Unlike in some countries, most American prices aren’t negotiable. In the store, a pair of pants is $30, end of story. But at garage sales, estate sales and flea markets, all prices are usually open to negotiation. Here are some hints for getting the price you want.
Don’t Fall in Love
When perusing garage sales, don’t get stars in your eyes. For a successful negotiation, it’s best if you can live without the item you’re negotiating for. Using phrases like, “I need to have this,” or “I just have to have it,” puts the ball squarely in the seller’s court and can raise the price. To score a good price, you need to be willing to walk away — and mean it.
Do Your Research
Know what you’re looking for before you go shopping. By knowing what items sell for new and by having an idea of what they sell for used, you give yourself a more sure footing when you haggle. And don’t leave your research at home. Print out the prices and bring them with you to prove your point. Remember that most experienced garage sellers price items a little higher to account for haggling.
Don’t Talk Trash
It’s perfectly OK to check the item carefully for damage and respectfully point it out to the seller. Do it for your own peace of mind and as a negotiating tactic. What you don’t want to do is completely trash the item that you are trying to purchase for yourself. It’s easy to do when you get caught up in a negotiation. And it’s the quickest way to turn a seller off completely. Keep your wits when you’re talking price.
If someone refuses to lower the price, ask for a package deal on multiple items. A seller may be more willing to make you a better deal on several items than on just one. Also, be open to creative ideas; a discount isn’t just a price cut on one item. It could also be additional goods or services, such as free personalization the seller usually charges for, or free delivery of a larger item.
Pay in Cash
Sellers using a Square or other form of electronic payment processing may be willing to take a lower price if you pay in cash. Also carry small bills separately to strengthen your bargaining position.
Always be respectful and keep your negotiations friendly. Honey attracts more flies than vinegar, and sellers may be inclined to give you a better price just to reward a friendly interaction. If you still can’t reach a deal, try just being silent. Sometimes a seller will concede a price or a point just to fill the gaps. And if you still find yourself unable to make a bargain, leave your contact information behind if the seller changes their mind.