Have you ever been in that situation where you know you could land a better deal but you just aren't sure if you should ask? Check out this post from one of our readers, he knows how to haggle with the best of them and today, he is sharing his knowledge with us!
6 Things You Should Always Haggle Over
1. Hotel Rooms - Especially last minute! – Hotels have a unique problem, if they don’t sell a room on a given night, it is gone. So, they will often discount deeply at the last minute if they have unsold rooms! Try naming your own price at Priceline.com the day of your stay, but be prepared, you can specify the star quality and general location, but can’t pick the specific hotel. However, you can get some great deals this way.
If you must stay at a particular hotel, try calling and asking for a special rate. But get the details or you may end up staying in the living room of a suite without having the bedroom like I did, sleeping on a couch at a great rate! Who knew? (Seriously, this actually happened!)
2. Anything at a Garage Sale – Very few people having a garage sale expect you to pay the marked price on anything! They may have a sentimental dresser from grandma that they don’t really want to sell and won’t negotiate from that high price, but for most things I’d take the following strategy:
Gather up everything that interests you, add up the prices and go up to the owner and offer 50% to 75% of that total. The more you are buying and the later in the day it is, the more they are likely to take your offer. Chances are that they will counter a little bit higher, but still far below the marked prices.
Remember, at the end of the day, they DON’T want to be carrying that stuff back in their house!
3. Cars – Most people know you have to negotiate the price of a car, but what’s the best strategy to get the best deal? My strategy is to go to a reputable website like Edmunds.com for the True Market Value or KBB.com and get the Fair Purchase Price. These are averages that customers are actually paying in your area for a given make and model.
Make this the highest price you will pay. Period. Plus, talk to at least two dealers and let them know the prices that the other is offering. They can usually go lower if they have a target to beat.
If you're buying new, don’t be afraid to go to a lower trim level of a car and add the features you want rather than paying for a higher trim level and paying for features you don’t want. Tell the dealer exactly what you want and let them search other dealers inventory for the car you actually want to buy!
4. Any Personal Services – Always negotiate prices on yard work, handyman services, house cleaning, anything you are paying an individual to do at your house. Just don’t be too hard on the teenage babysitter that lives next door!
Seriously, these service providers expect you to negotiate and will usually mark up their prices expecting to come down. You don’t want to be the one that pleasantly surprises them by just paying the first price they offer. Make sure you are very specific as to what services will be performed as it is always more expensive to go back and add work in the middle of a job!
5. Anytime You are Buying Multiple Items – This may not work at Wal-Mart or Target, but it will work at almost any furniture, electronics (even at Best Buy), jewelry, or similar type store and of course, specialty boutiques. The idea is that the more you buy, the lower the prices will be.
Most of these stores have high enough markups that they can discount significantly AND they will IF you ask! Pick out all the items that you are planning to purchase and ask for their best price, then offer 10% less. Or ask them to throw in all the expensive cords you need to hook that new blu-ray to the new television.
Best Buy has predefined programs where floor reps can add in all items being purchased and the registers will come up with a package price, often a discount of 10% of more. Make sure you get all the extras such as cords, remotes, surge protectors and the like put together before they package it as these extras often will have the highest discounts!
6. Medical Bills – Hospital stays, physician services outside of normal office visits can kill a family budget and drain saving accounts very quickly. You should know that there are ways to stretch out and reduce the amount of these bills so that you don’t blow your budget and can maintain an emergency fund.
Here’s my strategy: Wait for insurance to pay their part and then wait for the final bill with amount you owe after insurance and only then call and talk to billing department. They almost always can offer a discount for setting up a payment plan if you are making a first payment right away and an even larger discount if you will pay the entire discounted amount right away.
Don’t agree to more than you can afford. And, be sure to call back every few months and try to negotiate it down further. As long as you are making payments on time, they will normally continue to work with you to pay off your bills without killing your budget.
Don’t put these charges on your credit card! Most of the time the payment plans worked out with the medical provider will not be charging interest, but your credit card will!
Hope these tips really encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and ask for better deals. You never know what you might get!