- Jen Glantz is an entrepreneur and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire.
- To save on business expenses, she uses several strategies to negotiate prices with vendors.
- She asks for custom packages with less services and if there’s a discount for paying in full.
When I first started working for myself in 2014, I tried not to spend money on marketing, customer acquisition, or freelance help. But as I launched new products and expanded my service offerings, I had to start spending thousands of dollars a quarter in order to grow, scale, and optimize my business.
Since the amount of money my work brings in varies monthly, it can be hard to have cash on hand to afford the cost of multiple products, services, and freelancers. So when I’m working on a tight budget, I use these four strategies to try to negotiate prices with vendors.
1. I ask for a custom package
One of the most popular questions I get from my own potential customers is if I can customize my services into a unique package for them. My answer is always yes.
While it does take me more time to put together a one-off proposal, I see it as a good business decision because if the customer didn’t have the budget for one of my standard packages, I’d have lost out on their business. With a custom package, the customer pays only for the goods and services they need, and we both walk away happy.
Similarly, when I’m working with vendors who offer pre-set packages at price ranges that I can’t afford, I always reach out and ask them for a customized package based on exactly what I need.
For example, when I was looking for a photographer to shoot brand photos for my website, I asked for a package that would include less services than what was included in her lowest priced package. She said yes, and I got what I needed for about 25% less than the price on her website.
2. I ask if there’s a discount for paying in full
If a vendor offers a payment plan, I always take that as an opportunity to ask if they offer a pay-in-full discount. As a business owner, I know it’s helpful for cash flow and budgeting when a customer can pay up front. Plus, if they pay in cash or by check, the business can often avoid credit card processing fees.
When I hired a vendor to help refresh my website, they agreed to knock 15% off their package price if I paid in full and sent them a check instead of paying via PayPal, where they’d incur a 1.9% transaction fee.
3. I see if other people in my network need the same vendor and ask for a bulk discount
Since starting my business, I’ve made connections with many other fellow entrepreneurs and business owners, which means there’s often a few of us looking to use the same vendors for various projects.
Whenever I’m looking to work with a vendor or use their product, I ask my network if anyone else is interested in working with them, too. If there’s a few other people who also want to work with that vendor, I reach out and ask if our group would be able to get a bulk discount.
Just last week, I asked a video editing platform if they could extend a discount to me and 15 other people who wanted to start their services. They offered us 30% off, which saved us $75 each.
4. I offer promotion through my own business in exchange for a discount
One final attempt to help save money is to ask the vendor if they’d be open to receiving promotion and exposure to my audience in exchange for a discount.
I struck a deal with a social media management platform that in exchange for 20% off their monthly fee (around $55 in savings), I’d share information about their platform to my social media and newsletter audience once a month.
This approach works well if you have something to leverage that’s useful to the vendor, whether it’s exposure to your audience or a service you can provide them of equal value.
While it’s never guaranteed that you’ll get a discount from a vendor, it’s always worth asking, especially when you’re working with a tight budget. These strategies will help you find ways to negotiate a price that benefits you just as much as it benefits them.