I would rather go to the dentist for a filling than negotiate for a car because I hate the bargaining process. The process fills me with dread and the paranoid certitude that I am getting ripped off. As my anxiety level rises I start getting unpleasant and rude, making the whole experience even MORE FUN! It is not at all like the negotiation dance that Neil and Sabra did on Season 3 of So You Think You can Dance. There is no spandex and I am not able to do the splits.
I was not looking forward to the car buying process but with Internet research, moral support from my more-skilled friends and the the handy podcasts over at Slate.com's Negotiation Academy (Free and Highly Recommended) everything ended up being fine. We bought our Prius for $2000 below Kelly Book and $5,000 below the lot sticker price. Ta-dow!
Here's my tips:
- Do your research. Don't be lazy. Just do it! Our car was marked on the lot for almost $3,000 over the price we found it listed for on the Internet. Dealers now that people who look for cars on the Internet do their homework so make sure you shop on the web before you go to the lot and find out the value of your car on Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds.
- Decide on your overall budget, not a monthly budget. Car dealers love to pretend they're lowering your price by fiddling with the financing. Don't take that crap. Decide on your upper-limit and keep it to yourself so you know when to walk away.
- Go on the last day of the month when sales is trying to reach their quotas. We were offered a really good deal on a new car on Halloween, we didn't take it because we wanted to buy a luxed-up used car instead of a base-model new car, but it was a very good deal.
- Listen to Slate.com's Negotiation Academy podcasts. Seriously, listen to all of them before you negotiate anything, salary, peace in the middle east, whatever. These podcasts are golden.
Only in the blogosphere could a person who has bought one used car write an article giving out advice. Hah! So how about you guys? What are your tips for negotiating a fair deal?