Price Negotiations


December 27, 2002, 07:50 PM
Okay...I have a conferssion to make. I don't know how to haggle over the price of something, in this case firearms. I mean, the gun store near my house has a P-11 for sale, which I really want, but he is asking $300 for it, which I now to be a bit high. But, I realized that years of shopping at Wal-mart and Sears have caused me to turn into the type of person who accepts prices as marked without even thinking of trying to haggle a little.

Anyone else out there have this problem, or even better, a solution to this problem?

My bank account would really appretiate it.

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December 27, 2002, 07:57 PM
My best approach has been to know a reasonable bottom before I go into the shop I want to buy from.

I like to buy at a particular shop because their service is excellent, they take trades, and they have been great at meeting whatever the best price I find out there is.

I prowl the Internet to establish my price point. Then take my offer to the guys at the shop and see if they want my business. They usually do.


December 27, 2002, 07:57 PM
Do a little research....know what the highest price you will pay for the gun and then offer a lower price. Nothing wrong with it...just don't offer so low that the guy doesn't take you seriously.

Make an offer and the worst he can say is "no". Probably what will happen is that he will go down on his price some.

Good luck and let us know what happens.

December 27, 2002, 08:19 PM
sounds like a pretty good price to me....

December 27, 2002, 08:20 PM
I'd also try avoid mentioning the fact that you found pricing on the Internet or mail-order as well. Some sales people are put off by this and will be even less receptive to negotiating.

December 27, 2002, 08:26 PM
Offer him $250 and see if he'll meet you at $275.

December 27, 2002, 08:53 PM
This was my first time going to this guy. The gunshop in the town where I live has stopped selling guns. They just do smithing now...had too many folks order guns, then never pick them up, they were taking it in the shorts.

So, it was the weeke before Christmas...mabye he marked up his prices for the Holidays, but some seemed out there:

$300 for a P-11

$300 for a Makarov

$275 for a P-32

$400 for a Keltec Sub2000????

Those are just higher prices then I have seen at other stores.

Thanks for everyone's viewpoint so far...I guess it's kind of like buying a car.

Greg L
December 27, 2002, 10:24 PM
Know what is out on the internet. Factor in shipping and transfer costs. Toss in a little for their overhead. After all of that is factored in is the price reasonable or not. $300 for a P-11 seems a bit high. You should be able to be out the door for $275 or so for a plain pistol. See if he will go for $300 for the pistol an extra mag and a belt clip.

$300 for a Mak is WAY out of line. Probably anyway, depends on the country it came from. I got my TWO Bulgarians for $225 plus shipping and transfer. Russian or EG are more expensive.

Also don't haggle too much unless you are ready and willing to buy. If you spend a half hour or so beating the guy down to his rock bottom price and then don't get the gun you will probably never get a good deal there again.

My 2% of a $.


December 28, 2002, 12:07 AM
When I go to a shop my first words when I see something I really want is " Give me a out the door price for this gun". From there it's time to dicker if I don't like the price. I never say "Give me your best price" because that puts him in a corner. His best price could be less than he quoted you, but most likely he won't back down.

The first time I purchase a weapon at a new shop I won't haggle the price much if I think it's fair. After a couple purchases later I'll feel more leeway to bargain more because I buy from him in quantity.

All those prices you mentioned seemed way high. Look at an Internet price and from there figure about $100 dollars more on a max price. That figure lessens of course depending on the value of the gun. Keltec P32s run about $200-$250. Maks $160-$200. Sub 2000 $325-$375. P11 $225-$275

Those are the prices that I consider fair.

Good Shooting

December 28, 2002, 12:24 AM
... and always pack CASH . (Nothing like a stack of green backs "under the table" to change a seller's mind!)

December 28, 2002, 12:53 AM
I try and not be insulting to a seller with my offer, but I always low ball it. I've had times where I knew my offer was low and had the seller take it. I also had a guy scream at me, "I paid WAY more than that for it" after I made a reasonable starting offer. I calmly told him, "how am I suppose to know you over paid for it?". If you use Gallery of Guns it can give you a starting price for new guns in the area you are located in. Usually you can get several quotes. I've known more than one dealer that still has a little downward wiggle room from thier initial price on the site. I also will take into account the type of service I get from a dealer. If they have been good to me in the past a few bucks isn't going to prevent the sale.

