How I Saved $550 Through Creative Negotiating
I’m a “pay what they ask” kind of guy. I mistakenly assume that just because I expect someone to pay my quoted fee that the whole world works that way. This is a viewpoint that doesn’t cause trouble for me except when I fail to realize that other services don’t work similarly. Often, too late, I find out that I overpaid.
I am lucky to live on a lot with many trees. That’s a two-edged sword: it’s beautiful here during the summer, but between the leaves, squirrels and occasional dead tree, I have my hands full. Currently I have two trees that have decided not to come back after last year’s awful drought. I’ve been calling around for prices, but hit the jackpot yesterday when a guy knocked on my door selling tree services.
“I see you have a dead tree. That hits your house you’ll be in trouble,” he said.
I nodded. “I’m actually looking for prices. What would you charge to take it down?”
He thought for a moment, then looked at each tree closely from all sides. “$550.”
I began doing math in my head. $1,100 to take down two trees was going to be a ton of money. “Give me your number and I’ll call you. I have another project that’s swallowing my budget right now.”
When he left I had no intention of calling the guy back. Then I read this piece at DoneBy40. Negotiating is something I’m not a fan of, but heck, I’d do it. I told Cheryl, “Maybe I can talk him down to $450 a tree.”
Then I realized: I didn’t have to negotiate much at all. I called the guy.
“I’ve been talking to other tree people, but I’d like to have you do the work. I have a second tree that’s much easier than the first. If you can take them both down for $550, the job is yours.”
“Deal,” he said, without even blinking.
I realized the lesson: While I always think negotiating is always around price, it doesn’t have to be. You can give him the price but ask for more value. I had no problem asking the guy to do a little more work, and he had no problem accepting the job quickly because I wasn’t lowering the amount of money he was going to take home. He’s happy and I scored a much, much better deal than trying to get him to settle on $100 less.
What are your bartering wins?
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