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Why I Don’t Haggle With Local Businesses Near Me
Several years ago I walked into a local car dealership with one intention – to leave with a truck that would meet my needs and cost no more than my budget allowed.
My current car was a beater – my mechanic finally refused to work on it because it was a fire hazard and he worried about my safety. Because I was single and had no family in close proximity, I didn’t want it to break down somewhere in the surrounding mountains. I knew what I could afford to pay for a car, and I wanted a newer vehicle that would be reliable and satisfy my needs.
I was aware of the typical back and forth haggling; the dramatic sighs and the statement, “I’ll have to ask my manager about that price.” It’s the dealership dance – to act as if they are doing you a favor by offering you a price that is out of your comfort zone.
I explained to Keith, the sales person, that I wasn’t interested in sitting through hours of negotiation. I wanted to see the inventory that met my requirements, and then I wanted Keith to give me his rock-bottom price and payment options for the one I chose. I didn’t expect him to go any lower – I would say yes or no to the price.
Keith was surprised and a bit thrown by my statement. But he left for a few moments and came back with the dealership’s owner, and the financial manager. We chatted about my situation, my current car, and my requirements for a vehicle.
I left with a newer, used truck in great condition and lower miles. The financial manager gave me a hefty trade-in number for my current car (which was really only worth the same amount as the bottles in the back seat that I planned to return for cash). My monthly payment was within my budget amount. The loan interest rate was 5.0% – much higher than I had planned. But a few months later I dumped the high interest loan for a car loan at my credit union for 1% interest. I continued to pay the original amount every month, and paid off the truck loan earlier.
Trust me, I don’t mind haggling, and I love a good deal. I love saving money and spending wisely. The more money I can save, the better. I watch for sales and discounts on groceries and other necessities, carry several loyalty cards to grab the loss leaders, insist on price matches at big box stores, and will contact my telephone and other service companies to negotiate a better deal.
But when I need a quote on a service, such as plumbing, carpentry, or pest control, I don’t haggle about the price. I take the quote at face value, and either accept it or contract with another company.
I value the skills and service local businesses near me provide.
As a freelance writer, I understand how the economy can affect your outlook on your business. “A little money is better than no money,” some may say. But if I don’t value my own work, the spiral continues to push market rates lower and lower. Some writers scramble to find any work at any price, and bid lower and lower on a project. Their time is filled with work that nets them a below minimum wage profit, which is taxed at a higher rate if they are self-employed. They run a race to reach below the poverty level. I personally won’t be a part of that race, and I know that my experience, my time, and my product all have value.
My partner, a contractor, is constantly dealing with clients who accept a quote, then quibble about the amount when it comes time to pay the bill. “I’m only willing to pay 2/3 of the quote,” said one customer. Another asked for extra work to be done for free. “Well, you are here anyway, can’t you just add it in for free?” Sometimes my partner offers to do some small projects for free, and is happy to do it for his favorite clients. But expecting a professional service for a cut-rate price, or refusing to pay for a service when a quote has been accepted, is just not cool.
I firmly believe that successful negotiations with local businesses near me end with both parties feeling as if they received the expected value. When I ask for quotes from small business owners, I tell them up front that I am on a budget. When the quote comes in, I accept it or move on to a more reasonable quote. I respect the skills of an electrician, a plumber, contractor, or a landscaping company, just as I am confident of my own skills. They can pay their bills, and I can pay mine. Often, I receive a discount on services without asking for one, and it is a signal of respect instead of desperation.
By working with local businesses near me and paying a reasonable price for their services, the local economy balances. Businesses that conduct business regionally, work with local suppliers, and involve themselves (and their money) in a local community are typically more trusted than larger companies.
Sales persons can be high-pressure, but they are also trained in how to deal with high-pressure buyers. A good salesperson will understand honest needs and work to meet that need in a reasonable fashion. A conscious buyer will understand that both parties should benefit from the deal. Instead of using hard lines or aggression to save a dollar, consider the relationship you can build on.
I have since bought another vehicle from the same dealership. We have become friends – they go above and beyond in their service area and offer discounts at every visit. It is mutually beneficial, and we are both happy with the outcome.
That relationship is golden.
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