How to Deal with a Dealership: Research, Research, Research!!!
Research, research, research! People get scammed often because they get nervous. Doing your research ahead of time will keep you from getting nervous and getting scammed. Before entering any dealership, know what you’re after. Research online to know exactly what car you want. If you want a 2012 Toyota Camry with in-dash navigation and the sports package, don’t settle! On the other side of the coin, don’t let them up-sell you. Check online to see if the premium package is worth the premium price to you. Knowledge = power. Gather knowledge online, gain power, don’t get nervous, and don’t get scammed.
Best Sites to Research a Car (Links Go Directly to Each Site’s ‘Research’ Page)
Have a Price
Before you enter the dealership, decide on your spending limit. This helps gambling addicts at casinos. Go into that dealership knowing you will pay ‘x’ dollars for the perfect car. Anything less, that’s icing on the cake. Anything more, you walk.
Rent a Car
If the model of car you want is available as a rental, go for it. Rent the car for a week or 2 to make sure it fits your lifestyle. If the car you are after is too old to be a rental car (rental cars are usually <2 years old, then see if you know anyone who has the car. Offer to take them out to eat if you can do the driving (and of course play with all the bells and whistles on the car).
You have to be strong when you’re negotiating with a dealer. Remember, they sell cars (or at least try) every day. They understand the tactics involved. Many (not all) dealers will play on your emotions. If you feel weak, bring a friend. When I car shop, I always bring someone. You will feel stronger. You wouldn’t storm a castle alone.
Don’t Be Afraid to Drive
I’m a very logical thinker. One thing I’ve never understood is how willing people are fly to Hawaii and come back with a seashell necklace. Yet, those people aren’t willing to drive more than 10 minutes to come back with a CAR. I know, I know, with Hawaii you get a vacation… but why not make the neighboring city a vacation? If you can save a few thousand dollars on the price of the car, it’ll more than pay for your vacation!
Buying local is fine but if they aren’t willing to give you the deal you deserve, then why do they deserve your business? You shouldn’t support a place like that. I drove 400 miles for my last car. It was definitely worth it. Any dealership will maintain your car no matter where it was bought. Sure you may have some rapport built up with a salesman but let’s face it, they probably won’t be around when you want to buy a new car.
Enjoy the Process
Buying a car should be fun – not stressful. You’ve worked hard for that money, enjoy spending it. Remember, research first, sample the car, know your price, don’t have pity, drive the distance if needed, and enjoy the process! It may seem like a hassle following these steps but it’ll save you money and hassle later on. What do they say… an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure?
And if this ever becomes too much, go the private party route. Here’s how that’s done.
I’m a personal finance freelance writer and webmaster. I welcome you to visit me at www.thefrugalpreneur.com