- Look for imperfect items. The Home Depot is chock full of “scratch & dent” items. From appliances, to doors, to tools, to outdoor garden decor. If you seek out these imperfect items in many cases you can successfully get a 10-15% discount. Simply point out the flaws to an associate who works in that particular department and ask if they can help on the price. I always start be asking for a 20% discount and see where the negotiating takes me. As a dude who use to work at the Home Depot, I am here to tell you that we were encouraged by management to slash the price on imperfect items as we knew we would have trouble selling them at full price. The associate may have to seek management approval on more expensive items but it usually only takes a couple minutes. For shoppers, the time spent is well worth the effort.
- Example from loyal reader Richard, “I needed two low flow toilets to help with the water conservation effort going on in California. I found the toilets I wanted at Home Depot on sale at $149 each. The sticker price said they would each be eligible for a $100 rebate from the city. While inspecting one, I noticed the box it was in had been torn near the slot where you place your hand to pick it up. I asked the employee helping me if he could he give me a $50 discount because of the torn box. Much to my surprise, he told me to tell the person when I check out to “REDUCE THE COST BY $50.” I asked if he would he write me a note and he said “not necessary,” just tell them a supervisor is allowing the discount. The check out process went just as he said it would. This meant that after the rebate, the two toilets cost me $50 plus tax. After getting outside I hurried to the car and got out of there before they changed their mind.” Awesome deal and way to go Richard.
- Look for items incorrectly stocked. Now this one may be a little unethical but I had several customers pull it on me when I worked in the paint department. I once had a guy approach me and say, “Hey, this paint brush over here says it is only $3.99 and that’s the price I want.” I walk over and sure enough a $25 Purdy paint brush had been incorrectly stocked on the shelf. The dude was adamant that $3.99 was the price he should pay. I got the assistant manger involved and we ended up giving him the expensive brush for the really cheap price. This technique is not for everyone, but if you have the brass nuts to pull it off I wish you the best.
- Try to bundle items. The technique of buying a riding lawn mower along with a weed eater, and asking a sales associate if there is the possibility of a discount if you buy both today, is one that you should definitely add to your Home Depot negotiating repertoire. Chance of saving 10% or maybe $50 has a high probability of success.
- Look for floor models, returns, and overstocks. Tile, doors, appliances, mismatched paint, and power tools are just a few of the items that often get returned or special ordered by a customer and never picked up. Store managers typically want them sold immediately so they don’t take up valuable real estate. Use this knowledge to your advantage and negotiate an even better deal on them. These items will typically be marked with a special tag that tells you they are floor models, returned items, or overstocks. Start the negotiating at 20% off the asking price and be prepared to meet in the middle.
- Become a price match pro. By knowing the price match policy at Home Depot it gives you a very easy way to negotiate the price. If you find a competing store in your area which beats the Home Depot price, you are eligible to get the product for 10% lower than the competitor’s price. It is also worth noting that Home Depot does not currently price match online pricing.
- Look for floor models. Have you ever seen the last of a particular item at Costco? Nothing left but the display floor model, which still works great, comes with the same warranty, but might have a scratch or a couple wear marks on it. Often you’ll find these in the electronics and computers section, as well as the seasonal section, which is typically in the middle of the store towards the front. They want to get rid of these things, and while they might already be marked down, there is still room to negotiate an even better deal. I recently received an email from a faithful reader who was successful negotiating an even lower price on a Blu-ray player at Costco which was the floor model. The Samsung Blu-ray player was already marked down from $89.99 to $74.99 but she asked an associate if they “would take $60 as it had a few scratches on it?” The associate quickly went and asked a floor manager and within a few minutes she was walking out of the store with a really sweet deal. Sometimes all you have to do is ask.
- Always negotiate the price on tires. Tires are usually marked way up and have plenty of wiggle room in terms of price. If you do your homework and find a better price on a set of 4 tires from another retailer, approach a sales person at Costco and politely explain the situation and ask for a possible price adjustment. Remember the old adage that “Discounts vary upon customer attitude” as your attitude will directly impact how much money you can save.