Purchasing a vehicle is one of the biggest investments you will ever have in your life, the others being purchasing a house and maybe college depending on where you go. The hardest part of buying a car is never choosing which one, but rather the whole negotiation part that can last for hours, sometimes even for 75% of the day. This blog is not to minimize the time (usually the less time you spend negotiating, the worse of a deal you get, unless you are a legend and get what you want immediately). We are going to set you up with what you should know before even stepping into a dealership. This is where the secret to the best deal is achieved.
Of course we would love a car to be as cheap as possible. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like that and cars are always a hit in the bank account. What you will want to do is get prices from multiple dealerships, websites online, and even owners of the car that you want. There is the Best Price Program to get the best online quotes on cars, but we recommend checking other tools to get a better range of what you should be negotiating for. With these tools, you get the price of the car without all the other factors like your trade-in value or fees. If you do want to visit dealerships, stick to strictly business and ask only for the car’s sales price and nothing else.
Adjust to What You Want/Can Pay
If the quotes are in a comfortable range, that is great, but then keep in mind that you will most likely have monthly payments to pay off your car. A general rule is if a payment is more than 10-15% of your profit per month, then you should either find an older model of that car, make sure to negotiate that (though the price will go up), or find a different car entirely. Remember, you should come into a dealership with a range, not a set price. I recommend sticking with the car you want and plan to negotiate for a longer time unless the car you want is clearly outside of your price range.
Go When It Is Not Busy
The “worst” time to go are the weekends and during the evening because that is when everyone is off work and is able to go to a dealership. The less people in a dealership, the more negotiating power you will have because less people are going for the same car as you that day. That is just a little trick to do to ensure that all the research you do is put into the best use.
Know that your final purchase price should not be said at the beginning because then a dealer will push the price of your monthly plan or decrease the trade-in value. If you want to test drive, do not give a dealer your social security number because they are looking to run a credit check to set up a package that benefits them. The less you say, the better.
Keep It All Business
If you get angry or impatient, a dealer will feel less inclined to lean towards what you want. Do not become too attached to the car you want either, because that will cause you to settle for a deal that is not worth it. Also, do not agree to take the car over night because that is meant to hook you on a bad deal as well. It is a tug of war- you are trying to get the best deal and the dealer is trying to get the most profit off of you. It is just business at the end of the day but treat each other with respect because you will be negotiating for hours. The dealer will likely have the upper hand because of their sales experience but keeping calm will cause them to want to do business with you.
Talk About Monthly Payments & Trade-in Value Separately
Dealers love to throw in numbers from your monthly plan and trade-in value to confuse you and distract you from the final price, or vice versa. Focus on one thing at a time and once you come to an agreement on one, write it down and continue to the next one.
This is your greatest advantage. If you feel like you are not getting a deal that is closer to what you want, then you can always just walk out. A dealer will most likely stop you and start negotiating in your favor. However, you should not do this unless you have been negotiating for a while and the dealer really isn’t listening to you. The process is hard, so do not feel bad about attempting to or actually walking out. If that dealership is not for you, then you will find one that will make you the best deal.
That is about it. The rest is up to you, but that is most of the prior knowledge and tricks you will want to know to come out with the best deal on your car. Feel free to let us know if this blog helped with your purchase.