- All three painting contractors were told in my original phone call that I have others coming to give me estimates, so they know in advance if they want my business they have to come in lower than the other two.
- I will offer to pay with cash rather than credit card so they don't lose 5% right off the top for their merchant fees. Of course, this gives them the opportunity to not report it to the IRS as income, thus saving taxes - but that's their call, not mine.
- I will offer to be flexible in the time frame to get the work done, so they can work me in on "off" afternoons when they've finished one job and not ready to start the next. (However, we will establish a "work done by" date so they don't get carried away with this one.)
- If they want to put an advertising sign in my yard, that will be another $25 off -- why should I give them free advertising space?
- I will infer that I have more painting jobs coming up in the future (I actually do. I need to get our exterior shutters and house trim painted). That tells them if they get my business now, they will probably get more in the future.
- Once I receive their "best price", I will ask for 10% less than the lowest estimate I get, and then see if any of the three agree to the price.
I'll let you know how I do.