Personal Finance

Can You Negotiate Down Black Card Fees

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 13 minute read

Everything, so the saying goes, is up for discussion. Anyone who has ever tried to dispute with the DMV understands that this may not be strictly true. However, you might be surprised by how many topics are actually up for discussion.

You are aware that it is possible and even encouraged to negotiate the price of a car or house. While bargaining with your employer, energy companies, or anybody else trying to sell you something, consider these 19 additional points.

Things You Should Always Negotiate in Order to Get a Better Deal

  1. Employment Advantages

Employment perks, such as health insurance and retirement funds like 401(k)s and 403(bs), may represent thousands of dollars in annual savings, and can also help you maintain work-life balance, happiness, and sanity in other ways. Paid vacation, adaptable scheduling, and the chance to work from home are all examples. Also, all of these terms are up to discussion.

When my friend Ray applied for a job that included basic free accommodation, he was able to negotiate a much larger flat. I’ve successfully bargained for companies to pay for health insurance and contribute to 401(k) plans on my behalf. Indeed, it is possible to bargain for and obtain health insurance coverage through work done in a part-time capacity.

The trick, as in every bargaining situation, is to bargain from a position of power. Don’t just show up expecting anything for nothing. You may use these methods to improve your wage and benefits package at your current employment.

  1. Job Title

Having worked in a number of different industries, I can say that companies are more lenient with promotions and job titles than they are with raises. In the end, you’ll only need to pay for one of them.

If your current company is unwilling to increase your income or provide you with better benefits, suggest that they at least upgrade your work title so that you may negotiate a higher salary and greater perks when you leave.

Methods of basic bargaining are consistent. Study the fundamentals; they will serve you well in any kind of negotiation.

  1. Rent

Personally, as a landlord, I can assure you that rent is always open to discussion. If given the option, most landlords would choose for higher rates. Of course, they have other worries besides the rent amount.

Stability and consistency in rent payments is highly desired by landlords. Owners seek renters who would treat their rental homes as though they were investing hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money. They’d like to reduce costs in areas like maintenance and vacancy.

Applying these strategies will help you reduce your rent even if you remain in your present dwelling.

  1. Mortgage Interest Rates and Fees

It was in the lending industry that I got my start. Almost all loan officers work on commission, and that’s how I made my living; the higher the interest rate and fees I quoted a borrower, the more money I got if the loan settled. It’s a reality that loan officers work in sales. Interest rates and fees may be reduced, albeit this would result in a smaller commission for them.

Shop around for the best rate by requesting quotations from several lenders and brokers. The trick is to avoid giving everyone permission to see your credit record at the same time. Instead, check your credit record and make an informal request for an estimate of rates and fees depending on your score. If you want to lock in your interest rate, you’ll need to request a credit draw once you’ve decided on a loan.

Comparison shopping may seem like a hassle, but paying thousands more in interest over the course of a 30-year mortgage might be avoided with the right plan. Your time is valuable, so take an additional hour to make some calls. Using a service like LendingTree can streamline the procedure for you. Answer certain questions, and they’ll provide you loan offers from many institutions.

  1. Home Repairs & Services

General contractors operate as sole proprietors. Just like commission-based salesman, they might take a smaller price if it means making a larger profit for the company overall.

If you don’t want to choose the contractor offering the lowest bid, use that bid as leverage in negotiations with the other bidders. The thousands of dollars often spent on necessary home repairs provide a huge savings potential. Clipping grocery store coupons will save you a few dollars, but knowing how to negotiate your home repair costs can save you thousands.
If you want to save money, get the best contractor you can find by comparing estimates.

  1. Auto Repairs

In a similar vein, your technician may be amenable to discussing more affordable repair options with you. The process always begins with the same step: gathering various quotations to compare. Mechanics who are aware that customers are shopping around for estimates are more likely to provide fair prices for their work. A price increase is to be expected if the seller truly believes they have you by the balls.

If you’re stuck without a working vehicle, it’s time to start calling mechanics for estimates. It’s better than mindlessly taking the first quotation you hear, but you still need to believe that the diagnosis is true rather than exaggerated.

  1. Furniture

To begin, there are numerous items that you should consider purchasing. The moment you take possession, the majority of its worth drops, even if the item retains its original purpose and attractiveness. Moreover, all used-item prices are open to discussion.

New furniture is not the only thing for which you may haggle over the price. You guessed it: it all begins with shopping around. You might get better deals on the same piece of furniture by shopping online. If the store is worried about losing your business, they may be willing to substitute a comparable but not identical piece of furniture.

Keep in mind that the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) serves as the basis for furniture pricing. To ensure that merchants have ample profit margins, MSRP is always astronomically high.

