How to haggle and come out on top at a dealership?

How to haggle and come out on top at a dealership?

Happy couple, smiling at the salesperson, inside a car dealership.

Let’s be honest, the thought of negotiating with a salesperson at a car dealership can be intimidating if you are not well prepared. But anyone can be successful with the proper negotiation skills. In fact, most of the work happens before you show up at the dealership. Nowadays, there is more information available online than ever before thanks to the internet. Having the right information and not being hesitant to walk away from a bad deal are some of the most powerful negotiation tools. Read on to learn some simple tips and rules to help you navigate this process smoothly.


Before Going to the Dealership

Once you are ready to embark on this journey, the first step is to find the right vehicle that meets your needs and budget. You can use online tools to help you find your ideal ride and also compare various vehicles. Here are some recommended review tools: and It’s important to know what you want, however, this does not only concern the type or brand of vehicle but also the features you are looking for. This will come in really handy later on when you are at the dealership. Once you know what you want, shop online at various dealerships to see what vehicles they have available before visiting them in person. Also make sure to check your financing options with local banks, credit unions, and online lenders.
If you have a trade-in, do some research on your vehicle to find its market value, there are many tools online, like Carfax.
Lastly, there can and will be some stress and anxiety, especially if it’s your first time. But taking a trusted friend or family member will help minimize your chances of making rushed decisions and avoid being pressured into a bad deal.


At the Dealership

Once you are at the dealership, do not focus on haggling over things that are out of the dealer's control, but rather focus on the numbers they can change.The most important thing to negotiate is the car’s price. Discuss the total price of the car based on your research and what is available on the market. Here is another tip: if it’s a popular car that is in high demand at the time you are shopping, expect to pay a little bit more. The same is true for a vehicle that is in low demand, you can expect to haggle a lower price. Avoid any costly add-ons (it’s ok to negotiate the price of add-ons; dealerships usually have great profit margins on these extra items). However, some things you can’t negotiate include taxes, registration and freight fees.

When you are finally ready to purchase the vehicle, read the fine print and make sure you agree with all the terms and conditions. If you don’t understand something, don’t be ashamed to ask questions, this will help you avoid any mistakes or misunderstandings.
Congratulations! You are now ready to negotiate with confidence the next time you walk into a dealership!

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