A very important part of budgeting is to evaluate the expenses you pay for services and make sure you are not overpaying. Telephone, internet, cable, newspaper and insurance are some services that may be negotiated for a lower rate. By negotiating a better rate, you can save a lot of money over the course of a year. Here are some tips to help you in this process:
- Call your current provider and have a copy of your contract or statement in front of you. Ask the customer service representative to explain every line item on your bill so you understand it.
- Make sure these are services you currently use and need. Document the names of everyone you speak with and the details of the conversation.
- Be friendly and calm when speaking to the representative so they will want to help you.
- Be persistent in your request. The first person you speak with may not have the authority to provide a better rate. Politely ask to speak to their supervisor or someone in their retention department. Sometimes, speaking to several people may actually help you get that reduced rate.
- Research rates from competing companies. Find out if they are offering promotions for new customers, as this may be a bargaining chip in your favor.
- You may need to threaten to leave as a negotiating tactic. This can work in your favor, but if not and you find a reduced rate someplace else, be prepared to move on. For example, I called my local newspaper to change my subscription from seven days a week to weekends only. The representative was so insistent I keep my current service she provided a rate I could not resist. It actually ended up being much less than the amount for weekend-only rate.
- Check your monthly bills to make sure the rate has not increased. If you have automatic bill pay, you may not notice the increase. If you have any doubt or questions, call the provider.
Some obstacles that may prevent someone from negotiating:
- It can be uncomfortable to ask for a discount.
- The wait time to reach a representative can be time consuming and very frustrating.
- It is not on your daily radar to think about reducing rates when you are busy and feeling content with your current service.
Please feel free to contact Files In Order with any concerns or help with negotiating.