Guy doing an inspection of a tiny house on wheels

Negotiating RV & Camper Prices: 15 Clever Arguments You Can Use

In RV livingby Christopher Schopf

Negotiating is a surefire way to save money when buying an RV.  Negotiate well and you could end up cutting the cost of your next camper by thousands of dollars.

In this post, we’ll give you some tips to help you negotiate the next time you buy a new or used RV.  We’ll give you 15 clever arguments that you can use.

“I Found it Cheaper Somewhere Else”

This argument, as well as the next few arguments, requires you to do a bit of shopping around.  Different dealers will often offer the same campers for different prices and some dealers will ultimately be less expensive than others.

However, just because the other dealer is cheaper, doesn’t mean you actually want to buy from them.  The other dealer may be further away from your house, it may not offer a warranty, or you simply might not like the salesperson at the other dealer.

This doesn’t mean you can’t get the RV for the same price as the other dealer though. 

Tell the dealer that you want to buy from that you can get the RV cheaper somewhere else and even tell them where if they ask.  Doing so will give the dealer a reason to drop the price for you.  They’ll do this because they’ll know that if they don’t, you’ll just buy from the less expensive dealer.

“The Other Dealer is Offering a Longer Warranty”

The cost of an RV doesn’t always come down to just base pricing.  Sometimes companies offer long warranties which can save you a lot of money in the long run.  If your dealer is offering you a shorter warranty than the next dealer, use this is a negotiating tool.

Tell the dealer that you’re willing to accept a lower warranty but only if the price reflects this difference. 

Create an even better argument by first figuring out how much you think each additional year under warranty is worth and go from there.

Also, when deciding how much each warranty period is worth, keep in mind that the final years of a warranty are usually worth more than the first few years.  This is because the longer you own something, the more likely it is to break down.  This is especially true with RVs as they tend to not always be very durable.

“The Other Dealer is Offering Free Maintenance”

Maintenance costs can quickly add up.  Campers need to have their trailers maintained and motorhomes need their engines and drive trains maintained.  How much does an oil change cost in your area?  What is the cost of packing wheel bearings on a trailer?

You’ll want to consider the interior components and roofs as well.  What does it cost to re-seal the roof?  How much will the dealer charge to do annual maintenance on the RV’s HVAC system?

Find out the answer to these questions and you’ll know how much money you can save by going with a dealer that offers free maintenance.  Show these numbers to the other dealer and they’ll know that they’re dealing with an educated buyer.

They’ll also know that you know that a better deal is out there waiting for them and they’ll be more likely to lower the price for you.

“The Other Dealer is Offering Better Financing”

Sometimes you can save money just by getting a better interest rate on financing.  Will you be financing your new RV?  If so, you can use this as an argument for a lower price.  Another dealer’s finance terms may indeed save you money so it is important that you know how much money before attempting any negotiations.

Here is an example for you to consider.

  • Dealer A offers you the RV for $50,000.00. 
    The loan term is 10 years and the interest rate is 4.5%.  Over the course of the loan, you’ll pay $12,183.05 in interest.
    This brings the total purchase cost to $62,183.05.
  • Dealer B offers you the same RV for only $47,000.00. 
    The loan term is 10 years but the interest rate is 6%.  Over the course of the loan, you’ll end up paying $16,612.03 in interest.  This brings the total purchase price to $66,612.30.
    In the end, this RV actually ends up costing you $4,429.25 more.

In this case, you can argue for a better price or possibly a better interest rate from either dealer to make your case.

“You Haven’t Been in Business Very Long”

When I was in copier sales, I actually had this line used on me.  The organization said they wanted to buy from me but they were concerned that the business was new and that if we went under, they wouldn’t have anyone to service their machine.

Luckily for me, it was a poor argument since I was working directly for the manufacturer but it did teach me a valuable negotiating tip.

This argument can be valid when dealing with a new business.  A new RV dealer could go out of business before your warranty runs out and you could end up losing out.  Let the dealer know that you’re aware of this and they’ll be more likely to make a deal with you.

Also, new businesses might be hungrier for sales and they might be more willing to negotiate than a well-established business that has enough business to get them by.

A new business, on the other hand, is still establishing themselves and they need to make many initial sales to do this.

“I’ll Buy Two if You Lower The Price”

With this tip, I’m not actually suggesting you buy two RVs at the same time.  Unless you really want two RVs of course then, by all means, do so.

What I’m actually suggesting is that you find a friend or relative that wants to buy an RV and you all work together at the same time.

Negotiating with two sales on the line will give the dealer an incentive to drop the prices because they know that they will still make a higher profit since they’ll be selling two RVs instead of one.  This is why people who buy in bulk get better deals because the company still ends up making a nice profit and everyone can go home happy.

In fact, if you have a few friends looking to buy RVs at once, go ahead and join forces and you’ll get an even better deal on all of your RV purchases.  Not only this, but you’ll have a bunch of friends to go RVing with.

“That’s Over My Budget”

Do you have a budget in mind?  If you don’t already have a price in mind, it will be harder to negotiate because you really don’t know where your limit is.  Deciding what you’re willing to pay to get what you want will make the buying process easier in general.

Additionally, you’ll be able to tell the dealer if and when an RV is out of your price range.  Use lines such as, “I’d love to buy this RV but it’s just a little bit over my budget”.  When you frame the argument like this, the dealer might be willing to drop the price so that the RV does fall within your budget.

