Local professional shares car buying secrets

Local professional shares car buying secrets »Play Video
Kevin Shaw (left) shares negotiating tips with KATU's Sarah Allen before she put them to the test.

BEAVERTON, Ore. – Kevin Shaw’s business is buying your car.

“I am a professional negotiator for the customer when they buy a car at a dealership,” Shaw told KATU News.

A former car salesman himself, Shaw said he’s spent the past two decades dealing with dealers and knows all their tricks.

Now he’s the Car Concierge, and promises thousands in savings if you step aside and let him haggle with the dealership for you.

Shaw sat down with KATU recently to share some of his best strategies for saving money on your car purchase.

1. Dress the Part – “If you dress like you make money or you dress like you’re successful, [salesmen] are going to see you as that,” Shaw said. “And they’re not going to want to negotiate as much as you think they can. So dress down when you go buy a car.”

Specifically, Shaw mentioned t-shirts and old jeans as a good choice for your car shipping trip.

2. Know What Your Purchase is Worth – Shaw recommended using Kelly Blue Book to find out the price other people are paying for the car you want.

3. Shop at a Branded Dealership – You don’t have to buy a Ford at a Ford dealership. But Shaw said you should buy at a dealership that has a brand to answer to.

“[Branded dealerships] are accountable to those brands and they’re trained and scrutinized very strictly. So it’s a good place.”

4. Set a Budget and Stick to It – Shaw said dealerships will try and up-sell you. Don’t let them do it.

“The car that you want is the car that you’re going to buy,” Shaw said. “And don’t let [the dealership] change your mind because you can find exactly what you’re looking for out there.”

5. Talk Price, Not Payments – Shaw said a lot of salesmen will try and sell you a car based on the monthly payments. Shaw said talking payments is a good way to pay more for your car.

“Negotiate the price of the vehicle and have payment be in the background,” Shaw said. “Because if they sell you a payment, they’re going to win and you’re going to end up paying full price for that car.”

6. Lowball (At First) – When it comes to setting the price of the car, Shaw said: “Start out really low. Even uncomfortably low. That’s where you want your negotiations to start. If you start higher than that, that’s money on the table. You can’t take that back and they know that.

“If you start too high that’s money on the table and if you go backwards, they know ‘oh, they’re not serious, they’re just playing games’ and you’re going to lose those negotiations.”

7. Have a (Secret) Down Payment – “Try and negotiate it as a zero-down deal first and then use that down payment as leverage later,” Shaw said.

8. Don’t Rush – “When you rush, you usually lose,” Shaw said. Don’t expect to buy your car in a couple hours. In fact, Shaw said you should be prepared for a multi-day negotiation and several trips to the dealership to get the price you really want for that car.