There is a saying. Buy low, sell high. Unfortunately, when I decided to make the move from sticks and bricks to full-time RV life, the RV market was hot, like smoking hot. Dealers were holding their prices. Inventory was low, virtually non-existent. Lead times for new rigs were 3-4 months. And dealers had a strong upper hand, and worse off, they knew it.
I had talked to several dealerships about various rigs while doing my research. Some were sincerely wanting to help, went through the pros and cons of different styles and brands, offered test drives and were amazing people I wouldn’t mind doing business with. Others were egomaniacs, implying that I should buy this today, or else don’t waste their time. Here’s a news flash Mr. Salesman; I’m not going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars because you say so. In most places in the United States, the cost of a new RV is more than the cost of their home, and it is not an impulse buy, so quit being a pill.
It’s the Sales Managers Fault
I worked with, and talked to a lot of salespeople who were sincere and honest. They worked hard and did everything they were suppose to do. I wanted to do a deal with them. But when it came down to finalizing a deal, it was the Sales Manager that played hard ball, wouldn’t be negotiable, gave attitude, and ultimately killed the deal for the hard working sales person.
At one dealership, the Salesman was fantastic, but his Sales Manager wouldn’t negotiate on the price, wouldn’t give me a day to think it over with one of those “If you don’t buy it now I can’t hold this price” lines. Old school negotiation techniques still applied with this old school Sales Manager, and after several hours of negotiating via email, text and phone with the Sales Manager and the sales rep, I walked away, I wasn’t going to be bullied into buying a rig.
Another Sales Manager at another dealership gave me a quote on the whole package, new rig plus trade, and when I said I need time to think it over, he was very kind and gracious and said no problem. I called him two days later day and told him I would take the deal, then when he read back the numbers, he changed the price of the trade, and lowered it by $3,000. I told him the numbers were wrong on the paperwork, and that the trade price was incorrect, to which he responded that this was the most he could give me today. I told him that wasn’t what he quoted before, and he said “Yeah, that was then, the price has gone down.” There is no way that the price of my trade dropped $3,000 in two days, they must have had another person interested in this rig that was willing to pay more money, so obviously, I canceled that deal too. I told them I felt used, manipulated, and taken advantage of. I told him I was going to expose our conversation and use names (they did not know I was recording the entire conversation for my YouTube channel), but after settling down a bit, I am going to protect the guilty, even though this dealership in San Diego was anything but “Lazy” in trying to screw me over.
Researching more than just Googling
After these two failed deals, I had to take a step back, and perhaps, reset my expectations. Am I really asking for too much of a discount? Are my expectations really that unrealistic? I needed more research about what people were really paying for their rigs right now. And RV’s don’t have KBB type valuations that show what a “Dealer Invoice” is on an RV, you just have the RV Community.
YES! The RV Community could help. So, I logged onto FaceBook and joined as many groups as I could find about Super C RV’s, the Jayco Seneca Owners Group, Entegra Accolade Owners Group, Nexus Ghost Owners Group, Super C RV Owners Group, every group I could find. I went through their posts, participated in discussions, spoke directly via DM with other owners, and got the skinny on what people were paying, not just two or three years ago, but two or three months ago. This was the ammunition I needed, and not take a dealer’s word on it. The RV Community is amazing, full of knowledge, and, most importantly, willing to help newbies like me, something to remember as I get more involved.
It turns out, on the rig I wanted, the pricing I was being quoted was lower than what many other people were paying at the time. But, digging a bit further, many of these people were paying these higher prices on custom-built coaches, getting exactly what they wanted, with the 3-4 month lead time. I wanted to buy something that was ready to go, on the lot, I can take home now. So because of this, I expected a better deal, but the dealer’s mindset is the same as what I was told when I was selling my Class B, that hold tight, a buyer will come along and pay what you want because they want it now. The thought of me being one of those buyers paying a premium because I wanted it now was not settling well with me, I want the lowest price and I want it now, but I’m not even sure if that is possible in this day, with the RV market being as hot as it is.
The needle in the haystack
After doing a deeper dive into what others were paying, I was beginning to readjust my expectations on what I was going to end up paying for the rig I wanted. But then, one comment changed everything.
One person wrote they paid $18,000 less than everyone else out the door. Another came in at $16,000 less. I sent both of these people a PM asking which dealership they went to, one person didn’t respond, but the other did. They gave me the name of the dealership, I looked them up, and although they had multiple locations, they were all on the other side of the country. But, they had units in stock, and one I could live with, at a price that was $16,000 less than what I was being quoted. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was good enough, so, I made the move and pulled the trigger.
The unit I want is based in New York, but I didn’t want to fly out all the way over there to bring it back, so they are coordinating for transportation to the closest store they have to me, which is in Iowa. I plan to pickup the rig in Iowa, take her down to Texas to get her registered, then west to California for a few weeks to complete the transition from the condo to the RV.
Now, I haven’t picked up the unit yet, but so far, the salesperson, finance department, and everyone involved have been great. They are easy to work with, great communicators, and very friendly. They coordinated the financing, and are even overnighting the paperwork to me so I can review it before I get to the dealership. This way, everything can be said and done when I arrive, no long hours sitting in the Finance Manager’s office waiting for paperwork and being upsold on all those add-ons like fabric protection.
I will keep you posted on the final steps of the buying process, and if all is well, I will be sure to give a shout out to the Sales Rep and Finance Manager who, have so far, made this a very enjoyable and simple transaction.
Pay It Forward
It’s amazing how one comment, one additional day of research, the help of one kind person can change everything. That one comment from someone willing to help gave me a lead that has made this entire buying process fun and memorable. Never underestimate how one small, kind gesture can change someone’s day. Pay it forward, and help your community, whether it’s buying an RV, buying a house, or whatever.
Contribute positively to people who have questions and be an asset to the group you belong to. Pay it forward. I hope that someone reading this, hopefully, will find at least one thing useful that helped them gain more knowledge, save some money, and make their experience better.
But it’s not over yet. More can still go wrong.