I have purchased a lot of new vehicles in my lifetime, so I like to think I have mastered the art of negotiation. If you take nothing else away from the information below, please takeaway this… If the dealer hasn’t accepted your offer, there is always more room to negotiate. Hopefully you enjoy these tips to get the best RV pricing possible.
You should never let the dealer make the last offer. For example, if you are looking at a Grand Design Transcend the MSRP will be somewhere around $33,000. The latest technique from the dealers has been to disclose “what they have been going for” while you are still looking. When you get to the financing room there is no negotiation. After all, they already told you how much they are going for. MoreFamFun subscribers are definitely smarter than that.
Negotiating Tips to get the Best RV Pricing
- My number one tip to negotiation is always make a counter-offer. You should never accept the dealers offer, they should accept your counter-offer. If you go into a negotiation with this mentality you will avoid overpaying by simply accepting the price they tell you.
- The second most important part of your negotiation tactic is to embrace the silence. Usually the one who talks the most is the one who loses in a negotiation. I like to repeat the same phrase to avoid over-speaking. I like to say, “I cannot afford that” regardless of what I was asked.
- Always be willing to walk away, that’s tip number three on this list. Go into your negotiations with a dollar amount in mind. When the dealer won’t meet you there, respectfully let them know your beyond your original budget and need time to sleep on it.
- Make sure you are talking with a competing dealer, even casually. If you end up playing hardball during the negotiations, your counter-offers will carry more weight if they are followed by, “John at Camping World emailed saying they have a couple models too.”
RV Price Negotation
A general rule of thumb, but not always accurate, is to negotiate a price that is 25-30% under MSRP. In our Grand Design Transcend example, that is a final sale price of $23,100-24,750. Here is an example of how the negotiations go:
Dealer: “MSRP on this Transcend 29TBS is $33,000, but they go for $30,000”
Customer: “I really like this travel trailer, but it might be a bit beyond my budget.”
Dealer: “Well, lets sit down and talk numbers.”
When you get to the dealers office, I often ask for something to drink if they haven’t already offered. Even if I don’t intend on drinking it, I still take it. I believe it sends the message of: we might be here a while and I’m going to need a drink.
Customer: “I did some research and found that a lot of customers are paying 25-30% less than MSRP on these models.”
Dealer: “Oh, that might be true on (insert any other manufacturers name here), but not with Grand Design.”
Customer: “Well, I have a pretty tight budget for my travel trailer, but I am prepared to offer $23,000.”
Dealer: “There is no way we can sell for that much. I can’t even take that offer to my manager. Can you do $29,000?”
Customer: “I cannot afford that.”
RV Negotiation Tips
The key here is to say nothing else until the salesman takes your offer to the sales manager. This way the sales manager brings you to his office, or comes to see you in the salesman’s office. Either way, you’re now negotiating with the individual in charge.
Dealer: “I’m Sally, the sales manager. Dave tells me your interested in the Transcend Bunk House. Say now… The best I can do on that is going to be $29,000.”
Customer: “I cannot afford that.” (Now say nothing else and embrace the silence.)
Dealer: “We can probably get you a lower down payment and competitive financing.”
Customer: “I cannot afford that.”
Dealer: “Well, what can you afford?”
Now you have them. The dealer has shown their hand. If they are still asking what you can afford it is a big advantage. You already told them you cannot afford $29,000. They know you cannot afford it. They want to know what you can afford because they still have room to negotiate. Now you are in a position to get the best RV pricing.
Negotiation Tactics for RVs
This is often the make or break moment in the negotiation. Remember, if you walk away you will likely get the exact same offer the next day. If you don’t, then you really do need to walk away from a dealer like that.
Customer: “Will you take $24,000?”
Dealer: “We can’t make money taking that. Look, here is our invoice price…”
At this point the dealer may show you an invoice. It may look like they paid $29K for the travel trailer, but remember dealers often get additional incentives. If they sell 10 travel trailers they may get a price below invoice, which is often the case. Whatever you do, say nothing and wait for them to talk. If you start speaking here, you begin bidding against yourself. You offered $24,000 and are already renegotiating. After a long and awkward silence the conversation usually finishes up something like this.
Dealer: “Look, the best I can do on this is $29,000 and I can probably get 10% off in the parts department, today only. It’s the best RV pricing I can get you.”
Customer: “I cannot afford that.”
If the dealer then bids against themselves you can continue this back and forth game until you are at an acceptable price. The dealer could be having a great month. If so they might play hardball, and you may have to walk away. If so, remember to be respectful. You want to pick up negotiations where ever they left off. Never get mad at the dealer even if you don’t like how they negotiate. You can always go to another dealer.
If you have to walk away you should do so by saying something similar to the following:
Customer: “Well, thanks for taking the time to talk numbers with me. I’m going to have to sleep on it if we are going over our budget. John, over at Camping World, emailed about a couple models he thought we would like. I’ll check those out and try to make a decision later this week. Here’s my number if anything changes…”
I never recommend trying to get dealerships to battle against each other. Rather I initially talk with two dealerships, disclosing such upfront. It usually backfires for the consumer if you try to negotiate the best price by getting two different dealers competing. A far more likely scenario is the dealerships working on ca-hoots against you…
By letting the original dealership know you are in communication with another dealer, it may incentivize them to make a better offer. If they put their best foot forward they will have nothing to fear by your talking to a competing dealer.
Final Thoughts on Negotiating the Best RV Price
Remember, never take the dealers offer. They should always be accepting your offer. This will ensure the negotiations are always ongoing. If the first price the dealer offers up is within your price range, you should have set a lower price range.
There will inevitably be awkward silence if you are negotiating properly. You want to do as little talking as possible. They won’t think you are “strange” because you can go back to normal once negotiations are over. Sometimes sitting in silence gets the dealer uncomfortable so they start blabbing new offers and bidding against themselves..
Don’t forget, if you must walk away do so respectfully. The dealer has something you want (an RV) and you have something they want (your money.) Be kind and its likely negotiations will pick up where they left off upon your return.
My final thought on negotiating the best RV pricing is to talk to a competing dealer. I am always upfront about this letting both dealerships know I am talking to another. With Grand Design that is less of an issue since they control how many dealers are allowed within a certain radius.
If you enjoyed this “How to” on negotiating for an RV, please leave us a comment. If you are buying a new rig, congratulations! Make sure you accessorize your new rig with the best grill for camping.