A few podcast episodes ago, one of my guests mentioned how you could cut your bills by simply negotiating with service providers.
Since then, Emilie Burke of Burkedoes.com and member of the Make Money Your Honey community let me in on another little secret: There are services out there that will negotiate your bills on your behalf.
She mentioned how she herself uses Billcutterz and I decided to give it a try. I signed up, sent them my T-mobile bill, and within 24 hours they’d already negotiated $10 off my bill.
I was so impressed by this that I decided to interview Barry Gross, the founder of Billcutterz on how this all works. He also shares some amazing tips you can start using right away to negotiate your bills and save money.
What compelled you to start Billcutterz?
Billcutterz started when Barry had a friend, Mindy Niles, look over his mortgage bill. His friend looked over the bill and immediately found that he was paying for Personal Mortgage Insurance to the tune of $181 a month.
His friend suggested he call Wells Fargo to question the line item and that’s exactly what he did. Within five minutes he was able to get the $181 a month removed from the rest of his mortgage. In total, he was able to save himself $55,000 over the course of his mortgage.
At this point, he went back to his friend and asked what he could do to repay her. She asked him to call up her phone service provider to lower her bill, and that’s exactly what he did.
After successfully negotiating his friend’s phone bill, she looked at him and said “You know, this could be a business.”
He beta tested with his friends and family for a year. This allowed him to test the business idea as well as learn all the different nuances among service providers. After a year and a half, Billcutterz officially opened their doors.
What are some of the bills people can negotiate to save money?
The primary bills people can negotiate include cable, gym memberships, internet, phone service and just about anything they can think of.
The only bill where you may have some issues negotiating is electricity. In about half the states, often times you’re limited to only one electric company in town. You also can’t negotiate water bills because they are regulated by the local government.
When should you DIY versus use a service like Billcutterz?
If you’re a finance nerd, you may want to challenge yourself and try to negotiate on your own. I’ve actually done this in the past.
However, I will tell you from my own experience, I’d rather outsource it. If Billcutterz can save me an hour or two of my life, then I’m happy to have them do it on my behalf.
Time > Money.
Additionally, Billcutterz knows every trick in the book. On average, they are able to save people more money than they are able to do on their own. And they are able to do it a lot faster.
And finally, if you’re terrified of negotiating, you’re better off letting a company like Billcutterz take care of it for you.
For those, who want to try negotiating themselves, what’s one tip they can use?
When you call a service provider, you’ll usually get a prompt that says “Why are you calling?”
What you tell them is “Cancel Service.” Then they will ask, “Do you really want to cancel service?” at which point you say “Yes.”
The prompt will then ask if you’re moving to which you say “No.” The reason they ask this is because they are hoping to just have to transfer your service, which is not what you’re looking to do.
This will immediately escalate your call to the Client Retention department. These people are there to retain your business. It’s not general customer service which is what you normally get on the phone. The retention department has the authority to do what it takes to retain your business whereas regular customer service people do not.
A lot of people don’t know this, but people have an advantage. It’s more expensive for a company to go find a new customer than it is for them to cut you a deal and retain you.
For those who don’t want to DIY, how does a service like Billcutterz work?
The entire process takes about two to three minutes of your time. Trust me, I tried it.
All you have to do is visit Billcutterz.com, sign up, and upload your bills. If they have a question, they’ll ask you via email, if not they get to negotiating your bills on your behalf.
In my case, the entire process took me about five minutes. Within 24 hours I got another email that said “Here’s how much we saved you on your T-mobile bill.”
Below you’ll find screenshots of my email correspondence with Billcutterz as well as the T-Mobile statement where they saved me money. As you can see from the dates in the emails, it all happened within 24 hours.
How much does it cost to use a service like Billcutterz?
Billcutterz’s service fee is pretty straight forward. Let’s say they save you $100 a month for the next year. That would be a $1200 gross savings for that one bill. Billcutterz’s fee is 50% of that, or $600.
On their first invoice, they give you the opportunity to pay a one-time lump some fee with a 10% discounts (meaning this would be $540) or you can pay it on a monthly basis over the course of 12 months.
How much money can Billcutterz save on average?
The average Billcutterz customer saves anywhere from 25% to 35% on their monthly bills.
During his ABC World News appearance, Billcutterz was able to save a young couple $1493 over the course of a year. The video is below.
What’s one tip listeners can implement right away to improve their finances?
Look at your bills! Most people don’t give them any thought, they just right the checks. Even if your bills are on autopay, you need to take a look at them to see what’s going on.
How do you make money your honey?
Always seek good advice. In Barry’s experience, the main difference between poor people and rich people is that rich people had access to better advice.
Where can people find more information about you and Billcutterz?
Resources Mentioned Or That Add Value to This Episode