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How to Get the Best Deal on Furniture – Advice From a Successful Furniture Seller

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How to Get the Best Deal on Furniture – Advice From a Successful Furniture Seller

A little not so known fact about me is that I sold furniture at Ashley Homestore for almost two years after moving to our current base. Within my first three months I was the best salesman in the store and  I was on track to be a million dollar seller during my second year. Ultimately, I quit so I could focus on graduate school instead.

These tips I’m going to tell you about will stand true for most Ashley Homestores, though I am not quite sure how mom and pop stores run their business. Regardless, it’s usually along the same lines as Ashley. Many Ashley’s are independently owned, so their rules vary some, but follow these guidelines and you’ll walk out with the best deal possible!

Those “big sales” are a big lie

Those big huge “Labor Day” or “President’s Day” sales are a lie. You are either going to get the same deal or a worse deal from the company you are purchasing furniture from. Many furniture stores will mark up the price so high right before the sale that when they go to give you their “half off” price, you’re paying the same price as what it was normally marked.

We had a competitor who did this. They would shut down the store for an entire day, mark up all their prices almost double, and then try and sell them to you at half off. Then a few weeks later, if you were to go back in, you’d see that the prices dropped back to their usual and you ended up paying more than the regular price.

“But Sarah, it looks like such a great deal!” It’s not, I promise. You’re getting screwed over.

IF the company doesn’t mark up their prices, they are not allowed to give any discounts more than their everyday discounts. So you’re still getting the same deal on Labor Day as you would on July 23 or October 18 or any other day of the year.

My point – don’t waste your time waiting for the big sales, unless you’re trusting enough to buy online (see point 3).

BE NICE – Salesmen control the price you pay

The salesmen get full control over what you end up paying for your furniture. If you come in with a stand-offish attitude, you can bet they’re going to give you the worst deal you can get.

Salesmen are still people and still deserve respect. It’s annoying getting metaphorically spat upon every single day. The ones who were nicest to us always got the best deal we could give them. We’d rather take a hit on commission just to be treated like a human being.

Be nice to the salesmen, you’ll get a much better deal.

Check the website first

Since we were an independently owned Ashely Homestore, whatever corporate did with their prices would always murder us – especially during sales weekend. Basically, if a customer came in showing us a deal on the website that they found and could show that it was active, we would automatically give them the deal because there was no way we would be able to match that price.

The website will almost always give you a better deal.

Get quotes from other stores

Corporate Ashley sells furniture to mom and pop stores as well. Be sure to check them first and get a price from them. If Ashley gives you a better price, I would honestly take it back to the mom and pop store to see if they would match or beat it – most of the time they will.

We had a mom and pop store that would strategically research our most popular pieces and buy them in such large bulk, that we had to practically give the furniture away if we wanted to make the sale.

Have the quote in writing – you’ll get a better deal.

The extended warranty is a waste of money

As a customer and a salesperson, I can attest to this. The warranty is SO strict when you have to actually file a claim. It sounds great when buying it because “it covers all rips, stains, and scratches, and tears for the next 5 years!”

What they don’t tell you is they only cover it if it’s caused by a specific incident. They also don’t tell you that it’s a one-time thing per piece of furniture. So if your kid spills juice during month two of owning the furniture and it stains – they might come to fix it, but for the rest of the five year period they won’t help you out.

Don’t waste your money on the warranty.

The 0% interest is just to get you in the door

Seriously though the 0% interest has specific limits on it. Normally the signs will say “0% interest” on the top and “60 months financing” on the other. The catch? You only get one of the other.

This is ONLY if you get approved through one specific financing company they go through. Your credit has to be solid as well. The 0% interest is only for 6-12 months. If you want to finance the complete 60 months, you’re paying usually about 24% interest over the 5 years.

I lost thousands of dollars in commission due to this. It’s a terrible sales technique, in my opinion.

Unless you have excellent credit and can pay it off in less than a year, you’re not getting 0% interest.

Do not take advantage of their “No Credit Check” financing

This hurts me just thinking about it! Just don’t do it, you’re better off saving up and paying cash or buying used furniture.

There are so many fees and interest rates hidden in your “monthly payment” that only about $25 of each payment (normally at least $150/mo) would go towards paying off the furniture. Your “minimum payments” also aren’t enough to pay off the furniture each month.

We had someone spend $2,000 on furniture with this company and financed it for the 36 months (as long as he could), we did the math…after those 36 months were over and then some, he would end up paying over $6,000 for the furniture!!!

It wasn’t good quality furniture either. He will end up spending over $6,000 on a house full of furniture worth maybe $1,500 tops.

These people will rip you off. Find another way to build your credit.

Don’t settle for less than 20% off the sticker price

More often than not, furniture salesmen will be given the wiggle room to go as low as 20%-25% off the sticker price. This is a good deal for the furniture. Be firm about not paying anything that is discounted at less than 20%.

