In an earlier post, I talked about always bargaining and that you can always haggle with people who are taking your money. This happens most often for my phone bill, but also happened before renting our apartment as we were able to convince the landlord to reduce the rent. When we moved in, we were able to get very cheap Internet and cable, loaded with extra features that they agreed to add on after we had them drop the price significantly.
Now, I’m starting to put that into practice, and I built up the courage to negotiate with my barber. I just moved into the area and had no loyalty to any barber, but the first one I went to did a great job. Corfu Barber Shop is a tiny little place hidden underground. It’s a real experience: there are sports magazines and some other dirty magazines sitting on the shelf, but it seems like nobody reads them because there’s never a line. John doesn’t speak much English but is a real perfectionist. He does a great job on my neck and I got one of my best haircuts there, so of course, I was going to go back.
Like many barbers in the area, he charges $18, and with tip, it comes out to $20. Usually, I get my hair cut shorter than necessary, and it takes a week to look good. Then 4 weeks later, it’s time to get it cut again.
I’ve been considering negotiating with my barber for a few weeks now, and when it was time to go in, I had a plan. I did some calculations and decided on a course of action. For awhile, I’ve wanted to get my hair cut every month so that it never gets too long and I can avoid that awkward week when people can see my scalp because my hair is too short.
I proposed paying $15, including tip, for each haircut, and in return, offering him two things: First, I agreed to come only to him, which guarantees him my business, something I assumed was very valuable to him, and second, to come in every four weeks instead of every six weeks, giving him consistent business.
Here is the difference in cost:
As you can see, the cost difference comes out to about $13, which over the course of the year is nothing to brag about. However, the real value comes from the fact that I can always look sharp and have a shaved neck. I no longer have to worry about being made fun of when I get a haircut and I also don’t have to put up with long hair and the hassle of “doing” it every morning. Plus, I probably save a few pennies by using less shampoo.
Most importantly, this experience gave me the confidence to haggle the next time, too.