Your instantaneous and automatic answer should be an emphatic and uncompromising YES! That is, if you are at least a little bit smart about that hard-earned money in your wallet. Don't you find it fascinating that in most other countries around the world, bargaining and negotiating for the best deal is normal, even expected? Unfortunately, here in the U.S. there seems to be some hesitancy -- a reluctance or even outright refusal to ask for a better price. Is this some sort of screwed up social conditioning Americans have adopted as a standard? Or is it simply because most Americans have not even considered that there might be a better way?
What Works In Bangkok Will Work In Best Buy!
Hello! Bargaining or asking for a better price really works, according to our granddaddy of all consumer saving tips, Consumer Reports. Last year, they conducted an exhaustive survey of 2,000 American consumers. The survey results indicate that of those people in the survey who reported that they attempted to negotiate a better price, almost 90 percent of them indicated they got a better price. In other words, asking for a better deal worked 9 times out of 10.
Does Income Matter?
Is there an income gap associated with bargainers? Perhaps there is. Check this out. According to Consumer Reports, their survey revealed that almost 60 percent of those earning more than $50,000 a year were willing to ask for a better deal. Sadly, of those who could certainly make use of a better deal, those making less than $50,000 per year, only a little bit more than 40 percent were even willing to step up to the plate and ask for a better deal. Even worse than that, a shocking 35 percent reported that they outright refuse to bargain. The price is the price, period. Ugh, so it's better to work extra hours at the job and clock some overtime pay so you can pay full price? Really? Not so much.
Your 411 On Bargaining
Start out with the right attitude. That is, you want to get in the right mindset. This is not an Ultimate Fighting cage match. You are simply approaching the salesperson, preferably someone at the management level, and requesting a better price. You may even find that approaching with a smile will work wonders for you before you even open your mouth.
Do Your Homework
Next, it helps to have done even a little bit of homework. Walking up to the manager in Best Buy without knowing what other retailers are charging for that 56-inch TV is just going to make you look silly. Like the late Rodney Dangerfield's infamous line, "You won't get no respect." Come on, nowadays everybody is toting around their smartphone. So you should already know when you walk in the door the range of prices for that TV. Armed with this information, you can speak intelligently to the manager and politely ask a question. You could use a simple, basic question like "Can you do any better?"
Can You Walk Away?
Now, at this point you will want to take a step back and wait. Don't blow it by speaking up too soon or volunteering too much information. Maybe the manager doesn't know that Macy's is offering the same model for $50 less; he might offer you a $55 savings. On the other hand, if the price is firm, you will want to be willing to walk away. If you aren't willing to walk away from the deal, the reality is you aren't going to get a deal.
Don't lock yourself into a fixed position. Maybe the person you are dealing with really can't budge on the price, but perhaps there are other things that are negotiable. For example, for that 56-inch TV you are eyeballing, can the manager provide free delivery? How about free installation? You see, bargaining does not have to just be about the price.
Bottom line is this: It makes cents (pun intended) to ask for a better price. What do you think? Do you bargain or not?
Car dealerships are one place where price negotiations are expected. While sales staff like to focus on monthly payments, it's smarter to negotiate the overall price, according to Time. If you're buying a used car, always be sure to look up the vehicle's actual Blue Book value. Have the car inspected and haggle for a lower price if it needs servicing.
The FTC advises consumers to shop around and negotiate all mortgage rates and fees, and doing so can save thousands of dollars. Those with good credit scores can often negotiate for a lower APR, while everyone should discuss lowering or eliminating certain closing fees and processing charges.
Monthly rent rates are totally negotiable, especially when you're renewing a lease. "If you pay on time every month, it'll be worth it for your landlord to offer you a better rate than to take a gamble with a new tenant," says HuffPost Money Editor Emily Cohn.
Customers often get caught by surprise when their monthly service charges skyrocket due to expired promotional rates. "Generally, keep track of what competitors are currently charging new customers, and indicate to your current provider that you are considering switching. Tell them the deal you saw, and ask them to match or beat," Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org told Time.
While not everyone is capable of haggling for a lower interest rate, you may have luck negotiating out of penalty fees, especially if you're generally a good customer. If you're looking into opening a new card, be sure to mention competitors' offers and rates to the company representative.
Customers can often negotiate the elimination of annual fees or registration costs when beginning or renewing memberships. Often, the threat that you may take your business elsewhere is enough to bend a customer-service rep into giving you a deal, according to Time.
With the home construction industry still struggling, maintenance workers are more willing to negotiate prices for services. Discuss opting for lower-cost materials and discounts on labor, advises Yahoo Finance.
Be sure to inspect clothes off the rack before bringing them to the checkout counter. If you find a pull or a small stain, pointing it out to a salesperson might snag you a discount on the item.
If you're going to haggle on anything, it should be on used goods. You should take the price tag at a garage sale or antique shop as a suggestion.
Much like credit card companies, travel sites compete with each other for customers, so make sure to shop around before booking a vacation. If you're using a travel agent, don't be afraid to reference deals you find online. If a travel site or agent won't budge on the per-night rate, they may offer a deal on transportation or throw in a perk, like a spa service.