Reasons to Buy Your RV at an RV Show
Whether you’re a seasoned camper looking to purchase your 3rd rig, or a tent camper looking to get off the ground and into an RV, an RV show is a great place to go to consider your new purchase.
So why should you consider an RV show for your next purchase? Here are some excellent reasons to buy your RV at an RV show:
- All of the RVs are in one location. It could take days to just drive to each of your local dealers. At a show or expo, you can visit all of the dealers in one simple drive. Think of all the gas you’ll save, the takeout meals you won’t have to buy and the hours you won’t have to spend in the car with your children asking if you’re there yet. And do take your children – there’s no better way find out if you can survive in an RV with them than to be in an RV with them when they are cranky and tired.
- You can meet your local dealers. You can chat with them about their service department, find out if they have a general store at their dealership and meet the people that you would be dealing with. You will soon learn (if you don’t already know) that owning an RV is an amazing adventure, but it does have its downs. If a dealer is rude or tough to deal with when they are trying to sell you an RV, imagine how much fun it would be to deal with them when trying to get a warranty item resolved.
- You can learn a lot more in person than you can online. While pictures are worth a thousand words, nothing can tell you if a layout offers the space you are looking for better than climbing up inside a unit and seeing how it truly feels. Is the bathroom cramped? Can you get yourself into the bed? How much effort does it take to turn the sofa into a bed? Try out all the options and perform all the functions you can.
- Talk directly to the Factory Reps. While the local salesmen can be knowledgeable, they usually have to learn the features and details of many different manufacturers. The job of the Factory Rep is to know every detail of their offerings. They should be able answer any of your questions about their units.
- The dealer may have consigned units for the sale. Many times the manufacturer offers the dealer a special price on a certain quantity of a specific model. If the dealer does not sell all of those units, he has to buy them on his own and bring them into his inventory to get the special pricing on all the units. This is great for you if it is the last day of the sale and the dealer still has many of these units left. You could get it discounted even further below the “show price.” Ask a dealer if they’re going to another show before haggling to try to see if it is their last show of the season.
- Check out the latest gear and accessories. The bigger shows will have camping and RV accessory and gear vendors there to show off the latest and greatest things that you don’t have and you need to get. You’ll even find vendors with quirky things that you never knew you absolutely needed to have, like the Gripstics we found an a recent show. Know your prices on some of the general accessories and you can often get show pricing on accessories as well.
- Take advantage of special offers. Sometimes the manufacturers or dealers will offer optional packages to make a show model more appealing. You could get USB outlets, cold weather packages or additional lighting at the same price as the base model. Dealers may also throw in televisions or ice makers to sweeten the deal and get you to sign on the dotted line. By the way, you can’t imagine how awesome these little counter top ice makers are until you have one!
- Attend Seminars. I know it sounds corny, but what better way to learn about your RV or anything related than to do it on someone else’s dime? Even when you think you’ve learned it all, someone shows you something new. For beginners this could be valuable starting information. For example, when I first started I thought it was acceptable to keep your black and gray tank valves open when at at full hookup site. But, your RV plumbing works differently than the plumbing system in your house. A seminar on toilets lead to learning how to operate and maintain the plumbing system in my travel trailer. Who knew?
- Talk to reps from campgrounds in the area. Most of us know that some campground websites can be very archaic at best. Campgrounds will often set up tables with info on their campgrounds and coupons or discounts may be available. The reps are generally familiar with the area and can let you in on some fun things to do in the area.
- Break up the “off-season blues.” While some shows in some areas happen during camping season, many of ours in the northeast are held between fall and early spring when our local campgrounds are closed and our camper is snuggled up under a winter blanket, hibernating and full of fun pink antifreeze. The shows are a chance to get out of our bricks and sticks winter living quarters and be immersed in everything camping. While temporary and usually lacking the pleasant odor of a late evening campfire, it just feels great to be around other campers and people who love traveling and seeing this great country.
Some closing thoughts…
As with any other major purchase, do your research ahead of time. Have a good idea of what you are looking for, know the going prices and be aware of current interest rates. If you’re new to RVing, and have no idea where you want to be, plan on using the show to learn about what is available and don’t make a purchase until you’ve done your research. If you are looking for a trailer style RV, YOU need to learn what your tow vehicle can pull. Here is a great resource for learning – What You NEED to Know BEFORE Buying Your Dream RV Camper. While there are good dealers and bad dealers, they are all salesmen and will push the limits to make the sale. Some of them will tell you that you can tow a fifth wheel with a Prius if it will get you to buy it.
Not all shows are created equally. There are local shows and there are industry shows. The industry shows are larger and cost more to attend. Many of the larger shows are held in convention centers or large arenas. Local shows may have tickets, but more often tend to be free and located in mall parking lots. Local shows tend to be a single dealer relocating their inventory to another location to give the appearance that competitive sales are going to happen, where as they are just trying to get more people through the units. We recommend regional or industry shows for the tips in this post. We are lucky have multiple dealers near us that do pretty large regional shows, but we are also just a stone’s throw away from the Hershey RV Show, where there are a large number of dealers and HUNDREDS of units to walk through.
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