Can you save a few bucks if you buy your car online? Maybe, but it could still cost you in the end.
Online shopping has changed the way we shop for cars. While you’d used to have to spend the better part of a day to see the inventory of all the dealerships around you, you can now get all that information from the comfort of your own home. And if you’re already comfortable in your computer chair, why not make that car purchase online as well?
I’m certainly not going to knock the benefits of online shopping here, because honestly, what person in their right mind would? That said, there are a few “hidden” costs to online shopping you might not know about until you get straight into it.
Remember how I said above that you’d used to spend a day looking at your local dealerships? Well, if you’re looking to get the best price online, you should still cancel your other plans for the evening. Getting quotes means putting in all your contact information and other info at each individual site, which can really be a drag after the first or second time. Sure, you might eventually find a car for a lower price than the competition, but you have to judge whether the hassle was worth the cost.
Remember: keyword here is might. Many dealerships are already doing their best to offer competitive prices, so the disparity between your best and worst quote might be smaller than you’d think.
Some might say a benefit of online car shopping is bypassing the salesperson. And yeah, if my choices were to buy online or deal with a pushy car salesperson, I’d be racing to my computer before you’d finish asking the question. Here’s the thing: like all things in life, not all salespeople are created equal. Some people out there might be stingy and unpleasant, but others know that the best way to sell a car is to make the customer feel happy and welcome. A good salesperson can not only get you a good deal, but they can help you find a car you didn’t even know you want. Maybe you’d walk in to the dealership looking for a particular make and model, only to find out the car you’d really want is something else entirely.
A good salesperson is supposed to be a resource for the customer. They’re not just a person trying to sell you a car, they’re someone hoping to foster a genuine relationship with you to aid you in all your automotive needs.
So in the end, if you can identify a good salesperson you’d like to work with, you’ll have a way better car buying experience. Even if you don’t get the absolute lowest price (though I can tell you I’m always aiming for that), you’ll save a lot of time researching and gain someone you can trust and rely on in the future. And that, my friends, is worth its weight in gold.