Like most hobbies, ATVs have a high and down season where interest goes up and down. and the prices will also fluctuate as well. everybody wants to get the best deal available, so I decided to actually check if it’s better buying an ATV in the winter, near a holiday, or in a specific date or season generally. there are several factors into consideration here: price, availability, seasonal discounts, and new model introductions. and some of those factors influence more than others. if you have ever thought of buying an ATV and have checked prices over a few months, maybe you have noticed that prices do not stay the same for the same model. and in this article, I’m going to explain why this happens and what time or season is best to buy an ATV.
What is the best time of the year to buy an ATV? the answer is obviously when there is low demand for them. and this is something that’s going to vary depending on where you live in but generally winter season is where interest in ATVs quiets down. while ATVs and UTVs are pretty capable on snow and ice, many riders are not really comfortable with riding in those conditions, maybe because of traction issues or because the weather and temperature are unbearable. winter is the very best time to buy an ATV in most states. however, if you live in a warmer state, like Texas, Florida, or California, then it might be better to look for some quad deals during the Christmas holiday season or in the first months of the new year because dealership might have an inventory overstock and so they will likely have some discounts and rebates available.
Although the quick answer is that the best time to buy a quad is in the winter, it’s also something that is going to vary state by state. there are some states that do not really have that offroading/ATV following and so sales and prices will probably stay constantly low through the year. the best time to buy in a state like, let’s say, Connecticut might be dramatically different than in Texas. there are also some other factors going on, like the quad model that you are looking for. just like car brands, there are hot selling models and others that are not as popular. the less popular models are more likely to be discounted because the dealership wants to get rid of the surplus of that particular model. anyways, below I talk about other factors that contribute to price fluctuations over the year.
Factors that Make Prices Fluctuate.
Time Of The Year
Just like I mentioned in the first paragraph, there are seasons in which it’s easier to get a good deal on a quad. for most northern states, that period is between the start of Black Friday to the end of Easter. January and February are terrible months for dealerships saleswise because most ATV aficionados already got what they wanted for Chrismas and Black Friday. some of them even close their doors for a few weeks because of low sales volume. I would advise checking the internet for ATV deals in your area for those months. you will be amazed at the deals that you could find by that time period. avoid buying in the summer and fall months because sales and prices creep up by then.
This is simple supply and demand. if a dealership has too many quads sitting in the lot, they are going to come up with some sales or rebates to stimulate sales and move inventory. Other than winter and the holiday season, another time of the year that you can get a good deal is a few weeks before Easter. ATV dealers are usually starting to prepare summer break sales and discounts and so this is a good time to go to one of them and look for a good deal. haggling has always been easy to do in ATV dealerships, especially before summer break, so I think that you can get an even better price if you negotiate further on the pricing of what you are looking for. I, for example, was looking at a QuadSport in a local dealership and they were offering a $500 rebate. I figured this isn’t enough and so negotiated a little bit with them, and after persisting and insisting to give me something else, they decided to shave off an extra $700 bucks off the MSRP.
Dealership Financial Outlook
A struggling dealership is obviously going to have better prices than one that is booming with customers. Struggling dealerships are easily found in states that do not really have that dirtbike/ATV following. they usually have small facilities, and they might not be as well maintained as a dealership with better sales. another way that you can notice that a dealership is not doing well is checking over the internet for reviews of the place. if many people mention that they got a discount or a deal, it’s probably going to be really easy to get a good price too. another telling sign is a small number of employees or deficient customer service.
New Model Introductions
Another good time to shop for quads is when your favorite brand releases a new model, especially if it’s hotly anticipated. a new model in the dealership means that people won’t be as interested in the other stuff, which is a good opportunity to haggle a bit with them on the price. this is especially true if the new model has similar specifications to the one that you have your eyes on. also, if a new quad arrives at dealership and sales aren’t as good as expected, then they might be offering cashbacks and the like to spark some interest on it. checking ATV webpages for upcoming models might be wise because that way you can get yourself to the dealership when that model becomes available and you can ask for deals of their old ATV. you might able to get a pretty hefty discount if you do that.
Simply put, dealerships near Moab, Utah are going to have higher asking prices for their machines than dealers from a place not known for offroading or extreme sports, like for example Connecticut or New York. so if you live in a city with a national park, with a lot of forestation, woods, and offroad areas, or live in a city where the cost of living is higher than most (California), then good luck trying to get something for cheap. smaller town are always a good choice when buying a quad, either new or used. I live in Boise Idaho which is so-so when it comes to prices and deals and so when looking for a new quad I travel to Nampa to see what I can get there.
