How to Negotiate With Market Rate Increases


It’s no secret that rates are increasing and could continue well into 2018. Both spot rates and contract rates are spiking.

The looming electronic logging device mandate (ELD) is expected to decrease capacity by as much as 20%. Not to mention, as the economy grows – the shortage of drivers continues to grow, causing the capacity to remain tight.

So, rates are going up. Now that we’re in Q4 of 2017, many 2018 contracts are up for negotiation. How can you secure a good rate?

There are many factors to consider when calculating rates, but it all boils down to your own costs. When beginning a negotiation – understand not just what rate you want, but what rate you deserve. A little research can go a long way. Understand the services you can deliver and services your customer needs. Don’t try and up-sell customers just for a rate boost – if you don’t like it, chances are your customer won’t either.

Understand your competitive landscape. A competitive rate analysis will give you a better understanding of where you stand against your competitors.


If a rate increase is required, be sure to explain to your customer WHY there was an X% increase. Did your insurance rate go up? Did you add employees to increase productivity? Explain the reason for an increase.

Of course, in any negotiation, an essential factor is to sell the value of your service/product to the customer. If you’re selling based on rate, there will be no value-added in signing on with your business and endless price bargaining. Let your customer know what services you provide that differentiate your services from your competitors.

Lastly, use benchmarking tools to set and understand proper rate structures. Tools such as DAT’s RateView are great for understanding spot and contract rates in the current market. This data will likely give you a leg up in the negotiation game.

There are always opportunities to secure a good rate between you and your customer, you just have to know where to find them.

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