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List, MSRP, what to pay?


MyCamel

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Hello. I have a permanent case of GAS, and I've made many purchases over the years. I usually pay the marked sale price, but sometimes I hear stories about people getting super deals and I've always wondered if I'm expected to ask the salesperson for a lower price. I understand that the List Price is just to provide the illusion of a deal. And sometimes I will ask to pay no sales tax because I can get the same item online with free shipping, and there is usually not a problem with that. Here's a specific example: I'm planning on buying a Kurzweil PC1X within the next month. Most online sites sell them for $1350 with free shipping and some throw in a stand. Would it be unreasonable for me to walk into a Guitar Center and tell them I want to pay $1300 cash out the door without tax for a brand new one in the box with a stand and cover included? I don't want to come across as a jerk, but I want the best deal possible. Sometimes I feel like buying a musical instrument is a little like buying a car. I'd appreciate any insight.

 

Thanks,

Mike

 

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I've always try to deal when I buy something in the thousands $$$. There are many different ways to get a deal. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Depends of luck, your mood, the salesperson, his mood, how much he's above or under his target for a given period, etc.
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What do you have to loose? Unless that store already has a much lower price than anyone else, the worst that can happen is the salesperson says no. You either buy it for the stated price of buy somewhere else. You have nothing to loose!

 

I went to about 4 different guitar centers while I was living in the US, and the service is pitiful, to be polite. I have no problem going in there and treating it like I'm in a flea market and bargaining till I piss everyone off. :)

 

 

 

 

Korg Kronos X73 / ARP Odyssey / Motif ES Rack / Roland D-05 / JP-08 / SE-05 / Jupiter Xm / Novation Mininova / NL2X / Waldorf Pulse II

MBP-LOGIC

American Deluxe P-Bass, Yamaha RBX760

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It also doesn't hurt to call around to some of the discount internet sites to find out what the lowest selling price you can get. I'm assuming that the $1350.00 price you have been seeing is the MAP price. (Minimum Advertised Price) The reason you see the some price published by everyone is that the MAP price is in their dealer agreement. Mfg's don't want price wars on the Internet, so they establish the MAP price. Sometimes you can negotiate a lower price than the MAP, sometimes you won't get it. When you're talking about a $1350.00 item, there may not be a lot of wiggle room there. Swallowing the sales tax can be a biggie for a retail store on an item in that price range. But it doesn't hurt to ask.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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It sorta depends on your level of experience also... if you're going to need some help in the form of calling up and asking your sale rep whether to use the MIDI in or out plug to go to your computer then you should be paying what the store asks without bargaining. Their time is worth it. If you're never going to bother them again with questions then you should get the bottom dollar price. It never hurts to make an offer.

 

When I bought my Kawai ES4 piano the store gave me a price that included 10 free lessons... I told them I didn't have time to give them lessons, sorry. I made them an offer that I believed was reasonable and they accepted.

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Quote by the Pro:

-------------------------------------------

When I bought my Kawai ES4 piano the store gave me a price that included 10 free lessons... I told them I didn't have time to give them lessons, sorry. I made them an offer that I believed was reasonable and they accepted.

-------------------------------------------

 

HaHa, good one! I think you will just have to start budgeting your time better!

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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List, MSRP, what to pay?

 

you don't want to pay any MSRP or list price in any case,

whenever buying a keyboard, car or anything more expensive then 5$.

 

Here are 2 basic rules of negotiation, which saved me a lot of money:

-never accept first offer

-be prepared to walk away

 

♫♫♫ motif XS6, RD700GX
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you don't want to pay any MSRP or list price in any case, whenever buying a keyboard, car or anything more expensive then 5$.

There are lots things above $5 that are not negotiable. Ever try to buy anything made by Apple? Or Oakley? ;)

 

dB

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you don't want to pay any MSRP or list price in any case, whenever buying a keyboard, car or anything more expensive then 5$.

There are lots things above $5 that are not negotiable. Ever try to buy anything made by Apple? Or Oakley? ;)

dB

 

 

in that case second rule is applied: walk away.. ;)

 

p.s

if I cannot buy Apple at a price I want, I buy pear instead :grin:

♫♫♫ motif XS6, RD700GX
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Things may have changed since I learned this, but here goes.

