How to Negotiate a Travel Trailer Purchase

9 min read

Buying a travel trailer is a dream shared amongst many outdoor enthusiasts. These wonderful home-on-wheels allow you to explore the world in comfort.

Because it is such an expensive purchase, buyers need to ensure they get total value for their money and don’t get scammed into paying for more than what they are getting. Before we look at some of the tips you can use to negotiate a travel trailer purchase, let us answer one important question:

 

How much can I negotiate on a travel trailer?

There are several factors that come into play when you are negotiating the purchase of a travel trailer or an RV. The first thing is the condition of the vehicle that is whether it’s new or old. The other thing you need to consider is who are you buying the RV from?

When it comes to negotiating RVs, you can save up to 20% on used ones and 35% on new trailers if you buy from a dealer. If you buy an RV from a private owner, expect to negotiate at least 25% off. With that in mind, let’s dive into how to negotiate a travel trailer purchase.

 

Tips and tricks for negotiating price on a trailer

The tricks and tips we are going to share below work best when you are well-informed of the market price of travel trailers. So, the first thing you need to do is engage in thorough research and find out what is the market price of RVs.

Ensure that you are familiar with the price estimates of RVs that have features you prefer, as well as the ideal condition of the vehicle you intend to purchase. Enough about that, let us dive straight into the best tips and tricks you can use to negotiate the price of travel trailers.

 

1. Look for cheaper options from other sellers

We have already told you how important market price research is when buying travel trailers. One of the ways you can know the different price is by visiting as many dealers as possible. Once you have made up your mind to buy a travel trailer, begin your hunt by visiting different dealers.

Through this, you will know the highest and lowest cost of a travel trailer.

And with this information, you can be assured of getting a great bargain for a travel trailer. As you may already know, different dealers have varying prices on vehicles. Visiting only one dealer and sticking to the price budget that they have set for you limits your option of finding the best deal.

So, don’t hesitate to ring various dealers or even travel to their dealership and bargain for the cheapest rates on RVs.

 

2. Target new dealers

The main advantage of buying an RV from a new dealer is that you will have a higher power of negotiation. Any business that has just been launched is always on the hunt for customers. As a result, they may be willing to lower the cost of an RV more than dealers who have been in this business for years.

As a buyer, you should take advantage of such a situation and look for new dealers in town.

You also need to know that dealers who have been there for a while have some arrogance because they are familiar with the market dynamics and can sustain their businesses. Therefore, they don’t see the need to persuade or give in to most customer’s demands.

New dealerships don’t have money for sustenance and are very willing to sell a travel trailer even if they will get a small profit from the sale.

 

3. Buy in bulk

A vehicle as expensive as a travel trailer isn’t something most people would buy in bulk not unless they are millionaires or are looking to get started with renting RV’s. However, buying several RVs at once can significantly lower down the cost.

Because you may not be able to afford to buy three RVs at once, the trick is to find many interested buyers and ask for a package deal.

If you go to a dealer as a group of three or five individuals interested in buying an RV at once, you can be rest assured that any dealer will be willing to negotiate on the price. With such an incentive, the three or five of you can go home with an RV at a discounted price.

To find people interested in buying an RV, you need to be active in most RV forums. Or you can ask your friends, family, or colleagues for referrals to people who want to buy a travel trailer.

 

4. Have a fixed budget in mind

You cannot negotiate a travel trailer price if you don’t have a fixed budget in mind. After all, what will you be negotiating yet you don’t even have a fixed price? To kick things off, you will have to follow our number one tip and that is to find the market price of your preferred travel trailer.

From that price, set a fixed budget which should be lower than the market price and stick to it.

As you move from one dealer to another, negotiate based on that market price and don’t increase it not unless you find out that you had set an abnormally low budget. Also, with a fixed budget in mind, you can always leave dealers that figure as well as your contacts so that they can ring you should they drop their prices in the future.

 

5. Ask the dealer to give you time to think about it

This is the oldest negotiating trick in the book. And if you have never tried it then now is your chance. Whenever you visit a dealer to purchase a travel trailer, they will always give you their price. You will obviously negotiate and ask for a discount.

Should you not reach a middle ground on the cost, then play the ‘let me think about it’ card.

Upon hearing this, most sellers usually think that you are going to their competitors and will be willing to give you a better deal. This trick doesn’t always work, but it is worth trying as some dealers can be willing to reduce the price.

 

6. Buy your RV during winter

People will think that you are crazy if you buy an RV during winter. However, what they don’t know is that during such seasons, there is usually a very low demand for travel trailers. As a result, the prices are at an all-time low.

And as if that’s not enough you can get a great deal. Something you probably can’t get during summer.

During winter, a good number of travel trailer dealers are usually desperate and can make sales to get even the tiniest of profit. Not to sound like we are after ruining the RV business, but that’s how the economy is. When the demand is low, the prices are high.

As a buyer, you can use this incentive to get total value for your purchase of a travel trailer.

 

7. If you have the money, offer to pay in cash

Amongst the many factors that contribute to a buyer’s ability to negotiate on the purchase of an RV, the form of payment also plays a huge role. When you tell an RV seller that you are willing to pay cash, they would not hesitate to reconsider your deal.

In the eyes of most dealers, a cash payment takes away the hassle of following up on monthly payments. Even though they won’t enjoy the monthly interest rates, nothing beats being paid in cash.

