When it’s time to buy a new RV, it can be intimidating. The two biggest fears most people have are choosing the wrong RV and paying too much for an RV. It’s a huge investment, so before you hit the dealerships to shake hands with an RV salesman, know what you need and have your budget in mind. Make sure you’ve done some research, so you’re not throwing yourself to the lions.
Once you step onto the property of an RV dealership, there’s always a salesperson ready to greet you and start showing you the latest models. To make sure you don’t get ripped off, there are a few things you should know. Let’s take a look so you can enter this process confidently.
What Should I Not Tell My RV Salesman?
When shopping for a new RV, it’s important to listen closely to what the salesperson is telling you (and not telling you). But it’s just as important to know what you should and shouldn’t say.
For example, never tell an RV salesperson that you’re new to RVing and are buying your first rig. This may lead the salesperson to try to get you to buy something you don’t need. You’ll be spending more money than necessary.
You also don’t want to tell the salesperson that you’re paying in cash, or you have a trade-in—at least not in the beginning. Save that information for later when you’re negotiating a deal.
This is true for your credit score as well. Don’t talk about your credit until you go to financing. The RV salesman doesn’t need to know this information. It won’t help you to talk about cash, trade-in value, or credit until after you’ve solidified the very best price.
Finally, don’t act like you’re in a hurry to buy an RV. Don’t say things like, “I’m leaving today with an RV,” or “I really need an RV today.” Why would the salesperson negotiate with someone who will purchase an RV that day? You want to make it look like you’re shopping around, looking for the best deal, and not in a hurry to close.
Pro Tip: Before you buy, make sure you know the Pros, the Cons, and the Truth About RV Dealerships.
How Much Can I Negotiate on a New RV?
The MSRP has gone up so much over the last couple of years that it may look like you’re getting a great deal when you see that sticker slashed. But you’re still paying a lot more than what someone else paid for that same RV three or four years ago. So to get the best deal possible, you always want to negotiate. Don’t just pay what looks like a heavily-discounted price. Usually, you can aim for 25% less than the listing price.
5 Ways the RV Salesman Is Ripping You Off
Not all RV salesmen are evil and looking to take advantage of potential buyers. But there are those trying to make their bonus and nothing else. When discussing a unit’s price, salespeople will do a few things to make sure the sale goes through and you don’t back out.
1. Not Calculating Taxes in the Price Until Closing
If you negotiate down to $35,000 and are planning to pay that amount when you sign the papers, some misleading was involved. Taxes are a huge chunk of an RV purchase. If the salesperson you’re working with doesn’t give you that information before you walk to closing, then they are trying to hide it from you so you don’t walk away from the deal.
Taxes will likely cost you thousands of dollars. For example, a $35,000 price at a 7% tax rate will add $2,450 to the price. A $70,000 price at a 7% tax rate will add $4,900. So the more expensive your new rig, the more taxes you’ll pay. And that’s not included in the sticker price.
2. Leaving Out Administration Fees Until Closing
Just like taxes, RV salespeople don’t want to tell you the administration fees until the very end. There may be a $250 processing fee here and a $500 administrative fee there. These fees tacked on at closing are not included in the sticker price. So even if you’ve done an excellent job of negotiating the price, you might want to do even more work knowing that taxes and fees will still apply at closing.
Pro Tip: Make sure to keep an eye out for these Top 10 Easily Missed Things to Look for When Buying an RV.
3. Having an In-house RV Tech Do Your Inspection
If an RV salesman won’t let you hire an unaffiliated RV inspector to conduct a thorough inspection of the RV, you need to walk away. Don’t let the salesperson tell you they already did one in-house. This could be a flat-out lie, or it could be the truth.
Sometimes, an in-house RV inspector will lean towards helping the dealership and not the buyer. This means glossing over potential problems or not conducting as thorough an inspection as possible. You always want to hire someone unaffiliated with the dealership. It could save you thousands in repairs once the RV is officially yours. That $500 upfront is well worth it.
4. You’re Shopping During High Demand
RV salespeople know when camping season is. They understand the demand. Most have been in the business for years. They know when they need to actually give potential buyers a deal and when they can just hold off for the next buyer.
If you’re shopping during camping season, don’t expect to be able to negotiate as much as if you shopped during December. RV salespeople can afford to skip over a deal because they know another buyer will just come along willing to pay the higher price.
5. The RV Salesman Is More Interested in Another Customer
Sometimes an RV salesman will say something like, “Well, we had a couple looking at this rig just this morning, and they were very interested. They even mentioned coming back later today to see if it’s still here.” Or, “A family walked through this trailer yesterday and loved it. They said they’d be returning this weekend to purchase it if it’s still here.”
If the salesperson seems more interested in another customer, they may be trying to get you to move quicker than you’d like or pay more than you’d like. Comparing you to another customer or putting pressure on you because that particular rig might get sold soon is a selling tactic. Don’t crack under the pressure.
Even if it’s true and that RV sells the next day, there are other options and dealerships. You don’t want to buy something because you feel like you’re going to miss out, which could lead you to pay too much for it or lead you to not hire an RV inspector so you can just close the deal quickly.
Pro Tip: Want to buy a used RV? Find out the 10 Things We Looked for When Buying Our Used Class A Motorhome.
Can You Back Out of an RV Deal?
If you signed a purchase contract, it’s binding. It’s a legal document. The dealership can pursue damages for a breach of contract. However, some people write in addendums to a contract. That ensures that when they leave the dealership that day, they have a few days to change their minds (before the pick-up or delivery of the RV). Some people call this a three-day window. But this isn’t always accepted. If you want protection, you must ensure it’s in the contract.
Another popular addendum concerns the RV inspection. If you plan on hiring an RV inspector to conduct a thorough walk-through, you want to include that in the contract. If the RV inspector comes back with a long list of things to fix, the dealership either honors those repairs or you can walk away from the deal.
Is Buying an RV From a Dealership Salesman Worth It?
Many people have horror stories about being taken advantage of or wishing they had known certain things before spending so much money on an RV. As soon as you take a new RV off the lot, it’s worth much less than what you paid. RVs depreciate, so you want to make sure you choose the right one.
However, other people have wonderful stories of genuine hospitality and excellent customer service when buying from a dealership. The warranties and financing are usually much better when buying new versus used. There are certainly advantages to purchasing a new rig from a dealership.
But this is also why it’s important to shop around. Don’t just stick to the dealership in your hometown because it’s more convenient. Branch out to find the dealership that will give you the proper attention you deserve during the buying process and take good care of you once the RV is in your hands.
Thinking you may want to buy a used RV from a private seller instead? Here are our top tips: How to Buy a Used RV From a Private Party
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