Negotiating ATV Prices: How Much Under MSRP Should You Pay

When it comes to negotiating prices, it’s important to remember that dealerships have margins built into the manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP).

These margins can range from anywhere between 2% and 8%. A few UTV and side by sides can even reach 12%, but they also cost as much as a car.

It’s a sliding scale, the cheaper the ATV the less percent of a margin it will have and the more expensive the greater the margin.

So an $8,000 ATV will have lower percent margins than a $30,000 UTV.

  • An $8,000 ATV will have about 4% margins, which is about $320.
  • While a $30,000 side by side will have about 8% margins which is about $2,400.

These margins don’t always factor in other cost like freight, prep, title, and doc fee. And yes, you can’t always escape these fees. Some dealerships may even charge you for the battery, as the manufacturers are getting more cheap these days on what they supply.

Higher Price vs Lower Price Margins

The higher the price of the ATV, the more wiggle room there is when it comes to negotiating a lower price.

It’s important to remember that demand also plays a role in how much under MSRP you should pay for an ATV. If there’s high demand for a certain model, the dealership may be less willing to negotiate on price.

On the other hand, if there’s low demand, you may be able to get a better deal.

Dealer Fees – They Suck, But Hard To Avoid

In addition to the MSRP, there are other fees that come with buying an ATV.

These include freight, prep, title, and doc fees.

Freight refers to the charge for transporting the unit from the factory to the dealership. ATVs and side-by-sides are shipped in crates and delivered by semi-trucks. It costs money to deliver these units to the dealership, just as it costs you money to have something shipped to your home.

Prep is the cost of getting the thing out of the crate and ready for delivery. This includes things like assembling it, adding fluids, programming it and checking it for any defects from the factory.

Title and doc fees cover the cost of paperwork and registering the ATV in your name and state.

Some Dealer Fees Are Negotiable

Some, but not all, dealer fees are negotiable.

The reason why some fees are not negotiable is that either the state requires it or the manufacturer charged the dealership, and it’s being passed on to you.

The dealership may hide some fees in the markup, but you are paying them some way somehow, unless the dealership just wants to lose money.

Freight, title and document fee are often the hardest to get rid of as it’s either required by the state or the manufacturer charged the dealer.

You may have a hard time arguing the prep or PDI charge as it cost money to assemble, dispose of the crate, and pay for a battery for the ATV. Of all the charges, paying prep may be the most valuable as the manufacturer is not always perfect, especially now when they’re shipping models without all the parts due to supply change shortages.

Keep in mind, every dealership will use different terms to describe these fees.

Also, every dealer charges different fee amounts – it’s those fee amounts that you should negotiate. When you price shop see what dealership has the lowest fees and get all the others to match to get the best deal possible.

The Reason For Expensive ATVs Right Now

Since 2020 and due to current events, many power sports items have gone way up in price.

With inflation increasing, demand being so high, and supply chain shortages, many dealerships are not as willing to negotiate. Why would they when someone behind you is willing to pay the higher prices?

I can’t predict the future, but this trend can’t go on forever.

Will ATV prices go back down? They won’t return to the prices before, but they may start to steady. As demand get satisfied, dealerships will be more likely to negotiate again.

Out The Door Meaning:

Out the door (OTD) includes everything.

It’s the total cost of the ATV with all the fees, taxes, and extended warranty if you choose to add one on.

You write the dealership a check for the OTD price, and the ATV is yours.

But some dealerships can be tricky about things like the OTD price.

Dealership Tricks With The Out The Door Price

Dealerships get priced shopped all the time and may give you some crazy numbers to get you in the door.

I’ve seen several dealerships say one price to get you in the door but it always changes when you get there to buy. Either that model gets “sold” to someone else or something changed and the price is now greater.

What’s amazing is that it works, most people either pay the extra cost or simply get put off from buying and never get anything. It’s a win either way for the dealership as they either make a sell or keep their competition from making a sell.

How To Get The Best Deal:

There are a lot of dirty tricks that dealerships will play, but here are things you can do to get a great deal on an ATV or side by side.

  1. Only price shop the 3 closest dealerships to you and make them aware they’re the closest to you, and you’re price shopping.
  2. Avoid calling, use email, so you have a paper trail. Salesmen talk to many people, and getting things in writing is the best for everyone.
  3. Never ask for the sales manager. The sales manager is not there to compete with their team, and most often when you ask for the sales manager, you just get a regular sales guy. This trick doesn’t work. The only way to talk to a sales manager is to go through a sales guy and even then, you may never get to the actual sales manager unless it’s a unit they really want to get rid of.
  4. Avoid going out of state, as the tax man always wins. Some states don’t require registration or the taxes are charged differently. Going out of state to avoid taxes and registration doesn’t work, as the state always figures it out.
  5. Go to the manufacturer website to see promotions. Sometimes the manufacturer gives you money off or a better warranty. The dealer may pocket these things if you don’t bring them up.
  6. Negotiate on fees. Every dealership charges different amounts for fees, and every dealership pays the same for every unit. Get the dealerships to price match the fees from the cheapest dealership.
  7. Sometimes it’s easier to get things “thrown in” than to negotiate a cheaper ATV price. It costs the dealership less, and you get a better deal. A cargo box may retail for $500, but it only cost them $300 and throwing that in saves them $200 instead of dropping the retail price by $500.

Point 7 is an interesting one. Never fight for the best price, always fight for the best deal. You’re going to need many accessories for your new ATV, and getting some of them right off the bat can save you a lot of money.

Don’t forget that many parts require labor to install, which you can also negotiate!

It’s not about who got the cheapest ATV, but who got the best deal.

Cash Is NOT King

Paying with cash is not king, and many dealerships hate when people pay with actual cash.

Actual cash is messy, needs to be counted, and is a nightmare to handle when you have a lot of it.

Checks are nice, but many dealerships won’t give you a special deal for using them.

A check today is no better than the finance company wiring you the money the next morning. Either way, the dealership needs to wait for the money to clear before it’s useful, but the difference is that the finance company has a better track record of the money clearing.

Also, some dealerships work with banks to get kickbacks. So you may have a few dealerships want to only use their local bank.

Try to stick to the finance from the manufacturer, as their rates are almost always better than what your local bank can do. The manufacturer doesn’t always give a kickback for using their bank, as that money goes to buy down the rates.

The bank the manufacturer uses are often stricter, but it’s where you’re going to get the best rates. Go to the manufacturer’s website to see what promotions they have going on before going with your local bank or using the dealership’s bank.