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Old 01-10-2019, 05:33 AM   #1
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How to Maneuver the RV Show?

We are attending our first RV show in Charlotte January 18, 2019. Our goal is to find the travel trailer we like and buy it. Tips on how to go about this would be appreciated, Things to look for, watch out for, dealing with sellers, getting a good deal, etc. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
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Old 01-10-2019, 05:51 AM   #2
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The typical RV show is not a good place to decide. There will be too many people there to let you have time to look at stuff. It is an ok place to at least see what is available. The price at the RV show can be had any time of the year.

Shoot for 35% off MSRP is a good starting point. Then come up to 30% MSRP off if you need too.

RV furniture is not that comfortable so you need probably an hour on a unit. Look at kitchen space and where you would put pots and pans, coffee cups, plates etc. etc.

From the show you can pick a few units you want to really research. Go to that dealer after the show to look at said unit much closer. And spend 1 hour in the unit.

Good luck
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:51 AM   #3
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tuffr2 is spot on. Unless you do your home work then you can get played.
Several years ago the DW and I walked into a TT at an Rv show. Did the usual drawer/cupboard opening stuff. I opened one drawer and inside was an old MSRP invoice and sale price. Also, taped up to a cupboard was the show MSRP and sale price.
The one in the drawer was far cheaper than the one people saw hanging.
Not knowing exactly what you want gets confusing. I usually know the going sale price for a few RV's when heading to a show. I can see if the price is good or not. It takes a lot of time to do research.
Also if the show is really big then don't waste your time looking at RV's you can't afford. After we go thru the ones we're interested in then we step in some Tiffin DP's that run $500K just to see how the caviar crowd rolls.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:04 AM   #4
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Yep, great place to shop and learn but a pretty bad place to buy unless you have already done your research. Also, with so many floor plans out there it's unlikely the perfect one for YOU will be at the show. I use shows to get an idea of the fit and finish of a given manufacturer and brands.

My basic buying strategy is to find the model I want, shop prices on RVT and RV Trader, decide how far I'm willing to drive for the best price. Due to transport costs you will usually see them get cheaper as you get closer to where they are manufactured which, in many cases, is Indiana.

Just yesterday I was working for a client who happened to be an RV salesman and we talked a lot about the business. He specifically said he'd never buy at the show. A lot of the salesman are called "show dogs". They are basically traveling salesman who just go to the shows (sounds like of fun if you don't have a family). Anyway, all they care about is the sale. They will gone in two days and will lie, cheat and steal to get your signature. As a salesman at a large/reputable dealer, he really hates the concept and they are often left cleaning up the lies and mess the "show dog" created. Unfortunately, there's no other way since they just need a lot of sale people in a hurry for the show.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:10 AM   #5
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I can only reiterated what everyone else has already said.

It's a great place to see a lot of models and figure out what you really want in a RV, but a terrible place to buy.

As Tuffr2 stated, look at kitchen space and where you would put pots and pans, coffee cups, plates etc. etc.
I'll add, sit on the potty. Can you move around and do the things you need to do on the potty? Stand in the shower and close the door. Do you have room to move around and do all the things you do in the shower? Lay on the bed. Are you comfortable? Is it enough room for you and your mate? Sit on the sofa. Are you comfortable? Where's the TV? Can you comfortably see the TV from the sofa and any other chairs? Can you sit comfortably at the dinette?

You might think, "Well I'll be outside mostly" but I can tell you, you'll end up spending more time inside the RV than you think and it needs to be comfortable and livable for the way you live life and the things you like to do.
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Old 01-10-2019, 11:45 AM   #6
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Yeah, go to the show to window shop so to speak - not to buy. It's much like don't buy groceries while you're hungry. Pick up brochures, take photos/videos of every rig you might be interested in then go home, go through them and think about it. Pick 2 or 3 of the best then go look at them at the dealership where you'll be less distracted by hoards of other people also wanting to take a peek.

