New Furniture Price Haggling
March 26, 2009 8:39 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to 'haggle' / negotiate prices on new furniture?

My wife and I have been shopping for furniture for different rooms recently - specifically new computer desks and a dining room table and chairs. Can anyone provide tips / experiences on negotiating price with furniture stores?

We certainly do not mind paying for quality / long life / value - but we do want to get the best price we can for such high ticket items!

Thanks in advance.
posted by mctsonic to Shopping (9 answers total)
Of course you can! You can negotiate on anything, especially at the moment. Remember to offer them something in return: perhaps a bulk purchase, perhaps repeat custom.
posted by devnull at 8:44 AM on March 26, 2009

Not exactly on point, but if you can, look around for a real live local furniture maker and get your stuff custom made. You can haggle all you like while keeping a local crafts-person in business. Win-win!
posted by notyou at 8:51 AM on March 26, 2009

It depends on the store. A lot of them seem to always have sales going on, and they'll pressure you to buy something before the sale ends, but what they don't tell you is another sale starts that very same day. Even if there isn't technically a sale you can usually get them to give you the sale price.

What I've done in the past, once they give you their price, you look them sternly in the eye and ask "Is that your best price? You can't do anything better than that?"

Be firm when you ask, make it look like if they don't do better than that you're going to walk out, and (this is the most important part), be ready to actually walk out. It's very similar to buying a car. They really don't want you to walk out.

This won't work at Staples on the $99.00 MDF computer desk, but it should work at the local Stickley dealer. Especially in These Troubling Economic Times™.
posted by bondcliff at 8:59 AM on March 26, 2009

Google is your friend: haggle furniture
posted by jdroth at 9:04 AM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

One thing that my wife and I fell into naturally was a tag team approach. One of the things a salesman will try to do is to get you fixated on a certain piece/car/whatever. If one of you is skeptical of the deal you can run a sort of good cop/bad cop riff on them. The same deal many salesmen and managers use. We have found that after the good cop/interested party has negotiated the best deal they can, if they lose interest and kinda fall back then the former skeptic steps up and tries to close the deal at a better price. We did this before we were married over a mattress. The final price was reached after we asked, "Ok, what if we bought two?" Fun.
posted by pointilist at 11:07 AM on March 26, 2009

You can always ask 'would you take _X_' (say 80% of the price). Offer to pay in cash to sweeten the deal.
posted by zippy at 12:21 PM on March 26, 2009

This isn't haggling, per se, but ask if they (or other branches, if you have a chain store) have any floor models for sale. You'll get a current model with (hopefully) minimal wear. Also, ask if certain colors are more or less expensive than others. When I was shopping for a sofa, I knew that certain colors and fabrics were more expensive, but the sticker price was apparently not reflective of ANY fabric choice; I think I would have had to shell out between $500-$800 for even the base fabrics on a $1700 sectional.

I ended up with the floor model for $1600; all they had to do was wait for the next shipment of furniture from that manufacturer so they could get a new one on the floor.
posted by Madamina at 1:36 PM on March 26, 2009

If you feel shy about haggling, ask if they have any coupons, or if there's a sale coming up. That will give them an easy opportunity to offer you a better price, or to tell you that the couch of your dreams will be on sale in 2 weeks.
posted by theora55 at 4:39 PM on March 26, 2009

The New York Times even had some articles about this in January.
posted by natalie b at 5:56 PM on March 26, 2009

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