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Is it Acceptable to Haggle Prices?


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Perhaps "haggle" is too harsh a term.

Is it acceptable to negotiate an instrument price at your local instrument shop?

If so, what are the parameters?  I do not want to rub the owner the wrong way nor simply accept the listed MSRP.  

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I don't see why not, but I do think it can be approached in a nice way, rather than being too aggressive. 

Something like asking "Do you have any room to move on this price?" usually works. They'll likely say either "no" or "what did you have in mind?" in which case you should be prepared with a concrete offer that isn't offensive. Something like "I was hoping to get it down under "$X,XXX". Or, they may say "let me take a look" where they look up their cost, make a margin calculation, and come back with a revised price, usually something like 10% off or maybe less, depending on what they have into it.  

 

 

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What the shop owner says no doubt includes cost for labor and materials needed when the instrument in question was acquired.  In some cases that would mean there might be little room to move.  If an instrument has been in inventory for a long time there might be more opportunity for a price reduction.  Why would one assume any price reduction would normally be possible?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have done it - and it worked.

Once for a consignment cello bow

once for a new Musafia violin case.

For the bow I probably only saved 5%

For the case I had a price in mind and he met it.

I had done a good bit of buying bows, strings, luthier service and two cellos from the shop over the years and I had brought students there for them to rent instruments and some purchases.

It never occurred to me to consider even asking for "teacher kickbacks" but years later I wondered if that was what these might have been.

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3 hours ago, Andrew Victor said:

It never occurred to be to consider even asking for "teacher kickbacks" but years later I wondered if that was what these might have been.

Probably. Something to remember that that's often part of the equation.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/5/2022 at 3:04 PM, Andrew Victor said:

I have done it - and it worked.

Once for a consignment cello bow

once for a new Musafia violin case.

For the bow I probably only saved 5%

For the case I had a price in mind and he met it.

I had done a good bit of buying bows, strings, luthier service and two cellos from the shop over the years and I had brought students there for them to rent instruments and some purchases.

It never occurred to be to consider even asking for "teacher kickbacks" but years later I wondered if that was what these might have been.

"Kickback" has such an unfortunate connotation. Sounds to me as if they were showing appreciation for a highly-valued customer.

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