How do I get a good deal on a travel trailer?

15 Apr.,2024


Purchasing an RV is a mixture of excitement and stress. You want to select just the right RV that will meet your needs and at just the right price. Negotiating RV price can be incredibly difficult. However, today we want to share with you some of our best tips for negotiating an RV’s price. Let’s take a look!

Get the Best Price on Your Next RV Purchase

Many RVers fall in love with an RV and lose their ability to make rational decisions. It’s easy to instantly start imagining the fantastic places and memories that the new rig will help them create with their family. The allure of priceless memories often can cloud your judgment and cause us to make a quick decision. Getting the best price on your next RV purchase can play a huge part in how you’re able to enjoy your RV.

If you’re paying cash for your new rig, getting the best possible price allows you to keep some of that cash in your pocket. On the other hand, getting the best price if you’re financing your RV will allow you to finance as little as possible. It’s simple accounting that the more you finance, the more you’ll pay each month.

9 Tips for Negotiating RV Price

We want you to be able to enjoy your RV and get the best deal possible. Here are nine of our best tips for negotiating an RV’s price. Let’s get started!

1. Get an RV Inspection

Having an independent RV inspector look at an RV before you sign on the dotted line is a great idea. An independent RV inspector has no skin in the game but is paid to ensure the RV is in good working order. They may discover things that you would gloss over and likely need to spend more money to fix later.

If your inspector discovers something that needs attention, you can use that information when negotiating RV price. Worst case scenario, the dealership agrees to resolve the issue instead, and it’s one less thing you have to worry about later.

2. Research Similar Models

You may be set on a specific model, but similar models may be a better deal. You may have to sacrifice an added feature or two, but you might find that saving a few bucks is worth the sacrifice. If you notice a similar model has been sitting on the lot for a bit, the dealer may be a little more flexible and excited about getting the RV off their lot.

3. Shop During the Off-Season

One of the mistakes RVers make is buying during peak season. RV dealerships know that they can be less flexible during peak season because if you don’t buy it, another customer will be through the door soon to buy it. The peak season for RV shopping is typically in the spring and early summer as the temperatures rise.

If you’re looking for the best deal, try shopping for your RV during the later summer and fall. Sales tend to slow down, and RV dealers will be more likely to offer incentives or cut you a deal. When negotiating RV price, this tip will require you to be patient and not be in a tremendous rush to make your decision.

4. Buy at The End of an RV Show

If you’ve ever been to a large RV show, you’ll likely see hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of RVs. Dealers from around the area bring their collection of RVs to the RV show to show off to prospective buyers. Dealers anticipate towing home fewer RVs than they came with as prospective buyers fall in love with an RV and take it home with them. 

Many RVers share getting great deals on their RVs because the dealer didn’t want to deal with the hassle of towing them back to their lot. This strategy will require a lot of patience and potentially an insane amount of luck if you’re being picky about what you’re looking for in an RV.

5. Buy Used

It’s no secret that RVs depreciate incredibly quickly. A new RV will often lose thousands of dollars in value in the first year. This trend continues as new models hit the market and come with more options and fancier features.

Buying a used RV means that the previous owner likely took the brunt of the depreciation. Your new-to-you RV will still depreciate, but not nearly as quickly. Many RVers who buy new put a substantial down payment to avoid owing more than their RV is worth.

When you choose to buy used, you also can find gently-used RVs at an incredible deal. You might be surprised how many people buy RVs intending to use them regularly, but life gets in the way, and their RV sits in their driveway more than they’d like. Buying a used RV gives you the chance to save some cash and still get a high-quality RV.

6. Set a Budget and Stick to It

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to go into a dealership without a budget in mind. Before you even start negotiating RV price, you should set a budget for how much you’re willing to spend and keep in mind what the monthly payment will be. If the dealership knows your budget is $250 a month for an RV payment, they can adjust the interest rate or the length of a loan to accommodate your budget. However, you could end up paying a tremendous amount more than you initially had hoped.

When negotiating RV price, shop around and get a realistic idea of what your budget should be for the RVs you’re considering. You may even talk to other RVers and see what prices they’re paying and what kind of deals they’re receiving. This type of research will help you set your budget and come into the negotiation with a realistic idea of what to expect for the final price.

You may find that dealers are willing to be a little more flexible at the end of the month regarding the sales price. They may take a slight reduction in commission to make a sale so they can get paid for a sale sooner versus later.

7. Use Negotiation Tactics

No matter what kind of deal you’re negotiating, there are a few tactics that are worth trying. Telling a dealer, “I found it cheaper somewhere else” or “Another dealer is offering a better financing rate” are all great options. Putting some pressure on the dealer to bring their best deal to the table is an art, and it takes practice.

