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What is Negotiable?

Way back in week 1, one of the first posts I released referred to negotiating for a car .   During that post, Finance Solver mentioned the old saying “Everything is Negotiable”. Well you know what, I’ve found that saying to be 100 percent true. Now I’ve provided you with tips on how to negotiate here, but I want to follow up with one more post on this topic. Particularly what is negotiable. Some of it may surprise you:

  1. Subscription services like Sirius XM, Cable TV, Internet, cell phone service, etc are almost always negotiable. Often times there are some great published discount offers, but the reality is the best deal is usually found by talking to the retention department. When you call, the best results usually occur by threatening to cancel service. Usually the customer service representative for retention is authorized to give you the best deal to keep you on. You can Google more on specific deals to shoot for to arm yourself in these calls. I’ve never paid full freight for a subscription service and neither should you. Currently we have a 15% break on the cost of internet service because of my negotiation.
  2. Large Electronics can also be negotiable. Visit the scratch and dent area of your local Home Depot, Best Buy, etc and the price on the item is not the price. Offer something reasonable, and you will likely walk out with the item. We once negotiated 300 dollars off a scratch and debt refrigerator with a free 3 year warranty. I’ve personally found new non scratch and dent hard to get a negotiation started unless it’s a left over floor model. So look for something that is scratch and dent that is otherwise new.
  3. Which leads me to floor models. I have a few pieces of furniture around the house that were picked up for a song from big box retailers as floor models that we’re no longer carried. If you see a floor model but no stock, do not hesitate to ask if they will make a deal. We have a desk we use for mail in our foyer that I picked up as a Walmart floor model for $10 dollars. It was selling for $299 dollars new.
  4. Cars and Home purchases are pretty obvious. Each time I’ve sold a house or car I’ve personally increased the listed price because I expected the person buying to negotiate. Ignore the real estate agent telling you there are 20 competing offers, and cut some money off the price.
  5. Real estate agent fees are also negotiable. I’m not a big fan of paying them at all, but if you have to you might as well keep the payments low. With our last sale we negotiated a 5% agent fee, down from a 7% opening position. Even better if you can position yourself for sale by owner and only have to pay the buyer fee.
  6. Insurance on cars and houses are often negotiable. Simply ask. Bring estimates from other companies via a insurance cross shop tool to help in the negotiation. Our current car insurance rate throws in an umbrella policy for free as a result of prior negotiations.
  7. Another area people often forget is your employment compensation. Always negotiate for a sign on bonus or a slight pay bump when changing companies, it is generally expected. Also consider negotiating for a pay raise at least once every 2 years with your employer.
  8. Repair services are also negotiable. The last time I received a quote on a car repair the first words out of my mouth was can you knock 100 dollars off. This also applies to plumbers, contractors, appliance repairmen, etc.
  9. Medical Bills, if you’re​ paying out of pocket instead of via insurance then ask the hospital or doctor. Usually they will work with you.
  10. Debt, yes, even debt payoff is negotiable. It may hurt your credit score but lenders are willing to take off a small amount to ensure they get something back if you’re​ in dire straights. I recommend only using this one as a last resort.
  11. Anything in a furniture store. It’s expected again. Similar to what I do with a house or cars, I wonder if they jack the prices up simply to given themselves room to negotiate. Do not be the sucker who does not negotiate. We bought a pair of couches when we purchased our last house. Ultimately, we paid the price of one for the pair.
  12. Items sold by a private seller or sold as used.
  13. Other services like Trash/Recycling can be negotiable. Normally, I’ve found this one is easier to negotiate as a group by banding your neighborhood together in the negotiation. I partnered with our neighbors and convinced our local provider together to provide us a lower rate.

Remember it never hurts to try. You would be surprised and before I started probing I never realized how many opportunities there are to negotiation.

Have you negotiated for anything others might find surprising?

26 Comments

  1. Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com
    Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com March 24, 2017

    Wow. 7% to sell your property? As a realtor, even I think 5% is a bit high. I am not sure of the norm in the US, but the area that I serve (in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) the commission can be around 3.5%, depending on what services you want. This includes both the buyer and seller’s agent’s commissions.

    As for pricing your home, it best to ask a realtor to provide you with a recently sold or market report. You don’t want to overprice your home as all buyers do comparison shop. If you overpriced your home by too wide of a margin, you are actually doing more harm than good. First your home will be compared to more expensive homes, secondly, you may not get as many viewings as some buyers are priced out. Third, it may take longer to sell. Lastly, you will miss out of some great multiple offer situations, which befits the seller 99.9% of the time.

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 24, 2017

      The last I heard national average in the US is somewhere between 5.5 and 6%. Usually the buyer and seller split in half. Usually the realtor is subcontracted to a large realty company that takes half again. I.E the selling realtor makes 1.5%, but it costs the homeowner 6%.

      Very true on pricing your home. Thanks for adding a realtor perspective.

  2. Valuable information – you will never know until you ask!

    I’m working on asking for things more often – people want to help. Also, if the customer is happy, then generally, the customer will come back to buy more!

    Thanks for the post FTF – have a good weekend.

  3. Mrs.Need2Save
    Mrs.Need2Save March 24, 2017

    We have certainly had success negotiating with providers like Sirius/XM and phone providers. We always check out the scratch and dent section when we need a new appliance of some kind. If I recall, we got a handsome discount on our current fridge because there was a scratch on the side (where it rests against the wall and noone sees it). Mr.Need2Save is also very adept at navigating both the buying and selling side of Craig’s List now.