December 28, 2002, 05:48 AM
Didnt CDNN investments have the P-11 for $199 new a couple of months ago? Their 2002-4 mag has them still for $199. After transfer fees you will still be below the $300 mark for a new gun.

Check out their site to download their catalog here (

December 28, 2002, 06:06 AM
Try and get the retail price of the gun you are buying and work on it from there. I used to pay the shown amount at my local gunstore until I started to ask what's the best you can do. He usually comes down around 20 bucks.

December 28, 2002, 08:54 AM
I never worry too much about low-balling a dealer. Sometimes they take it. Sometimes they get mad. If they do, I just go to the next store.

Most of the time, we meet somewhere in the middle.

Gun store people are kind of like used car salesman. They don't always speak the truth about what they pay for guns.

I was recently looking at Winchester 9410's (Model 94 style 410 shotgun). Dealer "A" had a price of $499 on his gun. Dealer "B" had $575 on it, and said he paid $525 for it, and couldnt go lower than that. I ended up getting the gun from Dealer "A" for $475...

So I ended up buying the gun for $50 less than dealer price? yeah, right.

December 28, 2002, 09:27 AM
For me, I'll try to know what a fair price is (by my definition) for the items I'm interested in.

If I go into a gun store and see something I like, I usually ask if the price is firm. If they say yes, it's take it or leave it. If they give me an indication that they might work with me, I make them a low ball offer and then work up from there. For a low ball offer, I try not to be too low since that might tend to insult the seller. Do that and you may not close a deal.

For a $300 gun, I might offer $250. I might close a deal at $275. If they agree, I ask them for $275 out the door (let them pick up the tax or possible split it with you). All they can say is no to that last part.

Don't be impulsive....if you have the time, look for your deals.....

December 28, 2002, 11:34 AM
Between flea markets, gun shows, estate sales etc I've done some haggling and I've come up with two rules.

Rule 1- Know what something is worth, and the most you are willing to pay for it before you start. Decide how much you want it before you start. Begin by offering about 30% below price being asked.

Rule 2- If it's something you would like to have but could also live without- lowball. I've done this many times (even on my house), made ridiculously low offers, and wound up getting great deals. However you are running a risk of pissing off the seller or losing out so you have to decide the way to go beforehand.

Kentucky Rifle
December 28, 2002, 12:23 PM
Do some research. Don't offer a price that immediately insults the seller. But try to negotiate a price that's fair to both parties.
Anyway, that's the way I do it.


December 28, 2002, 01:51 PM
Another thing to keep in mind is that different dealers can have drastically different markups. I have two local dealers that sell at 10% over their price but one shows that price and the other has a lot of markup. Just ask what is 10% over his price and he drops right down. May not be exactly 10% but he'll come down a lot off the original price.

With cars, I've had the dealer not willing to flex more than $200 and I've had a dealer drop the price from $17,200 to $12,900 (on a used car) just by showing an online price.

But the most important factor as has been mentioned, know what your max price is and have the cash to buy it when he agrees to it.

Dave R
December 28, 2002, 02:03 PM
You can dicker and still be polite and still be friends. Here are my tips:

1) Wait for a time when you can get the person you want to dicker with alone. The store prolly doesn't want to be seen dickering or they'll have to dicker with everyone. But if the store is empty, or close to it...

2) As said before, have cash available. Credit cards cost the store 3%-5%. Checks are risky. Everyone loves cash.

3) Ask for a little better than you hope to get. If you're willing to go $250, ask for $225 or so.

4) Be polite. "I'm interested in that Kel-Tec, but I can't go $300 on it. Could you take $235 cash?"

5) Repeat as necessary. "Darn. I'd really like it, and I have the cash here. Are you sure you couldn't?" OR, "Well, I could maybe go $245 if I don't buy any ammo this week, would that work?"

6) If appropriate, quote an alternative price, but be nice about it. "I guess I could get one on the 'Net for $250, but I'd rather buy it here".

7) Another polite way to ask that is to say "Can you do an FFL transfer for me? What would that cost?" Then he knows you know how to shop the Internet".

8) Be willing to walk away, and ask again another day.

NOTE: if the Internet price is $199 you WILL pay $225-to $250 between FFL transfer price and shipping.

