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5 Reasons to Avoid RV Dealers

5 Reasons to Avoid RV Dealers

5 Reasons to Avoid RV Dealers

If you’re new to buying an RV, your first thought is probably, “where is my nearest RV dealer?” 

But there are many reasons why buying from a dealer, even though it seems like the easiest option, may not be the best plan of attack.

Buying an RV is stressful. It’s a significant decision and a lot of money! 

And your family is excited and ready to camp NOW. 

rv dealer

Before you make snap decisions, you need to do research into which RV type is best for you. Then you need to get a reasonable price, so you feel OK with your decision using negotiation strategies.

An RV dealer could be your best path forward. However, consider these 5 reasons to avoid RV dealers before you blindly stroll onto the lot!

Cash Isn’t King 

In reality, RV dealers don’t want cash. They make money with financing, which is just easy income to them on top of the initial price paid. 

The tip here is to negotiate, but do not commit to financing or tell them you’re paying cash until the paperwork is delivered. Offering a “cash price” is typically NOT the best price they will offer you, contrary to most people’s thought processes.

However, when buying from a private seller, cash has muscle.

buying from rv dealers
Should you buy a new or used RV? The Millers bought new, and they would do it again.

Your Salesperson May Not Be an RVer (and, have minimal expertise)

Many buyers assume an RV salesperson is an expert. While they may know the specs, there’s a good chance they haven’t gone RVing in years (if ever)! 

Buyers use that salesperson to help them with decisions and information such as how much a rig weighs, their tow vehicle, or how certain features work. 

Many even rely on a salesman’s advice on what size or layout of the trailer they should buy! In reality, most salesmen don’t own RVs, don’t tow, and rarely know how the mechanics and features actually work in the field. 

They’re best trained at getting you to sign on the dotted line.

Dealers Aren’t Incentivised to Offer Deals Now (Unlike Private Sellers Who Need Extra Cash)

Right now, due to the current pandemic, RV dealerships are at an advantage. They have very little stock, because manufacturers were closed down, and many components are from overseas, so RVs can’t be completed. 

This created a shortage of units, while families changing vacation plans to RV travel has increased demand on sales inventories. 

This results in a seller’s market, where prices are higher, and negotiations are less likely to get them to budge on prices.

airstream rv dealer

Immediate Depreciation Driving Off RV Dealer Lot

A big drawback to buying a new RV is depreciation. As soon as you leave the RV dealer lot, your rig is worth significantly less than you paid. 

Sadly, if you decide the RV isn’t the right one for you, you will typically lose a large amount of money trading or selling it, even within a few years. This is why many people prefer to buy slightly used units (from private sellers) and let someone else take the depreciation hit.

RV Dealers Know You’re Excited, They’ll Strike on that Enthusiasm 

Dealers also try to upsell you on additional purchases and add-on accessories. They’re skilled at persuasion techniques. 

Sales reps will often make it sound great to “roll it into your payment” and “it will only be $10 more a month” for add-on accessories that usually cost significantly less outside the dealership.

Many accessories offered at the dealerships aren’t even the best quality brands on the market. Don’t be convinced to purchase last-minute impulse items at the checkout station!

Buying New? An RV Dealer Is The Only Choice.

While looking at rows of shiny new RVs at a dealer is a fun afternoon activity, buying from a dealer, especially in a seller’s market, isn’t the best way to save money.

If money isn’t a concern, or you absolutely need a new RV, an RV dealer will be the best option.

You can always save on camping costs, though! Try free camping in America.

Discover the Best Free Camping in America

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

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David Jones

Sunday 24th of October 2021

All this information is great for me. My wife and I have not began or RVing experience yet. Looking at retirement about 2-3 years from now. We want a pull behind RV. I was wondering ang trying to figure out . is it better to buy new or slightley used. I love the information from others who have experience on this subject. RVing is something we want to do with friends. It is an expensive purchase, so the more knowledge I can receive. The better choices we can make.


Wednesday 15th of September 2021

Unfortunately this article does MOST purchasers a DISSERVICE. I hear about financing payments and unqualified sales people in almost every big ticket industry. May I ask a question: is it wrong for companies to make money to pay their bills and their staff? Is it wrong that RV dealership owners and employees have bills to pay and enjoy making a good paycheck? I think not but I'm sure there will be some disagreements. Do you think your real estate agent, the broker, the loan officer etc work for free? How about when you go into a cell phone store, do you think those people are paid by the hour or commission? Commission sales and finance are absolutely everywhere. It's just well known that the car industry and the RV industry because they finish the process very similarly catches all the bad heat. Don't get me wrong, some companies hire absolute idiots to represent them making the industry even harder to deal with. Whatever you do, do not go into an RV dealership packed with a bag of tricks like not telling your salesperson how, why, when you're going to use your new RV and how you're going to pay for it. You're asking for a miserable experience if you cannot be honest with somebody whose job it is to steer you to the right coach for you and your family. Don't get me wrong, some people live to negotiate and get a kick from it, but most want an easy, informative and SUCCESSFUL shopping experience. When you buy private party you may be able to find or "steal" an RV from somebody in need of money but remember that when you leave that driveway you are 100% on your own where at a dealer you may have an opportunity of legal recourse, the option to go to a manager with your concerns whether they deal with it or not it's still there and maybe most important of all the reviews dealerships strive for. Please understand that buying an RV is nothing like buying a car in the selection process. You can do a lot online with layouts, amenities and general pricing but you still may need to find a sales professional that you feel comfortable with to finish the process. It would be fantastic to go on to WebMD every time I have a health issue and diagnose and treat it there. Unfortunately 90% of the times I need a doctor or a specialist to help me. Same thing when you're spending $10,000 or a million dollars on an RV. In closing just be open-minded about the experience, whether you're brand new or have purchased three. The experience will be horrendous if you go in with a 50 ft tall wall and a list of tricks to pull on a supposed dealer. Good luck out there.

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