If you’ve shopped for an RV in the past year or two, you may have found yourself experiencing a bit of sticker shock in the process. Price tags on RVs continue to trend northward with little sign of that changing anytime soon.
A dealer may tell you they have the lowest price in town, but is 25% off MSRP a good deal for an RV these days?
Today, we’ll look at the costs of RVs to help get you the best deal possible on your next RV purchase. Let’s get started.
What Is MSRP?
You may have seen the acronym MSRP when shopping for an RV or car. This is short for “Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price.” This is the price that the manufacturer recommends to ensure a profitable sale for the manufacturer, dealer, and any other entities involved.
The MSRP on an RV is simply a suggested price and not hard and fast. Depending on the market and inventory, the vehicle’s actual price may be more or less than MSRP. We’ve seen dealers tacking on “market adjustment” fees due to reduced inventory and increased demand in recent years. It’s the simple principle of supply and demand at work.
What Is the Average Markup on a New RV?
Typically, you’ll find a 30% to 40% markup on RVs despite what the sales staff may tell you. This leaves them wiggle room to make money and come down on the price to help buyers feel they’re getting a good deal.
If you’re in the market for a new RV, brush up on your negotiation skills and have patience. Making a quick transaction will likely force you to pay more for your rig than if you have time to play hardball and wait out a dealer wanting to make a sale.
How Much Can You Negotiate on a New RV?
RV dealerships have bills and salaries to pay too. So don’t expect that a dealership will lose money on a deal. However, some shoppers with decent negotiating skills can pay less than the MSRP. Some can even negotiate 20% or 30% off the price.
This keeps money in your pocket and can help you pay for the gear and supplies you’ll need for those future camping trips.
How Do You Make an Offer on an RV?
You don’t have to do or fill out anything official when making an offer on an RV. If you’re not happy with the price tag, you can ask the dealership if they’d consider the price you feel is fair. They’ll likely have to ask a manager or run some numbers, but they’ll reject or accept your offer.
It doesn’t hurt to ask about a fair price because the worst that can happen is that they say no and reject your offer. They’ll likely counteroffer with a new one or stay firm at the original price of the RV.
Is 25% Off MSRP a Good Deal for an RV?
In a typical RV market, 25% off MSRP was a decent deal for an RV. However, we haven’t lived in a regular RV market for quite some time due to supply shortages and increased demand. These have combined to create a bit of unpredictability in the RV buying process.
Many RVs sold in recent years sold closer to MSRP than consumers typically have paid in the past. Currently, 25% off MSRP would be great for most RVs. As manufacturers catch up with the demand and dealerships fill up with RVs, you’ll likely experience dealers being a little more generous when selling below MSRP.
Do RV Dealers Prefer Cash?
You might have heard the phrase “cash is king” from a bald financial guru, but RV dealers think differently. They prefer customers that walk onto their lot looking to finance their new purchase. Most dealers receive incentives from banks and credit unions for financing. They’ll get a kickback from the financial institution for getting them a new client.
Dealers will sometimes offer discounts when purchasing with financing through one of their banks. Many shoppers will not disclose their payment method until they agree upon a price with the sales team.
If the sales department knows they won’t get the financing kickback, they may not offer the best deal possible.
How Do You Deal with an RV Salesman?
When dealing with an RV sales associate, you have to remember not to take things personally. It’s a business transaction, and they have their best interest in mind despite what they tell you. They want you to feel as happy as possible with the transaction while still making money for them and the company. They may appear to be your buddy during the transaction, but they’re motivated by the idea of making a sale.
Just because they factor their financial interest into the equation doesn’t mean that you can’t still have a smooth buying experience. Treat the dealer and the sales team members with respect and courtesy, but don’t let them rush you to make a decision. Be confident and take your time when making any big financial decision.
Remember that you’re in control during the entire process. You have no obligation to purchase from a dealer just because they took the time to show you some RVs and answer your questions. If you’re uncomfortable or don’t feel they value your business, you can find other dealers willing to sell you an RV.
What Should You Not Say to an RV Salesman?
When shopping for an RV, you want to get the best deal possible. There are a handful of things you should never say to an RV sales associate. These can derail your ability to negotiate and result in you paying a higher price.
One thing you should never say is, “This RV is perfect.” Think of the entire transaction as a game of poker. You don’t want to let your competition know you have a pocket of aces. You want them to play the game as long as possible. So even if you think that a rig is perfect, you’ll want to practice your poker face when interacting with the dealer.
Additionally, you don’t want to show all of your cards when buying a new RV. Whether you’re trading in a rig or buying with cash, you do a disservice by giving them too much information. If they know you have a trade-in or will pay with cash, they may change the deal’s structure or give you a great deal on the RV, but undervalue your trade. Again, the less information you can provide for an RV transaction, the better.
Lastly, you want to avoid sharing your maximum monthly budget. If you do, you can almost guarantee your monthly payment. It’s going to be a few bucks under what you told them. The sales team can adjust interest rates or the loan length to fit your payment plan. This costly mistake may cause you to pay thousands more for your RV over the length of a loan.
Is It Possible to Get a Good Deal on an RV?
Getting a good deal on an RV is possible, even in the current insane RV market. However, it’s going to take some patience and flexibility. You may need to drive further than you’d like or consider all options. You have plenty of RV dealers, and manufacturers are catching up with the demand.
If you want to find the perfect rig for your future camping adventures, you can make it happen. Apply some of these techniques at the dealership, and hopefully, you can get a price under the MSRP.
What are your negotiating tips for those purchasing a car or RV?
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