How To Bargain Car Dealership? [Ex-Car Salesman Tips]

How To Bargain Car Dealership?

In car shopping, haggling with dealerships is a time-honoured tradition. For many, it’s an exhilarating dance of negotiation that often culminates a great deal on a new set of wheels. But for others, it’s a daunting prospect fraught with stress and uncertainty. So how to bargain car dealership? Fear not, intrepid car buyers, because we’re here to help you become a master negotiator.

Key Takeaways

  1. Properly research the make, model, and trim level you’re interested in.
  2. Familiarize yourself with average prices, available incentives, and financing options.
  3. Obtain quotes from multiple dealerships and use them as leverage during your negotiations.
  4. Familiarize yourself with typical dealership tactics.
  5. Negotiate the total cost of the vehicle, including taxes and fees, rather than monthly payments.
  6. Be prepared to leave a negotiation if the dealer isn’t willing to meet your target car’s price.
  7. Visit the dealership at a time when sales teams are more likely to offer better deals to meet their targets.
  8. If you’re trading in your old car or financing your new one, use these as additional bargaining chips in your negotiation.
  9. Approach negotiations with confidence and assertiveness, but avoid being confrontational.
  10. Take your time with the process, as patience often pays off with a good deal.
  11. If you’re shopping for a used car, consider looking at certified pre-owned options (CPO).

In this blog post, we’ll teach the art of bargaining at a car dealership, arming you with proven strategies, insider tips, and essential knowledge to ensure you drive away with the best possible deal on your next vehicle purchase.

Let’s shift into gear and discover how you can be in the driver’s seat during your car-buying journey.

Bargain Car

How To Bargain Car Dealership?

Bargaining at a car dealership is essential for several reasons, as it allows you to secure the best possible deal, make informed decisions, and ensure that you get the most value for your money.

1) Properly Research Before Visiting Dealership

Doing your research before visiting a dealership is crucial to getting the best possible deal on a new or used car. Thoroughly understanding the make, model, manufacturer’s suggested retail price, and trim level you’re interested in will give you confidence during negotiations and help you identify a best price and spot any potential red flags.

Here are some steps to help you conduct comprehensive research:

  • Start by narrowing your options to a specific make and model that suits your needs, preferences, and budget.
  • Consider fuel efficiency, safety ratings, reliability, and resale value.
  • Familiarize yourself with the various trim levels and optional features of your chosen vehicle.
  • Identify the specific combination of features and packages that you want so that you can negotiate based on a well-defined set of criteria.
  • Use online resources such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, or TrueCar to find your area’s average selling price for your chosen make, model, and trim level.
  • Check the automaker’s website and dealership ads for any current promotions that could reduce the cost of your desired vehicle.
  • Investigate different financing options, such as auto loan from banks or credit unions and dealership financing.
  • Compare interest rates, loan terms, and any potential prepayment penalties.

2) Shop Around And Get Quotes From Multiple Dealerships

Shopping around and obtaining quotes from multiple dealerships is a powerful strategy to help you secure the best possible deal on your desired vehicle. Comparing prices and offers from different nearby dealers enables you to identify the most competitive options and use them as leverage during negotiations.

  • Compile a list of dealerships in your area that carry the make and model you want to purchase.
  • Expand your search radius to include dealerships in nearby cities or towns, as they may offer better deals and purchase price to attract buyers from a wider geographical area.
  • Contact each dealership by phone or email and request a written quote for the specific make, model, and trim level you’ve chosen.
  • Be sure to provide the exact details to each dealer, including any additional features or packages you want, so you can accurately compare their offers.
  • Once you’ve collected quotes from multiple dealerships, compare them to identify the best offers.
  • Remember that the lowest price isn’t always the best deal; consider factors such as warranty coverage, included maintenance, and customer service reputation when assessing each offer.

3) Focus On The “Out-The-Door” Price

Focusing on the “out-the-door” price is crucial to negotiating a car purchase. It allows you to understand the total cost of the vehicle better and avoid potential pitfalls associated with dealing based on monthly payments.

Here’s how to concentrate on the out-the-door price and why it’s essential:

  • The out-the-door price includes the vehicle’s sale price and additional costs such as sales tax, registration fees, documentation fees, and any extras or add-ons you’ve chosen.
  • Negotiating based on the out-the-door price helps you identify and avoid hidden fees that dealerships may attempt to include in the deal.
  • Some dealers may slip in additional costs or unnecessary add-ons that can inflate the overall price. By focusing on the total cost, you can ensure that you’re only paying for what you’ve agreed upon.
  • When you negotiate based on monthly payments, it’s easier for dealers to manipulate the numbers in their favour. They might extend the loan term or adjust interest rates to make the monthly payments more attractive, but these changes can ultimately result in a higher overall cost for the vehicle.
 Car Bargain

2) Know When To Walk Away.

