Boat buying can be a challenging and stressful process for even the most knowledgeable boater. There are so many factors to consider, like cost, style, performance, and of course, the dealer you choose to buy your boat from. Whether you’re buying a new or used boat, it’s important to choose a reputable dealer who will take care of you after the sale and help you become acclimated with your new boat. A good dealer should have a range of boats in different price points that all meet your needs and expectations. To help you find the right dealer for your next boat purchase, we’ve outlined some key considerations below.
Check Reviews Before Visiting a Boat Dealer
While a boat dealer may be a great choice for someone else, it might not be the best fit for you. So, before you visit any boat dealers, read their online reviews. Review sites like Dealer Rater, Yelp, and Google can be helpful indicators of customer satisfaction, so it’s worth taking the time to search for reviews. If you find reviews that are negative, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t visit the dealer. The reviews are worth taking into consideration, but they aren’t the only factor you should consider. You should also try to find out why customers weren’t satisfied with their experience. Did the customer feel their salesperson didn’t meet their expectations? Did the customer find the financing terms unacceptable? Was the customer not happy with the service received after the purchase? Knowing why customers were dissatisfied can help you avoid similar issues.
Be Clear About What You Want Before Visiting Dealers
Before heading out to visit boat dealers, make sure you know exactly what you want.You can narrow down your options by first deciding what type of boat you want, and then you can begin looking for models that meet your criteria and budget. Next, decide whether you want to buy a new or used boat. New boats are typically going to be more expensive, but you can likely find a variety of models and options at different price points. Used boats are generally cheaper, but you may have fewer options and may need to put more money into repairs and upgrades. Once you’ve decided on the type of boat you want, you can start looking for dealers who meet your requirements. If you don’t yet know what you want, visiting a boat show can be a great way to learn more about different types of boats and find out what’s available.
Assessing the Quality of the Boat Dealer’s Inventory
When you visit boat dealers, you can get an idea of the quality of their inventory by what they have in stock. Visit during times when they’re likely to have new boats in stock, like during the spring and summer months. If you’re visiting a dealer that also repairs, sells, and stores boats, the quality of the hulls and equipment you see will be an indicator of the quality of their inventory. Make sure the boats are clean and well-maintained. Check out the equipment on the boats to get an idea of their quality. You should also talk to the salesperson at the boat dealership to see if they know the history of each boat. If they’re unsure about the history of a particular boat, it’s likely a red flag.
Get a Quote for What You’re Looking For
Before you decide which boat dealer to buy from, get a quote for the model of boat you want. You can do this at any boat dealer, but it’s worth noting that the dealer who gives you the lowest quote may not be the dealer who offers the best terms. You can get a quote from dealers via the Internet, over the phone, or in person. If you do this in person, make sure you get the name of the salesperson and the company name where you’re getting the quote. This can help if you have any issues or questions with the quote down the road. Some boat dealers will let you get a quote online and then sign the paperwork later when you visit the dealer. If this is the case, make sure to get the salesperson’s name and the make and model of the boat, and then sign the paperwork before making your final decision.
Be Wary of Promises of Free Upgrades and Maintenance
Some boat dealers may offer to add certain features or make maintenance promises under the assumption that you won’t be able to take them to court if they aren’t kept. If you’re offered these types of upgrades or promises, make sure you get them in writing. If the dealer refuses to put the promise in writing, it may be wise to walk away from the deal. Similarly, don’t accept promises about the condition of the boat you’re buying. Get it in writing if a dealer says the boat is in “excellent” condition. If the dealer wants to describe the boat as “clean,” get that in writing too. The best way to avoid issues with a boat dealer is to get everything in writing and be as specific as possible.
Always remember to negotiate!
Finally, don’t forget to negotiate! Whether you’re buying a new or used boat, you can likely negotiate on price. If you’re buying a used boat, you have more leeway to negotiate on price, whereas with a new boat, you may be able to negotiate the terms and get a better interest rate on the loan or get a reduced down payment. Whether you’re buying new or used, be sure you know what your budget is, what you’re comfortable paying, and what you want to spend. This will help you know where to start with the negotiation process and also help you walk away from the deal if you can’t come to an agreement.