Furthermore, there are other ways to save costs while shopping for furniture outside haggling. If you want to save money on brand-new furniture, here are several strategies you may use.

  1. Electronics

Electronics, which merchants also strive to sell at a high MSRP, fall under the same category. Shop around, keep an eye out for sales, try to pit different stores against each other, and utilize other common strategies to bring prices down. However, the floor model of several electrical items may be purchased at a discounted price with some haggling.

One further option is to see if you can learn which models are now out of stock. Don’t be shy about requesting a black version of a camera if you find that it isn’t currently stocked. If they tell you that they only have it in red, rather than black, your response should be, “Red? I was dead-set on wearing black. Unless you can provide me with a substantial discount on the red version, I’ll have to get it online.

To put it simply, salespeople are eager to close a deal right now. Let them know that you’re hesitating to buy from them and are considering purchasing from a competition until they provide you a substantial discount.

Finally, if you want to avoid the retail madness completely, think about getting your devices used or reconditioned.

  1. Jewelry

Just like new furniture or gadgets, jewelry quickly loses a lot of its value after purchase. It’s just another reason to shop at the second-hand market for jewelry.

Though, much as with purchasing new furniture or gadgets, you may be able to haggle down the price of jewelry. Although competition is higher than in some other retail sectors, the usual retail principles still hold. Managers and salespeople have a vested interest in closing deals today because they know customers who leave without making a purchase are unlikely to return for it.

If a jeweler tries to tell you they don’t negotiate prices, walk out the door if they don’t sell you the jewelry at a discount right then and there. Since the salesman may or may not be permitted to lower the price, make a fair offer and make it loud enough for the management to hear. If the salesman declines your offer, you should thank them for their time and leave. 

Don’t try to outrun the manager, who may well stop you on your way out with a beaming grin and an invitation to discuss the pricing in further detail if you take a leisurely stroll instead.

  1. Clothes, Shoes & Other Department Store Purchases

Department store cashiers and sales associates often do not get commissions on smaller goods like those listed above. Yet they are nonetheless aware of any special coupons, vouchers, or deals that may be of use to them.

That’s why they won’t bat an eye if you ask for a discount to make them feel better about themselves. Put on your best social skills, get to know them, and tell them you’re interested in purchasing but are now experiencing financial difficulties. Inquire as to whether you may receive any sort of discount if you were to make a purchase today, and make it plain that you will not be able to do so if there is not.

They’ll feel good about themselves for helping out a stranger in need and for contributing to the success of their company’s business.

  1. Credit Card Fees

The interest and fees charged by credit card companies are the source of their profits, but only if the company is able to retain its loyal client base. And this leads us to the first guideline of credit card charge negotiation: be a good customer. If you want to maintain a good credit score and avoid late payment fees, you should always pay off your credit card amount in full and on time.

If your credit card comes with an annual fee, you should try to get it waived by calling a month before the price is due. Explain that you appreciate the card but won’t be renewing it since the yearly cost is too high. People I know who juggle many credit cards always manage to have their yearly fees refunded.

Also, if you think you may have incurred any unanticipated costs, it’s best to contact and ask. Defend your position in detail but nicely, and ask for a discount or a waiver. When I’ve done this in the past, my whole charge has been waived in almost all cases.

  1. Cable TV, Internet, Landline Phone

Because cable companies rely on recurring revenue from its subscribers, the cost of acquiring new consumers is their top priority. For businesses, losing consumers means foregoing income not just in the short term but endlessly into the future. In this regard, cable providers would presumably employ all means necessary to maintain their clientele.

In order to keep paying customers, several cable providers have established special departments tasked with customer retention, and those employees are often given access to substantial discounts and freebies. Simply give them a call, explain that you are unable to maintain your current monthly payment plan, and wait for the offers to start rolling in.

Companies like Truebill and Trim do the haggling for you if you’re uncomfortable doing it on your own.

  1. Cell Phone Plans

That reasoning also works for mobile phone companies. If they lose you as a client and have to spend money finding a replacement, they might as well give you a discount.

Pick a cheap phone service right off the off if you can. But if you’re set on staying with your existing provider, you may always give them a call and explain, “I just cannot afford to keep paying this exorbitant monthly phone payment. I would like to cancel my service until my price is lowered.

Most phone companies, similar to cable TV providers, allow sales representatives to give substantial reductions to existing clients in an effort to maintain them as paying subscribers.
Consider switching to a more affordable service, such as Mint Mobile or Ting, if your current carrier is unwilling to negotiate a lower monthly pricing.

  1. Website Design

There is plenty of opportunity for developers to negotiate and still make a profit, what with the growing trend of developers outsourcing work to inexpensive offshore labor and the increasing trend of development becoming plug-and-play with existing programs, plugins, and APIs.