 

When I lived in MI in the early 90s, I had a friend who worked in a music store. He told me that there are three "marks" (no, not "victims" but levels) that dealers pay, either 50%, 60%, or 67% of the list price. So you can use this as a basis to determine a good price. Most keyboards fell into the 60% mark.

 

HOWEVER, the big dealers get deals. Either they get discounts for buying lots of inventory (think all those Fenders at Guitar Center), or they get bonuses for selling certain quantities from a manufacturer. So they "pay" less than the normal mark for those items. This means you can get it from them for even less.

 

Armed with this, you should be able to figure out what is a good price for you. It's reasonable to assume you should pay a little over the mark because a dealer won't want to sell at their cost, but you don't know how much they pay either. What delirium says works as part of it all.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Armed with this, you should be able to figure out what is a good price for you.

Interesting...

 

What's your formula/how much is it fair for a dealer to make? How do you know what their costs of doing business are? How do you know which products have which margins?

 

Also, your blanket assumptions about quantity breaks are not always true. What may apply to bigger manufacturers does not necessarily apply to smaller ones...

 

dB

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Another trick is : never show you're too interested in a product. Pretend it's just a toy you could need today even though tomorrow you might change your mind entirely.

 

If you enter the music store wearing a CS-80 T-shirt and tell the salesguy how much you believe the synth is superior to everything else, don't expect a big deal that day on the one they currently have in stock. :grin:

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Another trick is : never show you're too interested in a product.

 

exactly, last thing you want to tell to sales person is that you fried you keyboard and you have an important gig tonight...

:grin:

 

 

♫♫♫ motif XS6, RD700GX
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I find that having a good rapport with the local salespeople helps too. I get advanced notice on blowout sales, items being discontinued and/or incoming, etc.

 

Having done the homework i.e. internet, trade mags, etc. and realistic expectations of how much you can afford to spend, that is all you can do.

 

The most incredible deals come from buying used gear. Otherwise, be prepared to pay whatever the market will bear. :cool:

 

 

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Here's my strategy. For an individual, I buy a lot of gear. I don't shop around. I think it's a much better approach to limit my buying to one or two stores. Locally, I buy from one major chain (I work with one particular manager) and one independant store. I am a VIP in those stores and always get the best price, usually without having to ask for it. If you scatter your purchases around to a bunch of different outlets, you lose your leverage. I really only deal with the store manager or the department manager. These people tend to be much more stable in their positions and have the authority to give me the best price possible. It's OK with me if they delegate down to a sales guy so long as the sales guy knows the score.

 

On the other hand, the words "what's your best price?" at checkout have saved me thousands of dollars over the years. Do this for even the smallest purchases.

 

Busch.

 

 

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I don't know how much trickery really works. Dealers know what they "want" to get from a sale, and then what they "need" to get. The amount of after the sale support is a factor too. If you're a Pro and they know it, you can count on getting a decent deal because you're not going to taking up too much of their time before or after the sale.

 

Most of the time, if the local dealer is even in the ball park compared to Internet sites, I go with my local dealer. I like having service after the sale available to me. If the local dealer is way out of sight price wise, I let them know they're not competitive and see if they are giving me their best shot. Usually, they are. You can get low prices from large internet dealers, but the lowest price isn't always the best deal. You have to pray it never breaks.

 

Guitar Center and after sale support? Nah, go for the low price at GC.

 

Edit: Busch is absolutely right. Stick with one or two dealers for the most leverage. They like customers that keep coming back so they usually cut you the best deal they can. They are entitled to make a reasonable profit.

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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Armed with this, you should be able to figure out what is a good price for you.

Interesting...

 

What's your formula/how much is it fair for a dealer to make? How do you know what their costs of doing business are? How do you know which products have which margins?

 

Also, your blanket assumptions about quantity breaks are not always true. What may apply to bigger manufacturers does not necessarily apply to smaller ones...

 

Excellent points Dave. First of all, I don't have a formula for what's fair for a dealer to make. If I "know" how much the piece of gear cost them, then I can say they will not go below that. But like I said, it can be hard to tell what it cost them after any breaks they might get, and of course, they have overhead too like you stated.

 

My friend told me that most keyboard gear was 60% so that's what I mentioned. Usually, I calculate 50, 60, and 67%, shop around and compare, and see what most places are offering the thing at. Depending on the list price, those three percentages can be pretty close anyway. Then I decide what I think is a decent price.

