Most people think about purchasing an RV in the spring, which isn’t that surprising of an idea. After all, that’s when the weather becomes nicer, the sun seems to shine brighter, and the thought of being outside starts to sound more appealing. Spring is the season when grass, trees, and other foliage turns green again, so it’s not hard to imagine getting on the road with the family to enjoy a weekend at a verdant campground.
However, the fact of the matter is spring shoppers will ultimately pay more for lack of foresight. It’s unfortunately true. In actuality, the best time to buy a motorhome, travel trailer, or fifth wheel is in the off-season, during the late fall, and throughout the winter months. It might not be the time to camp, but it is the time to think about and prepare for the upcoming camping season.
Here’s a more detailed look at why you should strongly consider purchasing your RV in the off-season.
Special Winter Deals Mean Good Prices
Just like with the auto industry, if you want a good deal you should shop during the winter months when the cold tries hard to deter you from doing so. That’s when dealers have the best incentives and when they’re trying to make room on the lot for the upcoming year’s models. Dealers are wanting to get rid of inventory they didn’t sell throughout the previous year. By shopping at this specific time, you could nab yourself a current model at a reduced price.
Start keeping an eye out in November for the holiday sales or end-of-year sales. RV lots have to work extra hard to get shoppers to come in and buy a rig when the weather is cold. People simply aren’t in the camping mood, which is understandable. However, that likely means you can get a better deal at one of the sales. Talk to an RV sales representative or Personal RV Shopper at your local Camping World or Gander RV and they will agree that they tend to have more wiggle room on price as the year draws to a close.
Don’t settle for what the dealer is pushing either. Flex those negotiation muscles when you come in to talk numbers. A nice holiday sale might be the reason for your visit to the lot, but don’t think the list prices are final. If you work hard with the salesman you may be able to get the price down lower or get some extras thrown in to sweeten the deal.
Remember the dealer wants to make the sale in the off-season, so you have a little more bargaining power and leverage during the winter months than you typically do during the busy season. Even more so if you plan to sell or trade in your used motorhome or travel trailer for an upgrade.
Wide Selection of New and Used Models
As stated above, most people only shop for an RV when the weather is warm, but if you want to have the widest possible selection to choose from, shopping during the winter months is definitely the way to go. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of products in each RV type. Plus, as the demand for RVs grows significantly with each passing year, inventory continues to go quickly during those peak travel months. Find the perfect fit for you and your family by shopping during the less crowded off-season.
The same rule applies whether you’re shopping for a new or used rig, too. When spring comes, the churn of RVs on a lot is quite a bit higher. You’ll have far more options during November, December, January, and February when foot traffic is much slower.
The RV Lots Aren’t As Busy During the Off-Season
I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to bet you feel similarly – I hate shopping when there’s a lot of other people around. I don’t want to fight the crowd, I don’t want to compete with someone else looking at the same RV as me, and I want the full, undivided attention of my sales representative. You could easily be bumping elbows with hundreds of other shoppers at the RV dealer in the middle of spring. It could become a real issue if all the salespeople are tied up helping someone else.
If you shop during the off-season, there’s little to no chance of dealerships being overrun with a lot of people. You’ll get the full attention of the specialists, that you crave and deserve, while on-site. You can ask as many questions as you want without having to worry about having them pulled away by another customer or being interrupted with other potential sales.
If you’re the kind of person who wants the salesperson to leave you alone, all you need to do is simply and politely let them know that you want some time to look around and browse the options available. When you’re ready to let your questions fly, you’ll easily be able to locate someone that’s eagerly waiting on stand-by to answer them.
You’ve heard it before, that a penny saved is a penny earned. That sentiment proves true when purchasing and owning an RV too. Every saving can be poured back into the investment of your RV whether it’s through renovations or, my personal favorite, the adventures that come with being on the road. Making memories is priceless, though, so feel free to stock up on those when you’re out and about.
Purchasing an RV in the off-season is not only smart and saves you money, but it also gets you ahead of the season to come. It’s easier to tackle all the items on your checklist before the road opens up before you. Off-season shopping may be the path less traveled, but when it comes to RVing, we all know those are often the best paths to take.
When was the last time you stopped in at a dealer and was it during the season or the off-season? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below. If you can’t get into a dealership, shop our inventory of new and used RVs all year long.
As someone that just purchased an RV in January make sure you check your warranty details. For example Keystone offers free slide out adjustments in the first 90 days of ownership. I’m in Michigan and MY first 90 days of ownership will be in storage under snow, This spring if I need adjustments it’s out of coverage. I suspect Keystone will work with me but read the fine print.
Where can I get a rv designed for my pickup truck (slide in)?
We had a great shopping experience at Camping World October of last year. The salesperson was very knowledgeable and steered us the right direction. We put our RV to use right away and have not been disappointed. This was my first experience at shopping and using an RV. Now I’m hooked!
What about purchasing a new RV if you have one to trade in? Is this the best time? Thanks
Hi John, generally yeah, the winter months are a great time to turn in your trade-in. That said, there are some special promotions throughout the year that might offer good deals, too.