Bargaining at gun shops

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Hoyte, Oct 13, 2020.

  1. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

    Sep 30, 2009
    My LGS doesn't negotiate. They don't really have to. For everything slightly lower vanilla polymer Smith or Ruger a box store has, the LGS has a bunch of guns that you can't find anywhere else. Their prices aren't terrible and their inventory rotates quickly. Making a deal would be foolish if your product sells for what is on the tag. They have a pretty good policy of putting slow moving stuff on sale. I bought my beloved Charter Pitbull .45 for about $45 off normal price because it was on their website priced as such.

    Here's how I buy a gun: I walk in, I like it, I buy it. I'm not worried about getting a deal. For all I know they owner needs new tires or their kid needs sparring gear for karate class or whatever. I know enough to do an internet search, find a price and then figure that whatever deal I find I will need to take into account that I may have to pay shipping, I AM going to have to pay a transfer feel, I won't get to hold the gun and see how it fits in my hands, and I certainly won't be walking out the door that day to go shoot.

    Here's a dirty secret, sometimes it is a bit offending to ask for a break on the price. I own my own business and my price is my price. It's not that I am trying to make more than my product is worth, but I hope that my customers understand that I have gone through a pretty complicated pricing matrix to come up with my cost and what I feel I need to make. Also, I feel that if maybe, just maybe, I eek out just a touch more coin than a cheaper guy commands that they feel my customer service and expertise is worth a couple bucks. As I always tell them when they ask, "If I could come down on price now, why didn't I do it from the beginning? I'm just being straight and honest. This is what it costs."
    RA40, gunlaw, defjon and 3 others like this.
  2. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

    Mar 1, 2020
    South central Ohio
    In certain industries, that's definitely the case. We get customers occasionally that ask "if I pay cash, can you do better on the price?" Or some such. Our lot is full. We're busy when nobody else is and that's after a long time finally convincing the owner that we're not competing against the cheapest places around. (Not a gun shop though)

    I also feel though that a lot of gun shops want to make money on both ends, and if their trade practices dictate only allowing 40% of a gun's value, I don't mind offering a price on a used gun that isn't 110% of retail.
    Fiv3r likes this.
  3. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

    May 26, 2007
    I've had some luck on used guns. Never on a new one. I simply ask if they can do any better on price.
    theotherwaldo likes this.
  4. TomJ
    • Contributing Member

    TomJ Contributing Member

    Jul 3, 2014
    I've sold a number of guns, and looking at it from a seller's perspective I was never offended when someone offered a reasonable price or was able to justify their offer such by quoting Blue Book values or Gunbroker completed sales numbers. Someone who threw out a low ball offer to see if I'd bite was ignored. There's nothing wrong with asking them what they'd take for the gun or making a reasonable offer, but I wouldn't just throw out a below market price.
  5. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

    Sep 30, 2009
    I will say that I totally agree on the both ends thing. Good point. I would say that I get more miffed getting raked over the coals on a trade in than trying to get a good price on a purchase. The main reason being that if I am trading in, I am trading toward...TODAY. If I'm bringing in a gun that I know you can move for $349 all day long, don't offer me $125. Especially when that $125 is going right back into another gun I am going to purchasing from you for $599. I feel a lot less valued as a loyal customer over that policy than not being able to haggle down, because at least if you give me a good break on my trade ins (that I already know I am taking a bath on), I feel a lot better about not shopping around to save 30 or 40 bucks on the gun I am walking out the door with.
  6. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

    Nov 24, 2010
    Springfield, MO
    “Obviously I’m interested in this gun. Do you have any wiggle room on the price?”

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If he wiggles, buy it. Don’t jerk him around.
    redneck2 likes this.
  7. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

    May 31, 2008
    I find that people want to think they're getting a bargain, perhaps it's just human nature.

    So, if I'm selling a motorcycle, a car, a gun, etc., I'll ask a little more and then come down a little to what I really want, and everyone's happy. If they decide to pay the asking price, well, good for me.

