Negotiating prices

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by --Wang--, Jan 3, 2002.

  1. I will be purchasing a new MIM Fender Jazz bass in the weeks to come, and I was wondering about some of the experiences that people have had when negotiating prices with the sales rep.

    How much off the ticket price could I expect to haggle?
    Is there any way/argument that has worked for you in the past?
  2. offer them 1 dollar and work up from there.
  3. Offer them folding cash (not a cheque, credit or whatever) - most shops, esp. those smaller ones, love folding stuff (it means that they don't necessarily have to declare all of it to the IRS).

    What I normally do is say "how much discount for hard cash?"...some places won't budge at all (mainly those department-types), but some will. Generally the discount would be the tax amount. Here in New Zealand the catch-cry used to be "10% discount for cash?" to any retailer - and 95% of the time you'd get it without issue.

    It seems harder to barter in the USA than anywhere else, but, the last bass I bought in the USA came in around $50USD cheaper after some haggling (none too sure if it was the fact that I was a foreigner, or whether the store owner knows my brother-in-law).
  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I don't like to use "cash" as a bargaining chip. I use the fact that if a store doesn't offer me a price I'm willing to pay, I'm willing to give them ZERO business. That's not as attractive to a store as having someone buy something on credit.

    And, FYI...I paid $280 USD for my MIM Jazz less than 1 year ago, brand new. I've heard of people even getting 'em cheaper. Use that as your bargaining chip;)

    If they mention that prices have risen since then, tell them the economy has slowed since then;)
  5. snyderz


    Aug 20, 2000
    AZ mountains
    Hi Wang,
    Sometimes it is difficult to haggle with a retail store. One thing to consider is to do a lot of homework and get comparison prices. If you like to do business at a certain place, and there is a better price across town, ask them to match or beat it. Also, if you have done a fair amount of business in one certain store, remind them of that and ask for a "little help" on the price of a bass. Lastly, if there is a bass you want, inspect it with a magnifying glass if necessary to find every possible scratch or blemish to use a bargaining tool. If you can't get them to budge on price, start thinking about free accessories that they can throw in on the deal. Good luck.
  6. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    Information is your friend. Price Match is also a good thing-i personally have done this and my dads done it a fair amount of times when getting me gear. Musicians Friend tends to have decent prices so check price there and if the store won't give it to you for that @ least-find somewhere that will. Example: Local dealer [fender] wanted $700+ for a Bassman 200 while Mars had em for 629.99 and my dad had a 10% off coupon. Magically $629.99 turns into right around 600 with tax. :D Having to much information can't hurt-it can always help you determine what you won't pay and what you don't want....if i would've only thought more when buying the ashbory-oh well. thats all
  7. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Sounds about right to me.
  8. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Dont even try to negotiate unless youve got the cash on hand (or credit card) to walk out of the store with the bass right then and there.

    I also advise finding a store that you dont intend on buying the bass from and getting to know it there. My reason for this is, sales reps are jerks, if they see you constantly comming into the store and not buying anything, theyre gonna assume your just a waste of time, and not give you the best service/price. (Sad but true, Ive seen it happen to too many people when I worked at Thoroughbred Music)

    One line that worked for me once when they didnt want to drop the price was, "look, i dont need this bass, so im doing you the favor by buying it from your store, I'll be more than happy to do someone else the favor if i have to" i then proceded twards the door and was told to hold on a sec.

    Remember its your money, you hold the ultimate power in the situation.

    Also if your getting the mim dlx jazz, make sure they toss in the gig bag. Fender offers a gig bag with the purchase of that bass. and some reps try to swindle people who dont know any better and make them buy it seperatly.
  9. I'm in a similar situation as Wang, I'm going to buy a used Rickenbacker 4001/V63 in a couple of months, but Rics aren't sold here, so I can't go elsewhere to check it out, I can't threaten to buy it in another place and I would be in pretty deep s**t if I tried to pull cassanova's trick and it wouldn't work. They're asking for 850 US$ for it (A new jazz bass costs 1700 US$ here) and I was going to use my knowledge of Ricks and the fact that the finish is pretty beat up to get at least a discount or a bag and strings thrown in. The store is selling it for a guy, so would it be better to get his phone number and deal with him directly or go through the store? Do you have any other advice?
  10. bobaweeka


    Jan 2, 2001
    A music store around here wanted me to buy a MIM Fender Jazz for $575, he told me he'd sell it to me for $550, though and I just laughed in his face. :)
  11. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    GC tried to screw me out of the gigbag when I bought my MIM Deluxe from them.Bassically I told them "no bag-no sale"and it worked.
    Ime GC is the worst when it comes to giving you everything that should be included with the sale.At times Ive been surprised that they left the strings on the Bass and didnt try to screw me out of those too.
  12. When i go to GC i go to the same person everytime for help and eventually he knew my name and is really nice to me whenever i come in. After he realized that i actually buy a good amount of gear I started haggling the prices down and he was happy to lower the price. So i suggest you find one salesman and buy everything from him so he will know you and get you good deals.
  13. keep in mind that a store will sooner toss in $20 worth of extra merchandise (i.e. strings) that you're eventually gonna buy anyway, than take $20 off the price.
  14. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    Thats what Ive done.I now go to a Mom&Pop store by me,and they know me well there and give me better deals than I could get anywhere else.
  15. Well, living in a small city in Canada, I don't have Guitar Centers or Sam Ash or any big-wig stores that will gouge me.