How To Negotiate With a Dealership
Even if the place that you are going to buy the quad from has a surplus, that doesn’t really mean that they are just going to shave off $3,000 off the MSRP as soon as you set eyes on a model. you are still going to have to negotiate and convince them to sell you the quad for less. this is because many customers do not really like negotiating prices, they just pay whatever the dealer asks for, they do it without much objection and so dealerships are used to this. so they just wait to see if you are that kind of client. if the dealership sales are lacking, then asking for and getting a cashback or maybe even free maintenance for a year or two or free options will be a piece of cake. but it’s going to be less feasible in a busy dealership that sells a lot. I learned a few things about negotiating when I last bought a quad, so follow these next tips to get the best price possible.
Familiarize Yourself With The Quad That You Are Interested In
Before you get yourself to the dealership, you should be surfing the internet looking for general information about the model that you have your eyes on. looking for things like how well it sells, which are the options available and which equipment is standard will serve you a lot when actually going to the place. knowing the monthly sales volume is especially important because that way you can have realistic expectations on how much money you can shave off the sticker price. do not expect to get $3,000 off of a hot seller like a TRX250. Knowing the options available and the pricing of them is useful as kind of a plan B if the dealer won’t agree to any rebates or cashbacks. if they are being unreasonable, tell them to instead give you some options for free. they may not be willing to lower the price but they might be ok with just giving you a quad with more options instead to ensure the sale.
Do Not Look Too Needy Or Interested at first
Looking overly excited and interested is a double-edged sword that you should avoid. while the sales or finance guy might notice this and make some concessions to guarantee the deal, they might instead assume that you are an easy sale that doesn’t really require any persuasion with discounts and the like. a balance between interested and aloof is the best strategy to leave the place with the best deal possible. another good trick that you can try is looking interested and ready to buy, until the last second in which you backtrack and say that it’s either too expensive or that you changed your mind. this is the moment in which you ask for the extra perks and the cashbacks and the discounts. the finance person might or might not notice that you are trying to play him and react accordingly. usually what happens is that they get pretty liberal with the free stuff, to make sure that you do not go away.
“Befriend” The Salesman (everyone really)
Establish good rapport with everybody that is assisting you at the dealer, not just the sales guy. behave as if you are friends with the guy. look as if you trust what he says. if he feels comfortable with you, then it’s more likely that when you are at the financing office, he might more or less help you out with the pricing. looking friendly and receptive will also give them the false impression that you are more interested than what you really are, and then you can do the strategy that I mentioned in the last paragraph. you can even take this further and ask for the salesman phone number and tell him that you are willing to do business with him in the future (If you are actually planning to do so) establishing a good relationship with the guy and the dealer itself will make it much easier to get thousands of dollars off any future purchases.
Make Them Compete With Other Dealers
The best negotiators will often remember the other party that there’s always another place that they can go to if they do not feel comfortable with the rate. doing this early and often is very wise to help your case. you can even mention that you were at another store minutes ago and just came here to see if they have a better deal than them. make it look like it’s just a quick stop and that you are going to be back to the other dealer because they a better proposition for you. at that moment they might persuade you to stay to look at what they are offering. and that’s when you start playing with them. mentioning the quotes that the other place gave you is also helpful.
Be Polite, But Stubborn
This is like the good cop, bad cop scenario kind of. one is kind and understanding, and the other cop is more aggressive and menacing. even though you are not interrogating anybody, you can apply that technique to negotiate yourself a cheap quad.
If you look like a doctor, flaunt expensive clothes, or arrive at the place in a nice car, then you might be treated differently. you can use this in your favor to look for bargains. my best friend has a 2010 Corvette, which is not even that expensive or modern anymore, but it looks the part though. it looks much more costly than what it is, and people assume that you own a business or have some dough in general. the staff might think that you are serious about getting a new quad and so they might facilitate a deal. not everyone has a flashy car though. but if you have a friend that does, then tell him to go with you to the dealer. them simply seeing the car, even though you are not the person driving it might be enough to make them think that you are a hotshot.
