Buying a tractor is exciting. But as with all big purchases, nobody wants to overpay (especially when that extra cash could go towards an awesome attachment for your tractor!). Here are some quick tips on getting the best deal on a new tractor.
First, Let’s Define “Deal”
Price is not the only factor you should consider, but for most tractor buyers it’s probably the first thing you look at because those dollars have got to come from somewhere, right?
The consensus among tractor owners is that the best “deal” is defined as getting the correct tractor for you, from a dealer who earns the sale, at a fair price.
What’s a “Fair” Price?
Conventional advice is to get prices from three local dealers on exactly the same machine/setup and roughly average the three quotes to find a fair price. But in some markets, dealers will adjust their prices to quote right around the same price as their competitors. In other markets, there’s a huge disparity from one town to the next.
Our advice is that if your three closest dealers are all quoting the same price, get a fourth quote from a dealer a few counties (or a state) over and see if it’s any different.
When we talk about a big price difference, we’d say anything over about 3-4% difference between dealers is significant. Dealers need to make a profit on tractor sales because unlike the automotive industry, tractor dealers don’t “make it up on volume” by taking losses on tractors to earn manufacturer kick-backs or long-term service clients.
With the internet, most dealers know that they need to remain somewhat competitive to earn sales, but in markets where one single dealership owns all of the locations in a metro area, you should get enough quotes from other dealers to feel comfortable with the price you’re paying.
Shop For the Best Deal-er, Not just the Lowest Price
Because tractors are so darn durable, you might only buy one tractor in your entire lifetime. So while the purchase process takes a few days or a week, the relationship you build with a dealer can (and should) last a lifetime. Ideally, you will find that your closest dealer for the brand you’re shopping for offers top-notch service and fair prices and everybody is happy. But that’s not always the case. Some buyers even go as far as “changing colors” to a different brand just because they can get better parts, service, and support from a specific dealer. Or maybe they get a fantastic deal on specific tractor that gives one brand the edge over the other.
Assuming you’re still on the fence, before signing on the dotted line, answer these questions:
- Who will service the tractor?
- Where will you buy tractor parts?
- Where will you take the tractor for warranty work, if necessary?
Hey, maybe you already have your mind set on the dealer you want to buy from and are just reading this for some tips on negotiation. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that soon! But first, let’s talk about a dealer pet peeve: unrealistic customers.
It goes like this: You get a quote of $20,000 on a new tractor and come back with a price of $16,000, a full 20% below the quoted price. Wait, what?
Let’s be realistic, everybody. Tractor dealers don’t work with that much margin so you’re really just wasting your time coming in with a low ball offer. Since this article is about getting the best deal, not the bottom line price, we encourage you to be realistic in your expectations as well.
We’re not going to tell you to set a specific percentage discount as your goal, because that would depend on the brand, model, attachments, options, financing, geographic region, dealer size, and any other factors you can think of. If you want a starting point prior to getting any quotes, asking in our tractor buying forums is a good place to start, where other buyers might share some insights on what they have recently paid for similar machines. But as we said earlier, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Something as simple as the brand of one attachment can make a several hundred dollar difference.
Time to Put Pen to Paper!
Okay, finally, we’ve made you read all the fine print, now let’s talk turkey. Here are some tips for negotiating the best deal on a new tractor:
1. Get Quotes From Multiple Dealerships
We recommend three dealers, but as we said maybe four or even five will be necessary if the first three show no variation in price. Once you’ve got your quotes, shoot for your first choice matching the lowest quoted price on the same setup. If they won’t do that, perhaps meeting somewhere in the middle would seal the deal for you.
2. Factor In Financing
If you plan to finance your tractor purchase, you’ll want to factor in financing as well as the purchase price. From one manufacturer to the next, you’ll see different offers and interest rates. That will also depend on your credit. Keep in mind that over the life of a loan, a higher interest rate will add up. But having said this, don’t focus on the monthly payment. Focus on the interest rate and term of the loan.
3. Leave Emotions At the Door
Not everybody is born with ice cold veins, but taking your time to make the right decision, free from excessive stress or being in an irritated emotional state is key to not making a mistake. If you’re in a bad mood, hungry, (hangry), or just don’t want to deal with it, save the trip to the dealer for another day.
4. Try to Get a Freebie or Two Thrown In
Wanna sweeten a deal? See if your dealer will throw in a freebie like a free 50-hour service. A number of TractorByNet members have reported using this tactic to get more value.
5. The Package Deal Could Be Key
The more you buy, the more you save? Maybe. Dealers often advertise package deals that will put a tractor, some attachments, and maybe even a trailer together in a package. If you’re going this route, be sure to price out every single item on its own and see your actual savings. This may also be a way to negotiate for a higher percentage discount, if you are buying a bunch of attachments along with your tractor.
6. Aging Inventory
If you’re a self-proclaimed cheapskate, try asking the dealer blatantly if there are any units that they really want to move. Maybe you’ll stumble upon aging inventory, a demo unit, or a machine that for whatever reason, has been on the lot longer than the dealer would like. That could be a nice deal for you if it’s a machine you are interested in. But beggars can’t be choosers—maybe you’ll wind up missing out on features that you would be better off paying for, or buying a machine that just doesn’t fit your needs.
7. Save the Price Discussion For the End
By now you should know that we recommend finding the best deal with multiple factors considered, not just the lowest price. So the goal is to put together a deal for the right machine from the dealer you want to buy from. Save the price negotiation for last, using the fair and honest strategies we outlined in this article.