Buying a floor model and paying cash are only two of the many techniques that can help you negotiate the price of furniture. A 2013 Consumer Reports survey showed that 91 percent of shoppers who haggled for furniture got a price reduction at least once. However, more than half of furniture customers didn't even try to negotiate. Those who haggled and succeeded saved an average of $300. Not all retailers are willing to lower prices, and you'll typically have the best luck at small furniture stores where you can speak to the owner.
Furniture stores typically pay their sales staff on commissions that generally range from 4 to 10 percent of sales. Some stores require someone to sell a minimum dollar amount before she gets any commissions at all, according to Market Watch. Let salespeople know that you aren't willing or able to pay full price. Then the commission system gives them a motive for negotiating.
Know Prices and Sale Dates
Furniture prices aren't set in stone. The typical markup is 80 percent or more, according to Market Watch, so prices usually leave a margin for negotiation. Even if a item already is discounted, ask for an additional reduction.
Study print advertisements, and price furniture online before you go to the store. For the best deals, plan your purchases during the major furniture sales, which usually start during the first week in January. If you can't wait that long, ask the store staff when the next sale is coming up.
Negotiate for Extras
Extra services such as delivery, assembly and fabric protection can run up the base price on a furniture purchase, so savvy customers negotiate these also. For example, ask for free delivery. If free delivery is included and you're able to pick up the furniture yourself, ask for a price reduction instead. If you're buying a sofa or chairs, ask for free fabric treatment, or ask the salesperson to include the extended warranty at no charge.
Use Strategies with Sales Staff
Your best bet is to give the salesperson an excuse to cut you a special deal, according to consultant Stephen Antisdel, as cited in Time. For example, tell the employee you want a discount because you're placing a large order, or you'll have a long wait for delivery.
Sometimes you can can save 50 percent or more or floor models or blemished items, according to Antisdel. Bring any defects to the attention of the salesperson, and make an offer based on the item's condition.
Marked-down furniture often is hidden toward the back of the showroom. If you can't find what you're looking for, ask a salesperson whether there's a special room for floor models or discontinued items. Walk around the entire area to see what's available before buying the full-price couch or dining set the salesperson wants to sell you.
Shop when you're able to take your time negotiating, since closing the deal may take a couple of hours or even longer, according to Market Watch.