Vendor Discounts: You Don't Ask, You Don't Get

November 2011

The number one principle involved in getting a discount is this: Ask for it. If you don't ask, you will never get a discount. There is nothing lost in asking. However, before you ask, think through the terms and what you're asking for.

Here are some tips:

  • Offer your vendor the distinction of being a "preferred vendor." Let them know theyVendor Discounts can count on you for repeat business and a specific annual volume.
  • Offer prompt payment in exchange for the discount. For example, offer to pay within 5 to 10 days in exchange for a 5 percent discount.
  • Offer them visibility. Promote their business in a links section on your website, or promise referrals.
  • Offer a long-term contract in exchange for a discount. For example, independent consultants love to know they have business for six months, rather than one month at a time. In exchange for a longer-term contract, they may discount their services by as much as 10 percent. You can also ask for discounts if you agree to spend a set amount during a 12-month period.
  • Ask for "not to exceed" estimates on projects billed by the hour. This protects you from overruns, and if it is an overrun, it equates to a discount.
    If you get a discount, uphold your end of the bargain. If you offer prompt payment, pay promptly. If you offer visibility, give it. At the end of the day, discounts are meant to establish a great working relationship of give and take. Everyone wins.

Sources: "Ask and You Shall Receive: Getting Vendor Discounts," Spartina