Cars are always one of the most important purchases you will make. There’s usually a lot of money involved and we rely on them for our day-to-day lives to run smoothly.
Of course, everyone wants to find the best deal, but doing so is easier said than done. That’s why we’ve made this handy little guide to help you prepare and haggle at the dealerships so you can come away with a bargain.
Let’s get down to it …
1) Never Trade-In
If you already own a car when looking for a new one, chances are, you’re considering trading it in.
Dealers are notorious for lowballing on trade-ins or increasing the price of the sale, and it’s just not worth it.
Your best option is to simply sell it outright before you begin your search for another car.
2) Get Preapproved Financing First
One of the ways dealers make money is to sell/broker the financing for the car as well. This will almost always be overpriced and can make the whole process more confusing.
As long as you know the vehicle you want, you should shop around for financing prior to going to the dealership—but, make sure it’s preapproved so you know you will actually get approved when the time comes.
Of course, if you are on a particularly tight budget and going for the bottom-end of what’s available, you can quite easily secure a $1,000 loan online.
3) Know the Price Range
You should never go into a negotiation blind. Even the best talkers will come out losing if they don’t know the general value of the vehicle they’re considering because they have no reference to haggle with. So, before heading to the dealership do your research online at sites like Edmund’s (True Market Value) or Kelley Blue Book (Blue Book Price).
This applies to new and used vehicles.
4) Strategy 1: Play Hard Ball
Name your top price, say that’s all you can do (perhaps it genuinely is) and then leave it at that. The dealer will then be forced to fill the silence and this may come with perks and add-ons to bump the price up a little—usually in your favor.
If you enter the negotiation without a figure, you give all your power away.
5) Strategy 2: Get Their Figure First
The opposite approach is to get the salesperson to confirm a figure to you before you even mention one yourself. This then gives you room to haggle the price down. You should also get them to break this down based on the various options and packages available.
One common tactic is for them to include as many options as possible (even if you don’t want them), inflating the price. Another tactic is to lower the price by quietly removing these options, leading you to believe that you’re successfully haggling, but really, you’re just losing options.
6) Shop Around
Once you’ve got a quote, you are not obliged to follow through then and there. It is generally accepted that you can follow-up several days later.
This gives you the chance to shop around at multiple dealerships to find the best price. You can even play them off against each other if you have strong nerves.
7) Pick Your Time
One clever strategy is to follow-up on a quote just prior to closing or right at the end of the week. This gives you some extra haggling power as the salesperson will be looking to get one more sale in quickly before going home. This is especially true if they’ve had a bad day/week and need something to show for their effort.
In this scenario stay close to your figure and chances are, they’ll go with it.
8) Be Polite
Negotiating is not always how its portrayed in the movies. Everyone is human and losing your temper or being absurdly low in your figure is just going to waste everyone’s day. Ultimately, if the salesperson likes you, they are going to be more likely to give you what you want.
So, be polite and chatty, maintain the relationship with the same salesperson whenever you visit or call, and thank them for their time.
As long as you are well prepared, know the car’s value, and can spot the obvious sales tactics, coming away with a good deal at the car dealership is not that difficult.