Being a polite Canadian, haggling is not in my blood. When I lived in South Africa, I got so guilt ridden haggling for a trinket that I paid full price after haggling it down to half. It just wasn’t a part of the culture growing up. The price of an item: it is what it is. But I’ve been slowly getting less uncomfortable asking for better prices. I’ve really ran with the concept that the worst thing that can happen when you ask is no, which puts you back exactly where you started if you had never asked at all. So when my hosting services with Bluehost was up for renewal at the beginning of this month, I figured I had nothing to lose to haggle for a better price.
With 3 days to go before my hosting was set to expire, I rustled up the courage to actually call Bluehost and talk with a rep on the phone about getting a better price than the sticker price. After what seemed like an eternity of serene elevator music, I was through.
Now, I did have some legitimate concerns about the hosting service because I went through a spotty patch of hosting in the summer. I had been in frequent contact with Bluehost’s technical support as Kapitalust went offline on an increasingly frustrating basis. When I chatted with the rep over the phone, I mentioned these concerns and asked if Bluehost would consider giving me one year at the introductory price.
They flat out said no. When I asked whether they could do any kind of discount, they were adamant that they could not.
I was a little shocked that the phone call couldn’t garner even a tiny discount, especially in light of the service problems I experienced in my first year with Bluehost.
Undeterred, later that night, instead of calling, I gave the customer support chat function on the Bluehost site a spin.
Surprisingly, again, I was stonewalled by the customer support rep and told that Bluehost could not give any discounts for renewals.
All hope died.
Well, all hope died for a day and a half.
I almost didn’t renew my hosting and was on the edge of blogging oblivion. But then, at the 11th hour, I decided I would try one more time to see if I could negotiate some sort of discount. Why not? Especially if you’re about to throw in the towel.
I fired up the customer support chat and I couldn’t believe what transpired next.
So I ask and I’m told a 1 year discounted rate is available. Then, I get bold: I ask if there were any discounts available for 2 and 3 year hosting options? Why not? I figured it would be even cheaper per month on extended multi-year renewals.
The customer support rep gets back to me and lists the discounts he can give for 1, 2, and 3 year options.
I’m mid sentence typing “I will take the $250.20 for 3 years…” when literally 4 seconds after he had posted the rates, he blurts that he can do 3 years at $214!
Sold! I told him to process a 3 year renewal at $214 immediately on my credit card as I didn’t think this was true. I wanted to lock-in before I was told that this was some sort of error.
What were the savings of spending a total of 1 phone call and 2 online chats with customer support, that couldn’t have totalled more than 20 minutes of time?
If I had gotten no discount on the 3 year renewal, I would have had to pay an extra $145.44.
If I had opted for a 2 year renewal with no discount, I would have had to pay an extra $49.56 for 1 year less!
And if I had opted to renew for only 1 year at the non-discounted price, the total would have been cheaper but I would have paid $6.04 more per month.
The 3 year term I locked down worked out to $5.95 per month of hosting. That’s getting awfully close to the special, introductory rates that Bluehost hands out to first time customers.
Just for fun, the savings gleaned from this discount, $145.44, can now go towards our investments.
Using the historic average of a nominal 10% return, that $145.44 by the time I am Warren Buffett’s age (to pick a completely arbitrary but memorable age) will have compounded to $36,602.
With the way my mind operates when it comes to money, I’ve ended up saving $36,602, not a measly $145.44.
20 minutes, 1 phone call, and 2 online chats with customer support has added $36,602 to our future net worth.
So, never take the quoted price as a given!
Bargain, barter, haggle, and negotiate a better price.