Check this little post from the Harvard Business Review’s Daily Stat:
Women who called auto-repair shops to inquire about getting a new radiator were quoted prices that averaged 6% higher than those offered to men, according to an experiment led by Meghan Busse of the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. Yet female callers who requested a price reduction were successful about 35% of the time, compared with just 25% for men. Shops may be caught off guard when women ask for discounts on car repairs, the researchers say.
This is from a study by AutoMD.com and the Kellogg business school, where mystery callers dialed hundreds of repair shops and asked the same question: How much would the shop charge to replace the radiator on their 2003 Toyota Camry? Callers would tell the shop they had a high dollar amount in mind, a market-rate amount, or admit they had no clue how much a radiator would cost.
The researchers were surprised (though, really, why?) at the results:
When they examined the price quotes given to male and female callers separately, a different pattern emerged (see the figure below). For male callers, there is no difference between having “no idea” about an expected price and being a savvy consumer: either way, you are quoted something right around market price. But for female callers, says [Florian] Zettelmeyer [of the Kellogg School], “you’re much worse off saying you know nothing as opposed to quoting the price of $365.”
But as long as the caller provided some number, whether it was the right price or way too high, the gender difference disappeared. Then there’s the fact that when women asked for a discount, they were given it more often than men.
The takeaway? Shop around on the internet to get some idea of what a repair would cost. Then talk to a shop or two about your problem and what you think it will cost. And finally, ask for a discount. Surprise them with competence, and you’ll end up paying less.