If you've decided that this is the year you'll finally trade in your current vehicle for your next one, you may already be poring over trim options and colors for your most-loved makes and models. However, if you're not a fan of haggling in general, or if you're constantly rankled at the thought of another consumer who may be able to obtain the same product at a lower price than you simply through their superior negotiating skills, you could find shopping for a new (or new-to-you) vehicle to be a frustrating process. Fortunately, the proliferation of "haggle-free" dealerships throughout the U.S. could provide a solution to those who simply want to pay the listed price for a vehicle and be on their way. Read on to learn more about the different structure of dealerships that advertise themselves as "haggle-free" to see whether this could be the solution to some of your car-buying woes.
How do haggle-free dealerships work?
Unlike traditional auto dealerships, where sales staff have the discretion to amend a vehicle's sales price within certain profitability parameters, at a haggle-free dealer, the list price is the final price (plus taxes and fees). These dealerships cater to those who can't, won't, or simply don't want to negotiate by offering a "take it or leave it" price for each vehicle on the lot.
In exchange for this static pricing model, you may pay a slightly higher cost for a vehicle than you'd be able to get if you engaged in negotiations on the showroom floor -- however, you'll still be able to rest assured that the price you are quoted is a fair one and remains well within the specific vehicle's blue book value range.
How can you decide whether you should go to a haggle-free dealer?
Although these dealerships can provide a useful service for those who don't have the time, energy, or wherewithal to deal with the traditional auto sale structure, they're not always right for everyone. If you fall into a demographic category that lends itself well to new or used vehicle discounts (for example, students, military veterans, or auto maker employees), you could be leaving money on the table by avoiding a dealership that's equipped to give these types of discounts.
On the other hand, those who are usually ineligible for these preferential rates have nothing to lose by comparing a hassle-free dealer's list price with that of other area dealerships.