Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Okay, Okay, Okay

Photo by: sheeshoo

"Okay, Okay, Okay" is what the painters told me after I pointed out what I expected and they were in no way "finished" as they declared at 3 PM. If my unprofessional eye can see dripping paint, uneven lines, and areas that need patching, then what does that say for the painting professionals I hired to paint my house? When I was met with "Oh we can't do that" I whipped out my contract which detailed the work that was promised.

It's a fine art - negotiating. It's a hassle and can be exhausting, but it has to be done and I'm realizing I'm quite good at it. You could say I've been honing my negotiating skills recently by dealing with the roofer, plumber, contractor, gardener, and painters. Can you tell I'm a homeowner?

Being a woman people just assume that I'm not the head of the household and don't hold the purse strings (but the saying is purse, not wallet right?)- "Why don't you talk it over with your husband" which I use to my advantage. "Oh that's way too much. My husband would never agree to pay that much." Little do they know that ultimately it's my decision on who I go with and what I feel is fair. I hope no future contractors are reading this blog because that would give away part of my strategy. But isn't it always like that when people underestimate you and you turn a presumed or perceived weakness into a strength?

(For working women out there I highly recommend the book Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman: What Men Know About Success that Women Need to Learn by Gail Evans.)

Even though it is a chore, I have to admit that it can be fun - a challenge. For example, when someone says it's the lowest they can go, I throw out a number I think is fair and when they accept my offer that was much lower than their "lowest" offer - it feels good. I'm not unreasonable, so if someone tells me it's their final offer, it feels great to negotiate additional services for the same price.

All this said, I've been interviewing for a position that is a great opportunity for me and fits with my experience and life. They're planning on making me an offer next week and then the fun starts - the negotiating begins! Everything I've gone through so far just serves as practice for what's to come. Wouldn't it be great if my prospective future employer were to just say to me, "Okay, Okay, Okay"?


Trailhead said...

I hate pulling out the lawyer card, but sometimes I have to. Even though conflict is what I do for a living, I'm weirdly conflict-averse in the business of my own life.

Good for you for holding their feet to the fire.

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