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It's Negotiable

How to negotiate discounts on products and services

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This story appears in the July 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

There's no reason to pay full price for business equipment, services or almost anything else. Among business owners surveyed by American Express, two-thirds said they've negotiated discounts on company purchases. Most (67 percent) arrange discounts on telephone services, followed by office supplies and equipment (42 percent) and car rentals and airline tickets (26 percent).

Nine out of 10 small businesses enjoy discounts of some kind, though usually less than 10 percent off. Nearly one in five business owners gets discounts through trade groups, professional associations or other alliances. If you don't have access to such organizations, consider starting your own group. Identify a half-dozen or so local businesses (not competitors) seeking discounts on products or services you buy. If your group agrees on quality, quantities and brand names, you can get volume discounts on shipping, printing, janitorial services and other products.

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