Knowing when to walk away is essential in negotiating a car purchase. Being prepared to leave a negotiation if the dealer isn’t willing to meet your target price demonstrates that you’re a serious buyer open to exploring other options.

It may prompt the dealer to reconsider their offer or provide a better deal to avoid losing your business.

Here’s how to effectively know when to walk away and use this strategy to your advantage:

  • Before entering negotiations, establish an estimated average price range based on your research before entering negotiations, including the average selling price, available incentives, and competing offers. This will help you decide true market value.
  • Throughout the negotiation process, maintain a firm stance on your target price with car salesperson. While it’s essential to be flexible to some extent, keep your target price high, as this could lead to overpaying for the vehicle.
  • Pay attention to the dealer’s attitude and behavior during the negotiation process. If they are unwilling to make any concessions or press you into accepting an unfavorable, it might be time to walk away.
  • If the dealer still needs to meet your target price after several rounds of negotiation, present them with a final offer. Clearly state that this is your best and last offer; if they cannot meet it, you will explore other options.

3) Visit The Dealership At The Right Time.

Timing is crucial in getting the best possible deal at a car dealership. Sales teams often have monthly, quarterly, or yearly targets to meet, making them more willing to negotiate better deals during specific periods. Visiting the dealership at the right time can increase your chances of securing a favorable deal.

Here’s how to capitalize on the importance of timing:

  • Salespeople and dealerships typically have monthly sales targets they need to achieve. As the end of the month approaches, they may be more motivated to close deals, even if it means offering discounts or additional incentives. Visiting a dealership during the last few days of the month can increase your chances of securing a better deal.
  • Similar to monthly targets, dealerships often have quarterly goals they need to meet. The end of a quarter (March, June, September, and December) can be an excellent time to negotiate a car purchase, as sales teams might be more willing to make concessions to hit their quarterly targets.
  • Year-end sales targets and the desire to clear out older inventory to make room for new models can create a perfect storm for potential car buyers. Visiting a dealership in late December can result in substantial discounts and special offers as dealerships strive to close the year on a high note.
  • When new model years are introduced, dealerships are often eager to sell off the remaining inventory of the outgoing models. This period typically occurs in late summer or early fall and can be an opportune time to secure a favorable deal on the outgoing model year. Remember, though, that you may have a more limited selection of colors and options to choose from.

4) Leverage Trade-ins And Financing.

Leveraging trade-ins and financing options can significantly impact the negotiation process at a car dealership, providing you with additional bargaining power to secure the best possible deal.

Here’s how to effectively use trade-ins and financing as bargaining chips:

  • When trading in your old car, research its value before visiting the dealership. Websites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds can help you determine a fair market value for your vehicle. This information will empower you to negotiate a better trade-in value and prevent the dealership from undervaluing your car.
  • When negotiating the price of your new car, it’s wise to keep your trade-in out of the discussion until you’ve agreed on a price for the new vehicle. This will prevent the dealer from manipulating the numbers by offering you a higher trade-in value while increasing the new car’s worth.
  • Before visiting the dealership, explore various financing options, including bank loans, credit union loans, or online financing companies. Comparing interest rates and terms can give you a solid understanding of what’s available and help you secure the best financing deal.
  • Obtain pre-approval for a car loan before negotiating with the dealership. This will provide you with a clear understanding of your budget and give you more leverage during negotiations, as the dealer will know you’re a serious buyer with financing already in place. Pre-approval allows you to focus solely on the vehicle’s price and avoid potential pitfalls related to dealership financing.
car buying deal.

5) Stay Composed and Assertive.

Staying composed and assertive during car purchase negotiations is crucial to achieving the best possible deal. Striking a balance between confidence and professionalism without becoming confrontational can be the key to a successful negotiation.

Here’s how to maintain a helpful demeanor throughout the process:

  • Being well-prepared is the foundation for a confident and assertive negotiation. Research the vehicle’s market value, available incentives, and financing options before entering the dealership. The more knowledge you have, the more empowered you’ll feel during negotiations.
  • Define your goals and target price before beginning negotiations. Having a specific outcome in mind will help you stay focused and assertive, as you’ll know when to push for a better deal or when to walk away.
  • Even if negotiations become tense or challenging, maintain a calm and collected demeanor. Avoid raising your voice or displaying frustration, as this can escalate the situation and potentially hinder your chances of securing a favorable deal.
  • Treat the salesperson and dealership staff respectfully and professionally. While being assertive is essential, you should also demonstrate empathy and understanding, recognizing that they’re doing their job and trying to make a sale.

6) Negotiate For Additional Perks

If a dealer is unwilling to lower the price of a vehicle, negotiating for additional perks can still help you get more value out of your car purchase. These extras can enhance your ownership experience and save you money in the long run.

