Motorhome Pricing


Motorhome Pricing Info

A motorhome is probably the second largest purchase you'll ever make next to your non-wheeled house. It very well might even be more expensive than your house, depending on what area of the country you call home. Maybe you don't even have a house. Good for you!

First, let's talk about buying motorhomes and leave out the whole trade-in issue.  First things first. Even if you have a trade-in, you need to understand how the dealership works for new units.

 You've gone to the RV shows, and you have seen what look like some pretty good deals on the windshields.  How can they afford to take so much money off the sticker price of that motorhome and still make a profit? (BTW, I haven't heard of very many GREAT DEALS being done at an RV show, but you can try... Read on.)  The sad fact is that the numbers on the rigs at the RV shows is still way too high.  They MUST leave room for further negotiation, and they MUST leave room for people who have a trade in. More on trade-ins later, but remember this:  The window price at an RV show is almost certainly not a good deal.

The salesman will tell you it's because the manufacturer is offering him special pricing for the show, and that may indeed be partly true. The factory might be offering as much as 5% to the dealer. Then again, that money is almost certainly largely offset by the cost of attending the show, as the floorspace for a single Class-A rig must go for nearly $5,000. Certainly the list price of a motorhome has some profit for the dealer, but just how much?  Are you sitting?  Good!

You may be shocked to learn that the invoice price of your motorhome is probably only about 71.34% of the sticker! For a $250,000 MSRP Diesel Pusher, that means the price the dealer pays is probably no more than $178,350, a difference of a whopping $71,650!!!! That $30,000 or $40,000 "savings" at the RV show doesn't look so hot now, does it?

IN ADDITION to the wonderful margin, there are other "manufacturer to dealer" incentives that add to the dealer's gross margin on a deal.  These are probably in the 2 to 3  precent range, depending on the dealer's volume with that manufacturer. Also, left-over models and former show models may have free "flooring", or 0 percent interest loans from the manufacturer. So don't feel badly about really beating up the dealer on price.   Remember, s/he's under NO obligation to sell you a motorhome. If they make the deal, they are satisfied with the terms.  Otherwise, they won't make the deal.  Simple as that.

A Story of Success Using Ron's Info

Corine was offered first a 12% discount from one dealership, then a 15% discount by another.  Then using the info provided here, she negotiated with both of them a little harder (really a little smarter):

" make a long story short, we ended up getting the 2006 motorhome for $65,500.00, instead of $85,461.00, which is 23 1/2% off of the selling price, and just shy of a $20,000.00 savings!!!! YIPEE!!!

Needless to say, we are VERY Happy Campers, and very thankful for your insight on your website. We didn't grind for the additional 1 1/2 percent because we were getting tired of the process and phone calls and felt very good about our dealer and the deal."

-Corine G.,
Southern California

My STRONG advice to you is this: you should pay NO MORE than 75% of the sticker price, (plus delivery charges actually charged by the manufacturer and not already listed on the sticker, and tax, and Registry fees) for your Class-A RV. If you are looking at the higher end -$250,000 and up- you should bargain even harder.

Some dealers will try to add a "dealer prep" fee, and claim that this is required by the manufacturer. To the best of my knowledge, there is NO such requirement. Certainly the dealers are required to prepare the vehicle for delivery, but there is no requirement that you pay for it in a separate fee. In fact, anything they find wrong with the motorhome will be billed to the manufacturer as warranty work.

At the end of the day, each dealership decides on how to price and market their motorhomes. Each dealer must make enough money every month to pay the rent or mortgage, pay the light bills, pay the interest on their inventory, pay their salespeople, pay their service people, pay their office workers, pay the owners. They try every which way to get more money out of you than you want to give them.  There's nothing wrong with that, that's the business.

Some want to give you a lower price and "nickel and dime" (hundred and thousand?) you to death.  Others just won't go as low, but won't start tacking on fees of all sorts when you're closing the deal (after you're sold -- sneaky, huh?).

Look around -- is the dealer in plush surroundings, in a new building, with low volume units?  Chances are you're going to pay $10,000 or more to that dealer.  Is the dealer in less ritzy accommodations and sells lots of midrange units -or better yet- a mix of midrange and high end stuff?  Then maybe you can probably get away for as little as $5,000.

If you're looking at a very high end motorhome, say $600,000, $800,000 or more your contribution to that dealership is likely in the $25,000 or $30,000 so they had better treat you like royalty, or you should REALLY REALLY beat them up on the price. If that's where you are, it's likely that I've just saved you a whole lot of money.  Please say thanks by sending a few dollars via PayPal to  No, Really. I'm not kidding! I'm not wealthy, and I took the time to put this together for you. Thanks.  Here's a button for your convenience

Buying a motorhome is more like buying a house than it is buying a car.  The dealerships for the brand you want are few and far between, the make and model with the features you want is even more rare.  Sure you can order a unit to your own specs, but that will take weeks, and don't you really want to get your hands on and drive this major investment before you commit yourself?  Sure you do.

You really ought to consider brining a friend -or a professional negotiator- along to help negotiate the deal. We all know people who like to spend other people's money -- that's not the right "guy" for this job.  You want a strong negotiator  Someone who will look out for your best interests in this deal.  Someone who isn't emotionally attached to this wonderful rig that you've driven and in which you've started to feel some pride and ownership. Do it, and then bring your friend to dinner, 'cause it's likely that he or she will have saved you thousands of dollars.

But what about your trade-in?
The trade-in doesn't change anything about your buying a new RV. Treat the two transactions as separate deals.  Tell the dealer or salesman that you plan on selling the coach yourself, or that you know someone that may want it, so "let's keep the two issues separate".

You've looked at the Kelley Blue Book. But the Kelley Blue Book doesn't tell you much. The dealer may even show you a version of the Kelly Blue Book, but that's the dealer's version. If you want to find a price on a used RV, the only way to go is with the NADA guide. But then again, there are two versions of the NADA guide, the one you can see on the net:
nadaguides and the dealer's guide. But it's a good place to start.

Now as that is settled, go on to "Selling your used RV for what it's worth." (Unfinished, check back soon)



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