Car Shopping Secrets: Tips from an Ex-car Salesman

To build some credibility here, I would like you all to know that I have not been paid as some financial or automotive guru, nor do I go around putting on workshops for people, taking their time and money. I am just your average guy with a nice family, a lovely wife and a cute, chubby little baby girl almost one year old. And I admit…I was a car salesman. In short, I was fired from the car business, after being at one place for three years and eight months, because I didn’t close enough sales when times were tough! Let’s face it; times are tough, and the consumer as well as the businesses want the most money or best bank for their buck.

I was not the typical pushy car salesman that you hate to run into on the lot! I want you to know some ins of the car business to help with that exciting time of getting a new vehicle. After reading this, check out my other articles having to do with buying a car…

I am not going to argue in this article about the pros and cons of buying new versus used, and I am sure that since you are reading this, you are into researching about the purchase decision. In that case, let’s just get right down to the process. And remember, some of this is general knowledge, because I am not going to share specific details of the dealership in which I worked. That would not be right.

WHEN to buy a car (usually)

If you can swing it, go to the lot just a few hours before closing, on the last day of the month. Now, if everyone did this, it wouldn’t work so hot, so you don’t have to. But… even if the car you want has not been on the lot for very long, they are most likely going to step up to the plate and make a last minute deal with you! Most car salesmen have bonuses for certain numbers of cars they sell for one month. You coming and buying that rig on the last day of the month could put that salesman to a whole new income level that month, and a bigger bonus, even if he doesn’t make ANY profit on you! He just might be making another $500 or $1000 just for that “unit” that you are buying.

Trading in your car?

I have found that if you have an older car, that you know is not worth much (i.e. $1000-2000), you can probably get what you want for it. They have enough profit built into the one you are buying to be able to show you more on the trade than what they would actually just write you a check for, if you were just selling them your car outright. But, now notice how I said profit? Now, think about this… What if you would just sell the car (private party) that you were trying to trade, get the fair price you want for it, and then go into the dealership and make a deal on a car? You will most likely be ahead about $1500-2000 or so (and in many cases, several thousands of dollars). Trading is a decent option when you have a fear of dealing with selling things yourself, and if you have no one to help you out. But, you can get so much more for your money if you don’t have to be stuck on trade values. I might discuss this trading thing a little more in future articles if people request it, but there is so much to say, that you would be reading this all night. I just have to tell you though, they will only bid your car for so much, and that is all they are going to put into it. If you want more, and keep negotiating on the trade value, they are just going to “get you a little more” money for it. But realize, that the “more money” they are showing you is coming from the sale price of the new car, the profit. If you didn’t have that trade to deal with, you could be getting more actual money off of the purchase price of the car. You and the salesperson/dealer are kind of working against each other in the worst way when you trade. Unless you don’t care what the car is worth, and you don’t have to pay off a big loan on it, you might really think twice about trading in your vehicle.

More car-buying articles coming very soon, talking about negotiation, salesman techniques, signing papers and dealing with the finance manager, etc. Good luck in your vehicle quest!