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Negotiating and Getting the Best Price

StreetWise RV Guide

Recreational Vehicle
  • Summary
  • Article

Negotiating and Getting the Best Price


  1. Some good times to bargain and save
  2. General negotiating tips
  3. Whether to shop in person or online
  4. Tips before buying specific models

Negotiating and Getting the Best Price

Whether you are buying new or used, little or big, virtually all RV prices are negotiable. Prices are more negotiable at certain times and with certain types of customers, too. Prices are also much more negotiable from certain sellers.

Some Good Times to Bargain and Save

  • Buying at an RV Show.

    Vendors at RV shows are generally eager to sell their display RVs rather than have to transport them. If you're patient and lucky, and if you've done your homework, you can at times buy these show models cheaply.

    • Once you've done your homework on the RV that's right for you – and once you've arranged your RV financing – visit a large RV show at the beginning of the show and find an RV or two that would fit your budget and needs.

    • Note the written sales price of the RV and all its options.

    • It would be wise to make sure that the RV you like can be serviced at some location convenient to you and acceptable under the manufacturer's warranty.

    • As the end-of-show date approaches, check on your favorite RVs again. If the RVs are still there, introduce yourself to a sales person, and let them know you are definitely buying some RV, but not necessarily their RV. Make an offer on the RV. Be brave. If the RV is priced at $50,000 don't be afraid to offer $30,000.

    • To find a list of RV shows near you, see the list under What Type & Size RV.

  • Buying at the end of the RVing season in your area.

    Virtually all RV dealers "floor plan" their RVs: pay interest on them as long as they sit on the RV dealer's lot. Although more people are RVing in cold weather, dealers don't look forward to paying these interest payments during slack times, such as New England's winter months, and are much more likely to cut their prices then.

General Negotiating Tips for RVs

  • Because RVs don't have fixed "asking" prices, don't be shy about asking for dramatic discounts. Some RV dealers regularly add fifty percent to their "asking" prices.

  • Many RV sellers will easily negotiate with you on the RV itself, and then charge you thousands for equipping the RV without offering to discount any of this equipment. Don't fall for this tactic. Negotiate the cost of each item on an RV individually, as the dealer tries to sell you these options.

  • If you're looking at used RVs (a smart thing), you can come close to determining the value of the RV. You may use the NADA Guide online or the printed Kelly Blue Book guides for an average wholesale value, but here's a caution: Remember that each RV has its own value, depending upon its individual condition. Remember to bargain up from the wholesale value of the RV, not down from the seller's asking price. If you are brave, make your first offer below the average wholesale price.

  • Don't buy RVs from strangers or individuals without carefully, carefully, researching the finance history and past ownership of that particular RV.

Should you deal with a local RV dealer, or use the Web to find an RV to buy?

From a pure convenience and accountability standpoint, you are probably better off trying to find an RV – new or used – at a local RV dealer.

  • You can carefully inspect a local RV.

  • You can take local RVs for test drives.

  • You have easier recourse if your RV purchase goes awry if you are dealing locally.

Finding RVs on the Web

With all that said, the Web makes it possible for you to find a specific RV, new or used. Most web sites also let you search RVs by area. Here are some key sites.

Tips before you buy a specific RV

  • Are you planning to tow the RV?

    Is your tow vehicle rated to tow a RV that heavy? You can usually determine total weight on a new or used RV by getting the weight of the total rig from the seller.

  • Are you planning to stow the RV at your home?

    Are there any covenants that prevent you from storing RVs on your property? If you're planning to use your garage for RV storage, will it fit?