He wins because he gets a quick sale and you win because you get the RV you wanted without going over your budget.  Just don’t be too quick to tell the RV dealer what your budget is right away or they might decide to only show you RVs that are way under it so that they can use your budget as a negotiating tool for themselves.

“I Need to Think About It..”

This is probably the WORST thing to hear for any dealer.

Dealers want you to buy their RV before you have a chance to change your mind or shop their competitors. 

When they push for the sale, slow them down and let them know that you need to think the decision over.  Any attempts at slowing a sale down will usually be answered with the salesperson trying to speed things up.

They might tell you not to wait too long or you’ll lose out or they may tell you they’ll lower the price if you buy right then and there.  Even if you don’t buy right then and there, you’ll probably be able to come back later and get them to honor the price they suggested before you left.

If they won’t honor that price, then you can always take it and go somewhere else with it.

“I Might as Well Wait Until The New Year”

RV dealers hate getting stuck with inventory over the fall and winter months.

Because of this, they’re often willing to offer deals.

The main reason for this is that RVs tend to sell for lower prices in the fall and winter.  The sales season in the RV industry is the spring and summer so any RVs leftover in the fall often end up sitting on the lot for the rest of the year.  Dealers are desperate to get rid of these RVs and they’re likely to sell them at lower prices.

For more details on this, check out this post titled, “Are Motorhomes Cheaper to Buy in The Winter“.

Another reason the dealer might want to encourage you to buy before the end of the year is that they have sales quotas to meet each year.  If a salesperson is close to meeting their yearly goal, they might sell you the RV for a low price just to mee their quota.  Even though they might not make a commission on the sale, they’ll make up for it when they hit their yearly bonus.

In the end, you’ll win because you get a great deal and the salesperson wins because he gets a big year-end bonus.

“I’ll Pay Cash for a Lower Price”

A cash purchase ensures that the dealer gets all of his or her money.  This is important to note since often-times people will buy on credit and then they’ll end up defaulting on the loan.

Sure, the RV dealer can repossess the RV but it is a lot of work and often the RV isn’t worth nearly as much as it once was.

In fact, sometimes the RV may be wrecked beyond repair and the dealer ends up losing out on the sale.  When you pay cash upfront, the dealer doesn’t have to worry about this problem.  They get all of their money right away and you save out on interest costs.  On top of that, you can ask for a lower price and you’ll most likely get it.

“I Can Buy Today If You Offer Me a Lower Price”

RV dealers want to make the sale before someone else does.  They know that if you walk out of the dealership, you’re likely to buy from someone else or decide not to buy anything altogether.  Let them know that you’re willing to buy but only if they can meet your low price.

Sometimes this tactic will dramatically reduce the price and other times it will not.  However, if you’re looking to buy on that day anyway, it can’t hurt to try.

The worst thing that happens is that they can’t meet your price requirements and you leave and come back to buy another day.  Maybe after you leave, they’ll get desperate and call you back with the price you want anyway.

“This Model is a Year Old Already”

Buying the previous model year should save you money over buying the new one.  The great thing about this tip is that you don’t even have to wait for the new year to arrive.  If you’re shopping in October, the next year’s model is probably already out.

Even if the next year’s model isn’t out quite yet, you can point out that the RV will indeed by last year’s model in just a few short months.  You deserve a discount on this RV and you should let the dealer know that you know this.  Often-times you can save 10% – 15% off the purchase price by buying the previous year’s model.

“This RV Needs Work Done..”

The next few arguments are for those of you buying used RVs.  An old camper will ultimately have something wrong with it so it is important that you find out what this is so that you can use it as a bargaining tool.

Start off by doing an inspection yourself.  Once you’ve decided that the RV is worthy of consideration, pay a professional to inspect the RV for you.  Just make sure you ask the dealer to take the RV off the market for a day or two so that you don’t waste your money getting the RV inspected for someone else.

For information on RV inspection prices, see my post titled, “What Does An RV Inspection Cost“.  There I go over the different types of RV inspections and what you can expect to pay for them.

Once you know what is wrong with the RV, you can deduct money off the cost of buying it and you’ll have a very valid reason for doing so.  Figure out how much it would cost to have a professional fix the problems you find and subtract them from the cost of buying the RV.  You’ll need to know this information anyway so you might as well figure it out when it can benefit you the most.

“Nada Says the Camper Isn’t Worth What You’re Asking”

When buying a used RV, you should first check to see what NadaGuides.com says it is worth.  This website is like Kelly Blue Book when it comes to RVs.  You can even get price estimates based on the options that were available on the RV and you can see what the RV cost when it was new and what the company thinks it is worth now.

Once you know what others are paying, you’ll have a good idea of what you should pay for the same item.  If the price is over what Nada recommends, let the dealer know so.  This will show the dealer that you’re both an informed buyer as well as a serious buyer.  They’ll know that you’re serious about buying and that you know what you should pay and they’re likely to match your price requirements.

“I Can Get a New RV for That Price”

Sometimes used RV dealerships will put prices up so high that you can almost buy a new RV for the same price.  They do this because often-times RVs were more expensive to make in years past.  Unfortunately for them, technology has gotten much better and the cost to build RVs has gotten much cheaper.

When you know you can get a new RV for around what the old RV costs, let them know.  Show them that you know that the used RV has depreciated and they are likely to compensate you for your efforts by offering you a lower price on the RV.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to spend all day arguing with an RV dealership to get a good deal.  Just make sure you are well informed and show them that you mean business and you’re likely to come out of the transaction with a great RV at a great price.