Buying a travel trailer is virtually impossible.

Discussion in 'Going to the DARK SIDE' started by Troy Dalton, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. Troy Dalton

    Troy Dalton Member

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    Full disclosure, I am pretty much an amateur when it comes to purchasing campers/travel trailers etc. I purchased my first and only pop-up from a broker two and a half years ago. I found it online, made an offer, they owners accepted, I drove an hour and a half to verify its condition and purchased it on the spot. Simple and easy.

    However, the wife and I decided to investigate getting a travel trailer or possibly a hybrid (expandable), just to make setup/take down a little easier. We did a lot of research, found a dealer we liked and chose a model that we were happy with.

    Then, the day before we were set to purchase, we realized it was too long. Long story (no pun intended), we were not going to be able to store it on our property. Disappointed, we started our search all over again. This time we were more discriminating and because we were limited to length, our options had narrowed quite a bit.

    Now here is where the real frustration begins. We know what we want, we have money to spend, but we cannot get what we want, because none of our local dealers carry the model we are looking for. We did finally locate a dealer that was a couple of hours away, but...

    We contacted them and as soon as we got serious, the list price went from $19k to over $23k. I get sales tax and all, but $3600 in addition to the asking price was far more than we anticipated and then they insulted me by offering me a measly $1k for my 2013 Starcraft…yea…no thanks.

    So, weeks go by and we are still looking and the more I look, the more frustrating it becomes. I simply do not understand this industry. The factory makes model X, but I can only buy it if a dealer happens to carry it?!? Can’t the dealer order me one? What am I missing?

    The idea that factories produce models that are completely unattainable is a construct that totally escapes me. If I go to a Toyota dealer and tell them I want a Black Dual Cab truck with a tow package, they don ‘t tell me, “Sorry Sir, that model is only available on the West Coast” or “Sorry Sir, we do not carry that model, but we have a model over here that doesn’t meet your needs in anyway.”

    How do I get what I want?
     
  2. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Lots of people order trailers direct from the factory. Not sure if there is a premium or not for those - dealers tend to be more willing to deal with stuff on their lot I think. Our next trailer will likely be new only because it is a floorplan that has not been available before, so it has only been on the market for a year or two. While I have continued to keep tabs on it I only found 2 examples for sale on a lot here in TX - every other one I found was up north. Since we have specific desires on flooring and cabinet color, A/C size, etc. I strongly suspect the only way we will get it is to order in advance.

    If you go used you have more options by searching craigslist, offer up, FB marketplace and RV trader, but it will still take some time. When I started looking for my pup it took me close to 6 months of constant daily searching and lots of looking at units before I found mine.
     
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  3. NMroamer

    NMroamer Well-Known Member

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    Did you check the Camping World website for the trailer you want ? They have a nation wide network.
    Might have a easier time getting a transfer.
    I feel your pain on the popup trade. Had to sell mine privately to get a decent amount for it.
     
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  4. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    We ran into the same thing. Don’t know how it works but we got the feeling the dealer really wanted to sell us a trailer he had on the lot regardless of what we were asking for. We wanted a specific 2019 model but he was pushing a completely different, and of course much more expensive, 2018. We did some searching and found what we wanted 400 miles away. Funny the first dealer kept calling me for months after still trying to sell me the trailer i told him ten times I didn’t want
     
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  5. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    No suggestions except I would sell your current camper privately because most dealers will offer you squat on it. Dealers around me don't want popups so will give you an insanely low ball offer so either you decline the trade in or they can make a larger profit on your old popup. Because there is no money in popups dealers try to make a profit somehow even if it is on you.
    My parents had an old 1990 Jayco popup presented for a trade in about 10 years ago, they were offered only $250 for it. That camper was still in working order, no rot, garage kept at the time. It was in awesome shape considering the age. Ultimately my parents decided to give the camper to me instead. They figured Why bother, at least it was getting some use vrs the dump as the dealer acted like it was headed. That Jayco is still in the family although I gave it to my brother when I upgraded.
     
  6. Troy Dalton

    Troy Dalton Member

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    I actually found a nice one through a Camping World dealer that was only about an hour and a half away, but when pressed for out-the-door price, the list price when up $4k...and then he insulted me with a ridiculously lowball trade-in offer. Not that the trade in mattered, but it was so low I lost all trust in the dealership and said no thank you.
     
  7. Troy Dalton

    Troy Dalton Member

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    yep...been there. I get that they need to move their lot inventory, but if you have a customer, with cash in hand, whose has specifically stated that they want to give you their business...yet you still push the unwanted inventory.

    Makes zero sense to me.
     
  8. tfischer

    tfischer Well-Known Member

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    Honestly, that might be what it took them to make a profit on it. Guessing the real market value at the time was somewhere between $1000-$1500. By the time they clean it, do any minor repairs, etc. then pay salespeople and such, they're not going to be making much money on it unless they offer something like $250. A lot of those costs are fixed, so they have to take a much bigger percentage to make up for them, compared to, say a $25K used car.
     
