June 24, 2015

Best Time to Buy a Truck

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In the minds of auto dealers, it's always now or never when it comes to the best time to buy a truck. But the truth is, there are indeed certain times of the year when it's better than other times to get your new wheels. Time it right and you'll drive away with savings.

Best Time of the Year: The End of It

© amar_la_libertad (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Think: quotas! In the month of December, that term is undoubtedly on the minds of employees on all levels of the dealership’s food chain, and they’ll do whatever it takes to ensure they meet their targets. So expect to see tons of discounted trucks to choose from this month. It’s especially a good time to go in the last week of December, when most people have burned through their spending budgets during the holiday season. With scarcity at the dealership, you’ll get special attention — which could mean more negotiating power.

Best Time of the Month

Quotas play a big role here too. The last weekend of the month is the best time to purchase a truck, because sales managers and representatives have monthly quotas to meet in order to receive their commissions and bonuses.

Best Time of the Week

Looking to purchase in the next few days? If so, wake up early Saturday morning and arrive at the dealership before the doors open. It’s not uncommon for sales managers to offer a monetary bonus to whichever employee makes the first sale of the day, so your representative could be really motivated if they know you’re serious about buying. But if you miss out, Sunday could actually be the better day if the salespeople don’t think they’ll get much foot traffic for the day, as they’ll be eager to land a sale.

How to Save Money Buying a Truck

  • Pop in shortly before the dealership shuts its doors for the day
    While the early bird usually gets the worm, it sometimes pays to be a late bloomer. So wait until the final hour of their workday to stop by and explore your options. The salesman will be ready to dart out the door and head home for the evening, but chances are he’ll stick around and proceed through the sales process as rapidly as possible (which can definitely work in your favor). Only go for this option, though, if you have already done your homework on the type of truck you’re looking for and the going rate for what you want you to buy.

  • Shop when new arrivals begin to roll in
    This is usually during the months of August or September, but keep your eyes focused on the prior year’s model. To get those trucks in, the dealerships have to offload, which means they may offer generous incentives to clear out that excess inventory.

  • February is the sweet spot for pickup trucks
    Business owners tend to accelerate purchases towards the end of the year to offset their earnings, and a pickup truck is a common expenditure for those in labor-intensive industries. As a result, the inventory is low at the beginning of the year, and dealerships tend to discount the models that remain.

  • Avoid shopping during tax season
    In the months around Uncle Sam’s deadline, promotional advertisements will be flooding the airwaves. And if you get caught up in the hype, don’t expect the sales representative to haggle with you over pricing when there are many others in line waiting to spend the tax refund that’s burning a hole in their pocket.

  • Stick to your guns
    It’s the sales representative’s job to make you feel like a million bucks during the test drive. But when evaluating and narrowing down your list of options, let the numbers do the talking. Most importantly, remain neutral and don’t wear your excitement or any other emotions on your sleeve. You can show your joy later, when you’re driving away with your truck budget still intact.

  • Don’t ask; don’t tell
    Avoid discussing your experiences with other dealers as this may give your representative a hunch you’re price shopping, and they may not be as willing to negotiate.

  • Keep your cool
    Don’t jump the gun on financing and never throw out an offer first. Instead, wait for your salesperson to put an offer on the table and proceed to counter-offer with your game face on. Once you all reach a happy medium, then you can talk financing.

Allison Martin is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Allison Martin at allison@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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