    I've placed an order for a standard MIM jazz, and while the place didn't budge on the price, they agreed half off all the extras I'll need.
  16. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    theyre may not be a place in your town that sells rics, but how about another city, maybe one 2 hours away if need be? Ebay, Musicians Friend, These are all competitors to retail music chains, and you can still use it as some leverage against the store when it comes to lowering thier price a bit.

    Very good idea on using your knowledge of Rics, and that the finish is beat up to get the price down.

    Sam Ash tried to screw me out of a case when I bought my Mia Dlx a few years ago, they were pretty atimate about how the bass didnt come with a case. I pulled the Fender Frontline catalog out of my back pocket and said "really? says here that this bass comes with a case"

    I wound up talking to the general manager at sam ashole about it, and he knocked quite a few bucks off the price, But I still walked out, I went to a different store, paid a little bit more for it, but thats ok. even wrote a letter to Fender telling them about this as well as sam ash corporate office.
  17. Well, there's the dog buried. There is one other music store in a different town in the entire country. They don't have it and I'm not going to fly to the other end of the country to check. The dealership for Rics is hanging in thin air here, the store that has it doesn't carry them, it orders them specially from the US when someone wants to buy them. This is very likely the only Ric on sale in the country. And I think that Ebay and the other places don't ship here and I'm a bit against ordering over the internet.
  18. FenderJazzCam has got it right IMHO. Information is the key to securing the best price. Knowledge is power, and all that business.....

    Going back some years, for example, in UK it was the norm for dealers to mark up new gear by 50% on the price they pay, and tax went on top of that. By working back, you can thus get to that price so you'd know how much profit the dealer made. Strongly hinting to the dealer that you knew roughly his mark-up seems to wrong foot some of them and a reasonable discount is more likely.

    The economy has probably moved along since then, and 50% might now not be normal as price cutting becomes more popular.

    So, does anyone know if there is a generally accepted dealer practice for marking-up new and used gear?

  19. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Ah yes... Haggling... My job.

    Here's an inside tip, and I hate to claim that I'm the enemy, but I work for GC. The positive side is that I'll tell you how to stroke the deal.

    Retail is a simple game: Company makes a piece and sets a list price, dealer buys piece and sets a price on what they want to make, people buy the piece.

    GC is usually selling pieces at 70% of the list price ($500 list, $350 price tag). They get some stuff cheaper, some stuff for more, but usually 70%. Fender is that category. So if you buy Fender, you know it's 30% off list. When you want to haggle, realize that this is a decent price compared to some Mom and Pop shops that sell at list because it works well for them. GC also does something stupid, but most people don't know the score.

    Whatever GC pays for a piece of gear, they add 10% of the cost to the piece for Ad budget. That makes the amount that a sales guy can discount less. So we pay (lets say) $250 for a piece... then add on $25 plus the cost to ship the piece to the store. The base cost to the company is about $285.

    My best advice:
    1) Price shop, find the best price over the internet, bring it to a mega store and have them beat it.
    2) Be nice. Sales people hate @$$holes.
    3) Be reasonable. A store doen't want to break even or lose money on a deal. Realize that the store is going to make money on you, but maybe not as much as they want to.
    4) Deal with the people with the most power... Dept. Manager, Assistant manager, store manager. They make all the decisions on serious price drops.
    5) Look for a New-old stock item, a scratch and dent, or a used piece if you want to get the closest to dealer cost.

    Follow those 5 tips, you will get a good deal. If you are too pushy, demanding, mean, or the store isn't making diddly, you will end up getting the shaft.
    If you grease the dude up, ask nicely, find the cheapest price, and do the old "It's a pretty good price, but I wanna check around," and you will leave happy. Any missing parts or accessories that are supposed to be included, just bring it up to a manager.

    And remember... List price is usually double the base cost. But you'll never pay that... unless you put up with the annoying customers at a music store (AKA work there, like me).
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Good advice, Rojo.

    I don't do anything earth-shattering when I negotiate a price because... basically I don't really haggle. I usually deal with a manager or the salesperson gets a manager involved very soon in the process. Simple question, "what's the best price I can get on this now?". If I don't like the price, no harm, no foul. OTOH I can't count the number of times I've seen people go ballistic over asking price... not very bright.

    Because I've established a relationship with some local stores, when I ask, they know:

    1. I'm serious
    2. If it's right there's a good chance it's sold.
    3. If not there's always the next time... whenever that might be.

    I've had excellent results at GC and elsewhere.