Build In Common

Negotiating on price: Why wouldn’t you?


When you’re working to a budget, price matters – whether it’s the cost of your sink or the labour to install it.

Even a small reduction in price might be the difference between being able to afford new stools to match your fancy kitchen bench, or perching on a borrowed stepladder to drink your morning cuppa (yep, I’ve been there). Perhaps more importantly, that small reduction might mean one less hour you have to work to fund buying those stools. So why don’t more people negotiate on price?

When I ask this question, I get a variety of answers:

“It’s not considered polite/normal in Australia.”
“But aren’t quoted prices fixed?”
“Its uncomfortable – I don’t like doing it.”

When we get down to brass tacks, it’s usually that last point that sticks. We have an idea that negotiating is ‘icky’, so we avoid it. But it doesn’t have to be.

Negotiating needn’t be a confrontation. It doesn’t have to leave you trembling, or offend anyone. Most people selling a product or their time will be happy to give you a small reduction on price rather than lose you to their competitor. They will welcome the opportunity to discuss price if they’re keen for your business. It can be as simple as pointing to the price and saying these five words to the salesperson: “Can you do any better?” The worst they can say is: “No.” In which case, you’ve lost nothing and can carry on regardless. But they might say: “Yes.” Wouldn’t that be lovely?

I do this routinely. For example, every time I walk into Harvey Norman to buy my vacuum bags, I say those five magic words and every time the salesperson says “I’ll just check”.  They knock $4 off my box of bags and I walk out $4 richer than every other customer who takes the price as written. No one has ever screamed at me, thrown me out, or so much as looked at me sideways. It usually takes 30 seconds – not a bad return on investment, I’m sure you’ll agree.

What if you did that with every item in your renovation plan? Could you save yourself a few hundred dollars that way? Now flip that on its head: are you willing to pay a few hundred dollars tax for being shy or too embarrassed to ask? Because that’s what the person who takes the full price vacuum bags is doing. They’re paying a tax for being unwilling to ask. Is that price too high for you?

If so, it’s time to put those five magic words into your script for all discussions with salespeople. Go forth and negotiate!

Our Guest Contributor:

Lacey Filipich has been renovating for 16 years and has been asking for discounts the whole time, even when it scares her. You may like to check out her detailed blog on negotiating discounts at Money School.

Whether you are thinking about building or renovating, or have already started a conversation with builder, Build in Common Toolkits are designed as your go-to guides. They will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to ask the right questions, to the right person at the right time in the build cycle. Check out the Build in Common Toolkits today!


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We believe that any woman can renovate, build or develop property; be it a renovation, extension, new-build, sub-division or a commercial development. Join us!

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