December 28, 2002, 02:31 PM
as a buyer and also work the counter sometimes...many of the above ideas are good

NEVER haggle in front of another customer. Some people are VERY uncomfortable about bartering and it will drive them off

if you're gonna haggle, be ready to buy. Start out "I'd really like to buy that ____ today. Is that the best you can do for cash today??" Or "do you have an room to work with on that?? If it's still high, just say 'I can't afford that right now" and maybe suggest what would be a reasonable price. If you can't come to an agreement, just say "I'll have to come back later".

Don't barter on 17 different guns. Pick one or maybe two and go with them.

Some people get a real big kick out of beating the dealer down to nothing. Remember, this is his living you're talking about, just a hobby to you.

When some guys come in, we just cringe. You don't wanna be one of them.

The local dealer will probably be higher than Wal-Mart, etc. Try to go to Wally world with a trade in, get a part, do a transfer, special orders or actually talk to someone with knowledge. That's why a dealer gets a little more. He isn't selling toasters and jewelry to help cover overhead.

December 28, 2002, 03:27 PM
The best approach is to know the value of what you are looking at. As mentioned, check the internet classifieds & the closed auctions to determine a general price range. Remember - prices will differ in various parts of the country.

All of that might not be worth beans if the dealer has too much money in it, or is unwilling to reduce margin. But it will allow you to make a somewhat educated quess as to whether you are getting a deal, paying a fair price, or would be paying too much.

You didn't mention if the guns are new or used. Regardless, the Makarov is way too high for anything, except maybe a rare Russian milsurp (not the commercial Russian with adjustable sights). If it's a commercial Russian or Bulgarian, or milsurp Bulgarian, the price should fall between $195 & $225 to be considered fair.

I'm not sure about the others.

December 28, 2002, 03:37 PM
Chain stores have been mentioned a couple of times in this thread, so having had some prior experience a an assistant manager with the biggest one (WallyWorld), I thought I would donate my $.02 to the conversation.

You can, and should haggle with them on their big ticket items, i.e. guns. Keep an eye out for firearms that have been in the display cases for a long period (more than six months or a year). Ask them if they have any returned firearms. Yes, despite the signs to the contrary, they will take firearms returns for repairs and get stuck with them. They send the guns out for repair and are often pressured into a refund by the customer. These guns often languish for years in the back gunrooms. They also get stuck with special order guns that sit around forever. As is often noted, some who work in the sporting goods department are incompetent and often scratch, dent and ding otherwise fine firearms (customers have been known to contribute to this problem). Parts, pieces, choke tubes, etc. are often lost.

When one finds a good opportunity to haggle they should ask for a member of management and begin the process. Remember, these folks do work their butts off, put up with mucho crap, and are often tired after a 70+ hour week. Politeness, friendliness and a reasonable starting price will go along way. I would probably start at about 20% off and not go anywhere above 10% off the list price. Do not expect to have them agree to it the first visit unless they are the assistant manager of the department. You can often leave your name and number and ask them to have the assistant manager call you or you call them when they are in. Do not bother haggling with the department manager, they do not have the authority to give discounts, however, building a good rapport with the department manager can give you an inside track on potential deals. Always talk to the assistant manager, co-manager or the store manager.

I have seen some folks get some damn good deals by being persistent, polite and reasonable. Remember, to these folks volume is everything. Markup is important, but volume rules.

Swamp Yankee
December 29, 2002, 08:49 AM
Lots of good advice. My two cents.

I've found that if you are a regular and purchase not only firearms but ammo and reloading supplies the shop will be far more willing to meet your price as long as it's reasonable. I deal with 2 shops primarily and have made several gun purchases from both. They know me and know when I ask to negotiate it's definately in good faith.
I see many instances where people go into the shop start haggling and walk away after tying up a clerk or owner for a considerable amount of time. If the shop is busy do not expect a great deal of effort on the part of the salesperson. There are other fish to fry. If you want to negotiate a deal best to go when the shop is not busy. You'll find the staff much more willing to spend the time with you.
If the shop will not come down on price, take another approach and see if they'll throw in some ammo or cut a deal on holsters or extra mags. They may have more room to operate.
Above all I found be patient and polite. Nothing will make someone dig in their heals more than being put on the defensive. Remember it's a business, they are entitled to a profit, and typically have higher operating expenses than someone dealing over the internet.
Sorry for being long winded.
Take Care

December 29, 2002, 09:43 AM
I use the same approach I use at work...I simply find the going price for a firearm and just ask if the dealer can match it or at least come close. Often (not the majorityof cases) they will meet that price with no hard feelings or a bent ego, then again some just say "go buy it there". But not the ones who need your long term business.

