Dave likes driving in Sam's car, it's not quite a Jag-u-ar

Published: Jun 02 , 2016
Author: Sam Macbeth


Firstly apologies to the the 1980’s pop group Madness for the title of this blog.

The Sun newspaper  reported last week that “David Cameron finally manages to get a good deal – after negotiating a second-hand Nissan Micra for Samantha”. Apparently he drove this off the forecourt from the car dealer in his local constituency in Witney, Oxfordshire – very different from the public office £200K Jaguar which he rides in for work.

Whilst the title could be viewed as a vaguely negative comment on other deals the Prime Minster has done or is involved in, maybe we should not forget that life is not always that simple…

From my very rough approximations on car calculator websites, the £1,500 paid for a ’94 Micra with 93,000 miles does look like a good deal. Whilst the price is going to be important (I think Dave should be able to afford it), if I told you (hypothetically) that the bodywork was really poor – you might have a different opinion about the deal. If I told you (also hypothetically) that Samantha Cameron only wanted a blue Micra, and she needed it that day for a pressing local engagement, maybe the bodywork issue becomes less important and the deal looks a whole lot better.

I also wonder whether the fact that it ‘had to be UK made’ could have hardened the dealer’s scope for discount; or whether allowing the dealer to publicise the deal with newspapers afterwards might have made them more amenable to a good deal for the buyer.

My point simply is this; there are often lots of variables present when we negotiate. Truly understanding what’s important (for us and them) can help to build good deals and create value. Disclosing new information can change people’s perceptions as to what a ‘good deal’ really looks like. We must though consider the relativity of all the important issues irrespective of whether they are short or longer term - a cheap car price today but with an accident tomorrow, where the car was found to be a ‘cut and shut’, could have horrible implications both in terms of health and maybe reputational damage.

Sam Macbeth

 


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Muck Shift

Just when is a deal not a deal…? I heard this story from a friend of mine the other week; there are some lessons to be learned! So, my pal is a developer and is building some houses on what is essentially a square site. Two sides of the square can be accessed from the road in a neighboring housing estate and the other two are beside a field owned by another developer. There is a huge pile of muck to shift before the actual building project; this phase is known in the trade – and not unreasonably - as a "muck-shift"! As there will be 80 -100 lorries coming in and out each day for 6 weeks, it was considered more convenient to access the site over the field, so an approach was made to the developer to discuss the terms under which he would allow access. This is a standard arrangement and the deal typically is that the field would be returned to the owner in its original condition. Developer makes a bit of money, where otherwise he wouldn’t; homeowners in the adjoining estate are less inconvenienced; builder does not need to spend money cleaning the streets and getting them back to a usable state at the end of the project. Win-win.

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