How to Negotiate the Best Price for Your Car

Man and woman buying a car

As the old saying goes, don’t bring a knife to a gunfight when it comes to haggling with a professional car salesman.

When you’re facing down someone whose business it is to make you pay the highest price possible and who is a negotiator by trade, be sure to power up your own negotiation savvy before heading into the dealership.

Know the Value of the Vehicle You Want

Before you go car shopping, arm yourself with knowledge about the true market value of the automobiles you’re interested in. Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book are reliable resources that can help you become educated about the value of new and pre-owned vehicles you have your eye on.

Knowledge is power, and if you do your homework beforehand, you can rest assured that you got a fair price when it’s time to sign on that dotted line.

Keep the Ball in Your Court

Don’t haggle with a haggler. When you’re at a car dealership, have a set price in mind and stick to it. Inform the salesperson that you will only sign the paperwork when they’ve hit your target price.

When a counteroffer is made, graciously say no, leave your phone number, and make your exit. If you’ve pitched a reasonable price to them, you’ll be getting a phone call.

It’s All About Timing

When you’re in the market for a vehicle, hit up a dealership at prime times. For instance, calling on a Saturday or Sunday evening before closing time for the week can net you a stellar deal.

Speak with a salesperson you’ve talked to in the past and remind them you’ll only buy if the dealership meets your price. If the deal you asked for is within their power to grant, the salesperson might just be tempted to agree in order to seal one more deal before the end of the work day or week.

The same holds true on the last day of the month. At month’s end, salespeople are under the gun to make another deal before the sun sets on that sales month. If it’s been a choppy 30 days, the price you pitched a week earlier might look a bit more enticing.

Poor weather days are another fine time for a consumer to cash in. When the weather is bad, foot traffic naturally slows down at a car dealership. With a slow sales day glooming overhead, a desperate salesman just might meet your price.

In all these scenarios, let the salesperson know that you’ll come into the dealership and sign only when your price is met and not before.

December 17, 2015 by Jamie Rettig