Excellent used units can also be found so don't rule them out. Buying used will save you thousands.
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:20 PM   #7
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Agree, shows are for looking. Find what you want, then get on RVTrader.com and find the lowest priced one out there and start negotiating with local dealers till you hammer them down to the rock bottom price. Tell them you don't mind driving 4 hours away to save $1000.
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:25 PM   #8
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Everyone has already said it: Look but don't buy. I'm a firm believer they jack up the "MSRP" just to give you what they think is a great "show price". Just like at Valentine's & Mother's Day: jack up jewelry prices just to advertise 70% off. Yeah, 70% off after jacking up the price $140% first.

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Old 01-10-2019, 08:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Beach324 View Post
We are attending our first RV show in Charlotte January 18, 2019. Our goal is to find the travel trailer we like and buy it. Tips on how to go about this would be appreciated, Things to look for, watch out for, dealing with sellers, getting a good deal, etc. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.
Thanks to everyone who gave us really good advice that we will take. No buying at the show, do our research, look at used TTs, visit some dealerships to spend time with the top three units we have decided on. Travel some distance to save on price is something we are willing to do. After all, we can camp on the way home !! Buying from a dealer near the manufacturing plants is a really good tip. We aren't that far from Indiana.
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:12 PM   #10
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How to Maneuver the RV Show?

Lots of good advice above. Focus on finding a floorplan that works for you. Most manufacturers have similar layouts. Once you have decided on a floorplan, do your research and compare the ďbonesĒ of the trailers. Things like I-beam size, axle capacity, tires. These are all places where many manufacturers skimp to save weight.

Do you already have a tow vehicle? Itís a common mistake to buy a trailer and then find out that itís too big for your tow vehicle to pull. If you already have a tow vehicle, figure out how big a trailer it can pull. To get a rough idea of the length of a trailer at the RV show, add 4 to the first 2 digits of the model number. For example, a Jayco 29RLDS will be around 33 ft long. You can glean info from the the suffixes as well. The RLDS will be a rear living floorplan with dual slides.

Personally I would suggest avoiding longer trailers advertised as half-ton towable. Itís very likely that the bones of the trailer have been skimped on.

Good luck!
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:34 PM   #11
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Beach...have you ever owned or used an RV?
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Old 01-10-2019, 10:51 PM   #12
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We just bought our first TT last year. Here are the criteria we "thought" was most important and based all our search's on.

king size bed
bunk beds for our kids
tv that I could look straight at (3 neck fusions can turn neck alot)
toilet with room
big shower
big bathroom
outdoor kitchen
1/2 ton tow-able
plenty of storage

So we found one that met all of those requirements and been using it the 6 months. After just one or two trips we realized we didnt research enough and wish we would have done a little more. Things we wished we had that we didnt even consider and things we learned:

2 AC units
bigger holding tanks
layout where you can walk around sides of bed
queen bed would have worked
better toilet (upgraded ours already)
outdoor kitchen and sink to high for kids to use
it took a lot more money to buy everything needed for a new TT to go camping (think we spent $5k on stuff)
towing with 1/2 ton really sucks (went to 3/4 after one trip)
TT are made cheap as possible (kind knew that before hand)
salesman had no clue about TT
they come with cheap china tires (recommend replacing asap)
being stuck in bad weather for days with a 4 and 5 yr old in a TT will test your patience
wish I found this forum before purchase

We dont regret the purchase or the price we paid but realized we over looked those few things. I have been racing for 20+ years so had race trailers with living quarters, used my FIL's calss A rv many times so I thought we would get it perfect the first try, lol. We got close. We got a TT for our kids and they absolutely LOVE camping so for me it was 100% worth it.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:26 AM   #13
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Beach...have you ever owned or used an RV?

No. This is our first adventure into RVing.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Yosemite77 View Post

Do you already have a tow vehicle? !

Yes, a 2016 Nissan Pathfinder. We are looking at the Rockwood Geo Pro line of travel trailers. Some of them would fit our needs, but we like the G16BH and G19BH.
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