If you’re purchasing your RV with a spouse or partner, it may be worth letting the one who has the best negotiating skills take the lead. While you’re doing your negotiation tactics, you should know that the dealership is doing the same. Walking away to “ask their approval from their boss” or a “let me put a good word in with the finance team” are all tactics to make you feel like you’re on the same team. 

8. Ask for a Package Deal

Don’t be afraid to ask for add-on items to be included with your new RV when negotiating RV price. Essential items like a surge protector, sewer hoses, and leveling blocks are all critical items that you’ll be needing to buy soon anyway. It never hurts to ask for these items because the worst the dealer can say is no.

Some RVers end up with a few hundred dollars credit to spend in the dealership’s expensive accessory store. While the prices are likely higher than you’d find elsewhere, getting store credit built into your deal can help ease the burden.

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

Until you’ve signed your name on a paper committing to buy a unit, you’re not on the hook for anything. If a dealer isn’t treating you right or you feel they’re not offering you a good enough deal, walk away. Too many RVers get mentally committed to an agreement before they’ve signed their name. They almost forget that there is the option to walk away from the deal altogether.

Don’t just use the words “I need to think about it.” Stand up and walk towards the door, and don’t be afraid to keep walking to your truck. If you got very far into the negotiating stage, you likely filled out some sort of informational sheet where the dealership would have access to your contact information. If they want to make a deal, they’ll call you in a day or two.

You may find a dealer is too afraid to lose a deal and may offer you a better deal. It’s a part of the game they’re playing because they are a business after all and have expenses to cover as well.

Get the Best Deal 

No matter how your negotiations go when purchasing a new RV, don’t take it personally. RV dealerships and their sales teams have families to feed and bills to pay too. They’re doing the same thing you’re doing and trying to get the best deal for their bottom line. What are some of your favorite tips for negotiating?

There's a lot to consider when looking for the right RV. A huge part of that consideration is price. Beyond looking at every make and model available, you should be sure you’re getting a fair price before you sign on the dotted line. Here’s a list of tips to use to hit that sweet spot when negotiating the price on your recreational vehicle.

Shopping for an RV might seem similar enough to shopping for a car, but the difference is in the details. Much like a car purchase, you're likely either going to a dealership or buying directly from a private seller, but knowing what to expect before you walk in the door can make a big difference between satisfaction and frustration.

With that being said, consider the following RV buying tips as your own personal cheat sheet to finding your best deal.

  1. Get preapproved. It's a great first step to take when you're first starting to look. Getting preapproved for an RV loan not only lets buyers know you're serious, but more importantly, it also provides visibility into what you can comfortably afford. If you've found the perfect RV through a dealership, you can even ask for BECU RV financing. You'll get our excellent rates with the added convenience of one-stop shopping.
  2. Consider buying from an RV show. Oftentimes, vendors at RV shows will sell their display RVs at a discounted price. If you find a display model you really like, ask the vendor rep if they'd be willing to part with it instead of transporting it back to the dealership or manufacturer. If they agree, suggest a lower price than what you'd pay for it right off the lot.
  3. Be cautious if buying from a private seller. If you found a promising deal posted by a private seller on somewhere like Craigslist, be sure to thoroughly research what you're about to go see before you get there. Ask the seller for the RV Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to get started. When conducting your research, keep an eye on the history of the vehicle, and don't be afraid to ask the seller any questions you feel might be relevant to your buying decision.
  4. Do your homework. If you're looking for a used RV, use the J.D. Power guide to serve as a baseline when negotiating price. Here, you can search for an RV and get its average wholesale value. This information is valuable in more ways than one. When negotiating, bargain up from the wholesale price you see listed, and not down from the seller's asking price. Also, carefully inspect the condition of the vehicle before you start negotiating. (To elaborate on a previous point, make sure you get the RV VIN prior to starting this process.) Remember: Every RV's price is negotiable!
  5. Don't let emotions get in the way. It's easy to get wrapped in the emotions of the deal-making process, but that still doesn't mean you're under any obligations at any point. Don't let your desire to get on the road take priority over taking a deal that you know isn't the right one for you. If you've done your homework, approached the situation with care and negotiated what you feel is a fair price, you've done your part. Remember: If you want to see what other dealerships are offering, it's never a bad idea to let them vie for your business.

Questions? Call us at 1-800-233-2328. Our RV loan experts can guide you through getting your best deal at a competitive rate. We also offer low interest auto financing for new and used cars.

How do I get a good deal on a travel trailer?

5 Tips for Purchasing a RV

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