Getting the best price from a dealer

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Getting the best price from a dealer

Post by zavaletas » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:48 pm

So you know what you want, how do you get it for the best price from a reputable dealer. Some suggestions:

1) Offer to pay cash. Minimally, a dealer should be able to come down at 3-6 percent on the money that he saves not having to pay card processing fees and merchant service fees.

2) If he doesn't have it in stock, see if he can special order it. Here you leverage is that since the dealer doesn't have to tie his money up in carrying it as inventory-- for who knows how long, so he can probably afford to give you a better price. As a dealer, especially if he has an on-going relation with the maker, he can probably get the guitar at a discount-- which also may be in your favor.

3) You can order directly from the maker, easier to do if the maker is in the country where you live. Ordering abroad can be tricky, as it increasingly requires special licenses, permits, and special knowledge of regulatory rules (CITES), Lacey Declarations etc, shipping, brokerage, customs, etc. Here the most important advice is to figure out what your all in price will be. Looking at exchange rates, customs, shipping, insurance, [sales taxes which may apply] and what is included in the price-- [does the price include a hard case, shipping]

4) Of course, if your guitar is made in another country, going there and picking one out or up, makes a great vacation. However, be aware that most individual luthiers have a very limited production, and may not have a finished guitar to sell you, if you just walk in off the street. If this is your dream, then I would make contact with them well in advance of your trip. Additionally, for rosewoods other than Brazilian, may qualify as personal effects under CITES and may not require a CITES permit, so you may be able to carry such a guitar back with you. Here's the pertinent paragraph from USFW:

If you sell instruments domestically (within the United States), no CITES documents are required. Likewise, musicians traveling abroad with their instruments as accompanying personal baggage do not require a CITES document if the instrument contains less than 10 kg (22 lbs) of CITES-listed rosewood, excluding Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra). Instruments that contain more than 10 kg of CITES-listed wood, again excluding Brazilian rosewood, may qualify as a personal effect under CITES and may not require a CITES document. Please consult with the CITES Management Authorities of both origin and destination countries to determine if they implement these requirements similarly.

5. Haggle if you know where you can get the same guitar at a better price, most dealers, if they are convinced this is true, will meet their competitors price. Here the key is to be sure you have all your facts righ: it must be the same maker, year, and model, [with no condition differences]. You also need to check whether the price includes shipping, hardcase, and state taxes.

6. Buy from a dealer who is out of your state. States sales tax rates vary widely-- some have no tax, where others take a considerable bit. Moreover, out of state sales are often exempt from sales taxes. The key seems to be they must collect in states where their firm has a physical presence. Keep in mind, even if the dealer does not collect taxes for out of state sales, as tax policies vary from state to state and change frequently, you still might be hit with a sales tax bill from your state.
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Re: Getting the best price from a dealer

Post by beanctr » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:33 pm

Very good advice, thanks for taking the time to write it up, Rick
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Re: Getting the best price from a dealer

Post by stratlanta » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:04 pm

I'll also note that I when I'm inquiring about cost I always make an effort to ask if a better price is available as respectfully and thoughtfully as I can, and I try to note why I'm interested in that particular guitar from that particular dealer. For me, it's been much more successful than an email that says "what's yer best price.....". I know this sounds like "how to talk to people 101" but you'd be surprised at how often people violate even the most simple rules of civility. As a guitar store employee when I was younger, I've seen/heard some crazy requests.
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