You may feel that you’re a good negotiator, and you probably are. But dealerships have been honing this skill on a regular basis for far longer than you have. The dealership generally wins IF you aren’t knowledgeable and prepared with skills of your own.
We recently received a call from a power executive based in Los Angeles that was looking to trade in a car that wasn’t big enough for their growing family.
During our free consultation, we recognized immediately that she and her husband had about $12,000 on the table they didn’t know what they could leverage to make their deal better.
By phone (being cautious because we prefer to under-promise and over-deliver) we indicated that they probably had $7K equity in the Kia lease they had extended. In truth, we would have likely negotiated 8-10K OR MORE pure profit. If they went at it on their own, or with 98% of the car buyer agent firms out there, they would likely get none or at most a few to several thousand dollars on their existing lease.
A free consultation with us will give you good data. A paid consultation with our team will make you money (100% guarantee!). Turning over the entire buying process to our team will save you hours of your precious time and a TON of money, too.
KNOWING these secrets can make you money!
There are many opportunities to get the best car deal that extend far beyond the purchase price.
Even if the asking price of the car is “non-negotiable”, there are still many areas and ways to spend less money—and some of them may begin before you even start shopping for your next car.
There are SO MANY areas in which you can still beat the dealer at their own game and get the best car deal you possibly can. Here’s what we recommend.
If you take an aggressive (or overly greedy) approach as you embark on your negotiations for the best car deal, your strategy will generally backfire.
While it may be counterintuitive to use a gentle and friendly approach, dealership representatives may sense that an aggressive buyer will not be happy with any reasonable discount, even if the dealership agrees to spend its own money on accessories, or to transport a vehicle to your location, for example.
Be pleasant, but don’t be a doormat. Be firm, but don’t be a perpetually tough customer.
If you are trading in a vehicle, dealerships will generally give the lowest possible value on a trade that they feel they can get away with. But if you have strong negotiation skills, you can obtain substantially more money for your trade.
Accessories are another area where you may have room to negotiate. This is true for new and pre-owned vehicles.
For example, you may be considering a pre-owned vehicle. You can see that the car’s existing floor mats are worn and dirty. Negotiating successfully for new or all-weather floor mats can net you over $200 in value. If you’re looking at a new vehicle, you may garner similar savings by negotiating for upgraded floor mats.
Or maybe the management won’t allow their sales team to negotiate the price of the car, and in many cases these days, that’s a firm company policy.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a dealership to include an extra key/remote. For a used car equipped with one key, that could mean $400 you save from having to subsidize a spare key/remote purchase on your own!
If you’re financing or leasing your vehicle, it’s important to know that a car dealer can and will mark up your interest rate as much as two points. Negotiating the rate may save you thousands—for example, as much as $1400 over the life of a $25,000 loan.
If you’re purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, you may have some negotiating room over certain cosmetic or mechanical repairs.
Perhaps you’re considering a car that is missing hubcaps on all four wheels. The dealer has possibly overlooked this because it’s a popular look now. But you want hubcaps, and the replacement cost is nearly $400, even for inexpensive ones. What a score to get those written in as part of the deal, at no cost to yourself!
PPI inspection revealed issues on a used vehicle that included the following:
Remedy for these issues required over 6.6 hours of labor (@ $130/Hour) and over $900 in parts at dealer cost. Retail cost to the consumer for dealer OEM parts would be considerably higher than the dealership had to pay. Negotiating these repairs prior to purchase saved the buyer thousands in immediate repair costs.
Did you know that you can negotiate up to 30% off a dealer’s asking price for an extended warranty? This holds true whether the car you’re considering is new or pre-owned.
While some family members and friends might convince you not to buy an extended warranty, it can be an extra measure of comfort if you are risk-averse.
At Car Pal, we can help you analyze an extended warranty and see it’s a good deal. This will give you an extra level of security without feeling like you’ve overspent and you’ve received the best car deal possible.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, vehicle service contract plans are bad deals for most drivers. Their Consumers’ Checkbook team writes:
Our review of auto service contracts from CarShield and dozens of other sellers and administrators indicates their products are especially lousy buys. These companies commonly use misleading marketing to scare consumers into paying thousands for their products and then, when customers’ vehicles need repairs, go to great lengths to avoid paying for them.The Philadelphia Inquirer
An in-house service plan is a perfect example of an extra revenue stream for a dealership, because it can be quite difficult to compare dealer service plans. It’s in your interest to negotiate this if you’re interested in such a plan.
At Car Pal, we work with an aftermarket company that assists us in comparing prices and terms for interested customers. We help our customers agree upon acceptable costs for dealer service plans, and—most importantly—retain coverage for any unexpected repairs.
If the vehicle you want is only available from a distant dealership, your local dealership may arrange to have it shipped in. This is another area where you may save costs by negotiating skillfully and obtain the best car deal. Your local dealer may be willing to absorb the cost to help move a particular vehicle.
Car Pal works with several transportation companies, and depending on the region or particular route, we can shop shipping costs for the best pricing.
If you choose to let the dealership handle all your title work, you will save valuable time in avoiding a trip to the DMV, which may help you save money. Having the dealership handle the paperwork associated with buying a car can make sense, especially when you’re buying the car in-state.
At other times—for example, if you’re purchasing a vehicle with cash—it may make more sense for you to go to the DMV on your own. If you decide during your negotiation process that you will handle your own title work, you’ll be saving time for the dealer. You can use this decision to your advantage to lower your final price.
Signing your paperwork remotely may also save you valuable time, and possibly money, for example, if you must take time away from your work.
If the dealership is within a reasonable distance, they may be willing to deliver the vehicle and the paperwork directly to you, the buyer.
It may not sound like much, but if the dealership is 100 miles away and they’re willing to bring your paperwork and your vehicle to your location, you will save at least five hours of time.
It’s a well-kept secret that if a dealership allows you to charge part of your vehicle purchase on your credit card, they must pay a certain percentage back to the credit card company. This is why most dealerships have a limit—usually between $2000 and $3000—on how much buyers can charge to a credit card.
In some instances, a dealer will break this limit to help get a deal approved with a bank. If your credit card provides benefits such as cash back or points, it’s a nice win for you!
In some cases, a dealership will hold a check issued from your bank account and/or a loan you’ve taken outside of the dealership’s banking institutions. They may tell you that you can pay with a personal check or an external bank check—but then may hold the check before depositing it.
It’s important to discuss this hold time during your negotiations, and ask the dealer to confirm your agreement in writing. An unexpected, lengthy hold on your check could result in extra costs to you in the form of extra rental car days or other transportation costs before you take possession of your new vehicle.
In one case, a dealer told a Car Pal client that payment via wire or bank check would be fine. The client’s federal bank overnighted a bank check to the dealership, but the dealership still imposed a 14-day hold on the check. The client had to rent a car for two weeks longer than anticipated.
Because Car Pal had confirmed in writing that either form of payment would be fine, we had grounds on which to ask the dealership to refund the client’s extra two weeks of car rental.
If your previous vehicle has been declared a total loss you have areas in which negotiation strategies can serve you (and your pocket book!)
In the event of a total loss, insurance companies will likely undervalue your car, as this is how they make money. In some cases, it pays to get second or third opinion. It could increase the amount your insurance company pays you by hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Just put four new tires on your vehicle and it has not been recognized by the insurance adjuster? A simple email outline of improvements you have just recently (or not so recently in some cases) made to your car can line your pocket with hundreds of extra dollars.
If your previous vehicle is a total loss and your insurance company is partially or fully covering the cost of a rental car, you may be able to extend your rental car coverage by simply requesting more time. This gives you more time to make informed buying decisions and begin negotiating effectively for your next vehicle.
Dealers also know that a reluctant, disgruntled buyer is one who might write a negative review or survey response. For dealerships, bad reviews are worse than simply parting ways without making any deal. You’ll get the best car deal if you go into a dealership with a good attitude.
We are in a new era of car sales in which there is undeniably a shortage and more and more consumers are placing orders and paying “sticker price” or even far above sticker. In CA, for example, consumers are paying 5-10K over for hybrids and plug in Toyotas.
If you choose not to negotiate on your own, there’s no need to stress. Just call your pals at Car Pal and we’ll handle everything for you!
Our lightning fast action will make sure that incoming vehicles are held in your name until we can negotiate the most stellar terms for you. You might have to wait until the vehicle arrives, but you can just rest assured that we’ll handle it with what our clients call our “magical” skills.
Click HERE if you would like us to take a look at a deal you’re considering. For no charge, one of our team members can schedule a 10 min phone session with you to discern if you’re leaving a little, a lot or NOTHING on the table!