Here’s how to approach negotiating for perks when buying a car:

  • Before entering negotiations, list amenities you’d like included with your vehicle purchase. Some examples include free maintenance, extended warranties, accessories like floor mats or cargo organizers, and complimentary services like roadside assistance or satellite radio subscriptions.
  • Rank the extras in order of importance to you. This will help you focus your negotiation efforts on the perks you value most and ensure you’re getting the best possible deal for your priorities.
  • Gauge the dealer’s willingness to negotiate on the price of the vehicle. If they seem adamant about not lowering the cost, shift your focus to discussing extras instead. Make it clear that while the price might not be negotiable, you’d still like to see added value in the deal.
  • Start by asking for the essential extras on your list, but be prepared to negotiate and potentially compromise on some items. Remember that the dealer may also have certain limits on what they can offer, so be flexible and open to alternatives.

7) Be Aware of Common Sales Tactics.

Awareness of common sales tactics used by car dealerships can help you navigate the negotiation process more effectively and avoid falling into potential traps. Understanding these strategies will empower you to make informed decisions and secure the best possible deal on your vehicle purchase.

Here are some typical dealership tactics to watch for:

  • Salespeople may create a sense of urgency by suggesting that a particular deal or vehicle is only available for a limited time or that other buyers are interested. Stay focused on your objectives and resist the pressure to make a hasty decision. Remember, you can always walk away and return later if needed.
  • Dealerships may advertise a specific vehicle at a low price to attract buyers but then attempt to sell a different, more expensive model when they arrive at the dealership. Be firm about your interest in the advertised vehicle and insist on seeing it before considering other options.
  • Salespeople may try to steer the conversation towards monthly payments, allowing them to manipulate the loan term or interest rate to make the deal appear more attractive. Insist on discussing the out-the-door price, including all fees and taxes, to get a clear understanding of the total cost of the vehicle.
  • Dealers may upsell various add-ons, such as extended warranties, paint protection, or fabric treatments, that may not be necessary or cost-effective. Research these products and services beforehand and decide which ones, if any, you want to include in your purchase.

8) Consider Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Vehicles.

Certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles can be an attractive option for that shopping for a used car. These vehicles have been inspected, refurbished, and certified by the manufacturer or other licensing authority, providing additional peace of mind and potential negotiation opportunities.

  • CPO vehicles undergo comprehensive inspections by the manufacturer or a certified technician, ensuring that the car meets specific quality and performance standards. This process typically involves checking various components, such as the engine, transmission, brakes, and suspension, to ensure they’re in good working order.
  • If any issues are identified during the inspection, the necessary repairs or replacements will be made before the vehicle is certified. This means you’re getting a used car in better condition than a typical non-certified used vehicle.
  • CPO vehicles often have extended warranties that provide coverage beyond the original manufacturer’s warranty. These warranties can cover various components and systems for a specified period, offering additional protection and peace of mind.
  • Many CPO programs also include benefits such as roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and complimentary maintenance for a certain period. These perks can save you money and provide added convenience during your ownership experience.

9) Don’t Rush the Process.

Taking your time during the car-buying process can lead to a more favorable outcome, as patience often pays off with a better deal. Rushing through the procedure might cause you to overlook essential details, limit your negotiation power, and ultimately lead to an unsatisfactory purchase.

Here’s why exercising patience is vital and how it can benefit you:

  • Patience allows you to conduct a comprehensive study on the car’s make, model, and trim level you’re interested in purchasing. This research will help you understand average prices, available incentives, and financing options, providing valuable information to use during negotiations.
  • Taking your time allows you to obtain quotes from multiple dealerships and compare them. This comparison helps you identify better deals and gives you leverage when negotiating with dealers, as you can use competing offers to your advantage.
  • Being patient prevents you from making hasty, impulse-driven decisions that might lead to buyer’s remorse. You can carefully evaluate your options by taking your time, ensuring that the vehicle you choose aligns with your needs, preferences, and budget.
  • Patience enables you to build rapport with salespeople at the dealership, fostering a relationship built on trust and mutual respect. This connection can result in a more enjoyable buying experience, potentially leading to better offers and incentives.
cars salesman

You May Also Like To Read:


How do you ask for a lower price?

To ask for a lower price, start by expressing your interest in the car and mentioning that you’ve researched the market value. Politely explain that the current asking price is higher than what you’re willing to pay, and then present a fair counteroffer based on your research.

How do I negotiate a car price when paying cash?

When negotiating a car price while paying cash, highlight that you’re a serious buyer with immediate funds available. Use this as a bargaining chip to ask for a better deal or additional incentives since the dealership won’t need to worry about financing or monthly payment plans.

How can I get the best deal on a new car?

To get the best deal on a new car, research the make, model, and trim level you’re interested in, and familiarize yourself with average prices, incentives, and financing options. Obtain quotes from multiple dealerships, negotiate based on the out-the-door price, and be prepared to walk away if the dealer isn’t willing to meet your target price. Timing your purchase strategically, such as at the month’s or year’s end, can also result in better deals.

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