Dealership markups on travel trailers and RVS, in general, can vary between 35-40% depending on influencing factors that would be specific for that market. We have seen some sites suggest markups as high as 50% but it is unlikely you will see a markup this elevated.
The hassle of high-pressure salesmen and extreme markups can seem overwhelming and sometimes downright terrifying.
But fear not, we have priceless advice that will outfit you with all the tools and expertise you need to be sure you have made the best negotiation possible and are walking away with a fair-priced travel trailer.
Before we get into the tools you need to make a deal, let us explain the basics of travel trailer pricing.
MSRPs were created to help facilitate the consistent pricing of products in various locations and stores. Retailers and dealerships are not bound to these suggestions; however, and may choose to price their goods above or below the MSRP.
Vehicle dealerships are required to show the MSRP or recommended retail price (RRP) of the vehicle they are selling on a window or windshield to ensure consumers know they are getting a fair deal.
As a travel trailer consumer, you could use the trailer’s MSRP to assist you with negotiations of the final purchase price.
We have seen some sites suggest markups as high as 50% but it is unlikely you will see a markup this elevated.
We have found several sites and forums that suggest the expected markdown is anywhere between 20-25%.
Keep in mind the smaller, more economical travel trailers will have a lower markdown than that of the larger, more luxurious trailers.
The larger, more luxurious trailers could have a markdown potential of 15-30%.
First, make sure you’re of the right mindset and prepared for the purchase of your travel trailer to be a big investment.
It is good to be familiar with the price of travel trailers like the one you’re considering so you are not caught off guard by the MSRP.
Go prepared. You will have a better opportunity to create wiggle room if you show up prepared with things such as facts, figures, and information regarding pricing and specifics for the travel trailer you’re interested in.
Here is the best advice we can offer for how to be sure you’re getting a good deal on your next travel trailer
One way to familiarize yourself with different types of trailers away from high-pressure salesmen would be to rent the RV you’re considering. You can rent your top considerations to help better make an informed decision
Also, while enjoying the rented travel trailer, ask other RV owners for unbiased opinions of their preferred makes and models.
Talk to them about what you should expect to pay and if they have any advice to avoid higher prices.
The RV community is full of friendly, helpful owners who have already traversed the purchasing journey and most will be more than happy to help you navigate the journey yourself and help you to avoid pitfalls. Try this RV forum.
After you’ve found the trailer you think will be the best option for you, it is time to do your homework.
Taking the time now to learn the average purchase price of that trailer will help you approach your dealership with confidence.
Check sites like NADA for the average price or value and depreciation of the trailer you are interested in if you are considering a second-hand travel trailer.
You can even beef up this information by visiting RV trader sites for additional estimates to have on hand during the negotiation process.
An RV purchase is a large investment that will bring your family loads of fun and entertainment so it is prudent that you don’t rush into a purchase you’ll later regret.
Spend the time and effort perusing ads, visiting dealerships, attending RV shows, and researching fair prices to ensure when you do finally make that big purchase the only thing you’ll feel is excitement, not buyer’s remorse.
The time of the month or year that you purchase your travel trailer could save you substantially. Most dealerships will have end-of-the-month or annual sales quotas they need to achieve and if you time it right you may have even more negotiating power.
RV sales are seasonal and most sales drop off in the fall. Also, consider purchasing your travel trailer around the time new models are released.
Often dealers will have additional markdowns in an attempt to clear out the old inventory for the new, higher-priced trailers.
Finally, check sales trends in the travel trailer market. During the beginning of the pandemic, there was a boom in the sales of travel trailers that are now resulting in an influx of used travel trailers on the market.
The market is ready and capable of providing you with a used travel trailer in good condition, all you have to do is go get it!
Don’t let high pressure or smooth-talking salesmen convince you to buy more trailers than you want or the right trailer at a higher (than fair) price. Walk away from any dealership that will not budge on prices, especially if they are higher than the average.
Shopping around will give you the best chance at finding something near the price you’ve set for yourself.
Some RV forums suggest looking as far as 300 miles from your location to ensure you’re getting the best price for the travel trailer you’ve chosen.
You may be able to show your local dealer a competitor’s offer to create additional wiggle room in their pricing because they don’t want to lose your sale.
Speaking of your local dealership, remember to NOT buy from the first place you stop. Yes, they may have exactly what you’re looking for but you can always come back.
Take the time to check other places. Shopping around could save you thousands.
Attending a larger RV show will give you the opportunity to take advantage of competitive pricing as there will be more than one dealership there trying to get your attention and your business.
As with dealerships you’d visit in person, do not buy from the first booth you stop at. Check them all out and know you’re getting the best deal at the show.
Did you know, in most cases, if you shop around for rates at several locations those credit checks, if done in a small time frame together (say within 14 days), usually only count as one credit pull and should not greatly impact your credit?
Once you’ve found the perfect travel trailer at the perfect price, check a few different lenders and make sure you’re getting a good rate, even a difference of .25% could save you hundreds if not thousands over the life of the loan.
What is the markup on Travel Trailers? – Final Thoughts
We know it can seem daunting when you plan to make such a large purchase. The anxiety of overpaying can be overwhelming.
This article has given you several ideas and tactics to help mitigate that stress by making you a knowledgeable, well-prepared shopper.
The perfect RV is waiting for you, grab your notes and research, and go get it!