    My folks were antique collectors, if they saw something they liked and would buy at the price marked, their standard line was "can you do a little better?" No low balling and a reasonable question which often brought favorable results.
  8. Sovblocgunfan

    Sovblocgunfan Member

    Jan 24, 2014
    i’ve had this thought many times-often as a known repeat customer. I don’t like trading guns to businesses anymore.

    the flip side of the coin is if you know you’re picking up a snake, don’t be surprised if it tries to bite you.
    Fiv3r and Howland937 like this.
  9. 340PD

    340PD Member

    Feb 18, 2007
    I feel the same way. I generally know the going rate before handling the gun and if I think the price is fair, I buy it and never look back. I want my LGS to stay in business and if I paid $100 too much, over the years I will own that gun it is really a non factor.
    If I just happen to see something I do not know the current rate, I head for the parking lot and look it up using my phone.
    If the LGS is way over the going rate, I will ask, "what is your bottom price for cash right now?"
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
  10. guyfromohio

    guyfromohio Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    I don’t negotiate on new guns. If I can get cheaper elsewhere, I do. A used gun, I’ll offer what I’ve seen them go for.
    illinoisburt likes this.
  11. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Plano, Texas
    If a gun has been in the display case for four years the dealer either has an emotional attachment, there is something wrong with the gun or his pricing is unrealistic.

    No matter what the price, a dealer doesn't make a profit until the gun sells. Some dealers never understand that a gun in inventory is costing them $$$.
    Sometimes selling BELOW cost makes the dealer $$$ in the long run.
    That Winglockwesson Model 666 may have cost the dealer $500, he bought twenty of them, pricing at $599........but after a month they aren't selling.
    He slaps on a 10% off sticker....no one bites.
    Then another month later 10% off and a box of Tula ammo....no bites.
    Then a customer comes in a says "Cabelas has that same gun for $479, do you price match? Dealer says "heck no! I would be losing money!"
    Dealer sits on those guns for years.....because he just can't lose $$$ on them.

    He's a poor businessman. Ever wonder why Ross, Marshals, TJMaxx exist? Ever wonder how CDNN has such great deals? They liquidate stale inventory.
    By selling inventory at less than his cost, the dealer frees up cash that he can then use to purchase something else that will earn him a profit.

    That said........I've had a '70's era Walther PPK/S in .22 w/original box and manual that I displayed for sale at gun shows for five years. I never dropped the price a penny. It was a pistol I would have happily kept for years. Took five years before an 85 year old bought the gun, "been looking for one like this forever!"
    ozarkhillbilly and Outlaw75 like this.
  12. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

    Feb 1, 2014
    Middle Tn
    The interesting thing I get from reading responses thus far is that people want to dicker on used guns but generally just pay for the new gun. I’m the same way, and really don’t understand why I’m like that.

    I also don’t understand why if I am ordering a gun that’s not in stock that a shop still wants to mark it up $50 or 10% whichever is more (that’s what I have seen locally at a few places, and that’s what they used to do before I moved as well). My most recent purchase is a good example. Keystone chipmunk pistol. It’s a $180-200 dollar gun in many local stores that stock them. That means that wholesale price is in the $150 range most likely, and I feel like that is confirmed since I paid $170ish through Buds recently. So I asked my LGS what it would cost for me to order that gun through him. $200 plus transfer and taxes so roughly $230. I told him I could buy it with free shipping and pay transfer and have it for less, but he said that’s what he would do. All in I got it for 210ish. He would have made more than his $15 cut of the transfer if he would have sold me the gun for the same out-the-door price as Buds counting transfer, but he wouldn’t. That’s like asking me if I want to make $15 or $50 an hour. It’s a no-brainer, and if I pay at the time of order he is not out any money in the deal. No risk, guaranteed profit, no cost of inventory. It baffles me.
  13. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

    Aug 9, 2010
    Ozark Mountains of Arkansas
    My LGS charges 10% above his cost on guns and he is the cheapest in town. He makes his money on accessories. I can't make 10% on my new guns. I'm lucky to make 5%. That is why I sell consignments online and he gets the local business. Even get list some for him.
  14. Outlaw75

    Outlaw75 Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    Glendale, AZ
    Does your LGS regularly stock them? Is he a dealer for that specific brand or are you asking him to special order? You can't expect a price break if you're asking him to special order. Also, he may not be getting the same wholesale price a dealer would.
  15. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

    Mar 21, 2015
    North Carolina
    I simply go in and offer the least I am willing to pay, and if they accept it, I buy it, if not we haggle until one of two things happen:

    1) they accept a price that is equal to, or below, the most I am willing to pay and I buy it, or
    2) they demand more that I am willing to pay, and I walk out.

