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Why Not Using Your Credit Card Could Save You Hundreds of Dollars at the Mechanic

You finally found a good mechanic. He’s smart. He’s trustworthy. When he says he has to order a new head gasket from Germany, he actually does it in a timely fashion (and calls to let you know when it’s in the shop).

But when it comes to big repairs, it’s still really expensive. Here’s a totally above-board trick that just might help to knock down the price.

What do I do? Offer 3 to 5 percent less than what he quotes you, but in cash. So if he says it’ll be $875, see if he can do $850. If he bills you for $2,500, offer him $2,400.

Why does it work? Most mechanics are self-employed small business owners, who hate the processing fees they get charged for running your credit card. When you pay in cash, theycan avoid the fees--and are usually more than happy to pass the savings on to you. (Plus, who doesn’t like getting cash?)

How do I phrase it? “Hey, Paulie, could you do $2,400 if I paid in cash?” Seriously. It’s that simple.

Wow, that worked. Where else could I try this nifty trick? Really, any mom-and-pop organization: restaurants, boutiques, salons--any place where they roll their eyes when you pull out your credit card.

So? Practice your negotiation skills. And hit up the ATM.

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