Discussion about etiquette in negotiating

Hello everyone. I am somewhat new to the hobby, I’m in my third year of owning and first year of breeding. Right now my wife and I are focusing on ball pythons but I thought this topic would be a good discussion to pose to everyone in the industry.

Basically my question is about the etiquette of price negotiating as a buyer mostly but I wouldn’t mind hearing about the selling side as well. Either from the perspective of shows or here on Morphmarket or anywhere else.

If I as the buyer am walking up to a table or messaging someone about their animal that they are selling is it ok to ask for a deal if I am wanting to buy the animal? Or would asking for a deal be rude unless the seller offers first or says, “Everything negotiable.” I don’t want to be offensive when asking for a deal as long as it is reasonable for both parties. I grew up being taught that the worst thing someone could say is no. So why not ask? I’m not talking about walking up and offering a huge discount, I’m talking a smaller difference. Honestly I don’t usually offer any deal or ask for any discount till I have talked to the person for a bit and felt out the situation. I was under the impression that in most cases everything is usually negotiable and if it isn’t the person will just say, “sorry my price is set.” and then I as the buyer can decide if I still want the animal at the set price. I just want to avoid being rude. I mean I do like supporting the breeders that I buy from, but I also like getting a deal. I figure that most people have an ideal amount they would like for their animal, usually denoted by the sticker price but they are still happy when they sell at a slight discount. I can see myself selling in the future and I plan to allow people to negotiate reasonable discounts but obviously I would prefer to get the full sticker price, because who doesn’t want more money? I just don’t want the seller or buyer walking away from the transaction with regrets.

I really appreciate all the input for you guys,

Thanks.

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as long as you are respectful and understanding, it is perfectly fine to ask for a discount/deal. I wouldn’t ask for more than 5-10% depending on the price as that can sometimes come off as disrespectful to the breeder especially for a higher end animal. Most breeders will be willing to give you a deal especially near the end of a show.

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Asking for a discount right off the bat is, for me as a breeder, a red flag. These are living creatures, and I know I put a lot of time, effort, and care into the animals I produce. When I price them, I’m trying to balance what I put in with what kind of pricing the market supports at that time, along with the overall value of the animal’s genetics. Most hobbyist breeders aren’t making money, so a small discount can have a big impact on them, myself included.

When someone comes up and asks for a discount in a first encounter, it makes me question whether or not they’re serious about the care requirements for that animal. It’s also somewhat insulting, at least to me. As if you’re implying my animals are not worth the price I’m asking. If I’m going to accept price negotiations or offer discounts, I’ll make that known. For the most part, I don’t really see myself negotiating unless certain circumstances are met, for example; repeat customers or someone purchasing multiple animals. If I talk with someone and I see a reason to do so, I might offer a slight discount, but again it’s as I see fit.

That, however, is my own perspective. Other breeders may have the complete opposite opinion, and you’ll definitely find differing opinions between smaller hobbyists and larger breeders.

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As a buyer of several animals from MM I have seen: Price-Firm and Price-Offers Considered. Imho that information is for me a good guideline as to how to approach the purchase price.

Another aspect to consider is how long the animal has been listed. If the animal has been on the market for quite a while and the seller has indicated that offers will be considered, imho, the buyer should be able to negotiate a reasonable discount with the seller.

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Thanks for the reply. That’s kind of what I was thinking. I don’t come up and offer an insultingly low ball price.

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I agree. I don’t ask for a discount immediately, its mainly after I have looked at the animal or animals and talked to the breeder and gotten to know them somewhat. I don’t remember all my encounters but I’m pretty sure the majority of them (where a discount is involved) comes from the breeder offering the discount as an incentive for me to pull the trigger. The last thing I want to do is come off as insulting. I can see where it would seem insulting depending on the situation and I appreciate your input so I can avoid any issues.

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That makes sense. It seems like the best bet is to only talk about a discount if the seller offers it as an option.

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@scaledwurm Honestly, I really try to create a really good discussion base before I even say that I’m going to make an offer (I still state that I am very interested first off though). When I do make an offer, it’s after that I have confirmed that this person is taking care of this animal well and things of this nature. When I do make an offer, it’s usually with shipping included, and the 3% that PayPal goods and services takes away. Honestly, after talking with sellers, I have found out that once you establish that relationship with them and have communication with them they’re willing to give you some times up to 10% and to even 15% off on a very high price animal (+$2000).

And my ratings as a buyer are nothing but positive and extremely complimentary.

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Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. That’s how I do it as well, even when I am just buying a random thing at a garage sale or anything. I think a conversation is the bare minimum required.

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I’ve only been breeding and selling the last couple of years as a hobbyist. But before that of course I was buying.
As said above, conversation beforehand is key. You know what the buyer has to say and can get a feel on things.