You can go the extra mile of sweetening the deal by agreeing to pay on the same day, provided they can reduce the price. For those who already have the money to pay for the RV, telling the dealer that you want to pay cash and on the same day is the best negotiating trick to use.

For a dealer who hasn’t been selling many travel trailers in the past few days, a cash offer on the same day is most likely going to drive them crazy. And in fear of losing you, they will immediately agree to reduce the prices.

 

8. Point problems with the travel trailer

This is a trick that you can use on used travel trailers because the chances of finding issues on new ones are very low. Another old trick that buyers use is by pointing faults in the vehicle. Even though the main reason why you should have a keen eye when buying a used RV is to avoid paying for repairs later on.

You can also use this skill to negotiate for a cheaper price.

Obviously, if a travel trailer is used, there is a huge chance that it won’t be perfect. The paint job may be worn out. Some of the indoor facilities may not be working well. You can pinpoint these details and use them as a bargaining chip.

If you are buying from the owner, avoid pointing these problems in a rude tone as they may decide not to sell the travel trailer to you. Be very smart when pointing problems if your aim is to negotiate the price.

 

How can I get the best deal on a travel trailer?

If you have ever bought a travel trailer, then you can testify how different the process is. Unlike regular vehicles, travel trailers are often considered a luxury. And sellers love putting a big price on luxury goods. Despite the opinions of others, there are reasons why you may be so interested in buying an RV.

It could be because you love exploring the world and want to do it in a comfortable car. Or it may have been your life-long dream to own an RV and spend quality time with family when on the road.

Be assured that you won’t get the best deal for a travel trailer when you are seated on your couch. Get up and start looking. You will be surprised to learn that some people buy their RVs in other states because they got a better deal there.

Even though it would be more convenient to buy an RV from a dealer near you. At times, the best deals aren’t always near home. So, look past your local dealerships. Don’t forget to evaluate whether the shipping fees will be worth buying a travel trailer from a distant location.

Another pro tip that can come in very handy is; the best deals are always on used RVs. This is a known fact in all types of vehicles. Used cars, no matter how well they are maintained, the sellers are usually more willing to give you better deals.

So, if you want an irresistible deal on a travel trailer, shop for used ones. However, you need to be keen when estimating the repair costs. If a travel trailer is in terrible condition, the cost of repairs may be so high to the point that it exceeds the total cost you would have paid for a new RV.

Salespeople are a clever lot. They can easily sway you into thinking how great of a deal they have offered you. This is why you should never buy an RV on your first visit. Make as many visits to different dealers so that you can have many choices.

 

What can I do to ensure I don’t get scammed when buying an RV?

If you have done your research on travel trailer’s market prices, you will never get scammed by a dealer. As a matter of fact, you will always laugh at dealers who throw you abnormal prices for travel trailers, yet you clearly know how much they cost on average.

Indeed, knowledge is power. Most innocent buyers realize when it’s too late that they paid more for an RV, yet they could have bargained for a better deal. You don’t want to live in regret especially after making such a significant purchase. That’s why you should know what the prices are before walking into a dealership.

Another thing you can do to ensure you don’t get scammed when buying a travel trailer is to shop during off-peak seasons. During summer, RVs sell like hot cake. Because of the high demand, the prices always go high. A smart buyer should shop for an RV during winter when the demand is low.

This creates the perfect room for negotiations.

Also, always ask if there any hidden fees before committing yourself to buy an RV. There are some unethical dealers who don’t include all fees when they are selling you an RV. Once you have made the down payment then hidden fees pop up.

Always ask in advance if there are hidden fees. And if you ever feel uncomfortable with the rates being discussed, you can always walk away.

 

What is the markup on travel trailers?

Markup is the amount added to the cost of goods to cover profit and overheads. As a buyer, knowing the markup on travel trailers is crucial as it helps you know how far you can negotiate on the price of travel trailers. The markup on travel trailers can even be more than 50%.

This is despite the fact that RV manufacturers are devising ways every year on how they can lower their cost of production.

If an RV is being sold for $150,000, the dealer could be making as much as $65,000 on that particular vehicle. As you can see, this is a very huge figure. Therefore, you shouldn’t feel guilty when you are trying to negotiate $5,000 off an RV.

 

Is it a good idea to rent a travel trailer before buying one?

Yes, it is. Renting an RV exposes you to the different models that exist and this can help you choose which type of RV is suitable for you and your family. Also, the more travel trailers you rent, the more features you identify as crucial. Later on, as you are buying an RV, you can know exactly what you are looking for.

You mustn’t ‘over-rent’ travel trailers. Renting an RV might seem like an economical choice. However, if you are the kind of person who loves traveling in the comfort of a travel trailer, the money you spend on renting one might add up to the cost of a new one.

It’s logical to buy an RV instead of renting one for the rest of your life, especially if you love traveling.

Owning a travel trailer beats renting one on any day. If the RV is yours, you can wake up one morning and spontaneously decide to head down south and see what the world has in store for you. If you were to rent one, you would have to sign tons of paperwork.

Secondly, owning an RV allows you to customize it to meet your family’s preferences. This is something you can’t do on a rental.

Victoria Miller

I'm the founder of NTT. I live in Miami, Florida, and enjoy learning everything there is to know about tiny spaces.