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Old 10-08-2012, 03:59 PM   #1
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RV show "deals" vs. just negotiating with a seller

Greetings, all. As my DH and I consider options to purchasing a 5th wheel, a question that's come up is whether it might make sense to visit an RV show with the intent of buying a new (or late model) unit offered as a show special. We've done a lot of research and have a pretty clear idea of what we're looking for in a 5er. So, buying under the proverbial gun wouldn't be an issue for us. What would be a problem would be to buy something at a show because we thought we were getting a "deal" only to find out later that we might have been able to negotiate a similar bargain elsewhere.

That said, I'm writing to ask: are there any real advantages when it comes to buying an RV show special over negotiating a deal with a seller (manufacturer, dealer, or other)?

Full-time since April 2013
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:11 PM   #2
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why cant you negotiate on a "show special"

just liven life in east tn or where ever our
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:17 PM   #3
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Just my opinion,and not a lot of experience, as I just bought mine at a show...we went as knowledgable as we could be and not inclined to make rash decisions. We found some of the dealers really seemed genuinely interested in going as far as they could go. We got a price that was consistent with everything we had read we should get on a 2013. Older model, new, we were told we might get a little more. We dealt with a group, RVOne, and really happy with their approach and servicing the deal. We sent the info we needed to quickly and they processed the order in almost real time (ours is on order). My sense is that they pay a chunk to be there and they make their end through volume at the show. IMHO
Dave and Beth
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:19 PM   #4
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In your case you know what you want, you know what you want to pay...what's to hurt to see f you can get it. If you're not sure, don't position yourself for buyers remorse. Fur us, we're on pins and needles waiting to enter this new lifestyle full-time.
Dave and Beth
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:30 PM   #5
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You can solve part of your problem by making whatever deal you are happy with at the time and not pursue cost again. Just enjoy what you purchased.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:33 PM   #6
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:05 PM   #7
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No particular advantage to buying at a show as opposed to any other method/place as to price. As long as you have a sense of the value. May be some hassel about picking it up, arranging delivery, pre-delivery servicing? I'm just guessing and thinking it over. Other wise forge ahead in the environment you feel most comfortable.

To a certain degree I agree with the buy it and forget it just enjoy; theory. But the key here seems to be; do as much as you can to determine the value of what you want to buy ahead of time. Find out the purchase range that suits you knowing what you know. Then you can negotiate at your pleasure where ever.

What ever "deal" you get someone will trump it down the road or say they did, just ignor it you can never tell unless you see the actual invoice. Minds have a way of complimenting themselves in the aftermath.

Have fun shopping. Make the other guy sweat, you stay calm (you sound like it anyway) and do not fear walking away there is another rig just like it around close by I can almost assure you.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:22 PM   #8
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Sometimes the manufacturer will offer a special discount to the dealer on rigs bought at the show. If that's the case then waiting might cost you more for the same RV.
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:27 AM   #9
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I think the answer is........it depends.

It helps to know the general MSRP of what you're looking at before going to either a show or a dealer's lot. Some of the less reputable dealers inflate that to make the discount "look" bigger. The good ones don't. You want to aim for as close to 25% off of that MSRP as possible. Anything greater than that is gravy (which you can sometimes actually get if you do your homework!).
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:03 AM   #10
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Sally, At all the shows I have been to, the show specials are about the same as you can get at the dealers after "bargaining". Search the model your interested in online and you will get a general idea of some of the best prices available. Your best deal could be buying a new last years model when the new ones are out. Roughly about 70% of MSRP.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:21 AM   #11
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DH was a general manager for a large RV company, and always told me that people were like trout, and got lousy deals at RV shows versus buying from a dealer when a show is not on. It's a great place to LOOK at RVs, but I wouldn't buy one from there.
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:46 AM   #12
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I think a lot of the wisdom or folly of buying at a show depends on the dealer. Some dealers play games at shows while others play it pretty straight. As others have said, do your homework ahead of time, which it sounds like you have, and know what you should be paying and what you want to pay for the unit of your choice. Also don't get sucked into the "for a few dollars more a month you can get this one" sales pitch. That's an easy way to get stuck with an overpriced rig. Stick to your guns is always the best approach.
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Old 10-10-2012, 07:58 AM   #13
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We try to get an idea of what we want and the prices before we go to the show. I carry a spiral bound 5x7 notebook and a camera. I take a pic of the rigs model and the posted price sheet. I list our likes and dislikes in my book. If we find a rig or two or three that we're interested in, we ask the dealer for tickets to return tomorrow. They're usually happy to give them to you.

Once home, I'll generate a speadsheet to make comparisons, search the internet for pricing and availability. Then back to the show to hone in on the rig of interest. The last rig we purchased (2010 Cardinal 5th wheel), we were at the show for 3 days.

As stated earlier, some dealers will inflate the MSRP to show a better savings. Buyer Beware!
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Old 10-10-2012, 09:42 AM   #14
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We bought our new 2013 model (2012 E450 chassis) Four Winds class C this summer from a dealer right after a show. The motorhome still had the "show special" price in the windshield and the sales-dude said we were fortunate that this particular unit was still available at the "show price". I poked around the interwebz and decided that the show price was a pretty good deal for that model even compared to eBay and other web-based dealers. We were still able to take that down another 3% with the business manager practically wailing about how we were cheating him. Yeah...right. We ended up paying 34% under MSRP. A good price but not that great.

I think we wouldn't have been able to get the extra off at the show and that perhaps right after the show was good (if accidental) timing on our part. In a dull economy like we're in now, RV dealers are working pretty tight margins just to keep the lights on. The dealer we worked with was a new store in an established chain so he was maybe more desperate than an established shop.

I don't understand how anyone could have thought that 2011 would be a good year to open an RV dealership.


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Downers Grove, IL
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