Chances are, if you start telephoning dating services in your area, they will be very reluctant to quote any prices on the phone. They would rather lure you into their office, show you their propaganda and go through their sales pitch, show you photos of beautiful single women who may just be a decoy and not really an active member, and some high pressure tactics to make you think if you join you're going to have your life filled with hot & sexy beautiful women just dying to meet and date you. During this, they also find out how seriously you are considering joining a dating service and how much you will be willing and able to pay. Whenever and whatever offer they make, refuse it!
I have comments from people who have paid around $1,000 and others who have paid about $4,000 for the same service from the same company. This should indicate to you there are no fixed prices and that negotiation is possible. The standard rule seems to be not to pay more than one-third the amount of their first quotation.
There are measures you can take to make that first quotation not be astronomically high. First off, don't appear to be eager to join their dating service. Also, if you are a female, you have a much better chance of getting a lower quote simply because they need you to help balance the male/female ratio problem. The real kicker to look out for, whether you are male or female, is their attempts to find out how much you are able to pay. One way they will try to do this, at sometime during the interview process, they will suddenly decide to ask some questions such as are you married, do you have a criminal record and so on. At some point they will ask if you are employed and what is your salary range. If you are in a profession where the salary is known to be good, and/or you state a good or high salary, you can bet the price they plan to quote just went up. Don't fall into this trap.
Also, be aware, these dating services may have hidden costs they will fail to mention to you. Often, the services that use photos and videos for matchmaking charge you a high price, as much as $400, not included in your membership fee for the photography and video taping sessions. They will also forget to tell you that you must update your photo and videotape every year or so, again at your expense.
Most of these dating services will attempt to sign you to a multi-year agreement. Don't go for it. Ask about a deal on a trial membership basis. Many services have such a plan, but the price is almost as much as the full blown plan, and your privileges are greatly reduced. Attempt to negotiate a better price and full membership privileges for the trial service. That way if the dating service is not suitable for you, you have not lost a large investment discovering that.
Whatever the deal you make, be sure you have it in writing and signed by the representative and management of the dating service, and that it states there will not be any additional charges whatsoever during the course of your membership.
So the plan here is to BARGAIN, BARGAIN, BARGAIN. Don't believe them when they tell you their first offer is their best offer and you will not be invited to join again. If you walk out, they will call back in a day or two with a better offer. And, to repeat, never pay more than one-third their original quotation, and less if possible.