    The trick here is knowing what the thing is really worth, and guessing whether or not they know it too...
  16. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

    Dec 9, 2009
    I usually start with: How much cash do you need for me to take this gun home? Go from there. If I say no, thanks some will ask what I am willing to pay. Sometimes we can reach an agreement. But if we are a long way apart, my response is simply that we're too far apart to make a deal. I've been on both sides of the table.

    And always thank them for their time, no matter what they say. A little kindness goes a long way.
    J-Bar likes this.
  17. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

    Apr 2, 2014
    I’ve gotten Scheels to come down $50 off the listed price on a used gun and also had them do a price match on a new gun. I think I’ve only bought those 2 guns from there. I’ve had plenty of luck getting independent shops to come down on new and used guns. Most shops have a sizable mark up on used guns and a little wiggle room on new ones.
    illinoisburt likes this.
  18. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

    Jan 30, 2014
    Central Alabama -- recently relocated from Chicago
    This is what I've seen as well, assuming we are looking at common firearms. Specialty items like high-end doubles, for example, are a different story. I don't think you would have too much trouble haggling off $500 on a new $25k gun.
  19. bassjam

    bassjam Member

    Sep 9, 2014
    I've never tried to haggle on a new gun, but also nearly every new gun I've bought was on sale and for a pretty good price to begin with. I've always tried to negotiate on a used gun, with good luck. Whenever I make an offer, I've already done research to know what asking prices are in my area to get a general idea of what the gun is worth, and I'll undercut that a little.

    One thing mentioned here that I personally hate when people do to me is ask what my bottom dollar is. Don't lead off with that, it's poor negotiation. I can promise you when I'm selling something, could be a gun, could be a car, that if you ask for my bottom dollar right off the bat I'm going to respond with something that's not even close to my bottom dollar.
  20. Milt1

    Milt1 Member

    Jan 4, 2014
    I had a friend who was an executive in the textile industry that gave me this excellent piece of advice years ago, if you don't ask, you don't get! That's been my motto ever since
    J-Bar, HB and theotherwaldo like this.
  21. rhodester

    rhodester Member

    Sep 9, 2019
    North Canton, Ohio
    I always pay cash so my wife does not see I bought another gun using a credit card. Less explaining to do too.
  22. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    I don’t see deceit as a particularly admirable trait. If you hide that, if I were her I’d wonder what else you’re hiding.

    Anyway, it’s real simple. Ask kindly, not sarcastically “do you have any wiggle room?” Don’t be a jackass.

    And, if they meet a negotiated price, don’t be the jerk that laughs and walks away. I worked in the LGS. We had a couple a-holes that negotiated down a price, then didn’t buy the gun. It was some type of game I guess. We weren’t there to play games

    It’s amazing that someone will pay $30 for a dinner that they eat once, but walk away from a gun they will own a lifetime over $20. You’ll put $40 worth of gas in your car and it’s gone in a few days. Get over it. Life’s too short
    81husky and shafter like this.
  23. shafter

    shafter Member

    Oct 23, 2011
    I've never understood why people get legitimately offended by what they perceive as a low offer. The buyer is free to ask whatever they want and the seller is always free to say no.
    George P likes this.
  24. South Prairie Jim

    South Prairie Jim Member

    Apr 18, 2019
    Libby Mt
    That’s right’ and then leave it in the safe for a while, when she asks just say ..what .. this old thing? Heck I’ve had this forever :D
  25. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    This present is different than the present of, say, 12 months ago.

    But, if you are walking in a shop "cold," an action in good faith can go a long ways. Like buying ammo or a case or similar accessory(ies) at full price. There's usually a good mark up on accessories. So, having mad the shop some money, then asking them to dicker over the price, stands a better chance.

    Having a rapport with the LGS(s) in your area also helps immensely, too. If you've been in buying ammo, cleaning supplies, and the like before, you are something of a known quantity for the owner and the help.

    Next best is bringing new customers in. Even if they only buy accessories, they are still buying.

    Doing both of those things is a good way for the owner to offer you a deal, too.
    Jesse Heywood and HB like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice