Be severe in negotiating a transaction, make an agreement to one's advantage. For example, It's more than I planned to pay, but you drive a hard bargain. This expression, first recorded in 1836, uses the verb drive in the sense of “forcefully carry through.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.