out if they cover all the areas of service you need.  As a followup, you can ask if they ever hand off service to a partner carrier if you need to ship beyond their area.

  • Are there any discounts available?

Find out upfront how they handle their rates.  You can also ask if there are any times when rates are lower.

  • What is your claims process?

If you would have to handle all claims yourself, consider the cost in terms of time and money to manage a potential claim.  If the rate is low, but the risk is high, it may not be the best trucking rate.  This question helps to look at rates from a wider, more comprehensive view.

  • Do you provide shipping reports?

Like the question above, if you have to compile all your data, you’re losing valuable time.  Or you won’t identify the areas of cost savings.  Consolidated data makes savings opportunities apparent when reviewed.


Ask these questions and you’ll find the best trucking rates for your business.  Of course, if you’re looking for fast and simple, you can always leverage the resources of a freight broker.  They coordinate, schedule, and manage your shipments, in addition to providing already negotiated low trucking rates.