Look Like An ATV aficionado
If looking rich is not feasible, then looking like an ATV expert might be. there are a lot of things that you can do here, being a hardcore enthusiast is not necessary. the number one thing I do in real life is arriving at the dealer with one of my quads. most people that go to a dealership at a given month are either window shoppers, or want a quad for their kids, and so if you show up with a quad, you are showing them that you are different and you have some experience with riding quads. getting to the place with a shirt with an ATV on it or caps of your favorite models might also give the impression that you mean business and are a serious customer, which really facilitates discounts at the financing office.
Don’t Be Afraid To Leave And Try Another Day
If they aren’t willing to lower the price, try not to look too needy or frustrated. this is like a war of attrition, so if they aren’t willing to match your money figure, leaving the place is the best thing you could do, especially if you are deep into the buying process. if you mention that you are not interested in paying whatever they are asking for the ATV and are going to leave, then 2 things might happen: first thing is that they might try to force you to stay and try to make some more concessions to guarantee the sale. and this is when you get more pushy with them. but, the other thing that might happen is that they might just let you go, which usually happens in more busy or sucessful dealerships. if that is the case, I recommend that you just leave them your phone number and tell them to call you if they are interested in selling you a quad in a firm but polite way. not all places call, but if they do, it’s probably because they aren’t going to meet the sales goals and so might be desperate for a sale.
If Possible, be willing to pay cash
People rarely pay cash for a purchase as costly as an ATV, but if you have that luxury, try not to tell the dealership right away. something that always works for me is looking reluctant about the monthly payments so after, let’s say, half an hour of them getting you something that you are comfortable with, you just tell them that you are willing to pay cash for the quad instead. the staff will obviously love to receive straight cash and when you tell them you just counter and mention that you need them to shave off some dollars off the price that they are giving you. other things that you might try is giving a bigger downpayment if you do not have enough cash to pay the quad in full.
If financing, get pre-approved by your bank or financial institution
Getting pre-approved by your bank is a great way to ensure they treat you right. this is because of several things. first of all, it shows that you are serious about getting a quad. in fact, most guys that enter the dealer floors are just there to window shop and check out the latest models of a brand, but they aren’t looking to buy at that specific moment at least. Financing with the dealer itself is also a surefire way to overpay for the machine. there are some pros to financing with them, like for example, it’s more likely for them to work with people with bad credit and getting approved is much quicker than with a bank or credit union. but the cons heavily outweigh the pros. first of all, the interest rate is going to be significantly higher than with a bank loan, especially if you have a bad credit score.
Know the true price of the ATV
MSRP is just what the manufacturers think the quad should go for. this doesn’t mean that it’s the actual or “true” price of the ATV. there’s something called invoice price, which is the price that the manufacturer sells the ATV to the dealer. and it’s usually a few thousand dollar difference from MSRP. an estimate that I use is to substract fifteen hundred from the original MSRP to get the invoice price. this is important to know because many dealerships shave off a few hundred dollars off the sticker price just to quiet down customers, and then saying that they cannot go any lower than that. so do not be tricked and realize that MSRP is just a front.
Say exactly how much you are willing to pay and do not go lower than that.
Not everybody is comfortable with discussing prices with a financing office. some people hate “hustling” for a good deal. some do not feel comfortable doing it. if you are like that, but still want to save some cash, then a good strategy is just showing up at the dealership and just telling them a price amount and telling them it’s the amount that you are looking to pay for the ATV. now, do not lowball them or they won’t help you. also, do NOT change your mind and give them another amount no matter what. make sure that you know which model you are looking for, the options, and the official cost of the quad so that they do not laugh at you. anything over $1,500 off the MSRP is a little bit too aggressive in my opinion. try and ask for a thousand dollars or a similar figure, a little bit more if the model that you have your eyes on is not selling well for them.
Talk To The Manager Directly
If none of this works, then go ahead and try asking for the manager of the location. some places will just tell you that he’s not available or tell you that he’s coming and in the meantime deescalate the situation. when you get the manager, just try some of the points that I mentioned in the other paragraphs. calling the person in charge doesn’t always work though. they are not official salesmen so they do not get commision and so he might not have that direct incentive to move a quad.
If Looking at a used model, look for faults and damage and point them out.
You can try this not only at a store but with a private seller too. as soon as you check the quad, try to look for scratches, dings, worn tires, and bad tire alignment. other things to check out for are oil leaks or damage in the paint. if you see defects you can point them out to the owner and then you can argue for a slightly better pricing.