Tips from a Broker: How Carriers Can Better Negotiate with Brokers – Part 2


Negotiations between brokers and carriers can be difficult.

Having some tips for what to say and what to avoid saying will help. After all, you don’t want to ruin the negotiation process before you even get started.

Take a look at Part 1 in this series: Tips from a Broker
When talking to a broker, avoid saying:
  • “That rate is cheap.”
  • “What’s your best rate?”
  • “Can you do more?”
  • “Other brokers have it posted for more.”

It might be difficult, but avoid saying anything that will immediately derail your negotiations and cause the broker to NOT want to work with you. This is primarily your opportunity to listen. There’s no need to provide a long reason for why you don’t want to accept the rate. Simply say you can’t do it for that rate. The broker will either raise the rate to get negotiations started, or the two of you will part ways cordially. And remember, you’ve indicated your interested in the load. If the broker gets desperate, they may call you back with a higher rate.

Make sure you DO tell the broker:
  • Complete details about your equipment.
  • Your actual location.

If the broker knows exactly what kind of equipment you’re working with and where you are, they’ll know if it’s going to be possible to negotiate successfully which saves you both some time. Plus, even if this load isn’t right, they may be able to tell you about another load they have that is more accurate to your needs.

Rate Mate - equipment rates.
Know your data.

You can’t be an effective negotiator if you don’t have up-to-date information. Make sure you understand:

  • The overall current market conditions.
  • Current freight rates.
  • Current trucks in the lane.

Truckstop.com Pro comes with decision tools like Rate Mate® so you can see posted, paid, and submitted rates by equipment type. You can also see truck supply and demand at origin and destination locations. Having accurate information will help you get where you need to be quickly.

Watch a video about Rate Mate.
Build a relationship with the broker.

Taking the time to actually build relationships with brokers can make you more money over the long term. Here’s how:

  • It can bring you steady lanes and routes.
  • Familiarity means trust, and trust can mean higher rates because of the security it gives the broker.
  • You can get loads faster since you spend less time seeking them out. That means the opportunity to move more loads.
Learn how to have better relationships with brokers.

It may not be easy in the beginning to avoid telling the broker that their rate is cheap. But over time, it’ll get easier – especially as you see the tips above starting to work in your negotiations.


Take a look at the Truckstop.com Load Board to see how it can help your business.


Tyler Johnston has spent 6 years at Mercer Transportation where he is a Freight Operations Manager.

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