Out of all the purchases we make, there are very few in which haggling to get a better price on the item is acceptable—and most are within the confines of flea markets, antique shows, and estate sales.
But there’s another opportunity to haggle that many people have been overlooking, or are unaware of: Buying a new mattress. In fact, according to a recent survey from Consumer Reports, 23% of people who purchased a new mattress recently said that they tried to negotiate for a lower price—and most report being successful.
While it’s not something that’s going to work with every mattress, every time, it could be worth a shot if it means saving money on a major purchase. Here’s what to know.
How to haggle when buying a new mattress
In addition to negotiating for a better price when shopping in a mattress showroom, it’s also possible when purchasing a mattress online. According to Consumer Reports, haggling when online mattress shopping involves communicating (i.e. negotiating with) a customer service rep, either on the phone or live chatting through their website.
For the most part, the negotiating strategies are the same. Here’s what to do:
Do your homework
If you’re going to haggle, you have to go in prepared. This means knowing the features you want (e.g. materials, warranty, firmness), how much you want/are able to pay, and the going rates of mattresses that meet your needs at a range of prices.
Even if you’re planning to make the purchase in person, do some online comparison shopping first, to help you identify a good price. If you’re buying the mattress online, outline your talking points before speaking to the customer service rep on the phone or via live chat.
Some people equate haggling and “driving a hard bargain” with being aggressive, bordering on rude. But there’s no need for that. You’ll probably have better luck being firm, yet polite.
Ask for a better price
It’s almost too simple to mention, but it works. “Even a customer who does nothing other than ask for a break on the price will, more often than not, be successful,” says Martin Lachter, mattress researcher at Consumer Reports.
Remind yourself that there is at least a 40-50% markup on mattresses, so there is plenty of room for discounts.
Mention the competition
Don’t be afraid to let the salesperson know that you’ve shopped around and can get a particular mattress at a lower price at a competing retailer.
Don’t forget about the extras
In addition to trying to get a mattress at a lower price, be sure to ask for free delivery and removal of your old mattress, and any other extras that may be involved.
Walk away, if necessary
If the negotiations aren’t going your way, you always have the option of walking out of the store (or getting off of the phone or live chat with the customer service rep if shopping online) without purchasing anything. And if you’ve been polite while haggling, there’s no reason why you can’t come back and buy the mattress if you realize it’s the best you’re going to do.
If that’s the case, get the salesperson’s full name and contact information, and have them put the deal you negotiated in writing (on company letterhead), if it deviates from the retailer’s usual sale prices or policies. This way you won’t have to start from scratch if you do end up coming back.