Haggling is something most of us dread, but it can save you hundreds of dollars a year on monthly expenses that you may have thought were set in stone.
Two brothers from Nashville founded a company called BillFixers, which negotiates lower bills for clients and takes 50% of the savings. In a recent NBC News report, the entrepreneurs said they have worked with more than 1,000 clients, saving them an average of $300.
But you don’t need to hire someone to get lower rates, you can do it yourself with a simple phone call.
What type of bills are we talking about? Pay TV, Internet, home phone, cell phone, gym memberships and newspaper subscriptions.
Here are some tips to help during the negotiating process
Call early: To reduce the likelihood of a long wait time, place your call to the customer service department in the morning. You might also catch them in a better mood.
Have an offer: Do you have a better deal from a competitor? Whether it’s something you got in the mail or an online promotion, have the details ready to present to the service provider. It might also be a good idea to keep a calculator handy to compare the company’s offer to any competing offers you may have.
Take notes: Jot down the representative’s name and repeat it throughout the conversation to show them respect. It’s also good to have the representative’s name on hand in case you need to speak to their supervisor.
Don’t do this
Lose your temper: Put yourself in the customer service representative’s shoes. Nobody wants to help a difficult person. You will have a greater chance of getting what you want by being honest, respectful and polite.
Fall for the sales pitch: The representative may try to get you to sign up for something else during the course of your conversation. Remember, these are salespeople. Kindly remind the representative that you are calling to lower your monthly expenses, not sign up for additional services.
Be afraid to walk away: Even after threatening to cancel, is your service provider unwilling to budge? Maybe it’s time to switch to a competitor.
Read more: 7 easy ways to cut your monthly bills
Many of these companies will extend special offers for a year, so you will likely need to call back to renegotiate on an annual basis or perhaps more frequently. After you have negotiated a lower rate, make a note on your calendar (Google is a great option) to remind yourself when you need to call back and start the process all over again.