Negotiate Like a Pro: How to Get the Best Price on a New Car

Negotiate Like a Pro: How to Get the Best Price on a New Car

Maybe you’ve been dreaming of buying a new Ram truck or love the newest safety features in the latest Toyota SUV. There are a lot of benefits to owning a new vehicle, but the price isn’t always one of them.

Many car buyers are hesitant to negotiate on the price of a new car because it may end up backfiring (or end up being an awkward interaction). There’s no harm in trying to get a better price on a new vehicle, and we’ll give you tips on how to negotiate and prepare before you head to the dealership.

Do Your Homework Before You Go to the Dealership

If you’ve been thinking about buying a new car, and even have a make or model picked out, you’ve probably done a little research. If you show up to a car dealership completely unprepared, they’ll know, and they will probably try to take advantage of the fact that you don’t know what you want or that you probably won’t argue about prices. It’s best to do your homework before you go car shopping.

Choosing Your Dealership

Car dealerships often have a bad reputation for being pushy and dishonest. Some dealers are, others are honest and truly want every consumer to drive away happy (and feel like they paid a fair price). Unless you have experience with a particular dealership, you might want to check out the reviews of dealerships in the area.

Keep in mind that online reviews aren’t always an accurate depiction of a business, like a dealership, but it should give you a good idea of which places to check out and others to avoid.

Arm Yourself with Knowledge

Buying a new car is a big decision and financial investment. You wouldn’t buy a home or an appliance without doing adequate research, so a new vehicle should be no different.

Before you decide which car you want to buy, it’s a good idea to take a look at your credit score and your budget. While the dealership can often help with these details, it’s better to know what you can and cannot afford before you even consider buying a new car.

Don’t forget to check out new car prices before you browse cars at a dealership and sit down to make a deal. Looking at prices will give you a good idea of what a new car should be going for, so you can tell if the dealership is overcharging or right on point with the MSRP.

New truck prices and the cost of new cars is essential knowledge but don’t forget to check out car history reports as well (this is particularly important if you are buying a newer pre-owned vehicle). Checking out the history of a brand-new vehicle is important because it will show you whether or not a certain make or model has a problematic history, such as mechanical errors. Tips to Consider at the Dealership

Now that you’re familiar with pricing, know what’s a “fair” price, and have a car or two on your wishlist (that you can afford), it’s time to head to a dealership and see if you can make a deal.

Take Control from the Beginning

You can be in control of the conversation with the car sales associate without coming across as rude or difficult. Once you find the car you want to buy, most dealerships want to get down to business and start talking about payments.

Before you discuss financing, tell the sales associate that you want to talk about the purchase price (and if you’ve done your research, you’ll know how much you want to pay).

Tell the salesperson that you’ve done some research, shopped around, and know how much the vehicles sell for. After you explain that you've done the research, this is a good time to present the price that you’re willing to pay. It’s a smart idea to bring a printed copy of your price research; otherwise, the sales associate is likely to argue and tell you that your prices are wrong. Keep in mind that they still might argue, even if you have proof of pricing.

Showing the sales associate the price means that not only have you done your homework, but they need to work a little bit harder to get the sale (which means they might lower the price). A car sales associate will work hard to make the sale, and many are trained to get you off track or have you talk to someone with more authority. It’s important to stick to your price or the lowest price you’re willing to pay.

Closing the Deal

As the dealership tries to get away from your price offer and have you settle on their price, they will likely try to “upsell” extras like trim options or want to talk about a trade-in. Don’t discuss financing or a trade-in until you and the dealership settle on your price (or something in your price range).

Remember, you are control of the sale. Whether you want to spend five minutes or over a half hour trying to settle on your price, that’s up to you. You are never obligated to stay and “wait it out.” It’s also beneficial to know the new pricing at other dealerships as this may help you seal the deal when you mention competitor’s prices.

Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Around

Feeling frustrated or don’t feel like the dealership is taking your offer seriously? There’s nothing wrong with shopping around. Simply mentioning that you are planning on going to another dealership may be the words that make the dealership meet your offer.

Like we already mentioned, it’s always a good idea to know how other dealerships price their new vehicles.

Don’t Give in to Talk About Payments

If you’re like most consumers who are interested in buying a new vehicle, you will need to set up a monthly payment plan. As we mentioned above, don’t jump right into talking about a payment plan. Dealerships will often dive right into monthly payments because it makes the car seem more affordable than discussing the total purchase price.

Negotiating Like a Pro

We’ve discussed the basics of negotiating a sale and some of the most common steps to consider when visiting a dealership, but these less common and unique tips can help you negotiate like a pro. Of course, there’s never a guarantee that the dealership will bite on your offer, but it’s worth a try.

Negotiate Without Negotiating

Some people have success in getting a new car at the price they want by simply not negotiating. Rather than going back and forth on the price, tell the dealership that you’ll sign paperwork when they accept your offer.

Instead of listening to their counter-offers, give them your contact info and leave the dealership. It may seem like a bold move, but it works for some.

Go New Car Shopping Near the End of the Month

Some dealerships are pressured to meet a quota by the end of the month, so they may be more willing to be flexible about the price than they would during other times of the month. If you have failed to make a deal with a dealership, you can always try to follow up at the end of the month to see if they changed their mind.

Buy a New Car After Bad Weather

You might have better luck getting the best price on a new car if you head to a dealership after a period of bad weather, such as a snowstorm. While no one really wants to browse snowy lots, or even test drive cars in bad weather, the weather may be on your side when it comes to sealing a deal.

This is also a tip worth trying if you are following up with a dealership after they initially declined to meet your price.

Make a Deal Before Closing Time

Whether you’re shopping around at various dealerships or checking back in with dealerships that you already visited, Saturday and Sunday nights (right before closing) may be a promising time to negotiate and make a deal.

Final Thoughts on Negotiating

Some people are natural negotiators and feel comfortable asking for a lower price while others avoid it because they don’t want to be “that” car buyer. If you’re hesitant to negotiate, it’s important to keep in mind that you have a right to pay a price you can afford. Don’t get too intimidated about negotiating with a dealership.

The worst thing that they can say is “no” and if they do, there are plenty of other dealerships to check out. While it may take awhile to negotiate the best price on a new car, it’s worth the wait.