10 Tips for Negotiating Car Price at the Dealership

An in depth guide for negotiating car price at the dealership. 10 Tips for Negotiating Car Price at the Dealership drivrzone.com

There are few stressors in this world worst than purchasing a new ride or negotiating car price. You’re never sure what you want (unless you’re lucky), you never know where to go, and you never have any idea what to expect from the dealership. Most people go in blind, which is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Getting a good deal is about more than just having a suave attitude and boardroom-style aggression. Cool confidence is always the way to go. It’s about knowing what you’re talking about and having a solid understanding of the process as a whole. The more knowledgeable you are, the better. This is true of all things but it is especially important when you’re trying to buy a new vehicle.

We’ve gone over a few related topics, such as haggling for a used vehicle. We think it’s time to turn it over to those who want something new, rather than something new to them. After all, what is more, terrifying than putting potentially tens of thousands of dollars on the line? Not much! It’s a scary world out there, with a lot of information to navigate. Luckily we’re bringing you all of the best tips and tricks in regards to making yourself a first-time owner of a shiny set of wheels.


After all, how many times have you dreamt of that shiny, showroom vehicle sitting front and center in the window of a dealership? How many times have you dreamt of taking that cool, classic chrome out for a cruise? But not just for a fun test drive that fuels your imagination and lets you get away for a little while. This time you’re actually going to be able to drive that baby off the lot and never come back! … Except, of course, for service.

We’ll talk about how to do your research, where to go, how to get estimates, and even more! Each of these tips will put you in a good position to get the best number possible. Some might seem a little mundane, or off topic, but we assure you that they are all going to help in the long run. Part of what makes a successful trip is ensuring you’re ready for it before you even begin. So, don’t skip the reading unless you’re okay with losing thousands of dollars in the process! We’ll try to break this down a little more so that it makes more sense to you. Each step will be placed in the order you should complete them in. It’s almost like a checklist!

So, let’s get right into it.

The Very First Steps
Before you even walk onto the lot there are a few things to keep in mind. These steps are absolutely crucial for you to get the best deal, and are absolutely part of the haggling process. Doing your homework can save you time and, more importantly, money. Salesmen can smell hesitation and lack of knowledge a mile away. Don’t fall victim to the idea that the best route is just to go for it! If you have some patience you’ll be much better off in the long run.

Do Your Homework: Have you figured out which vehicles you’re going to be looking at? If not then now is the time to figure it out. Narrow it down to your five favorite models, and go from there. Look at the range of cost, colors, makes, models, and more! Make sure you’ve got every detail about each vehicle covered. Once you have your top ten you should probably narrow it down further. Once you know which vehicles you’re genuinely interested in you can begin looking at cost. This is where this step gets super important! You need to know what value the vehicle actually has so you can stand up to any salesman trying to swindle you.


Be Honest About Wants And Needs: Now, this is really the hard part. Do you really need a convertible Mustang that’s brand spanking new? The answer is, unfortunately, probably not. Purchasing a new model means spending a small fortune. You’re going to want to figure out the range of your budget, and then be humble about it. Check out websites like Edmunds and KBB for a better idea of what the vehicle should actually end up costing.

Look Around Yourself: What kind of climate are you living in? Do you need to look at large SUVs that can tackle the winter months? Or are you in a place where it’s warm the whole year? Factor in these tidbits for a more accurate picture of your dream vehicle and negotiating car price. Figure out whether you want AWD, or if a different drivetrain would suit you. Think about the interior, too. If it’s hot where you live then maybe you should lean toward cloth seats. A cold climate might mean heated seats are a more necessary addition. If you figure out these details ahead of time the salesmen will have a hard time trying to sell you features you don’t actually need.

The Middle Of The Road
Now that you’ve gotten some of your foundations down it’s time to start thinking about the exciting part: the buying process. Now, this doesn’t mean that we’re going to jump right into things. We still have a few tips to keep in mind for a strong foundation.

Ask Friends And Family: You probably know at least a few people who’ve purchased a vehicle in the past couple of years. Most people are more than happy to share their experience with you! Dealerships also, generally speaking, offer incentives for a referral. You might be able to split the referral, which means an instant return on your investment. You’ll also have a better idea of which dealerships are great, and which ones to steer clear of.


Make A Few Calls: So, you’ve finally narrowed down what you want… and probably where you want it from. Now’s the time to take the next step in securing the lowest possible cost. Get a list of the dealerships that you’ve picked out and their respective contact information. Give each a call and ask them a few, simple questions. See if they have the vehicle you’re looking for in inventory, and how much they’re asking for it, This will be handy for later when you show up. A salesman can’t try and swindle you if they’ve already quoted you a number. There’s a large chance that the quote from the sales department will be lower than the number the salesman will name.

