We get asked this at least once a week without fail yet we don’t think most people consider timing when buying an RV. Instead, the RV bug bites out of the blue (or so they think) and off they go to an RV Show or dealership. After a little time poking around, they haggle a bit and, bam, they own an RV. Statistics show that over 50% of these people will feel they bought the wrong RV or paid too much, or both.
So, why is the “buyer remorse” rate so high with RV buyers? Well, most of them are convinced they’ve done their due diligence but they really haven’t. While their purchase isn’t quite an impulse buy (we looked at 8 different models!), it’s close. In our business we see patterns that buyers don’t see –and these patterns are as predictable as the four seasons. In fact, they’re related.
I would be willing to bet that when the first wave of spring rolls across the U.S. in a few months (followed soon after by Canada), we’ll see a sharp upturn in traffic on our website. It happens every year. What buyers don’t realize is that the RV bug that bit them “out of the blue” wasn’t nearly as random as they believe –and it didn’t just bite them. It bit many people experiencing the same warming trend announcing winter’s imminent demise.
With this first whiff of sun warmed air we instinctively begin chomping at the bit to roam, to leave behind the stale air of a long winter indoors. “I think this year we’re going to travel some,” we think to ourselves, and mentally flip through some possible scenarios: Air travel? Too crowded. Europe? Too expensive. Car trip? Too many hotels. Tent camping? Too rustic. RV? Hmm, that would be kind of cool. I’ve always wanted to do that. There was a commercial on TV the other night about an RV Show this weekend… And all of a sudden you’re sliding down the slippery slope toward owning a motorhome or travel trailer.
What you don’t realize is this scenario is running through the heads of countless others taking in the same spring air you are. It might occur to you, though, when you arrive at the local convention center for the show put on by your local RV dealers (they know exactly when to have these shows) and find the place mobbed. Whether we like to admit it or not, humans are a herd and we migrate with a herd mentality.
Unfortunately, following the whims of the herd will rarely get you the best deal on anything. In some instances it will lead you over a cliff. When warm weather hits and the snow melts, your local RV dealership will transform from a ghost town with salespeople standing around desperate for a sale –any sale- into a bustling hive of activity. When this happens we’ll find ourselves witnessing the laws of supply and demand in action.
Walk in to any dealership in the country this winter and you’ll find yourself getting the red carpet treatment –and a heavily discounted price. Walk in to the same dealership three months from now and you’ll be lucky to get a cup of coffee while you wait twenty or thirty minutes for an available salesperson. And that big discount? Forget it. Your dealer will be happy (thrilled even) to tell you he’s already had three people looking at this unit just this week and he thinks two of them are already talking to their bank about a loan. Discount? Maybe a little, but not much. Someone will buy this RV within the next week or two at this price –guaranteed. He may sympathize with you that you wanted a better deal but he’s selling ice cream on the hottest day of the year and giving discounts now just doesn’t make sense, does it?
You can’t really blame the dealers. They have lots of quiet months where visitors are few and far between. They have to make hay while the sun shines. But what if you were buying when the herd was still tucked up inside the house, hibernating?
And herein lies the rub: If you can somehow overcome the herd mentality and do your RV research now and have your ducks in a row BEFORE the first warm week of spring, you’ll get in and out ahead of the masses and save thousands of dollars. We’re speaking literally here: If you buy within the next month or two you can expect to save thousands of dollars on the purchase price of an RV versus the exact same RV from the same dealer when the warm weather hits. You’ll also find yourself having a wide selection of in-stock models to choose from, enabling you to get the best RV for you instead of having to make do with whatever is in stock.
Want to save even more? Buy a new 2015 instead of the 2016. Dealers are eager to clear out the 2015s before the season starts. The differences between model years is usually insignificant but the savings aren’t. Avoid the surcharge of the latest and greatest and buy last year’s model. You’ll never regret it –or notice the difference.
Here at RVReviews.net we have one goal: to help our customers save money on the purchase of an RV and to buy right the first time. I can think of no other suggestion that will positively impact your RV purchase as much as the contrarian approaches listed above.
In an attempt to put our money where our mouth is, we’re having a one week 25% Off Pre-Season Sale beginning January 20th, 2016. Just use coupon code: Freeze16 when you check out to save 25% on all products and packages available at RVReviews.net. See, you’re already saving money!
That’s it for this week, folks. Check those tire pressures and remember, the more you know, the more you save.
John D. Toffler