I share a work area with one other person. Her and I have always gotten along very well. She’s a bit older than me (mid-50’s I’d say) but she has a pretty practical outlook on life and on money, so it’s always fun to share stories.
She reminded me that it’s always worth asking for a discount on major purchases when she told me about the new furnace and A/C unit that she’s buying. She had gotten several quotes, and was leaning toward one in particular, when she asked if they would knock 15% off the price.
The guy she was working with basically said “OK” and gave her a new quote the next day with the reflected savings.
Asking that one little question saved her a thousand dollars!
Things To Do And Not To Do When Asking For A Discount
Do your homework – My co-worker got multiple bids, and since there was a wide range of prices, she knew that there was likely some wiggle room.
Do remember that companies have options just as you do – We often forget but it’s not just customers who have the opportunity to decide who they want to work with. A company that has limited capacity (in the instance of my co-worker, they can only install so many furnaces per month) can be picky, especially during peak times. If they have the choice of working with a levelheaded reasonable customer versus a hothead jerk, who do you think they’ll want to work with? Who will get the better discount?
Don’t be greedy – My co-worker joked that she could have maybe asked for more since the 15% was agreed to so quickly. I reminded her that if she would have started off too high, the answer would have probably been “No” in which case she would have gotten no discount.
Do have a plan – If you’re going to ask for a discount, make sure you know up front what you’ll do if they say no. You may very well simply agree to the price. You may go to a competitor. Whatever the case is, have that plan laid out beforehand.
Don’t lie – If you don’t have a quote from a competitor with a better price, don’t lie and say that you do. We expect companies to be honest with us, so why not return the favor?
Don’t be afraid of ‘No’ – My co-worker told me that her husband is the opposite in that he will not ask for a discount. In reality, even if they say no, you are no further behind than if you didn’t ask. So why not ask?
Do ask around – Whenever possible, I try to use or at least speak with people who I’ve used or who have done favorable work from people I trust. Not only should people be able to give you a referral, hopefully they can give you an idea of what to expect.
Readers, how often do you ask for a discount and what’s your strategy?