Trucking Rates Per Mile in 2023

Published on
Mar 28, 2023
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What’s one of the main factors impacting how much carriers make? Trucking rates per mile.Any freight carrier knows that this rate tells them how much money they can charge to haul loads. And carriers should care about these rates because they directly impact their bottom line.When freight rates are too low, you may struggle to cover your expenses or make profits. When rates are high, you might price yourself out of the market and potentially lose business to competitors.Finding the sweet spot is key to earning top dollar in your markets. This article reviews the factors impacting trucking rates per mile and how you can negotiate better rates in 2023.

Factors that affect trucking rates per mile.

Many variables in the trucking industry are constantly in flux, directly impacting trucking rates for carriers. Some of the main factors influencing trucking rates per mile year-to-year include:

  • Shipping distance
  • Routing options
  • Economy health (and supply chain)
  • Type of freight
  • Seasonal demand
  • Fuel prices
  • Regulatory changes
  • Weather or road conditions

Even with all these other elements in mind, the two most significant factors affecting trucking rates per mile are seasonality and economic conditions.In 2023, consumer debt and the economic downturn indicate a dip in demand for shipped goods. And while the market may be stable now, this isn’t the best news for carriers, as spot rates remain rather low.Some industry experts anticipate higher demand for consumer goods in the latter half of 2023, but this may depend on the state of the economy. As a recession continues to come into view,, the future demand for shipped goods is difficult to pin down, most notably due to:

  • The emerging recession in the US
  • Consumers remain unsure about the state of their student debts
  • Inflation rates impacting spending habits
  • Higher interest rates
  • The instability of certain commodity markets due to the war in Ukraine

Still, as the weather warms up across the country, the produce and back-to-school season should all spell positivity for carrier trucking rates.

Why should carriers should track trucking rates per mile?

Since trucking rates per mile fluctuate so much as these factors change, carriers need to stay in the loop so they can accurately price their services and make better choices about business operations. Part of making these decisions come down to the different types of freight you handle as well, like:

  • Dry goods
  • Refrigerated goods
  • Livestock
  • Hazardous/specialized materials
  • Oversized or expedited loads
  • Flatbed cargo

For example, if you haul an oversized, expedited, or specialized load, it makes sense that this will earn you more money. It’s a tougher job that requires more expertise and skill. Taking this a far distance with high fuel prices and demand? You can negotiate even higher contract rates because those are other factors that directly impact trucking rates per mile.While tracking national economic health will help, you can also look at the Pickett Curve to learn more about current trucking industry rates. This index shows the relationship between trucking capacity and freight rates based on the concept of supply and demand.The point is that all these factors can help carriers create a fair price point for their services. And, since they don’t stay the same for long, you’ll want to stay in the loop to keep up with market pricing and charge fairly every time you agree to work with a shipper.

Negotiating rates based on trucking rates per mile.

As a carrier, negotiating freight rates can be a complicated, unpleasant task. But there are things you can do to make it easier on yourself. Here are our top tips for starting negotiations based on trucking rates per mile.Understand the market: View research industry publications, sign up for freight newsletters (like The Haul), or work with a company like Flock Freight to get a sense of how much you should charge for your services. When you see trucking rates going down, adjust your strategies to stay competitive.Know your operating costs and minimum rates: Before you start negotiations, you need to figure out how much you must make to cover expenses and make a profit. Include costs like fuel, driver wages, equipment maintenance, and insurance.Build relationships: As you develop rapport with shippers and other industry contacts, you’ll have a better shot at negotiating freight rates based on your reputation and service quality.Be flexible: Getting a fair rate is important, but you have to be willing to compromise (especially during slow periods) throughout the year.Use technology: Technology will optimize your processes and streamline operations, leading to better rates. Invest in tools that will improve your competitiveness. Working with a company like Flock Freight will help fill trucks to capacity using our patented tech, increasing revenue per haul by up to 20% with our marketplace of shared truckloads.

Get higher-paying loads from Flock Freight.

Carriers must understand trucking rates per mile because it directly impacts their profits.Knowing market rates often helps carriers negotiate fair pay and, whenever possible, may help them avoid jobs that result in financial losses. Plus, keeping track of these freight rates helps carriers stay competitive if they adjust their prices after understanding current market trends and the factors influencing them, like the national economy, fuel prices, demand, and seasonality.No matter how experienced you are with negotiating truck rates or following national trucking rates per mile averages, Flock Freight is here to help. Whether you follow our blog or newsletter, we can fill you in on the latest news in the trucking industry.Ready to earn up to 20% more per haul? Sign up with Flock Freight to get started.