RV show

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Active member
Mar 9, 2013
There is an RV show this month in my state. Has anyone had any experience at these? I figure it is a good place to get a feel for what we want and need. Has anyone found good deals at one of these? I am fairly savvy at car purchases but ignorant at the rv game.
I have been to several RV shows, but never made a purchase at one (other than an ice cream cone at the snack bar  ;D).  It is a good place to get a feel for what you would want and need, look at different floorplans, etc.  I have never been in the market for a new RV, so I have not really looked at pricing closely, but my sense is that the "RV Show Discount" is usually not any lower than the lowest price that you could negotiate outside the show.

Are you looking for your first RV?  If so, I would strongly recommend you consider purchasing used, so you avoid the initial depreciation and get a better feel for what you really want and need.  Avoid the impulse buying that RV shows bring out.

Good luck.
An RV show, the larger ones anyway, are a good place to see a lot of models and get a feel for what is available that might suit your needs. As for bargains, probably not so much. The dealers usually have "show specials" that offer attractive looking discounts, but they are seldom more than an advertisement of the price they would have offered in their showroom anyway, once you began the bargaining process. 10-14% is a typical show discount offer, but you may well be able to negotiate 20-25%. For those who aren't inclined to bargain with dealers, the "show price" is a decent deal, but the savvy buyer can usually do much better.  Sometimes you can win some better deals the last day of the show, if the dealer is anxious to gain some additional sales before going home.

However, smaller dealers seldom discount much above 15% anyway. You will likely have to go afield to find the deep discounts, which are typically found at higher volume dealers. If local service is important to you, bargain hard but accept what you can get at local dealers.

Unlike cars, RV dealers don't get monthly quota bonuses, holdbacks and things like that from the manufacturer, so they are working strictly from their wholesale price base. However, their mark-up is higher to begin with. On the downside, it may be difficult to determine the real MSRP becauese there is no federally-mandated window sticker and dealers often make up their own "retail price" to display. And some are prone to adding in the same sort of extra money-makers that car dealers like, e.g. paint protection packages, fees for doing the required pre-delivery prep and inspections, origination fees, etc., so watch out for them. They are not at all industry standard practice. The RV manufacturer expects the dealer to do a pre-delivery inspection with you and perform any necessary preparation as part of the dealers normal cost of doing business.
Thanks. We prefer to get a used vehicle and have a large dealership here locally. They don't seem very enthused about selling their used inventory. I can barely get a response from the used person. I scour CL daily for used and have looked at several. I guess I won't be buying at the show but will get a good idea of whats out there.
I think a used RV is a wise choice. We've had both new and used and went back to buying used.

Sales people are often not enthused about showing used units. They often have little incentive, with a low, fixed sales commission for used units, yet they have to put in the same effort as a new one.  I am very skeptical of dealerships that aren't interested in my used business - in my opinion they are only looking for the big buck sale and not interested in a customer relationship or after-sale service.
My husband and I went every year for about 4 years to all the RV shows in the area, before we finally bought a travel trailer.
It is definitely a fun way to spend a Sunday and a great way to see a lot of different types of RVs in one place. You can get an idea of pricing as well. For years, we went back and forth with what we wanted - a 5th wheel, then a camper slide-in, then ultimately, a 21.5' travel trailer. We are so thrilled with our TT! It is a perfect size, layout - everything works for us.
In making our decision, it was about how we wanted to spend our time RVing. Some people "plant" their RV at a campground and use it as a summer home but I think most people are on the road. We wanted something not too big to pull but large enough to be comfortable inside, if the weather was crappy. Most of our time is spent enjoying the "outside" and is one of the reasons we opted for a TT that also had an outdoor kitchen (in addition to the indoor) with a second refrigerator outside as well. 
We actually saw the TT we bought at a local dealer but waited to buy it at the next RV show (3/2012) and was able to negotiate a better deal. Enjoy the process.
Thanks. That what we have concluded as well. May I ask what you pull with and what kind of rig you settled on?
We ordered our trailer after attending a RV show. The show was a great way to meet lots of dealers from a large area. It is not likely we would have met the dealer we bought from without the RV show.

As were just leaving the show ,  my wife took a look in " one last trailer " I was tired from going in and out so many. She called me back claiming that " This is the one " To make the story short, we pick up our Keystone Passport Elite 23RB in three more weeks :)

jonnystef said:
I have a half-ton so I will probably need something a little smaller.

I would recommend having all your tow numbers ahead of time. Remember to look at wheel base VS trailer length as well. Don't let a salesman up sell you something that will make towing a " white knuckle " experience. Not all half ton trucks can tow the same.

Enjoy the hunt  :)

We just went to one in march and found exactly what we wanted. Surprise surprise we bought it on the spot and didn't know a thing about anything and now we're thinking we may have gotten more trailer than our truck can handle. Just saying there wasn't a lot of pressure to buy but there was alot to buy and were they pretty and being impulse buyers anyway we should have done a bit of research before we went.
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