Ladies, What to Know When Buying A Car
Let me tell you what women need to know about buying a car in one sentence: What a woman needs to know when buying a car is exactly the same as what a man needs to know.
I recently had the opportunity while working for a previous employer to be in the market for a new vehicle to be used for floral delivery. If you think that women are not treated differently when purchasing cars, parts, or in need of car repairs, you’re mistaken.
Because I have been a mechanic for some 40 years, I have a very strong knowledge of automobiles and also how dealerships work, depending on who is purchasing the car. Just because you are female, doesn’t mean you are unknowledgeable about cars.
On my recent trip to the local dealership I made sure to have completed my homework on the type and make of vehicle best suited for the floral department’s needs. I checked several sites, including manufacturers and car review websites, to gather as much information about the vehicles as possible. Buying a new or used vehicle is the second biggest investment one will make in their lifetime, next to purchasing a home.
I researched dealerships with the Better Business Bureau and local review websites. In this case I chose the local Honda dealership and a local internet dealership to start my car buying adventure. The company I worked for at the time always bought a large purchase with cash/check, so I made sure to have two checks made out, one for each dealership, to use against each other, because at the end of the day, I planned to drive away with what I came for, a new car.
The internet dealership was my first stop. After circling the car lot like a vulture, looking for the perfect car, I entered the showroom looking for a sales person. Have you ever noticed that when you enter a car lot or a showroom area, you are met with so many people that want to help you, it feels as if you just won a million dollars and all your long lost family and friends love you again?
I was approached by a male sales person asking what he could do for me. I immediately explained that I was going to buy a car today, either from them or the local Honda dealership. I showed him what vehicle I was interested in and wanted to talk price since I’d done my homework on the used car pricing. I was amazed to find that they were not willing to haggle at all. The price is the price.
Well, so much for that, I packed up and left. I walked right across the road and started the same dialog with the Honda dealership. There, they were will to haggle. Do not let them talk to you as if you only know where it is you want to put your purse in the new car. They sometimes look at every woman as if she was blonde. Just to be clear, I know a lot of smart blondes, so don’t let that work against you.
I chose to sit in the showroom and discuss the purchase rather than their office. I have known some car lots that have a microphone in their office so when they leave the room, they can hear what you discuss about the deal. They tell you they need to speak with their boss about your demands.
I told the salesman that I was just fine right there and would only go into the office after the deal was finalized. I already knew the set price I was going to pay, and not a penny more. When the deal came down to a $500.00 difference, we ended up agreeing to split it.
So ladies, listen up, if you are in the market to buy a new or used car, here are a few tips you need to know.
Top 10 Car Buying Tips for Women
1. Don’t have your husband call about ANYTHING. Because if he does, they’ll assume he is the sole decision maker.
2. When you do visit a dealership, take a man with you. I know that seems to contradict all of my advice, but if you have a man in your corner, even if he’s not buying the car, your voice will be heard a little louder.
3. Women are emotional buyers. Even if we’re not, that’s what car salesmen think. Therefore, the rock solid level-headed MAN is there to balance out our silly emotions. At least, that’s what the sales rep will think.
4. Know everything you can about the car you are looking at. The websites today have so much information that you have the ability to show how much you know about the car you want to buy and can ask intelligent questions. It helps gives you more of an air of authority if the whole man-thing isn’t working out for you.
5. Ask to look under the hood. Even if you could care less what is under the hood and don’t know what the dipstick is, pretend you know and you care. Again, it goes back to showing you know something about cars.
6. Know the true market value of the car you want. This isn’t the MSRP (manufactured suggested retail price) and it isn’t the invoice price. It is the average price that the car you want is selling for in your area (based on zip code). It’s based on supply and demand and gives you a realistic look at what you should pay. I usually use CarsDirect.com, Target Price, or KellyBlueBook.com to determine True Market Value.
7. Assume that EVERYTHING is negotiable. Because it is. This includes the price of the car, the value of your trade-in, the package prices, the dealer fees, and the interest rate on your financing. It sucks to have to argue every point, but if you want a good price, you need to fight. They won’t give it to you otherwise.
8. Be prepared to walk away. NEVER buy on impulse and never buy because you feel bad or think you’ll lose the deal. It’s a game and I will almost guarantee that if you walk out of a dealership because you are unhappy with the terms, you will get another offer from them the next day that is the same or very close to the offer you actually want.
9. Pit the dealerships against each other. It sounds terrible but they play the same game. “Well, XYZ Dealership will sell me the car for $26.5 AND give me the $500 rebate. Can you match that?” Ultimately, this is how we got the deal we wanted. And we were honest about that.
10. Know your rock bottom deal. Don’t play games. The best way to get a deal is to give an ultimatum. Tell the sales rep that if they can give you THIS car at THIS price, you will buy right now, on the spot. That motivates them to work harder for you.
Having proven that these 10 steps really do work, now it is your turn. I will be here to cheer you on.