    It helps with employment compensation discussions if you’ve done some homework and have salary data to support your request for a higher base pay.

    Nice summary and some that wouldn’t immediately come to mind. Cheers!

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 24, 2017

      Thanks Need 2 Save. I’m pretty good at the buy side of negotiation. Not so much on the selling side. Do you have any tips? I would love if you’d do a guest post on the sales side.

  4. Apathy Ends
    Apathy Ends March 24, 2017

    Negotiation is a great skill to learn, especially when you apply it to the bigger purchases you mention (cars/homes/furniture) and the reoccurring service charges.

    I always work in free delivery on larger items since we don’t own a truck and when we bought on credit, would get them to extend the 0% interest period. It is surprisingly easy with a little practice.

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 24, 2017

      Great tip there. FYI something to consider you can rent a truck from Home Depot for an hour for like 29 dollars. It might not be worth your time, but should you ever need it.

  5. Jim @ Route To Retire
    Jim @ Route To Retire March 24, 2017

    Ha, I used to dread my conversations with Sirius every year. We’d go through the I’m going to cancel speech. They’d tell me a lower price. I’d want an evenlower price. They’d put me on hold and then come back with a better price.

    What a pain… I just cancelled a last year and I definitely don’t miss that song and dance! 😉

    I’ve never thought of negotiating on insurance – I’ll have to give that a whirl and see how that goes.

    I have, however, pulled off a couple sweet deals at Lowe’s when buying appliances and got the prices down and free delivery.

    — Jim

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 24, 2017

      I’ve been in and out of Sirius subscriptions a few times over the last decade. The threaten to cancel call is kind of annoying.

  6. Mustard Seed Money
    Mustard Seed Money March 24, 2017

    My wife was just negotiating with a salesman to buy some software and got them to throw in a $100 product for free. All because my wife asked. It’s amazing what people will do if you ask. The worst they can say is no.

  7. David
    David March 25, 2017

    You’re right, everything can be negotiated!

    The biggest things that I’ve negotiated are cars and employment. I bought my Golf GTI for $3,000 below MSRP because I negotiated below the TrueCar price. I also got a new job offer and negotiated up $5,000 a year, which ended up covering the new healthcare charges. I ended up at this new job, because my old company refused to negotiate my salary for a promotion.

    Negotiating is a skill that we really should all learn because it can add up significantly, in terms of lower monthly payments or higher income.

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 25, 2017

      Nice job on the car and salary negotiations. The last time I changed companies I used lower quality health care as a negotiation lever for a signup bonus.

  8. Stephen
    Stephen March 26, 2017

    Everything is negotiable. It’s sometimes harder to get the other person to come to the table or maybe you’re not talking to the right person. But if you make the right offer, where they accomplish something they need to accomplish you can certainly get some kind of compensation.

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 26, 2017

      So very true. It’s a lot easier if your talking to a manager or similar level whom has the ability to actually approve a discount.

  9. Troy @ Market History
    Troy @ Market History March 26, 2017

    Here in Australia, business flexibility is low. For example, none of the cellular networks really offer any discounts! (besides the obligatory Christmas discount). Back in Canada, the networks are constantly trying to outcompete each other with new and cheap offers.

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 26, 2017

      Do they do unadvertised discounts? That’s a lot of what we see here. You say I’m going to a competitor and suddenly they want to deal. As Jim pointed out with some providers it’s so routine that’s what people think of when they discuss the company.

  10. Song
    Song March 26, 2017

    Great tips! I’ve always hesitated on negotiating repairs service however in fear they might do a crappier job since there’s less money it it for them. Insurance negotiations has always been where we saved the most from, especially if you’re diligent and simply switch insurance companies every year or two to get the lowest price.

    Another one of those negotiable things is credit card annual fees and bank fees.

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 26, 2017

      For better or worse I haven’t noticed much difference in the quality of service, its’ usually universally horrible regardless of cost. The quality of car repair shops seems to have dropped precipitously around here. Thankfully I know what I’m looking for so I check their work.

      Great add on credit card and banking fees.

  11. DJ @1000WaysToSave
    DJ @1000WaysToSave March 26, 2017

    100% agreed! I personally make it habit to never-ever pay full price – for pretty much anything. I think more people would be surprised at how many discount opportunities they have within their reach – all if they just ask!

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 26, 2017

      it is not really part of our culture to realize you can negotiate. I’m not sure why, but your right people don’t realize what asking can do for them.

  12. Moose
    Moose March 26, 2017

    Great post. This is all very true in the U.S. Overseas, EVERYTHING is typically negotiable and people are much more accustomed to negotiating/bartering.

    “Getting To Yes” is a great book on negotiations that was part of my business negotiation class. Highly recommend it.

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 27, 2017

      Very true, especially in Asia bartering and negotiation is the norm. Thanks for the book recommendation, I’ll check it out.

  13. Finance Patriot
    Finance Patriot March 30, 2017

    Number 7 is right. 3 years ago I was making 85k plus 20% in bonuses. I started asking for raises and promotions. Now I’m making 100k and 30% per year in bonuses. In 3 years, I went from 102k to about 129k. For years I never asked for more money- big mistake. Better late than never.

    • fulltimefinance@fulltimefinance.com
      [email protected] March 31, 2017

      Great to hear about the successful raises. From the sounds of it your approaching retirement? How much further do you have to go? Any plans to negotiate a severance?

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