Along with the firm or offers taken on the listing for MM…The things you should take into account prior to even considering making an offer imho:

  1. Market values. Sure, sometimes genes inexplicably raise to ridiculous levels when a new combo shows up…but you should know the average going cost of what you’re looking at buying.
  2. Seller status. If the market value is right, I might ask a reasonable offer to a larger scale breeder. Smaller scale or hobby breeders can sometimes get hit with the costs of things a bit more. They may not be able to buy things in bulk discounts or get a reduced fee with shipping companies like a larger scale breeder can. If a smaller scale breeder is offering the same genes I want at a higher price, I would ask about it before maybe…maybe asking about an offer.

It’s rare for me to ask about deals.
I honestly only have once because a large breeder I purchased from in the past was selling the same combo as another breeder for only 75$ more. So we price matched.

Selling, I have done a discount twice because the buyers were very knowledgeable and local, so I didn’t have to worry about shipping fees. Which add up when you consider boxes, heat packs and insulation for them… and that’s BEFORE shipping fees. This was an easy 50$ off price we agreed on. They also paid cash so no transaction fees. Which worked out to about 15% discount on both sales.

I feel like asking for anything over 10-15% or the cost of shipping off an animal’s price is rude, but I also typically am only looking at animals where shipping is 50-100$ as a side note. Or if an animal is listed as overprice for what I’m looking for, but of average quality, I’d just look elsewhere. Sometimes it’s just not worth asking.
Another key factor is also, don 't be rude when a breeder gives you the answer to your question. I had someone go off on me after asking, “Why did you set the price at x?” I answered truthfully. The parents alone cost y, feeding, maintenance, the genetics that this particular hatchling inherited. It all worked into my factor for pricing as well as market value. The response was rude and then they asked for more than half the price of the animal reduced. Hahah. Then more rudeness when I said no. Instant Block after that. At a show, word can get around fast and bad behavior will have people watching out for you.

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Thank you for your insight. You have some really good points. I didn’t even think about how the bigger breeders getting bigger discounts could effect the costs. From what others have said as well as some of my experience with animals or other things in my life I would agree 10-15% should be the max unless the seller offers more without prompting.

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I don’t get mad or insulted over people asking for a reasonable discount. I do it when I am shopping for new boas I want. However, I have checked out the prices of said boa, and I know what it should cost, give or take a little.

Now, in my opinion, people who sell only reptiles they produce should be able to give better discounts over the reptile flipper. The flippers don’t have wiggle room for discounts unless they buy whole clutches.

When I trade for boas, I always give more babies for the ones I want. I have given 2 or 4 babies for one boa. I even gave 17 sunglows for some cash back, plus my first sunglow motley jungle. Most of the time, now I wholesale all my babies. I don’t have time to do the shows. But when I retire, I will start doing shows. At least around where I live.

When someone buys a lot of my boas at wholesale, I sell them for about half the cost of retail. This way, we both can make money off of them. I made all my money up front and only had them for 3 to 5 weeks, and I didn’t even have to go to a show to sell them. So I have no costs to cover when selling them.

I gave one breeder 25 sunglow for a very reduced price as they were only 6 days old. ( He made me the offer when I sent him a picture of the new babies I just had)

He did know how to care for newborn babies, and he picked them up at my home. So I did not have to ship them as that would have stressed them out. He took the chance on all of them eating fine, and I didn’t have to hold them for 3 to 5 weeks to make sure they ate.

Also, when I do trades that require shipping, and if I am the one who asked first about the trade, I ship first.

Take care
Tom

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Thanks for your insight Tom. I agree that if you produced the animals you have more wiggle room. I feel like when I have produced mine that I will be discounting for sure within reason. As the seller I think you will have an approximate value of your animals based on the cost you have put into them as well as their going price on other platforms. Personally I think giving a discount will make the customer feel good about the transaction and make them more likely to buy either from me in the future, which is awesome, or someone else, which helps the hobby we all love.

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I agree with you about the discount creating a goodwill aspect of the purchase. I purchased a snake a few months ago from a CBB breeder and a short time after that I purchased another one from the same breeder and he automatically gave me a return customer 15% off. When I went to him for a 3rd snake he sent that snake to me free of charge for the snake and shipping cost. He said he had had a good year. However we had become somewhat acquainted because I kept him updated on how his snakes were doing……

I realize this is not the norm but it surely was a blessing to me! :pray::blush:

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That’s awesome. I had a similar thing. I was buying a snake from a guy, which was already a good deal. He then offered another one that would fit the project for a good deal as well. Then he asked if we had space for another for the same project for free lol.

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Yep! Those are the sellers you want to go back to! I am glad you had this experience! :blush::+1:

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I’m always hesitant to ask for a discount, because I really, really don’t want to offend anyone. I kinda figure the price is the price, and if I’m unable or unwilling to pay that price, I should just find a different animal. :person_shrugging:

Only time I might feel comfortable politely asking for a small discount would be if I were to ever buy more than one animal at a time from the same seller.

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I literally couldn’t even agree more!!!

Making the buying experience a positive one is the main goal in developing a functional relationship with a seller. This builds your reputation.

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