One day I was driving down the road in my hometown and happened to notice an old barrel stove on the side of the road. It’s not that I was in the market for a barrel stove but I just hate to turn down a good deal if I could get one and this stove was perfect for my garage!! So I pulled over to check the price and saw that whoever was selling it wanted $200.00 and although it was nice, it wasn’t $200.00 nice, it was more like $100.00 nice. So I knocked on the door of the house the stove was in front of and old friend happens to open the door. I asked him about the stove and he gives me the back story on the stove and we start wheeling and dealing. I ended up paying $75.00 for the stove and before I left he said he would have given it to me for $50.00. I told him I would have payed $100.00. We laughed and after loading it in my truck I was on my way. It’s funny to me that negotiations seem so easy when there’s nothing really at stake, nothing to lose. I didn’t need that stove and could’ve walked away if I didn’t get the price I wanted. I wish moving freight was as easy as buying junk from the side of the road. No pressure, you always knew who you were dealing with, customers didn’t mind when the loads got moved and your livelihood didn’t depend on every dollar you brought in the door. Maybe there’s a way we can put the odds in our favor a bit every once in awhile.
I had a situation awhile ago where I was trying to move a load for a customer. The customer had given me the load for $800.00 and it was my job to get it moved and make a profit for myself. The market at the time showed that loads moving in this particular lane were going for $650.00 so that was my goal. I posted the load on the Load Board and my first call was from a carrier that offered to move it for $850.00. I told him I had $600.00 in the load, the phone line went quiet and I got nervous so I spoke up and said I had some wiggle room and I could give him $700.00 for the load. We closed the deal and I made $100.00 on the load. I was happy I got the load moved but disappointed I didn’t get what I wanted. So I started doing something a bit different.
My next opportunity was on a load I had $1200.00 on. The market showed this load was moving at $1125.00 so I had my work cut out for me. I posted the load and my first player (carrier) came on the 5th call. It was a carrier looking to get home and my load happened to be about 30 miles from his drivers home. When he asked what the load payed I told him $1000.00 and I shut my mouth to let him do the talking when that familiar silence hit. He told me he usually moves this lane for $1200.00 but needed to get his driver home but asked if he could get at least $1100.00 to cover some of his deadhead (how far the driver had to drive empty to pick up the load). I responded that all I had in the load was $1000.00 and couldn’t budge without losing money. We made the deal at $1000.00, I made $200.00 and I learned that sometimes when you give your rate and just shut your mouth, let them do the talking, they will more often than not, talk themselves into taking the load. Nowadays when I find a carrier looking to get home, I’ve made it a habit to shut up after I give my rate. Although it doesn’t always work, when it does, it can pay big dividends!!
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