Start by making yourself an easy and desirable customer in various ways. Recognize your needs and express them plainly. Strive to maintain a balance between friendliness, politeness, and competence. The developer may be willing to accept a smaller profit margin if they determine that you would be an easy client and supply them with recurring business.

  1. Medical Bills

Whether before or after receiving care, patients have the option to bargain for lower costs.
Prior to receiving treatment, a patient has the option of inquiring with their dentist or doctor about the total cost they anticipate incurring. If they refuse at first, explain that you are open to paying a fair premium above their cost but would like to do so before the work is started. 

Don’t be afraid to try with another provider if they turn you down. Or, to put it another way, make the process public again.

You might also make an offer, as in, “Here is my financial limit for this procedure.” I am comfortable making an immediate cash payment. How about this price? can you do it? ”

The same pattern of talking emerges after therapy. Keep in mind that a sizable percentage of patients (in some offices, even the vast majority) do not pay their bills. Because medical facilities often demand exorbitant fees, even those individuals who can afford care wind up footing the price for others who can’t.

This is unfairly punishing the upright. For the sake of being a responsible customer who still wants to pay their bill in full and not get scammed, you should phone their customer service and make an offer like, “I can’t afford to pay what you’re charging me, but I’m prepared to pay $X if you close out my account as paid in full.”

Finding out how much Medicare covers for the same procedure is also helpful. It’s often far less than the prices doctors ask for cash paying customers. Medicare and Medicaid Services post price schedules openly, but users should be prepared to wade through the murky waters of medical coding to get at the good stuff.

Don’t just disregard the hospital costs. Your credit will be ruined as a result of the collecting process. If you want to save expenditures on medical treatment without haggling, try these alternatives.

  1. Legal Bills

Attorneys feel the same way; they’d rather obtain some money now than employ a collections agency and hope for a fraction of what they’re owed later.

Additionally, many lawyers overpay for their services. Pay close attention to your bill and keep an eye out for any inflated fees. Was the 45-minute call billed as an hour’s time? Did they make you pay lawyer prices for secretarial work?

The legal fees you’ll incur are something you should be prepared for. The next step is to give the lawyer a call and grill them with questions about who in the office was responsible for what and how long it took. If you think you were overcharged, you can dispute the bill and even threaten to contact the bar organization in your state. Try asking for a reduction on your legal fees and watch what happens; the attorney can only say no.

  1. Art

There is no intrinsic worth to art. The value is set by the market, which is based almost exclusively on how much people are willing to pay for it. That makes it open for discussion and compromise.

Both galleries and artists are willing to negotiate reduced costs with serious purchasers. An expression of gratitude for the work in question never hurts. Make it clear that the gallery or artist may either make a sale today at a reduced price or risk losing the opportunity altogether.

Art, unlike most of the other goods on this list (including clothing), can increase in value over time. Do your research on how to make a profit from fine art investments before you blow your budget on a piece of art and then rationalize it as an investment.

  1. Event Spaces

It’s not uncommon for event venues to propose a ridiculously high price before realizing that their corporate clients have a certain budget for gatherings. Inquire about the quote’s break-down into line items like food, alcohol, and equipment like speakers and other audio gear.

You can ask to have some of these items taken off if you decide you don’t need them. Either you don’t need them, or you can provide them yourself for less money.

Whenever in doubt, it’s best to inform event space providers that you’re intrigued and would want to put down a deposit within the next few days but the price is greater than you can afford. Most service providers will then remark something along the lines of “All right, let’s attempt to locate a number that works.”

Don’t give up until you locate a service provider who is prepared to negotiate a cheaper price with you.

  1. Hotels & Airbnb Bookings

In order to successfully bargain with a hotel, it is essential to first talk with the management. Your typical front desk agent probably won’t be able to negotiate a significant discount for you.

Expected occupancy is a key factor in any negotiations with hotels or Airbnb hosts. There is no room for negotiation at busy times, such as the weekend or holiday. To hotel owners, even a small amount of business on a Tuesday during the off-season is better than none at all.

Keep in mind that there may be other advantages beyond the cost. It’s possible that a hotel won’t be able to offer you a discounted cost, but they could throw in complimentary breakfast, an upgraded room, and concert tickets through the concierge.

Bottom Line

I used to be an avid poker player, and one of the finest players I ever met once said, “Always attempt to force the other player into a difficult decision.” I’ve discovered that this strategy is also effective when haggling for better deals and more benefits.

Offer sellers a choice: accept a lower sale that is guaranteed, or lose all of your business. The more options you give them to consider, the more likely it is that they will provide you their best deal. Compare and contrast different offers, take into account factors other than money, and be prepared to walk away if necessary.

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