When it comes to price negotiation, purchasing a home or vehicle may come to mind. But haggling isn’t only for big-ticket items—your household bills are often open for discussion. This article will cover common expenses that consumers often disregard and explain how to start the negotiation process.
WHAT BILLS CAN I NEGOTIATE?
Use this list to look for bills you’re currently paying. While this list will get you started, there might be other bills you can reduce. So, feel free to brainstorm other savings opportunities.
CABLE AND DISH TV
Satellite and cable TV services can creep up months after you start receiving service, particularly if your provider gave you a deal to onboard you. If the special rate has ended, call your provider to see what they can offer you. Ask for a price reduction, and beware if your provider offers you package changes instead. Clarify that you want the same service with a lower monthly payment.
Additionally, many providers offer automatic payment functions and electronic billing to save consumers money. If the conversation does not go well, ask to talk to the supervisor or call at another time and speak with a different employee who might be more willing to help you.
Services like Hulu and Netflix are attractive because they are cheaper than most cable packages. However, old subscriptions you meant to cancel can sit on the back burner for months, quietly ticking away in your bank account.
After canceling excess services, see which providers link their services to offer a reduced cost on packages. You’ll often save money by selecting one streaming service and expanding to other subscriptions based on what your provider offers you. Check with your cell phone company too, as they may give their customers free streaming services or exclusive deals.
HOME MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT
The prices of services in and around your house aren’t set in stone. You can wrangle the cost of housecleaning, appliance repairs, renovations, pest control, and lawn care. Because many providers of these services are small, privately-owned companies, you can often speak to the owner directly without layers of corporate red tape that might prevent decision-making.
According to Experian, medical bills contain errors due to coding mistakes, data entry slipups, and accidental duplicate charges. Additionally, miscommunications between care providers and insurance companies can result in whopping medical bills showing up at your door. Therefore, review every medical bill you receive for accuracy.
If your bill contains no errors, you might be able to settle the bill in full for a lower amount. Call the medical care provider to negotiate a smaller amount (not an installment plan, which would require you to pay the full price over time). If you have any surgeries or appointments coming up, ask your provider if you can pay in advance to get the price marked down.
Companies are more dedicated than ever to creating robust e-commerce on their websites. Use this to your advantage the next time you’re shopping online by chatting with a service representative after finding what you’d like to buy. Popping up that chat box could net you an exclusive coupon or promotional sale. Sending the representative links to similar products from competitors can also motivate them to get you the best deal possible.
With the coronavirus pandemic eliminating commutes for many in the workforce, your car insurance company may reduce your premium after a phone call. Furthermore, your home and auto insurance may be negotiable, especially if you bring up pricing from competitors.
Another negotiating tool is to increase your deductible and decrease your monthly payment, but make sure you understand the terms of your coverage. Paying your bill in advance could also earn you a discount.
TIPS FOR NEGOTIATING HOUSEHOLD BILLS
Negotiating your household bills may sound daunting, but it’s a skill you can improve upon with continued practice. Some conversations will be challenging, but the reward is worth it—more dollars in your bank account and room in your budget. The tips below could bring you greater success in your efforts.
- Know in advance what you’re paying for and the amount you’re paying before calling a company.
- Have a target you’re willing to settle for so you can stay on track during what could be a challenging discussion.
- As noted previously, bringing up competitors’ services and pricing can be powerful leverage.
- Speak with a representative who is cooperative and can help you. If the conversation isn’t going anywhere, ask to speak to a manager or someone in the customer retention department.
- Refuse to be upsold or sidetracked. Remember, you aren’t calling for a more expensive service or more services at the same price; you want to save money.
- Be open-ended with your request. Even if the provider gives you the discount you want, inquire if there are any other deals available or ask how the provider can help you save money.
- Follow the golden rule. Yelling at a representative over the phone in a rage over an inflated bill will not help your negotiating efforts. Keeping the conversation polite and professional will net you more savings.