Of course, most consumer items are preloved - so it’s no surprise that they’re priced cheaper than in a store.
But, given that you’re buying direct from the seller - there’s a big opportunity to save even more by Negotiating to lower the selling price.
How To Make The Right Offer
I have been using online classifieds for approximately 6 years and have saved nearly $5,000 compared to retail prices on a wide range of items from discounted gift cards to used tires.
To negotiate successfully, both parties need to feel like they each had a fair deal. Gather some facts:
- What is the item worth brand-new?
- Are you better off buying the item from a store?
- Are there people selling the same or similar item preloved at a lower price-point?
- What is the item worth to you? What is your maximum offer?
Make sure that you put value on your time…and theirs.
Are they looking to sell their item quickly? You can offer speed of transaction in return for a reduced price.
In a bigger city, item drop-off is a huge hassle. Can you provide convenience in return for a reduced price?
When negotiating an online deal I’ve always found it best to make a lower offer, but not so low that it’s insulting to the seller ensuring you won’t even get a response.
Here’s a few things to consider when making an offer on an item:
- Time of year. Some items are in high demand during certain times of the year, which means prices will be higher (and the odds of getting a good deal go down). For example, winter tires right after the first snowfall of the year are in high demand. You can find a better deal on them in the spring/summer when no one else is really looking.
- Item condition. If the item is brand new and still unopened, you might be able to get a small discount but not much. This is because the seller will know the item is identical to the same one in stores and will ask a higher price.
- Item brand. Certain brands command a higher selling price and you’re less likely to find a deal on them. A good example of this is Apple. Apple products such as iPads and iPhones sell at a premium compared to other phones and tablets simply because of the popularity of the brand. Brands that are known for higher quality almost always sell for more than comparable brands of lower quality.
- Listing age. Older listings that still haven’t sold means that there probably isn’t much interest, at least not at the listed price. It can pay big dividends to look for stale listing like these and reach out to the seller with a lowball offer. They will often be frustrated with the lack of offers they received, that they will jump at a much lower price than they otherwise would.
- Listing presentation. If a listing is hastily put together without much detail and no photos, then it will get much less attention than one that is done up nicely. That doesn’t necessarily mean the item is of inferior quality though. If you are willing to take the time to request additional details, ask for pictures, or even go check the item out in person, then you can score some sweet deals.
- Try calling. People are so used to communicating by email these days, calling them amps up your negotiating power because they aren’t prepared for it. If you can get them a little flustered and sneak in a lower offer, you might just get lucky. You’ll also likely get priority over those people who didn’t call.
Have A Budget (and stick to it!)
It’s so easy to get caught up in thrill of the hunt that we lose sight of reason and...our budget!
Two things to remember:
- What is the item worth brand-new?
- What is the item worth to you? Set-up a maximum and stick to it.
I’ve had deals fall apart over a difference of $20 and that’s ok. It’s called disciplined spending.
Stick to your maximum amount that you can afford to spend.
Be willing to walk away.
If you’re negotiating with a seller to buy an item and you’re close in price but you’ve reached your maximum budget, you can greatly increase the odds of getting that price by simply explaining to the seller that you only have a certain amount to spend (what your offer is).
For example, I recently bought a set of used winter tires for $500 that the seller originally listed for $625. I offered $475 originally and the seller came back with $550. I politely declined and explained that I could only afford to spend $500. The seller understood and agreed to that price, provided I pick them up right away. I had no problem doing so and was able to get a better deal by sticking to my budget.
Keys To Protecting Yourself
When buying things online there are certain precautions to take:
- Always meet in a public place with high pedestrian traffic like a shopping mall or store.
- Check to make sure the seller provides some sort of contact information prior to meeting. If they are using a fake name or alias and don’t provide any other contact information, don't meet them. Reputable sellers should have no problem giving their name and/or contact information.
- Choose a well lit area to meet. Then, make sure to physically inspect the item to make sure it’s what you thought it was and that it is fully functional.
- Always pay with cash but consider meeting at a bank if it’s a large amount of money.
- Use common sense. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Tell Us Your Best Deals
People always surprise me with their amazing Kjijiji finds and I’m sure you’ve gotten a few yourself.
Do you negotiate your Kijiji or Craigslist find? How did you make out?
Leave a comment and let me know your best scores!