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discounts

Stop Underselling!

The article title "stop underselling" is layered over an old-fashioned clay piggy bank.

Side hustles are all the rage right now: MLMs, ride share, selling your old clothes and furniture via online marketplaces, “donating” plasma. You’ve got to do whatever it takes to make the rent, or just the extra spending money, short of dancing the pole or working the sidewalk corner. I get it; I live it.

My whole life is side hustles right now. I drive Uber and Lyft, sell for SeneGence, and occasionally declutter my closet on Facebook marketplace or Let Go or whatever is vogue for the month. In some ways, I love it: I can set my own hours, work as much or as little as I want, I don’t have to answer to a boss, and there are no annoying coworkers. But it’s incredibly stressful sometimes, especially when everyone wants a cheaper price.

For example: I was trying to sell a Blue Tooth Speaker that I’ve had for a few years but haven’t used once in the past six months. It was a declutter no-brainer. The speaker is in great shape–no dents or scrapes or malfunctions–and is a top-quality speaker that normally goes for about $200. Considering that it is a few years old and used, I listed it at $75, knowing in my head that I’d accept $65.

Holy cow, people were trying to haggle with me for as low as $40! What!? That’s almost half of my asking price!!

I get it: people are buying used because they want to save money. And I know that the asking price is always a bit higher than the actual price (hence why I set it higher), but asking for a 50% discount is just plain rude!!

If you’re in small/personal business or hustling on the side, OR if you’re a shopper of side hustles, please read my rant:

A sketchbook is open to a large dollar-sign drawing. The artist's hands are in the photo field, along with some decor such as a plant and pink coffee mug.

Haggle Respectfully

Asking for a few dollars off here and there is understandable. Expected, even! When I listed my car on Craigslist, I listed it for $500 more than what I needed, knowing that people would try to haggle; it made accepting an offer for $400 off my asking price easy and friendly. But my favorite kind of shoppers are the ones that just pay the asking price.

If you’re going to do a low-ball haggle (say you offer $55 on a $75 price tag), immediately offer something to make that price cut a bit more appealing, like going to the seller rather than the seller coming to you. Saying “Would you accept $55? I can meet you wherever is convenient today so that you won’t have to go out of your way” is more well received than “I can give you $55”.

Also, if you’re going to offer a lower price, be able to pick up and pay that day, preferably within a few hours. As a seller, I don’t want to accept a lower price that can’t be carried out for another two days, because someone might offer the asking price between now and then!

Remember: the reason someone is selling instead of donating is because they need the cash. You’re trying to save a buck, they’re trying to save a buck: try to meet somewhere in the middle so that you both win. Essentially: haggle the way you’d want someone to haggle with you.

Related Reading: When It’s Been a Long Week and It’s Only Monday

Stop Asking Your Friends For A Discount

I see this all the time: friends asking friends for discounted services just because they’re friends. If your BFF is trying to make it in the world as a photographer and you ask her for engagement photos at a quarter of the price, you’re not actually supporting her business: you’re hurting it! People gotta pay bills, y’all, and your request for special treatment isn’t going to help keep the lights on.

Now, I myself do offer a friends and family discount because I want to, and because I’m terrible at business practices, but whatever. That’s something that I chose to do, and I’m okay with it, but I don’t like feeling pressured to offer more and essentially just give things away. The same goes for if I/your friend works at a store or restaurant and you ask for a discount: newsflash, unless I/your friend is the manager, we have zero control over discounts. As much as we’d like to help you out, we literally can’t, so stop making us feel bad for just doing our jobs.

Related Reading: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Budget

Propped up against infrastructure rails along a sidewalk is a cardboard sign. Written on it is "Need some used books; $ helps". A plastic cup for coin collection, a water bottle, and a book are laid next to the sign. Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

Don’t Try to Undersell Your Competition

If you’re just starting out selling your own product or service, you might feel the itch to sell at a lower price than your competitors to draw customers to you. But this is actually a really really bad idea.

One: if you undersell, you’re trapped at a selling price that doesn’t bring in the big bucks and you won’t make a profit. A few weeks or months down the road, you won’t be able to grow and that means you’ll eventually fizzle out and die.

Two: if you undersell, they’ll undersell. Then you’ll have to undersell again. And again. Next thing you know, you’re selling at cost with zero profit. Not good.

Do your market research and figure out what the high point, median, and low point is. List your stuff somewhere in that low point if you’re just starting out, or go for the median and maybe offer some introductory discounts to get the ball rolling. But whatever you do, don’t sell a dollar’s work for a dime.

 

I want to hear your thoughts and stories. Did I hit the mark or am I way off? What do you think about discount services like Groupon? Let me know in the comments!

 

April 3, 2018
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