The Power of Asking: How to Save 50% with BlueHost

negotiating bluehost renewal fee 1Being 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.


 

First Contact

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.

Second Contact

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.

Third Contact

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.

negotiating bluehost renewal fee 2

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.

negotiating bluehost renewal fee 3

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.

The Savings

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.

negotiating bluehost renewal fee 4

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!

negotiating bluehost renewal fee 5

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.

negotiating bluehost renewal fee 6

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.

Conclusion

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.

  • Theres Value

    That’s typical Steveness there, you should have called the blog title “I saved $36k on my hosting package” lol, GOOD ONE, MAN! What were you like at haggling when you were in England?

    • Everything is opportunity cost 🙂

      I didn’t haggle at all in London, probably because I stuck to buying groceries at M&S (a mistake for a poor graduate student to begin with). I should have gone to Brixton far more often than I did and into the more ethnic areas, because you sure could haggle and barter.

      My friend bought some Micky Mouse luggage bag and haggled down the price pretty good in Brixton. Sigh, I’ve been missing London more and more as the years go go. I think I am due for another visit soon.

      Actually, a good friend of mine lives in Oxfordshire and he’s getting married either later this year or early 2016 and I will definitely be flying in for the wedding. I will give you a shout and we WILL have to go for a pint when I do make it back to the UK sometime in the next year!

      • Theres Value

        Yes! Please let me know. There’s a UK FI/PF bloggers meet up happening soon, and it’s intended to be on a regular basis… Maybe we can all meet up together for a pint 🙂

        • Ah too bad you didn’t live here in Vancouver – we have a sorts of Vancouver PF blogger meetup where we play poker every month or so.

          Would love to grab a pint of real, true English bitter with ya and talk investments!

          • Theres Value

            DEFINITELY TO BEER ANYTIME.

      • Theres Value

        yeah, M&S probably caused a significant portion of that student debt. good job you were so good at getting rid of it after you got back to Canada.

  • I like the way your mind works! This paints the “latte factor” in a whole new light 🙂

    • I find a lot of personal finance bloggers make the mistake of taking the latte factor a little too far. What I mean by that is that while people should think of everything in terms of opportunity cost, they should not run with that to the extreme. For example, if one genuinely likes Starbucks lattes, go ahead and buy Starbucks lattes! The point of life isn’t to amass the largest amount of money possible. But you have to understand how decisions have a monetary cause and effect. I wrote that post about the iPhone. After thinking about it for a couple months, I decided that the utility and enjoyment I would get out of buying a new iPhone 6 would outweigh the opportunity cost of future wealth. Therefore, I bought the iPhone 6. It’s a constant weighing of current enjoyment and future enjoyment in life.

  • Way to go on haggle your way for a cheaper hosting price. I’ve done something similar a few times with Telus when I used to pay for my phone (work pays now).

    • I couldn’t believe that 2 times they flat out said no and the final time I was given deal after deal after deal.

  • Good stuff. I haggle on almost everything and love getting discounts. I even (somehow) managed to get an upgrade the last time I had a short haul flight. Cable companies are my favourite to haggle because they are so flexible on their pricing

    • Cable gauges so much so I’m not surprised they will bend over backwards to keep you as a customer. My BIL works for a major telecom in Canada and he told this story of how this man bought so many pay-per-episode porn on his cable package, that it was coming close to $1000 a month. This customer called in to complain about how expensive his cable billing was and my BIL tried to *hint hint* at him that if he bought one of the “Adult Entertainment” packages, it would work out to a faaaaaar better deal per month than buying per episode. He said he was super uncomfortable trying to basically tell this man to subscribe to the porn premium package. He also thought about telling the man that there is this place called the internet where a lot of that stuff is free. It blows my mind the sub-optimal monetary choices some people make in life.

  • I am now looking forward to the bargaining with BlueHost, thanks. Did you consider if you only kept the blog alive for 1 or 2 more years instead of 3 in your calcs?

    • I was only looking for renewing for 1 year but once that $214 for 3 years line came out from the CSR, I knew in a split second that it was the best deal. No other scenario offered me $5.95 a month hosting fees and I was going to lock that down. It meant I would be blogging for 3 more years and I’m fine with that – with my new philosophy on writing on this blog, it’ll be well worth it and I look forward to 3 more years of writing and learning.

      Let me know how your haggling on the renewal goes!

      • So it happened and the renewal went great, I’m not sure I believe it actually, I’ll have to send you an email about it. I’m personally thanking you for the discount I got.

        • That’s amazing! I want to know how much you were able to haggle off the sticker price!

  • Nice haggling! We recently cut our internet bill by 30% ($240 a year) by calling the company and asking firmly 😉 Good deal for us, and it’s not like they have any particular costs to keep us as internet customers, so it’s really a win-win.

  • Raquel

    I had just contacted bluehost about renewal discounts and was pretty bummed when they said they couldn’t offer anything more than a free upgrade to cloud hosting (at the Plus renewal price of $395 for 3 years). I was just about to start prepping our sites to transfer to another hosting provider when I came across this post. Instead of being discouraged with their first “no,” I simply asked again and they offered me the Sign-Up rates again – so $214 for 3 years! Thank you SO much for the encouragement to ask again!

    Sincerely,

    Another Polite Canadian

    • Awesome! So glad to hear you were able to get a discount!! I think it really depends on the rep you get – it’s kind of a crapshoot. Just gotta ask and ask!

  • Seems this post is more than 2 years old. But the tactic is still working now.
    About two weeks ago, I paid $10.99/month for 3 years renewal. After I read your article, I wanted to give a try to see if I could get discount even though I already paid it. I started chat thread with BlueHost and said I want to cancel my renewal fee, and asked the operator if he could give me some discount. He immediately refund my payment, but he said he needed to talk with his manager about the discount. At first he said he can give $8.99/month, but later after I chat with him more, he agreed to offer $7.99/moth. Not as great as $214/3 years. But consider it’s been two years, the price is pretty good.

    Thank you very much for the information that BlueHost has hidden discount. Also thanks to BlueHost for their great service.

    • Glad to hear you got a discount on your renewal! Thanks for reading!