More than Just Freight Rates: 4 Tips to Negotiate Your Best Deal

Tips, Tricks & Advice

You have the shipment ready to be moved from Point A to Point B, and you want the most cost-effective solution to get it there. But, in the world of freight negotiation, there are more factors at play than just the rates at which you can ship your freight. Follow these 4 tips to boost your negotiation skills and ensure you’re saving money, paying a fair price for services, and getting the most trustworthy solution to support your business.


DON’T rely on memory in active negotiations.

DO Gather Your Intelligence

Do you know your freight profile? How much tonnage do you plan to ship?  Is your delivery timetable flexible? What is your service area? Can you describe the freight contents, and do you know what your freight classification is?  What do you pay your current carrier? How much do you want to pay? How quickly can you pay your bill? These seem like simple asks, but having all the answers to a carrier’s possible questions in front of you at the negotiation table will smooth the process and give you more confidence as you discuss your needs.


DON’T discount the extras your carrier offers.

DO Consider Added Value

Warren Buffet famously said, “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.” Your freight contract is about more than just the cost to ship goods; you are making a deal that could offer greater value than just available space on a truck or vessel. Consider the carrier’s capabilities in terms of accurate invoicing, online tracking tools, communication, customer service, and willingness to build a mutually beneficial relationship.  You must find the proper cost versus service expectation balance point for your needs.


DON’T be single-minded during the negotiation process.

DO Understand the Carrier

Yours is not the only business trying to make a deal. The carrier will come prepared with its own business concerns – including freight volume and weight, projected fuel consumption, fleet wear and tear, goods handling, and return trips.  Carrier time spent at pickup and delivery are also critical factors impacting costs. Be flexible in your negotiations and be prepared to compromise to ensure both sides are getting a fair deal.


DON’T leave anything on the table.

DO Make the Right Calls

The only thing left to do it negotiate the terms of the pricing agreement. Go over every detail twice to ensure you are both in agreement about rates by weight, size, and shipping method. Verify the length of the agreement, compensation for lost/stolen/damaged goods, fuel costs, sorting fees, and the shipping of hazardous goods. You should be prepared to make a counteroffer, but do some research ahead of time to ensure it’s fair market value for the services you are getting.

Adcco Incorporated utilizes your valuable freight bill and bill of lading data to extract the key transportation metrics critical to carrier negotiations.  Our goal is to manage your transportation expenses intelligently by utilizing a formal transportation RFP/bid process to first obtain the most competitive pricing possible, and then provide you with the data necessary to make an informed decision to balance transportation costs with your desired service expectations and needs, ultimately providing you the maximum value for your transportation dollars.  

Talk to our shipping experts today – and let’s get moving together.