Anand Venkatraman   10th Feb 2022

tips for contract negotiation

Shippers need efficient parcel contract negotiation with parcel carriers to maximally reduce their shipping charges. The shipper needs to know the shipment trends and characteristics before moving for carrier contract negotiation. There are many factors that affect the cut down in pricing which needs to be negotiated carefully. Being clear with these and also knowing where the carrier can leverage his profits, the negotiation table becomes a clear platform for the shipper.

Some factors to be aware before contract negotiation

Know your shipping volume and spend based on service and zone

The shipper has to be clear about how much volume and spend he does on an average per year. This should be further split into service-based and zone-based. This would make it easy to focus on key spend areas for negotiating discounts. The key spend areas should have flat discounts or in carrier terminology, the base discounts. Also, while negotiating, the carrier, knowing these details, generally, negotiate for less discounts to maximize their profits. The shipper has to be careful in these areas and not get carried away when the shipper offers more discounts in other areas.

Know which surcharges(accessorial charges) you incur more in volume and spend

The shipper should be aware of both volume and spend as discounts for surcharges are quite lucrative. One should be clear and discrete to ask for a specific percentage of discounts in these surcharges. Some surcharges have high pricing per package and it helps to get significant discounts on them. Also, it’s worth having discounts on all accessorial charges that have minimum threshold packages.

Know if you have Dim weight or actual weight in volume and spend

Dim factor is crucial if you are sending customized packages and more often the carrier applies dim weight than the actual weight. Negotiate dim factor, especially for the packages in the services that have this. The factor should also be significant to get close to the actual weight or less. This is an additional asset to shipping contract negotiation.

Know your weightage of Domestic versus International shipping

Carriers tend to give inclined discounts to either domestic or International packages depending on the spend. The shipper can get carried away and lose on the other side. One has to be careful to get the right balance of discounts in both areas.

Know if packages are hitting minimums in large volume

More often, the packages can hit minimum and the package discount is compromised. Knowing the volume can have the shipper negotiate for the Minimum Reduction Amount (MRA). Proper MRA value helps in getting savings for shippers.

Things to be beware on the contract negotiation table

Carriers’ focus

Carriers are for customers’ satisfaction and they are generally well advised on the package flow of the shipper. They know which discounts are crucial. They make the shipper comfortable to negotiate but ensure that these areas are not discussed much. Always be alert in negotiation with the carrier. They tend to divert focus from the necessary discounts to other areas where shippers would not fetch much.

How much discount can be fetched for the annual spend of your stature?

Generally, the other shippers’ discounts are not known and hence, the trend of how much to bargain for each category of percentage has to be known from experts. The carrier is not going to give more than what the shipper asks!

Focus on getting more of Grace/Base discount than earned/performance discount

It’s worthy to get Grace/Base discount as it’s a flat discount and guaranteed. Earned/performance discount places variation based on the spend. Unless the shipper is absolutely sure of his spend, it’s always recommended to secure the Grace/Base discount.

Fetch the necessary Grace/Base discount, dim factor, surcharge discount without fail

Do not come back from the negotiation without fetching the necessary Grace/Base discount, dim factor, surcharge discount. The shipper should be prepared before the meeting with the carrier on each specific aspect and gracefully convince the carrier on these.

Consider alternative carrier and negotiate to know the value of your shipping

Its always recommended approaching more than one carrier when one is not satisfied with the present carrier. By analyzing the past shipping details of the shipper, auditing companies will help in deciding which carriers to choose. Usually, for parcel shippers, UPS contract carrier agreement and FedEx contract carrier agreement are complementary to consider.

Be careful in negotiating minimum performance to make the discounts valid

The carrier always has a clause of minimum performance for aspects of the agreement to be valid. One should be careful to set these at the minimum for the rainy season.

How does Audintel help?

Audintel helps shipping companies analyze and identify shippers’ data. Analysis of key areas where they need to be careful to get the maximum discount and to select alternate carriers. Also, the minimum threshold in others.  Audintel reports help the shippers to analyze the new contract presented by the carrier. The savings using already shipped packages with the new contract is presented. This carrier contract optimization can be done either for complete contracts or amendments.

Final Remarks

Shipping companies need a lot of input on their data. The trends where other shippers fetch the discounts. The carrier gives varying discounts depending on the awareness of the shipper. All aspects where discounts can be fetched with the maximum are clearly understood. This means, critical reporting capabilities and cost model philosophy clearly presented to the shipper. All assistance is given to fetch secure new and improved carrier rates. For further advice and services, call us today at 310-710-7005 or contact us or visit our Audintel website.