  9. Troy Dalton

    Troy Dalton Member

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    I would love to here from someone who has done just that.
     
  10. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

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    You are aware you can negotiate. Figure out what price you are comfortable with and make him an offer. The worst he can do is say no.

    And screw the trade. Nobody's insulting you. As others have said dealers don't want your Pup so quit expecting anything close to "market value."[:)C]
     
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  11. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Not only that he kept telling me the trailer we wanted was no good because we had kids. (Way too small and no slide). And the model we wanted was going to be discontinued anyway.( it’s the most popular model they make). Telling him we had 14k CASH had zero effect. Big shout out to Big Sky RV in Bozeman for getting me exactly what I wanted.
     
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  12. Sneezer

    Sneezer Well-Known Member

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    Go look on some of the manufacturer specific forums. I have seen multiple threads/posts on Forest River groups on factory orders since that is what I am looking at as a potential TT purchase. A quick Google search pulled up multiple hits on various RV/camper forums, so you should find some input there. I think most of the users here are on the cheaper side and either bought used after moving on from a TT, or got a good deal on a leftover new one on the lot.

    Best of luck with your search. We haven't quite gotten to the point of actively looking yet, but I think we are getting close.
     
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  13. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    RV dealerships don't have the same type of arrangement with the manufacturers as car dealerships do.

    Every day an RV sits on the dealer's lot it costs them money. They will lose more money by selling you an RV directly from the manufacturer than they will make.

    Many folks will go long distance to get the right RV because they are built for specific markets.
     
  14. Troy Dalton

    Troy Dalton Member

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    Negotiating with a salesman...wow...if only I'd thought of that. (Sorry, as a connoisseur of sarcasm I couldn't resist replying in kind) ;-)

    ...And yea, who in their right mind goes into a dealership expecting "Market Value" on a trade in. I told the guy the deal wasn't predicated on a trade, because I already had a potential buyer, but as we were "negotiating", he said he might be able to swing as much as a $1000 for my trade. At that point I felt he was simply wasting my time.

    In case your wondering and your probably not, my popup is a 2013 Starcraft Comet 1020. It's in great condition, no damage and has tons of options. The salesman seemed like a nice guy, but right or wrong, where I come from, when you intentionally low ball someone during a negotiation, it's a sign of disrespect. In hindsight, I suppose insulted is too strong a word...how about annoyed...yea...really, really, annoyed.

    :)
     
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  15. giadiep

    giadiep Active Member

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    Troy, I feel for you. Many of these dealers are unscrupulous, but there are good ones.

    What made the price go up? Was it a weight distribution hitch and wiring with a brake controller? Those along with the “setup” fee should only run about $1000 (depending on quality).

    Up here in the northeast, the season is over, and you can get a better deal on a trailer still on the dealer lot. So you can look up here to find what you are looking for, negotiate over the phone, then make an adventure out of picking it up.

    Or, you can wait for an rv show during the slow winter season, where deals can be had.

    Or if you post what you are looking for, I’m sure some members here would be happy to check out our local dealership web sites and let you know where they found it and at what price.

    Good luck.
     
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  16. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    Just to add ........ never tell the salesman ..... this is the one we always wanted, even if it is. Make them think you are settling for a camper you really don't like.
     
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  17. GalsofEscape

    GalsofEscape Active Member

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    you may also look at twin models and find one that way. For instance, the Rockwood Roos and Flagstaff Shamrocks are twin brands - they are identical except for graphics and interior colors, even made on the same line. We wanted the 23WS model, our local dealer handles the Roo, another dealer 30 miles away handles the Shamrock. Both dealers had the camper on their lot, we got a much better deal on the Shamrock.
     
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  18. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

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    What model are you looking for? I'm on again, off again looking for a TT, and I'm still figuring out a floorplan I like.
     
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  19. MrsSquid

    MrsSquid Active Member

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    My cousin is an RV dealer in Nappanee, IN. He and his wife sell Dutchmen products (Aspen Trail, Kodiak, Triton, Voltage) and Laredo 5th wheels. If you would like more information, send me a message. I happen to think they're a good family owned dealership. : )
     
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  20. penny

    penny Well-Known Member

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    We recently attempted to shop at a couple of big RV stores. camping world and holiday world. Same things were annoying to us. low trade in value, and lack of selection. mostly though, hidden costs! sheesh!

    we saw a camper we both liked at a campground and when we got home from that trip, I started looking around for where one might be for sale. I found that the starcraft AR one line was no longer in production, but I found a nice used one that looks like brand new at a very nice RV dealer in a small town about an hour away. the trade in value on our 06 little trailer was good, the price on the new one was good and the service was beyond good. no hidden charges, many things the other two dealerships charged for were free, and the whole experience was exactly the way it should be. (this business is Franciscan RV in Hatch NM, if anyone wonders) Yes, we also ate green chile cheeseburgers at "world famous" Sparky's.

    I just wanted to add our experience because it was so different from what we had to deal with at the other places!
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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