What Is Special Pricing and How Do You Qualify?  

Submitted by Mary Shamburger on Wed, 02/22/2023 - 09:00
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Special pricing is a benefit that many organizations qualify for but sometimes don’t even know it.  

While the phrase itself can mean different things, there are several things to know that can help you determine if your organization qualifies for special pricing on products. 

If you’re interested in receiving discounts on products for your business, then special pricing is something you will want to look into.  

As a printer/copier company in the Texas area, we deal with special pricing on a regular basis and have become intimately familiar with its benefits and qualifications.  

Because we deal with office printing equipment specifically, we will be using examples from our industry throughout the text. However, special pricing can stretch to multiple industries and products. 

We’ll start by going over a description of what special pricing is, the concept of pre-negotiated contracts, the different markets that qualify for special pricing and how to determine if you qualify.  

What Is Special Pricing? 

Special pricing can mean a couple of different things. For some businesses, it can be a significant discount on the equipment or product you’re wanting. In the printer/copier world, this means you can get a discount on the machine itself. 

This can be hugely advantageous for companies that need expensive products, like new equipment. A new printer can cost well into the thousand-dollar range, and special pricing can help make expensive purchases, like an office printer, more affordable.  

In our industry, you can also get a discounted rate on smaller things like your included monthly impressions or prints per month.  

There are even times when pre-negotiated contracts can have clauses built into the terms and conditions that include things such as fixed pricing for the lease term of your printer, or other special terms and conditions.   

In other industries, like schools, for example, special pricing could help give you discounts on new desks or school supplies. 

Now let’s back up and answer the question: How does this all work? How do you get special pricing?  

It’s through a concept called cooperative purchasing, which we will go over in detail in the next section:  

What Is Cooperative Purchasing?  

Cooperative purchasing involves members of an industry, like education, government or non-profits, coming together to negotiate as a collective unit with their suppliers to achieve lower costs for their consumers.  

“Traditionally, purchasing cooperatives help their members lower their costs by aggregating their collective purchasing power, thus keeping them competitive with larger competitors,” according to Purchasing Cooperatives.  

In basic terms, cooperative purchasing helps organizations negotiate lower prices for the goods and services they use or resell. This is how they can offer businesses special pricing and discounts on products.  

Joining a cooperative purchasing organization, which is usually free, can also be hugely beneficial for governmental entities, like schools, that are required to go out for a certain number of bids to achieve the best contract possible for the product or service they are getting. Let’s expand on this point in greater detail: 

Pre-Negotiated Contracts or Going Out for a Bid? 

Going out for a bid is something that certain organizations like school districts and governmental entities do where they allow several different vendors to propose equipment and contract options.  

They then choose which of the vendors provides the best solution and continue forward with them. Going out for a bid can be helpful for companies in finding the best available pricing and the best vendor for what they’re looking for. 

However, this can be a tedious process that takes a lot of time and resources you might not have available. This is where the benefit of joining a cooperative purchasing organization comes in. 

In most cases, if you’re a member of a cooperative organization, you can use pre-negotiated contracts by the organization that has already been pre-bid so you don’t have to go out yourself and get the required bids. This can be a real-time-saver for entities that are required to go out for a certain number of bids. 

Pre-negotiated contracts are prices negotiated between an organization and a manufacturer of its products. For instance, in the printer industry, this could include a vendor negotiating with companies like Xerox, Canon and Ricoh for discounts on their products. 

The result? Once you join a cooperative purchasing organization, you can now take advantage of better prices without the hassle of going out for a bid.   

What Are the Different Markets that Qualify for Special Pricing? 

Some of the most common vertical markets that could qualify for special pricing are:  

  • State and Local Governments  

  • School Districts  

  • Religious Organizations  

  • Non-Profit Organizations   

  • Specialized associations such as the American Bar Association  

  • And many, many more  

These are certainly not all of the markets that can join a cooperative purchasing organization, and thus, qualify for special pricing. But they cover a large sector of groups that would be eligible to receive special pricing. 

So, if you’re a part of a company or entity that qualifies. how do you qualify to get special pricing on your desired products or services? Let’s dive into that in the next section: 

How Do I Qualify for Special Pricing? 

As mentioned previously, to qualify for special pricing, you must first join a cooperative purchasing organization. It’s relatively simple to join one, but you must meet that specific co-op’s qualifications. 

For example, TIPS Purchasing Cooperative is an organization that primarily serves the educational sector in Texas. One of their qualifications for membership is you must have an Interlocal Agreement, which is a written contract between local governmental agencies.  

You’ll find different kinds of qualifications based on the organization and the industries they serve. You should be able to find the requirements for membership on the website of the co-op you’re interested in. 

We won’t go into too much detail about the different types of cooperative purchasing organizations out there in this article, but we have a separate article that lists seven different co-ops you can look into with links to their membership pages. There’s also plenty of other information about benefits and common questions.  

Check out our article “Everything You Need to Know About Cooperative Purchasing for Printers/Copiers” to learn more.  

Is Special Pricing Right for You? 

The answer to “Is special pricing right for you?” should depend on whether you qualify. 

Because if you qualify for a cooperative purchasing organization, there’s nothing to lose: Membership is typically free and the discounts you get can be significant.  

There are a lot of co-ops you can join, many of them specializing in a particular industry or sector. Doing online research should give you an idea of the different kinds of organizations out there and the types of discounts they can offer. 

From there, you can go through the sign-up process for membership and further inquire about what you qualify for. 

We’ve worked with thousands of clients as an almost 40-year-old printer/copier vendor, and those who are a part of co-ops and qualify for special pricing enjoy major discounts on their office printing equipment.  

If you’re a part of a company that could potentially be looking for a new office printing solution down the line, we can discuss what joining a co-op could net you in discounts. 

Just reach out to us and we can discuss your situation to see if you would qualify for special pricing on a new office machine.