While some retailers might have set prices that are not up for negotiation, a lot of sticker prices are not final prices. While this will certainly depend on where you’re shopping and what you’re buying, you may be able to haggle your way to a better price. Next time you’re making a large purchase and hoping to get a good deal, keep the following in mind:
Timing is important
When it comes to striking a deal, the consumer will have the advantage by picking the right time to shop. First, you’ll want to consider the season and the time of year. Some products and items tend to be cheaper during specific times of the year—for example, if you’re buying major home appliances, fall and winter are usually the best times of year to do your shopping. In addition to picking the right time of year, you’ll also want to consider the actual day and time of day as well. Because many salespersons work on commission or need to meet certain quotas by the end of the month, you might want to try around this time. If you’re dealing with someone who hasn’t met this goal yet, and the month is about to end, you’ll usually have the upper hand. Finally, you’ll want to avoid busy weekends if possible, as it can be difficult to strike up a conversation with a salesperson and begin negotiating on prices. If your schedule allows it, try to do your shopping right when the store opens, and ideally during the week.
Find out what the going rate is
Before attempting to haggle for a lower price, you’ll want to know what the going rate is in general. The store you’re trying to negotiate at might be overpricing the item, and even if you are able to negotiate a better price, it could be priced lower at other retailers. Find the lowest price you can and try to go to that store to get the price even lower. If that store is too far away from you, you can bring in a catalog, website printout, or newspaper ad to the retailer closest to you that carries the same item. Often, retailers will match a better price, but you’ll need to show proof.
Don’t seem too excited
During the negotiation process, it’s important to curb your enthusiasm and seem indifferent about what you’re hoping to purchase, even if you’re really excited. It’s especially important to do this if it’s something that is difficult (or impossible) to find elsewhere, such as a particular house or car. If the seller sees you’re excited and have already fallen in love with what they’re selling, they will have the upper hand and know that even without lowering the price much (or at all), you’ll probably still buy it.
Ask about open box items and floor models
Depending on what you’re buying, you may be able to save a lot of money by purchasing floor models or open box items, which are often gently used products that work perfectly fine. When it comes to buying electronics, for example, you’ll often have this option, especially if you don’t have your heart set on a specific model or brand name. If it’s not clear whether there are any open box items or floor models for sale, be sure to ask a sales associate.