July 17, 2005, 08:46 AM
Here's a general process I use at the two-day weekend gunshows I visit. Note: this will not work with uninformed BSers who pull prices out of their asses and try to recover their entire table fee with one sale.) :fire:

1. Day One- Pay the extra for two-day admission to the show. Then if the seller has a good supply of what you're looking for, DO NOT buy it the first time you see it. Instead, inspect it and watch how the seller does business and try to guage the chances of him still having what you want on day two. You will often notice bystanders openly listening to conversations between sellers and buyers and you should do the same. To me, this is big source of intel for building a bargaining tactic. Also, have a brief polite, conversation with the seller without discussing price. Talk about the gun only (features, performance, reputation, condition, etc) and establish yourself as a credible person. Next, go home and research, research, research. Like others have stated, factor in taxes (if any), transfer fees, supply and demand and yes, even some seller profit (too many buyers try to get a one-side deal--and fail). This is how you build a sound upper limit.

2. Day Two- The seller should remember you from day one and will be trying to turn the rapport you previously built on day one into a sale on day two. Also, now you can firmly and intelligently focus on pricing without insulting the dealer. Sometimes, you'll wind up paying what he's asking because he did the same research as you. Other times, you'll get want you want, at or below your upper limit. But you'll almost never have to experience the horrible feeling of later discovering you've seriously overpaid for something. You'll know you got the gun you wanted at the (reasonable) price you wanted.

This tactic comes from some painful lessons I learned during my first few gunshow purchases some years ago. I hope they help someone.

July 17, 2005, 05:30 PM
Whew, talk about bringing a thread back from the dead. :what:

Tejas Gunwerks
July 17, 2005, 11:08 PM
I am a dealer. My average markup on a firearm is between 10% and 15%. When you lowball me with an offer below 30% of my asking price, you are asking me to sell it to you for less than I paid for it. There are many pricing structures for dealers. Some factors for this is: volume of sales, how long you have been with your supplier, your personal relationship with your supplier, your credit history and your bankroll. Not all dealers get the same price. We have to set pricing based on what we paid for it, how many people want this item, our overhead and how we wish to live our lives. Bargining to me is like your employer coming to you each payday and negotiating your paycheck for that week. Joe Blow across the hallway makes $50.00 less than you, so why don't we take that off this week, you had too many cups of coffee this week or you were 5 minutes late, whatever. If it is a fair price, not price gouging, pay it or move on. Keep your comments to yourself. If you find it cheaper go buy it. I'm not stupid, when I'm not makeing sales I try to find out why. Maybe I need to lower my price to be competitive, or find a different supplier. If you still insist on negotiating, make an offer, just don't ask me to come down. "Best price" to me is a much higher price. I need a new truck. :D My price is clearly indicated, counter it. Don't even ask if you are not paying cash. Don't haggle a cash price for an hour, reach an agreement then whip out your checkbook or credit card, cash means cash, worse don't tell me you need to think on it and you will be back :fire: . Don't handle my merchandise then buy it off the Internet. Why do you think they have lower prices? They don't have to waste their time on you!

July 17, 2005, 11:23 PM
as evidenced by some of the above posts...

it doesn't take you long to figure out which gun stores EXPECT to haggle, and which gun stores DO NOT haggle.

no problem either way. you'll generally know from the look on the dealer's face within about half a second after the first time you ask him.

both of the shops i frequent love to haggle. they mark their guns up quite a bit and expect to take at least 10% off, sometimes more.

i've found a lot of stores that advertise on the internet are already at their lowest price because of the competition and refuse to haggle on a sale. (unless you up the stakes by offering to buy a bunch of accessories, then they might cut you some deal)

Sir Aardvark
July 17, 2005, 11:29 PM

Ask for a pony... get a kitty.

Ask for nothing...

