You’re great at negotiations, and you have a pretty good handle on your shipping contracts. How much can Reveel really help?
Just ask Brandon Beasley from Gunner Kennels. As the VP of Operations, he feels very comfortable negotiating shipping contracts with the big carriers year after year to keep the costs as low as possible on their top-of-the-line dog crates.
However, with the help of Reveel, he was able to save an additional 5–10% on his shipping costs—and, in addition, he’s gained greater visibility into his shipping through Reveel’s reporting and auditing capabilities.
Who is Gunner Kennels?
Founder Addison Edmonds came up with the business idea when taking his dog, Gunner, on a hunting trip. With only flimsy dog crates on the market, he didn’t feel like he had a safe, heavy-duty option that could withstand weather or offroading. So he designed one himself.
Designed and tested for the dog owner who puts their dog’s safety above all, Gunner Kennels have 5-star crash test ratings from the Center for Pet Safety.
Shipping Sticker Shock
When Gunner Kennels first started selling their products online in 2015, they recognized that shipping these heavy-duty kennels would be a challenge. They shipped their large size kennel in two oversized boxes, which came with hefty fees.
The Gunner kennel is composed of over 125 high-quality parts, and they intentionally work with small businesses across the USA. They operate on tight margins, and exorbitant shipping costs greatly impact that. To help manage costs and maintain a healthy business, they absorbed part of the cost of shipping and passed the rest on to customers at checkout. However, that shipping cost for customers could still climb as high as $50 – 100 and the company realized their conversion rates suffered.
Balancing Shipping Fee Increases and Costs
When Brandon joined the company in 2016, he quickly got to work renegotiating their shipping contracts. While the business was getting decent rates, he felt the weight of aggressive price increases from the carriers year over year.
“We quickly realized this would be an ongoing, continuous aspect of the business that we had to keep close tabs on,” said Brandon.
It was an uphill battle, not only negotiating for better rates each year but also trying to offset FedEx and UPS price increases. And now, with shipping directly costs affecting their gross margins, it was even more critical for Gunner Kennels to get the best rates possible.
Partnering with Reveel
The partnership between Reveel and Gunner Kennels started with a simple invoice audit. From the first invoice, Reveel pointed out a few fees that Gunner Kennels shouldn’t have been paying—and the invoice auditing became the foundation of the ongoing relationship.
With the auditing, Brandon and his team also gained access to the Reveel dashboard.
“Initially, we weren’t looking to have more visibility and insights into how we were operating,” said Brandon. “We really did just want to save money.”
However, access to the dashboard proved to be invaluable. Seeing information like carrier performance, heatmaps of their shipping volumes broken down to the county level, surcharge breakdown, and historical information helped the Gunner team make more informed decisions faster.
Navigating the Contract Negotiations
Although Brandon and his team were successful with carrier contract negotiations, they wanted an additional resource to ensure that they got the best rates—especially when frequent price hikes have immediate consequences on Gunner Kennels’ business.
“We wanted that extra resource to make sure we were getting the best rates with these carriers,” said Brandon. But they also wanted an ally in their court that was just keeping tabs on things: “Keeping tabs on the industry, keeping tabs on our invoices, and really just being a partner and ensuring that we have the best rates possible.”
The most valuable aspect of the contract negotiations for a seasoned negotiator like Brandon was Reveel’s ability to compare their rates across the industry.
“[Reveel] came back with a really simple process on how to leverage that information.,” said Brandon.
Once we settled contract negotiations, Brandon estimates that Reveel got close to an additional 10% savings on top of their existing discounts.
“The way they use and present their data was informative and enlightening. It pointed out major opportunities we had in our agreement,” said Brandon.
Brandon’s Advice to Other Businesses
Even with Brandon’s extensive work with contract negotiations, Reveel still proved valuable to Gunner Kennels. And he advises other businesses who don’t have the internal expertise to turn to Reveel for their insight.
“But if you’re that company that doesn’t have that expertise internally, Reveel is an outstanding resource because they will take care of it for you,” said Brandon. “They will do the heavy lifting. They will do the compare. They will tell you what to tell your carriers. And in that capacity, I think Reveel is invaluable.”