If you are planning to buy tools or materials, you can follow tips and tricks to get a better deal at a home improvement store such as Home Depot or Lowe’s. Contractors know techniques that work to save money, and you can mimic their approach to get a deal.
- Ask to see damaged materials, such as drywall, lumber, siding, shingles and building materials. Damaged drywall occurs when a staffer drives a forklift into a stack of sheets. If you are willing to spend the extra energy working around sub-par drywall sheets or warped lumber, you can save as much as 75 percent off. Ask the manager in these exact words, “What is your best price for this item?”
- Open a new store credit card if you are making a major purchase for a big project, such as for tools, a roofing project or a shed. If you already have one, have your spouse open one or even open a different type of account. If they won't give you a 10 percent discount for a new account, leave or ask to speak to a manager. A manager can often approve a 10 percent discount up to several hundred dollars. When you complete the project, pay off the card and close it. Do this on Fridays when salesmen are trying to meet their credit goals for the week.
- Keep sales circulars inserted in newspapers. The stores have loss leaders to get you in the door and then they make money on other products. If you bring in fliers and ads, you can find items with the best prices.
- Ask for free delivery on big purchases. Stores pay the delivery companies the same if they have 20 deliveries in a day or none. Make it sound like the delivery cost can be a deal breaker.
- Look to save money on errors in custom orders for windows, doors and other items. If any “oops orders” are on the floor, the manager will want to get rid of them. If your plan is flexible and you can use a misordered door, you may be able to save 50 percent or so, and you will be a hero to the manager who sells the “oops.” If you do plan to do this, try to do it in the beginning of the month when stores have more space on the books to take a loss.
- Look for “oops” paint -- color mixes that didn’t work for the customer. This is a no brainer you may be able to get a gallon of premium paint for way below list. The stores can't toss it, and if the color is close to what you want, you can use it.
- Look for discounts on out-of-date seasonal merchandise. Certain items that pose a hazard can't be thrown away, so you may find 5-gallon cans of kerosene or roof tar go for pennies on the dollar. Establish relationships with staffers -- on the pro desk, or the lumber or building materials managers -- who will keep you in mind when such items become available. In spring in colder climates, stores clean up their lawn and garden area preparing for the new influx of merchandise. Look for half-pallets of cocoa bean shells, bags of mulch and the like.
Things You Will Need
- fliers from other stores
- decent credit rating
- Get a friend on the inside to keep you in the know
- Remember these exact words... WHAT IS your best price for.....