Guidelines for negotiating gun prices?


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PistolNewbie
May 13, 2007, 08:23 AM
I have worked retail my entire life in consumer electronics and appliances. Everybody is always looking for a bargain and wants a lower price. I would like to buy a Glock 19 9mm rather soon and I have seen prices range from $599 for the piece in a case with light and I have seen others used for about the same price. Like my wares, I have a feeling firearms aren't high profit margin merchandise. Are there any rules of thumb guidelines in negotiating firearm prices? At this point I don't feel competent buying used. I don't want to look like an idiot!:o

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ProficientRifleman
May 13, 2007, 10:49 AM
Remember, your dealer is trying to make a living. He may or not be able to get Volume level wholesale pricing. If he can't afford to buy 50 copies of a SIG pistol, his mark-up isn't going to be very much. He may offer you a box of ammo, or a holster to boot. Each time he does this he is making a concession because he wants your business.

You'll see dealer prices listed in SGN and other pubs. That doesn't mean you can buy the same gun for the same amount. Look and compare what the dealer has marked on that M38 Nagant as compared to the add in SGN...he probably isn't making but 20-25 dollars on it. Just figure what you'll be willing to pay, and if you can't come to a deal, smile and say thanks anyway.

On the flip side, I have seen dealers who are arrogant and have the attitude, or seem to, that they don't care if you spend your money there or not. Some even have an elitist attitude, such as..."I'm a licensed gun dealer, you're not...I know things, you don't..." If one of your local dealers has this attitude, leave his shop and don't return. Tell your friends what kind of dealer he is and post your experience here on THR and other forums.

We can all work together to make the gun business more fun and profitable for everyone.

hotpig
May 13, 2007, 11:51 AM
Take cash when you try to strike a deal. If you are negotiating and want to pay by credit card you are already behind the eightball.

glockman19
May 13, 2007, 11:53 AM
A Glock 19 can be found for as low as $459 @ glockworld.com NIB. Add for night sights. Group buys on THR have been as low as $450. Used in good condition 90%+ should be around $400.

Jim K
May 13, 2007, 12:01 PM
I will stick up for the local dealer trying to make a living. You need him anyway to take delivery from an internet seller, so why not give him a chance. Remember to add shipping and the dealer's service charge to the internet price when comparing prices, and you often find the "bargain" is not so great. Also, even if the cost is a bit more, it pays to make friends of your local dealers.

I watched a dealer unwrap an internet purchase by a customer. He showed me the invoice; the cost, plus the shipping and his very reasonable ($25) charge, was $15 MORE than the price of the identical gun in his showcase.

Don't you just love bargains like that?

Jim

mnrivrat
May 13, 2007, 12:30 PM
My local small dealer is one that prices his new guns at what he feels he needs to stay in business and does not negotiate prices on new guns.

I had a conversation with a person just the other day who indicated he would not buy from this dealer because he felt guns, like cars, are a purchase that is always negotiated. I asked him wether he would rather the dealer mark his guns up another $10 - $20 ea. so that he had room to negotiate ? Of course not ! :eek:

Well I guess there is two schools of thought colliding in that arena.

Check around a little with a few dealers and whoever has the best price, the most convienent location to you, and will treat you right after the sale ,as well as before, deserves your business. Spending $20 in gas to go somewhere where a gun is $15 cheaper is not always following a bargin.

obxned
May 13, 2007, 12:35 PM
I'll haggle at a gun show, but not at my small local gun shop. Where I live, other than my local guy, the next closest dealers are about 50 miles away.

My dealer's prices are fair, he will get nearly anything I might want, and he's there when I need him.

Sure, he makes money off me. As a small business, you either make money or go out of business!

Geno
May 13, 2007, 12:38 PM
Guns Galore, Fenton, MI sells new Glock 17s, 19s, 22s, etc. for $479.00. They sell the 19C models for $529.00 The big bores, i.e. .45 ACP models sell for $550ish.

Go 20 miles down the road to Target Sports in Royal Oak, MI and you can add $100.00! Note, GG is not in "Joke"land County. Go across that "Joke"land County line and prices take a 20% increase just for the displeasure of doing business there. :evil:

tmajors
May 13, 2007, 01:40 PM
I try not to shop at places that you negotiate prices. It ticks me off. I don't see it as them trying to stay in business, I see it as them trying to rip me off for as much as they can get. Put the fair price on the price tag in the first place.

Only thing I should have to expect to negotiate is houses because you can never put an absolute value on them, and cars because car salesmen are legal con men.

Ala Dan
May 13, 2007, 02:04 PM
To start off with, look for bargains. As has been stated, the profit margin
on new firearms is very slim; especially for shops like ours that has a lot
of overhead expenses. We employ several PT employees (like myself) too
assist the full time sales staff with their daily routines; and this helps some
as we don't receive any benefits, and a reduced salary which happens to
be the best in the business in our area. I am not complaining, as we are
treated more fairly than some of the other employees at other shops. We
operate in a small, competitive market here in central Alabama. Our CEO
is a very fair person, and doesn't try to "make a killing" based on any one
individual sale.