Don’t buy until you get at least 20% off

Know what you’re looking for

If the price tags aren’t on the furniture (sometimes they purposely take them off), go onto the website and get the price. Find the SKU on the piece of furniture. By Googling the SKU, you will be able to pull up the furniture’s name, price, reviews, and color options.

SKU

THIS IS FOR ASHLEY HOMESTORE FURNITURE ONLY – I DO NOT KNOW HOW OTHER BRANDS MARK THEIR ITEMS

It’s probably pretty similar though.

  • For the living room furniture, there are just numbers (IE: 1140238)
  • Kitchen furniture will be letters and numbers (IE: D607-01)
  • Bedroom furniture will be letter and numbers (IE: B607-93)
  • Reclining furniture may have a U in front of the number sequence

Hint! For Ashley products, the SKU number is a sticker on the piece of furniture  

  • Kitchen area – it will be under the table and under each chair; on the back of islands and chinas/buffets
  • Bedroom furniture – it will be on the backs of each piece
  • Stationary living room furniture – it will be under the couch cushions
  • Reclining living room furniture – it will be under the part of the chair that reclines (just open it up and look underneath)

Look for the SKU number to get all your information and reviews on the furniture.

Ask to talk to the manager if you don’t like the price you’re given

The manager is able to give the OK on a much better of a deal than the salespeople are. When they are insisting that they can’t go any lower (and it isn’t 20% off), POLITELY ask if you can talk with their manager personally to see if they can get a better deal than they can the salesperson.

If they try to avoid this – go to the front desk and ask to talk with the manager (with a smile) and the receptionist will have no problem going to get them.

If you ask them to go ask the manager, they’re going to the breakroom to eat snacks and text their friends back for five or ten minutes.

Make sure you speak with the manager personally or are there when the salesman and manager are talking.

Understand the difference in brands and their features – especially with mattresses

Get this! We sold Tempur, Sealy, and Ashley mattresses in our stores. Each brand had their own set of memory foam beds.

Tempur refuses to patent their mattresses because, after ten years, everyone will have access to how they construct their products.

The other mattress companies have come quite close to completely mimicking Tempur’s formula over the years though. Many of the other brands are more comfortable than Tempur anyway!

So for a Tempur Queen base set of their most popular mattress – it would be roughly $4,000. Ashley and Sealy have come extremely close to getting the same exact quality and comfort. Sealy’s Queen base set would go for roughly $2,200. Ashley’s Queen base set would go for roughly $1,250-$1,500 (depending on the store).

I have been trained thoroughly on all these mattress brands and there are only small differences between the three. Do your research!

*These prices are estimates based on my experience. Prices may vary some at different stores. Tempur prices won’t vary though. No one is allowed to mess with those.

Don’t skimp on quality

Understand that sometimes it is better to spend the extra money on your furniture. Ashley is phasing out on faux leather and bringing in their microfiber (which is actually great quality). If you can’t afford leather, go for this microfiber material – looks wise it is hard to tell the difference until sitting on them.

Understand the way the furniture is built – if it’s a cheaper set (IE: $1,300 for a 5-piece bedroom set [which is a headboard, footboard, rails, mattress, and dresser), you’re buying a not good quality set. Living room furniture – you should spend at least $500 – $750 on a couch, anything less will fall apart in a couple years or you’ll be very unhappy with the comfort level.

As my husband always says, “buy once, cry once!”

Play their game to get the best deal

Always be two steps ahead of the salesperson. You need to lead them on and make them think that you are going to buy this furniture TODAY. You need to be the fisherman hooking them, not the other way around. If this is a set you really like, make them work for you. They will bend over backward to give you the best deal to close the sale.

It also doesn’t hurt to let them know in the beginning that you found a set at another store that you really loved, but wanted to look one more time before buying. This will make them work even harder for you.

This is the only time where leading someone on could be considered okay, in my book!

“Free warranties” aren’t free

Regardless you are still getting the same price, but you will see a price on the warranty. This means that the salesperson has only given you a small enough discount to be able to rearrange the prices on your furniture to offset the price of the warranty without hurting their margins. What this does is give them a bigger commission. Can’t blame a guy for trying!

They make roughly 5% on furniture and roughly 20% on warranties so that $300 warranty that they are going to give you for “free” will make them $60 instead of $15.

Let them have this one! You’d want the extra $45, right?

Be firm and go to the manager if they won’t leave you alone

Some salesmen are really pushy. Like won’t leave you alone, follows you to your car, calls you everyday for two weeks pushy. If you’re uncomfortable with your salesperson (and I mean really uncomfortable), go to the manager. They will likely either take over the sale or give you another salesperson. They wouldn’t want their workers to act like that, as it’s losing them business.

Managers can be the best. They’ll give you whatever you want if you’re about to leave, especially due to a salesperson.

 

So there you have it, my best 15 pieces of advice for when you go to buy furniture at Ashley Homestore! What are some techniques you have used to get the best deal on furniture? Let me know below in the comments!

 

 

 

 

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