Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Five things worth haggling over

Connie Mack

"After all my years, there are two things I've never got used to - haggling with a player over his contract and telling a boy he's got to go back."
- Connie Mack (1862-1956) longest-serving manager in Major League Baseball history suggests 5 things worth haggling over

1. Home repairs

There is a lot of competition out there for home repairs like snaking your drain, painting, or electrical work. Know what your limit is and stick too it. You don't have the hire the first person who gives you a quote. We got four quotes to fix a leaking shower and nearly a dozen quotes for new windows. We still have not yet done the windows because the price is too high.
"Ultimately, being able to say no gives you a lot of leverage when you haggle. People who can walk away from the negotiating process often get called back with a better deal than those who feel (rightly or wrongly) that they have no other option. It's also important not to accept the first discount offered if it isn't what you want -- silence, waiting or just saying no can produce a better deal."
You can also get better prices in the winter when contractors are idle and need work.

Don't forget to check references, license and insurance. Sometimes the lowest bid is not worth the damage done by an unskilled contractor.

2. Auto repairs
"Finding a mechanic you can trust is a key ingredient to keeping your car well-maintained and reliable. But that doesn't mean you have to pay whatever the mechanic wants to charge."
If it's a big job get competing bids and ask your favorite mechanic if he/she will match.

3. Medical bills
"If you're low-income and have a hospital bill, you should ask to speak to the hospital's financial counselor. Many hospitals and other medical providers have charity programs that provide discounts for people making up to 300% of the federal poverty level. Since that level is about $14,000 for a family of two, a couple making up to $42,000 might qualify for some kind of break.
Another option is to ask for the same discounts the medical provider gives major health insurers"
4. Mattresses

Manufacturers and retailers deliberately obscure the information you'd need to compare mattresses by giving unique names to their product lines. So you have to find what you like by feel and dicker over the price. Walk out if the price is not what you want - you can always go to another retail store of the same company. We had one salesman get angry because he "called his manager" for a discount on our behalf and we still would not buy.

5. Jewelry

Jewelry markup is huge so don't be afraid to ask for 70% off.  Even 50% off may be over paying! Don't become attached to the piece - you must show that you can walk away and not buy. A smart salesperson will have you put on the jewelry because once you touch something, you're more likely to buy it.

Bottom Line

Don't be afraid to ask for a discount. If they say no, go somewhere else.

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