Negotiating Superstar

Recently my son asked me for some money.

This isn’t rare.

He asks me for money on a regular basis.  He’s kind of greedy some days.

This time, however, he asked what he can do to earn some money.  Now, since I live in Minnesota and have the dog and we had the sixth snowiest winter ever this year, all my dogs little shoe-bombs have been buried for the last six months. It started snowing in early November and  as of this writing, on March 25, I still see two inches of  snow covering every thing. Last week, we had a thaw and got to see the grass.  We also got to see the dog’s business all over the yard.

I told him that I would give him $10 to clean up the yard.  He asked if a friend could help.  I said yes.  Then he asked if they would have to split the money or if I would be paying them $10 each.  I said that I’d be getting the same amount of work done, so they should split the $10.

He didn’t like the plan, so he negotiated his way up to getting seven dollars each.  Originally,  I was planning to pay $20, but got talked down by a friend.  I’d still be willing to pay $20.  What I’m trying to do is encourage him to start negotiating.  I am a lousy negotiator.  I want my kids to have better financial skills than I do.  I want them to grow up knowing how to negotiate and being comfortable negotiating.  That will make him a better financial adult.

So I encourage him. Sometimes I offer a lowball number and if he gets so upset walks away I ask him why he didn’t give a counter-offer.  If he just accepts a number that’s way too low,  or if his grandma offers him a shiny nickel to mow her yard, I tell him no. I tell him to reject it and offer something that he feels is more in line with what he would actually be doing.

Now, if I’m going to keep up these lessons I need to work on my negotiating skills too, so this is also a self-improvement game.

How do you teach a kid to negotiate? What resources are out there to teach yourself?

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    1. Jason, This was a fantastic article. I am a huge fan of negotiating and am constantly finding opportunities to teach my daughter. I am sometiems impatient and think she should be negotiating harder. I tend to forget that I’ve been negotiating for many years 🙂

    2. Great lesson! Thanks for giving me the idea. I’ll do this with the kid as well. I am not a good negotiator either. 🙁

    3. Your son is getting a great lesson. I taught my children how to negotiate by letting them see me do it. I taught them how to do it so it was a win win outcome. First there has to be a reason to negotiate. If I am buying one shirt, I would not negotiate. If I am buying a larger amount, then I will negotiate. All you have to do is ask questions with a smile. I might ask, would you give me a better price if I buy one more? Then you shut up! Wait for the answer. They will tell you what you need to know. Bottom line give the seller a reason to negotiate.

    4. Mark Hotsie says:

      Hi Jason,

      Aside from teaching your son to negotiate, do you also teach him to save? What age should we be doing this financial stuffs to our children?

      Mark Hotsie

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