July 18, 2005, 02:34 PM
Tejas Gunworks,

Obviously it's your right to set your prices and run your business how you want. That's part of the reason I suggested that the original poster first observe a seller's style ... it may keep him from wasting the seller's (and his own) time if it's obvious negotiating is out of the question.

But really, is your policy "don't handle my stuff then go buy off the internet" (or any place else)? How in the world do you prevent that? I'd imagine saying something like "look liverlips, serious buyers only--show me the money first" would be effective. Of course, I'm assuming you wouldn't say that.

Surely you don't just keep everything boxed-up and simply display a list of what you have. Now that I think about it, that's kinda how internet dealers work... :scrutiny:

Anyhow, I can tell you I'm not one bit concerned with what a seller "paid for it". That's his business/problem. As you know, fair market value is never driven by what someone "paid for something". Hell, as far as I know, a seller may "overpay" for everything. I thought the bottom line for any business boils down to getting the most a REASONABLY informed buyer would expect to pay for something. Which was really my original point.

I wanted to check out your website but the link is dead. Jeez, I guess you don't want people even looking at your website, then buying on another. :rolleyes:

Tejas Gunwerks
July 18, 2005, 03:10 PM
The link just needed .com added. No, I have no way knowing if you want to take a look at my product before you buy elsewhere. To me, that is a dishonest practice. In a sense you are stealing my services. I am displaying that product and answering all your questions and you go elsewhere to buy. If you have no intent to buy from me in the first place you have just stolen from me. The reason that person can sell cheaper on the internet is because he doesn't have to waste his time with you. He may not even have the product in stock. You certainly can't handle it. So, what is my time, my knowledge and the fact I have it right there in front of you is worth. If something goes wrong with the product after the sale what is the Internet guy going to do? This next part won't come out right, but frankly, if you can't afford my prices, go find a better paying job, don't ask me to lower my prices because you can't or don't won't to pay what I think are reasonable prices. Go get your own FFL and set up shop and deal with those who think they can do it better than you.

Tejas Gunwerks
July 18, 2005, 03:11 PM
By the way it is Tejas Gunwerks.

Father Knows Best
July 18, 2005, 03:40 PM
My rules of negotiating:

1. Always know what a comparable item would cost somewhere else. Be sure to figure in FFL transfer (if applicable) and shipping, but keep in mind that by buying out of state and having it shipped you generally avoid sales taxes. When the gun costs $750+, shipping and FFL fees are generally less than the sales tax where I live.

2. Convenience, good relationships and being able to inspect before buying are worth something. If local shop has something I want, I will generally be willing to pay $25-50 more for it there as opposed to over the 'net for those reasons.

3. Always have a ceiling price in mind, as well as a "good buy" price. Your objective is to get the item for as close to the "good buy" price as possible, but you should never exceed your ceiling.

4. Never "ask" if the price is negotiable, or if the seller "would take" a lower price. That just invites the "no" answer and makes you appear weak. Instead, you make an offer. Just tell him what you're willing to pay (which is generally somewhere between your "good buy" and "ceiling" prices. If he says he can't do that, then put the ball in his court. Ask him what he can do.

5. Always be willing to walk away. If not, you'll pay too much.

FWIW, shops around here will ORDER anything for 10% over their cost, plus shipping. That's because it's a guaranteed sale. If they have to inventory it, their costs are actually higher (it ties up capital sitting there in the case), so they have to price it higher. The longer it sits there, the more expensive it is to the shop. No shop can afford to price things in inventory at 10% over their cost, or they'd go out of business quick.

Finally, when something has a good price on it to begin with, I don't dicker to try and get a stupendous deal. When I came across a like-new Arsenal SA-M7S the other day with a $399 price tag on it, I just said, "I'll take it." As the old proverb says, never look a gift horse....

July 18, 2005, 07:41 PM
I had a revolver I was trying to sell at a gun show. I wasn't all that impressed with what I was offered, negotiated some, then said thanks but no thanks, and walked away.

The fellow chased me down with cash in his hand about five minutes later. He gave me what I had originally asked for.

This of course could have simply been a charitable person making sure I was a satisfied customer.

Or, he could have had a buyer in mind.

Nevertheless, he was out of breath when he caught up to me.

August 28, 2005, 05:13 AM
Wow, somebody remind me to know exactly what i want if i ever go to Tejas Gunwerks. Calm down man.

Reminds me of a certian Seinfield episode.


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