Five Things You Never Thought To Negotiate
Ace negotiating 101 to save your time, money and get what you want.
There are two main questions when we negotiate: How do we do it well? When is it appropriate?
Most of us know we’re supposed to negotiate when it comes to buying a house or a car, but how about at the dry cleaner? Or when we’re on the phone with our cell phone provider? Hesitate no longer.
Read on for five unexpected costs you should negotiate, and how:
1. Cable and Cell Phone Bills
When to negotiate: You’ll be most successful if you try to negotiate with your current carrier near the end of your contract, when they’re more desperate to keep you. Remember: It’s far harder for a company to acquire new customers than to keep the ones it has. Go into the negotiation after doing competitive research on sites like Billshrink and Lowermybills to know what they’re offering new customers, versus what they’re offering with the plan you have.
How: Here is a nine-step process for negotiating your phone bill, including a sample script for your phone call–all the same principles apply to negotiating your cable bill. If the first rep you speak with says she can’t do anything for you, ask to speak to someone in the customer cancellation department. That’s where the customer service agents have real power. If they transfer you to a “retention department,” know you’ve got the upper hand, since that’s the department trained to offer deals to keep you.
2. Furniture and Mattresses
When to negotiate: When it comes to mattresses, always try. Don’t be shy about asking for special deals, like a price reduction, free shipping or a complimentary box spring. Mattress manufactures set minimum prices that they allow retailers to sell their mattresses at, so a store either has to price them at that minimum or overprice them and negotiate. Most of the larger chains price them at the minimum, so if a store is willing to negotiate, odds are they’re overpriced.
When it comes to other types of furniture, you’ll often have more luck when you can pay in cash, or when you’re at a family-owned shop rather than a big chain. Smaller shops mean you can negotiate straight with the owners, rather than dealing with a salesperson who doesn’t have much power to budge.
How: Furniture is often sold at 80% markup, letting stores give the impression that they’re selling cheaply when they host sales–but even during a sale, they’re still usually making a huge margin. So, try to negotiate past the discounted price. If all else fails, SmartMoney suggests, write down the product number: “You might be able to search online for other retailers who sell the same piece at a lower price.”
Up next: Medical bills, vacation days, and more!