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What's your experience with Negotiating Prices in Ecuador?

Personally, as american who mostly shops on Amazon, negotiating price isn't something I'm used to doing  frequently. I have had LatAm clients for a decade, so I know bargaining is expected in many transactions where most North Americans or Western Europeans might not expect it.

Examples: My Ecuadorian girlfriend always bargains with taxi drivers. She rarely bothers when she shops in tiendas, except when she is buying a large quantity of fruit or veg. Occasionally she'll ask for a modest discount, though, when buying shoes at a market or from an individual shop keeper. But that's just one example.

What is your experience like? I'm interested in hearing your experience with the acceptable negotiation range, where you won't insult the seller by offering an "insane lowball" (like countering an initial offer with an 80% discount).

I'm used to negotiating with cars and real estate in the USA. Although in some parts of the USA the tradition is to bid up real estate, most places the transaction closes about 3-4% under offer. Realtors call this Sale-to-List. I find other things, like used cars, typically settle at 5% under initial asking.

But what about buying a house in Ecuador? Is the price range much wider? 10%? 25%? Ecuador is a lot different!

So, In your experience with big ticket transactions (Real Estate, apartment rental, Cars, Furniture, personal services like legal, construction contracting, etc)

Here's what I'd love to know:

  What were the items/services you negotiated ?
  What was the seller's offer price?
  What did you counter offer?
  What did you settle for and pay?

What is your experience like? I'm interested in hearing your experience with the acceptable negotiation range, where you won't insult the seller by offering an "insane lowball" (like countering an initial offer with an 80% discount).

To understand an acceptable negotiating range, one would have to know the value or at least a ballpark figure of whatever it is one is interested in buying. This will require research if one is clueless. Last week I ordered a custom made desk, a rather huge one, by going direct to San Roque, because that is where the wholesalers and furniture makers are located. I used the prices of ready made desks that were being sold at the mercado as a base number. So based on that, I started to negotiate with one of the sellers, and got what I believe to be a good deal, which was much cheaper than what furniture stores were selling similar desks that were smaller.

At my local mercado when buying things I simply tell them give me 50 cents/1 dollar of whatever, for instance mote. So I don't even waste time bargaining. My current apartment I negotiated over two days with back and forth communication, but initially I walked away and gave them my number, and they called the next day. This was an apartment that had a sign on the window, and got 10% off the initial price and very favorable terms stipulated in the contract.

As for taxis, it's always by the meter, but if it's late I'll add a dollar or two on top of the usual fare. If it's a short trip with heavy traffic I'll tip a $1 for a $2 fare, or if I have a lot of stuff in the trunk and the driver makes an effort to help bring the stuff to the front gate, I tip a $1 or $2.

But in general there really isn't a formula, but my guiding principle is fairness. For instance let's take a tailor if he is making something, the considerations are the level of expertise, the quality of the fabric, the time it will take, and more often than not one gets what they paid for.

Awesome, thanks for your input.

I really appreciate your furniture story and your apartment lease story. My novia and I will be in the market for a new dining room table and chair set. I think we will go to a furniture maker when she is ready for it.

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