This also allows you to get a feel for the atmosphere of the dealership. You can tell by how they speak to you whether or not it’s the type of place for you. Buying a new ride is no joke, so make sure that you feel comfortable with their treatment of you. Any beating around the bush, or attempts to steer you towards a more expensive choice, becomes a huge red flag. Beware those signs!.

Make Some Choices: Now that you’ve figured out exactly what you want, and you’ve chosen your dealerships, it’s time. Time, that is, for choosing your final destination. Ideally, you want to choose three or four different places with a “favorite” selected out of the bunch. This “favorite” dealership will be the one which was highly recommended or had the exact vehicle you were looking for, or even just treated you like gold over the phone.

The Third Phase
Ta-da! You’ve made it! This is the very last step in the process of negotiating car price prep. Crunchtime is here, people! We know that there are a lot of steps to keep in mind. However, we assure you that they’re all important right down to even the most mundane details. Trust us when we say that we’ve been through this before. That’s why we know how important it is to go in armed to the teeth with info! This last part will round out our tips on how to get the best deal at every turn.

Visit Each Dealership: There’s nothing like walking onto a vehicle lot to make you feel like a thousand bucks. If they’re a good dealership they’ll treat you like royalty. After all, you might as well be actual royalty! You’re spending a fortune on one of their vehicles (hopefully), so they’d better. Definitely watch out for them rushing you along, trying to persuade you into another vehicle, or being overly pushy in general. professional woman

Just Be Picky: As we said directly above, now is the time to expect the royal treatment! You can always walk away, and there will always be another dealership who wants your business. Let them know that you’re standing your ground, and make it obvious that you aren’t going to be pushed around easily. Be loud about your needs, and make sure they know what you want. Don’t buy a new vehicle from a place that makes you uncomfortable.

Bring A Strong Second: This is a good move during any vehicle-related transaction, but it’s especially important specifically for new vehicle sales. This person will stay by your side and be grumpy about everything. They’ll find a problem with every vehicle you’re shown, talk about how “the other dealership” offered a lower number for a newer model, etc. It’s a good way to get the salesman to haggle a little more. They don’t want you to walk away, and they’ll be more intimidated because of your strong second.

You want this person to be, preferably, older than you. This gives them an edge because, of course, with age comes wisdom. We take people more seriously when they’re older than us. It’s just one of those things about life! A parent, grandparent, uncle, friend, friend’s parent… Well, you get the idea. Any of these (or more!) could work when negotiating car price.

Make Them Make The First Move: Do NOT mention money until they do. Remember how you called the dealership and asked for a quote earlier? Yeah, now is the time that it comes in handy. If they quote you a higher number than the sales department did then you can fire back with that. You’ve already shaved some cash off the top! If the number they name is lower then that’s, of course, even better. Once they throw out a number of their own the ball is in your court.

And once the ball is in your court, you have complete control.

Do you also remember how the “strong second” you brought was complaining about the vehicle in question? This comes in handy now, too. So does the KBB and Edmunds research! You know what the vehicle is worth, and what a dealership should charge for it. This puts you in a perfect position to haggle even lower. So, take that ball and run with it!


From here it is, unfortunately, up to you. We’ve set you up, however, with a recipe for success. Just follow the steps above and this part will be a snap. At the end of the day, this is always going to be an expensive purchase. All you can do is try and lessen that huge chunk of change you’re parting with! That’s why it’s so important to do whatever is in your power to lower that number. If you don’t put an effort into the preparation then you just won’t see the results you’d like to, But, you read this article! So, congratulations, you have what it takes now. It’s a step in the right direction, but you still need to, you know, actually follow through. So, go down the list, check each one off, and don’t skip any tips!

After implementing these tips we’ve shared you shouldn’t have an issue with negotiating car price with any dealership! Walk in like you own the place, and put the salesman in his place, There’s nothing like knowing you managed to shave off a few thousand dollars from the original sales tag. Feel confident in yourself, and you’ll be able to work wonders with the dealership. Read our blogs, and you’ll always feel confident.


  1. Forbes – What Are Some Good Tactics To Use To Lower The Price Of A Car While Negotiating With A Car Sales Person?
  2. Edmunds – Negotiating Car Prices
  3. Investopedia – Buying a New Car: Getting Started