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5 Reasons to Avoid RV Dealers

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By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

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.

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You should give it a try!

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      1. I would never buy through a dealer. You did miss another method of buying new. Trailers from Casita, Escape (in Canada) And Oliver sell direct from the factory. I have dealt with all 3 and never experienced the “used car salesman” bs that you get from dealers. We like to go to rv shows and eavesdrop on the horrible advice that is being fed to newbies. These guys seem ready to offer 100 year financing on a trailer that won’t last five.

  1. I will never buy from a big name RV dealer like Camping World because service after the sale is horrible. If using a dealer, try a Mom and Pop dealer. You can get your RV fixed quickly with them.

  2. I find great value from buying from my local or semi local mom and pop RV dealership for warranty and service related issues and parts you will have owning a camper and as far as price goes they are willing to match prices options to options minus any games the big internet wholesaler dealerships play (I found out by just asking )…you may think your saving money by buying private party maybe ? But what about things like leaks, soft spots and a a/c problems who do turn to when you find major issues when you go camping your first or second time out?…your local dealership service all their customers first ..
    ..a good salesperson knows their product and inventory and has excellent customer service…someone I can call after the sale…. I’m ok if they don’t have a camper..lol

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