Haggling for a better price is considered normal; but our prices are fair
and in line with other dealers country wide. Don't try and haggle on any
merchandise that is hard for dealers too obtain. If only 500 of brand X
is available country wide, and the MSRP is $899; but the shops price is
$759, folks that is 'bout the bottom line. If any more discounts are taken,
that cuts into the dealer's profit margin. Often times, if a firearm has sat
for an extended period of time; a dealer may decide to "blow it out", just
to move that particular piece. I have seen this happen, but usually occurs
on "discountinued" firearms. Used firearms have more haggling room; but
still dealers are not going to give these firearms away~! :scrutiny: ;) :D

trueblue1776
May 13, 2007, 02:09 PM
Down here there are a few stores who advertise all base Glock's less than 400$

default
May 13, 2007, 02:14 PM
I'm sure it varies from dealer to dealer, based on their policies and margins. I learned early on that my main dealer doesn't really budge on firearm prices, which are not particularly low to begin with, but on the other hand has a very friendly and knowledgedable staff, as well as a nice shop and good selection.

Because of that, I continue to buy guns from them, excepting the rare occasions I come across something somewhere else that they don't carry and I absolutely have to own. As they appreciate my business, they have hooked me up in various other ways to let me know. And they never "push" anything - they just answer any questions I have honestly without any gunshop rumors, made-up information, and so on.

I'm sure I could pay less if I took the effort to shop around, but having a good relationship with a nice, hassle-free dealer you can trust outweighs saving a little money, at least to me.

TexasP226
May 13, 2007, 02:26 PM
Shop around. I bought a NIB Beretta PX4 storm for $435 about a month ago. I was in another shop about 20 minutes away the other day and a gentleman was looking at the same gun. He actually asked how much more expensive it would be there than at the place where I bought mine. The dealer said it would probably be "about $5-$10 more" at his shop. After they moved on, I scooted over to look, and it was either $560 or $580 (don't remember which) but either way well over $100 more.

CajunBass
May 13, 2007, 03:59 PM
I'll shop around a little, but basically I don't try to haggle. I figure the price the seller puts on it is what he wants for it. If it's what I want to pay fine. If not, thanks for your time, and I'll keep looking.

I figure if I get something I want, at a price I want to pay, I got a bargain.

TBeck
May 13, 2007, 06:20 PM
The small stores can give you a level of service that you won't find in big box retailers.

For example, I was in Wain Roberts Firearms in St. Pete this weekend. I needed a new mainspring for my Taurus 85. I knew Taurus doesn't like to sell parts. I was hoping Wain Roberts (having been in business for decades) might have a few spare bits and pieces lying around.

I was right. For an extremely reasonable sum I got the part installed in my revolver and I was out the door. I also picked up a lightly used DeSantis pocket holster for $10. Had I needed to ship it to Taurus I would have paid much more.

While I was browsing I noticed several items that I had purchased recently elsewhere were all selling for less than the (fair) prices I had paid for them elsewhere. I don't get over to St. Pete very often but when I do I will try and make it a point to swing by this excellent store.

Rembrandt
May 13, 2007, 06:35 PM
Nearly all firearms have a price tag attached.....I do nothing more than ask one question...I really like this gun, can you do any better on the price? About 80% of the time they'll knock off $50-$100.....if they don't, I pay the price. Usually that one question will cover the sales tax and transfer fees.

SoCalShooter
May 13, 2007, 06:41 PM
Well my dealer prices only 15% above cost I think. he does not make a huge profit on it. he makes more I think in gunsmithing.

MRIman
May 13, 2007, 06:47 PM
Find a dealer that has no problems doing transfers. If he gives you a copy
of his FFL,all the better. Then just find a "good seller " online and have it shipped to your dealer. I've done this many times,the dealer makes $20+ for
3 minutes work,and you get your gun at the best price you can find.

buck00
May 13, 2007, 08:18 PM
Don't shop at a gun store where you have to haggle over the price. If you feel you do- the price is too steep to begin with and it reflects on the store.

A good gun store will do enough volume to keep prices reasonable. They often have good people working there, do honest business, and in turn move a lot of guns and can thus keep the prices down. They might only be making $20 or $30 a sale- but that ends up being plenty overall.

In contrast, some smaller stores do far less business (often for reasons that reflect on the owner and his attitude or practices) and therefroe try to make $75 to $100 profit off a sale. :mad:

It is a classic business question they should ask themselves- do they want eggs everyday or chicken once a month? Maybe of these smaller gun shop weasels want chicken.


I think the best thing you can do is research the gun's market price (yes $599 for a G19 is too high by the way) and then shop around several places for a good deal. Good luck.

