The best way to go about negotiating a debt settlement is by doing it yourself. Engaging the services of a debt settlement firm is usually costly and in most cases ineffective. Infact in some states it is illegal for companies to manage debt for a profit. Do your research, start saving to make the payment for the settlement and contact the creditor yourself or through an attorney.
Couple of things to keep in mind before considering to go ahead with a debt settlement option, firstly the creditor could sue you for the amount if they feel you are trying to avoid paying when you actually can and second, and amount over $600 that a creditor for goes is taxable which has to be paid to the IRS.