1. Prepare to Negotiate
Before you get to the negotiating, know what you need and what's available. Review market trends in the shipping industry and study the effects of currency rates, politics, and economics on the industry. Identify your volume needs and budget. Do you expect to increase your monthly shipments or will you need a standard service-level agreement?
2. Compare Market Prices
With many sources of data, carriers can find competing quotes fast. Before meeting with your carrier, find out competitors’ charges. Some price factors to compare include insurance, additional services, weights and dimensions, destination zip codes, and some more. When you know the competition, you’re more likely to earn concessions during negotiations. The carrier may reduce some rates if they think you will go to their competitor. So, make research and compare services to get the carrier’s attention.
3. Don't Pay for What You Don't Use
It's useful to know the level of service, and security you want. Discuss with your carrier the types of services they provide beforehand and pick only what's relevant. For example, do you need extensive customer service? Tell your carrier what's important and what's unnecessary - this will be able to save your costs.
4. Always Read the Fine Print
Look for hidden fees that you don't need. There can be extra charges for holiday and weekend deliveries or fees for cash on delivery. You can negotiate down accessorial charges the fine print offers and further reduce your costs.
5. Look Beyond Freight Rates
Companies that ship often know that though freight costs matter, sometimes other factors take precedence. If the carrier has a high rate of complaints and inefficiencies, you should go look for another carrier. If the carrier is working on resolving claims, negotiate a rule where every negative incident attracts a penalty to compensate you.
6. Build Relationships
When negotiating freight rates with your carrier, use your skills to build long-term relationships. Building positive connections can help prevent future delays and price hikes. It is important to remember the supply and demand in transportation is always changing.
7. Leverage Group Buying
Small and medium-sized businesses can join a buying group and can use collective buying power of the group to negotiate lower rates. A top advantage of group buying is that skilled negotiators make it easier to budget and predict your shipping costs.
8. Negotiate a Master Carrier Agreement
A Master Carrier agreement is a private contract with the carrier company that offers the unique terms only to your business. When you negotiate such an agreement, your carrier won't change tariffs or other terms without your approval.
If you don't have time to negotiate, you can give a call to our team - we have already done all the communication for you, and our carriers’ network is offering affordable rates for every type of freight.