Dead_Pedal
May 13, 2007, 08:30 PM
I have found that most gun stores are fairly similar in pricing, at least in the same area. If I drive 100 miles away to a large volume dealer I will get a slightly better price, but I would rather pay a little bit more at a shop I like to deal with and develop a good relationship with the dealer there. Currently the shop I deal with most does free machining on anything I need installed on my guns, in exchange I shop there exclusively and recommend it to all of my friends. I might pay 5 or 10 dollars more on something but the level of customer service is worth a lot.

Bottom line, I am gainfully employed, I will shop at the store that treats me the best, 5 or 10 dollars savings won't buy you much of anything.

Zen21Tao
May 13, 2007, 09:30 PM
Look at prices from reputible online dealers (Buds, KY Imports, Top Glock, Glockmeister, CDNN, glockworld, etc.) and add to that about $10-15 for shipping, $25 for transfer and $5 for NIC call and you have the cost it would cost for you to have a local gunstore receive your gun and transfer it to you.


My simple rule of thumb for negotiating a fair deal in a shop for something you could order online is to set a max of about $50-$75 (the extra being for the convenience of not having to wait) more than what I could get it online for. For example, go to a local gun store with printout from Buds for a $470 Glock 29 and if you can't get it for say $520-$540 then leave and try somewhere else.


* Note: Not all gunstores are equal. Some are run by gun enthusiasts that care more about promoting the sport/hobby/right of firearm ownership than simply profit. These types have no problem selling at fair market value for those that know what market value is. Others, however, care more about their profit margins than their support for firearm ownership. These guys add a mark-up to target new buyers that don't know fair market value and are not too willing to come down. They see a sale to a knowledgeable gun enthusiast at fair market price as a lost opportunity to sell the same unit at a higher mark-up.

evan price
May 14, 2007, 05:23 AM
First, know what you want and what it's worth. GunsAmerica, Gunbroker, etc. are good sources to snoop out what stuff is selling for.
Then when you see something "on your list", tak to the clerk, ask if it's the best deal you can get. If they say they won't take money off, ask them if that price is "out the door", meaning, they eat the taxes. If not, ask if they have anything to sweeten the deal, a holster, a case, an extra mag or speedloader, heck even a box of ammo. Don't sound too eager to buy but also sound serious. It helps if you have cash in pocket.
I've gotten good deals by having my cash in my hand, slowly count it, frown, then ask if he could help me out with a hard pistol case, or some defense ammo, or something. Usually once you show the cash they are already counting it in their till and hate to see it get away. If they can toss in a $20 box of hollowpoints (that they paid $15 for) to make the sale often they will. You just have to be able to walk away if necessary.

Heck, you might get a deal like I nailed, a nice lightly used Sig 220 with three mags and a box of Ranger SXT's for $450.

Benelli_Bbl
May 14, 2007, 10:12 AM
There is nothing more frusterating to a retailer than a customer who thinks they're owed something. If the dealer has a fair price on the tag(research is a good thing) don't be the guy that wants the dealer to give away the store for you. The best customers are the ones who ask if the price listed is fair, and remember, ammo costs the dealer money too. A relationship is a two way street, sometimes you get the better deal, sometimes the dealer does.

Bottom line is, most dealers will do what they can to get your business. If they can bend on the price or toss in a box of ammo thats a plus if you're getting a fair price. If they can't, they can't; but maybe next time they can.

MinnMooney
May 14, 2007, 10:54 AM
I love doing business with my small, local gunshop and do so every chance that I get. The problem is, how much extra am I willing to pay just to do the 'support the local businesses' thing? The last 4 guns that I've purchased have been 'on-line' (3 from Bud's and one from gunbroker.com). I have always done my homework and found that for that total price of $1000 from Bud's (gun:$965, S&H:$25 & FFL fee: $10) my dealer wants $1162 (gun:$970, 10% profit:$97, HIS shipping:$30, sales tax:$65). He says that the only item that he can cut back on is his 10% profit margin which would drop the price by $15-$25. I'm not willing to give up $150+/- just to support his shop. I do, however, buy a lot of reloading supplies, gun cleaning stuff, some ammo and the occasional consignment gun from him.
My point to all of this is this : DO YOUR HOMEWORK and KNOW what you can get that gun for just like as if you're shopping for a big screen TV. Deal locally for the convenience, hands on help/experience and follow-up service if it's ever needed but DON'T pay more than a few percentage points for those benefits.

MrDig
May 14, 2007, 11:02 AM
Well I know this Stating you can get something "Cheaper Online" loudly in a gunshop will not get you a better price. I know of one place that charges $50.00 for an online transfer and another that charges $20.00, who do you thing I use? That being said I will shop and buy locally if at all possible, for one simple reason, I want those Mom and Pop stores to stay in busuness. Just in case the feds ala Feinstein and Pelosi impinge on the online trade.

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