I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been a good haggler. I tend to just take the price at face value and be done with it, but a bit of healthy haggling can be just what you need to knock some money off the price tag and save a little extra money. You won’t have much luck haggling for a lower price on a litre of milk at the supermarket, but specialised stores will often be willing to bend on their prices if you know how to do it. It takes some effort, but haggling is still easier than working! What’s the worst they can say – No!
Tip 1: Ask for something extra
Haggling isn’t just about lowering the price of something; you can also use it to get extra merchandise. For example, if you’re buying a new bike, instead of asking for a lower price, ask if they could throw in a free lock or tire pump with the purchase. Shops are usually a lot more lenient about giving bonuses than cutting prices.
Tip 2: Pick the right moment
You have to work with the shop if you want them to even consider haggling with you. The best time to do it is when the shop is empty, or practically empty. Consider it from the shop owner or salesman’s point of view: All of the customers have to be served, and the last thing they want is to waste extra time haggling over price with you when they could be helping out someone else and getting another commission. On top of that, if there’s a chance that other customers can hear him striking a bargain with you, he’ll be less likely to do it so other customers don’t start asking for the same thing.
Tip 3: Talk to the right person
Trying to haggle a lower price out of a new part time employee is a waste of time – he couldn’t give you a discount if he wanted to. The people you want to talk to are the owners, managers, and supervisors, the people with the most authority.
Tip 4: Pay in cash
A lot of stores, especially independent shops, will be more inclined to work with you on price if you’re willing to pay in cash or with a debit card rather than with credit. Work the conversation up to the right point, and then ask if they would be willing to knock a few dollars off if you pay with cash on the spot. You’ll be surprised at the favourable responses you get.
Tip 5: Know your prices
One thing that brings a lot of stores their customers is having the best bargain. If you know for a fact that another store offers the same item for a lower price, you can use that knowledge to appeal to their sense of business. Most owners even have the policy of “If you can find a better price, we’ll beat it.”
Tip 6: Impression is everything
It’s the people who can build up a good rapport in a short amount of time who have the best luck with haggling. If you can develop a quick relationship with the shop owner or manager you’ll be more likely to get a discount when it comes time to seal the deal. It also doesn’t hurt to hint that you might be coming back as a repeat customer in the future.