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Old 07-14-2013
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How to negotiate the price of new boat ?

I am planning to order a new boat and I am wondering if I should expect to get a discount over the list price and, if yes, how much. Finally, I would welcome any advice on how to negotiate.

Context:

The boat will be purchased on the US East Coast for delivery in 2014.
It will be a cruiser in the range of 40'-45' and from one of the well known French or German manufacturers.

Thanks.
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Old 07-14-2013
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Re: How to negotiate the price of new boat ?

The very first thing to mention is that your looking at another make and model and this one.

Then what is the very best price and what extras will you throw in to sway me to your make and Model...
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Old 07-15-2013
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Re: How to negotiate the price of new boat ?

Much of the margin a dealer makes on a boat comes not from the boat itself but from the additional things purchased or performed during commissioning. Thus the price flexibility on the hull will be low, but if you are doing significant commissioning work through the dealer then there will be more leeway and negotiating tactics have a better chance of success.
In my case I was offerred a price incentive to let them use my boat at the Annapolis boat show and there was some manufacturer discount on a certain package of options, but that was it as far as the main boat purchase was concerned. All the expensive add-ons were negotiated separately with contractors but through the dealer, who kept a cut (amount unknown, since that was done directly between the dealer and contractor) of each transaction.
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Last edited by Zanshin; 07-15-2013 at 08:50 AM. Reason: Added text.
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Old 07-15-2013
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Re: How to negotiate the price of new boat ?

Like everything about boats - it depends.

I bought my Gemini new in 2007 - there was no negotiation, they named a price, cut the price to the boat show special (it was 5 months after the boat show) - then they threw in a package deal of options and I paid it.
All total, the boat was less than the web site listed base price. Then I threw in a couple thousand more in add on's from a contractor, again - he named the price and I signed the check.
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Re: How to negotiate the price of new boat ?

Thanks for the input. If follow the logic, one approach woudl be to look at competitive pricing on some of the optional items when possible.The dealer might prefer a lower margin on the total package than letting me strip out some high margin items. Hence the following questions: what items are often bundled with the sales of a cruiser but could be easily purchased less expensively elsewhere. Can I save money (or gain negotiation leverage) by looking at alternate sources for the bimini, radio package, sail upgrade, cushion upgrades, etc ... What do you think ? By the way, I am understand the dealer needs to make a margin and it is fine with me, at the same time boat pricing is so opaque, that I feel I could easily over pay !

CAB
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Question Re: How to negotiate the price of new boat ?

Decades ago when I was selling new and used smaller sailboats my "gross profit" on the new ones was about 17%, and I often had to sell for a lot less just to compete.
After a few years I got out, having proven the old adage about making a little money in boat selling by starting out with more money, or somesuch phrasing.

Anyhoooo, at the time all the dealers that I knew were in it for the love of sailing first and money second. Sailing does that to otherwise rational people!

There are probably some production builders and larger dealers making real money and able to afford attracting "discounting."

One major difficulty is how many buyers are preconditioned to the larger retail world of heavily-marked-up stuff advertised and sold at an everyday "discount" and do not understand that small markets like sail boat production seldom work like that at all.

Also note that in a niche market like sail boat building sometimes the "list price" is not completely logical, although most small builders usually try to keep it simple by adding up real-world labor and materials and then pricing to give them some minimal profit.

It's an odd game, on its best day.


As to saving on items added after the sale, it's common for established dealers to grant a buyer access to the dealer's Port Supply account for a short period of time after the sale closes.

Last edited by olson34; 07-15-2013 at 12:45 PM.
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Re: How to negotiate the price of new boat ?

I don't doubt dealers don't make a lot of money, esp. with the inventory they need to carry. Most builders are probably not very profitable either. .. and judging by the number of idle boats in marinas; most owners also end up paying a lot of money per hour at sea ! It all for the love the sea ! This being said the market is very opaque so it is difficult not to feel vulnerable in the negotiation as a first time buyer.
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Re: How to negotiate the price of new boat ?

My belief is that when we get into large ticket items our abilty to drive a good deal goes out the window. With regard to boating many select a dealer before negotiating the price. This, IMO, is a mistake.

I don't own a large expensive boat, but I do own a large expensive motorhome. The list price on the motorhome was over 1/2 miillion dollars. I bought that motorhome the same way i buy all of my cars. Step one - educate myself on exactly what i want. Step two - call every dealer within a certain radius and ask them for their best out the door price. Living a major metropolitan area cars usually require a radius of 25 miles. The motorhome, because of so few dealers, required a three hundred mile radius. On the RV two dealers opted out with 'We don't operate that way!" OK you are eliminated! Four other dealers made it to the lightning round with discounts over 25% off list. By comparison show pricing is about 12 to 15% off list. I saved over $100,000 by doing no more than picking up the phone and asking for their best price.

How well does this strategy work? With regard to buying cars there is a buying service named Authority Auto ( www.authorityauto.com/ ). Their job is to get you the best deal. They get paid only if they can beat the best deal you've negotiated for yourself. Over the past two years i've purchased two cars for myself and helped friends buy three cars. Five calls to Authority Auto, five answers back, we can't beat that deal. IOW, my simple system works.

Don't get married to one dealer and don't be afraid to ask for their best price.
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Re: How to negotiate the price of new boat ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by olson34 View Post
...As to saving on items added after the sale, it's common for established dealers to grant a buyer access to the dealer's Port Supply account for a short period of time after the sale closes...
I forgot all about that - getting to use the Port Supply account from the dealer at West Marine saved me a lot of money. It is amazing how much basic boat stuff is required, from small nickel-and-dime items (which are $5 to $100 for boats) to big ticket items such as 8 inflatable vests, a dinghy and an EPIRB can add up.
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Old 07-15-2013
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Re: How to negotiate the price of new boat ?

The art of negotiation. There are hundreds of books on that, a trip to the library and some casual time might pay off. Or, a trip to a rug store, practice haggling with the rug vendors.

While it may not be legal in your home state, I find that taking a hostage, preferably a family memberr, paramour or pet, and then simply demanding the item at or below cost, is the simplest way to get a good deal.
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