 

You're right about who gives the breaks to the dealers. My friend mentioned Fender at the time. My impression is that GC moves so much product that they can be like Walmart and get lower pricing from their vendors.

 

There's nothing exact here, I just use it as a ballpark to make sure I get at least a reasonable price for my gear. There have been days I've completely forgotten this stuff and nearly bought gear slightly off list price. This keeps both me and them honest.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I'm planning on buying a Kurzweil PC1X within the next month. Most online sites sell them for $1350 with free shipping and some throw in a stand. Would it be unreasonable for me to walk into a Guitar Center and tell them I want to pay $1300 cash out the door without tax for a brand new one in the box with a stand and cover included?

Thanks,

Mike

 

Mike,

 

Looking online I see the following:

 

Kurzweil PC1x (MAP = $1,350)

I am a little surprised Sweetwater lists this for $1,495 since they always usually list at MAP.

 

$1,495 -- http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PC1X/

$1,350 -- http://www.americanmusical.com/item--i-KUR-PC1X.html

$1,350 -- http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Kurzweil-PC1X-Performance-Controller?sku=701689

 

I would also point out "NightSkySound" who are an authorized Kurzweil dealer who sells on eBay. They list the PC1X for $1,300 (free ship with BuyItNow):

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220090694428

 

Given all of the above, I would think:

-- you could print these out and get the same price $1,350 at Guitar Center (assuming they carry Kurzweil)

-- you should be able to get Sweetwater to price match (they are a long-time Kurzweil dealer and they know Kurz products very well)

 

I do not think you can get the keyboard at GC for $1,300 MINUS Sales Tax, but you could always ask. As you might expect you get the best deals from places with whom you have an established relationship (i.e. you purchase a lot of gear from them).

 

Although many people WANT to buy at less than MAP, the MAP IS there for a purpose. Manufacturers/Distributors set the MAP as a price at which retailers can make a reasonable amount of profit -- enough to keep them in business. Manufacturers are extremely dependent on retail stores to sell their products, so they want to help ensure all stores stay in business.

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Some great comments on negotiation. I would advise one thing, purchasing can be an emotional and impulsive thing. Try to take both of these aspects away from any equation and then go forward with making your purchase. Not enough can be said about seeing and thinking through things clearly.

Begin the day with a friendly voice A companion, unobtrusive

- Rush

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I have no issue with grinding out the lowest possible price when dealing with a Guitar Center type business. They rely on volume sales to survive and I rely on low prices to feed my kids. The staff there are also usually pretty much useless. On the other hand, as The Pro pointed out, if you have a seller that provides good service that is worth something. I have a small independent shop I do business with for anything that I may need any techie help with (and many other items as well)and as a result I happily pay the MAP. The manager there knows his stuff and will always take a distress call from me to help. If you can find an outfit like that it's really worth it.
Fender Rhodes (x4) / Wurlitzer 200A / NE3 61 / Motif XS6 / Korg SV-1 73
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About the concept of how should I buyer evaluate the limit to bargain on price, my experience is it can vary a lot. I went to places they didn't want or couldn't bargain at all. But I played the big time once in a big music store to get a certain module at initially $2500 and got it for $1800 (15% taxes included). ;)

 

I didn't worry too much if the salesman or the manager could pay his bills and eat that week. I'm sure they felt just fine. If they were still willing to sell me that unit at about two thirds their initial price, it's because they were still making profit, right? :D

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I didn't worry too much if the salesman or the manager could pay his bills and eat that week. I'm sure they felt just fine.

I'm guessing you've never worked a commission based job... :idea:

 

Hey, didja ever wonder why it's sometimes not so easy to find really good salespeople in MI retail? ;)

 

If they were still willing to sell me that unit at about two thirds their initial price, it's because they were still making profit, right? :D

Not necessarily.

 

Maybe they were choking on inventory, and had to move it. That happens, you know...many stores have an "Open To Buy", which is x amount of purchasing dollars allocated to each manufacturer whose product they carry. If they have too much of one manufacturer's older gear, then they can't buy any of the new stuff. In that instance, sometimes dealers will sell stuff for less than they paid for it.

 

dB

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About buying via the internet - a few years back I had a brand new digital piano delivered to my front porch from a well known on-line merchant by a carrier I shall not name in a tattered box containing about two hundred pieces. While these matters can be resolved it is a hassle and trust me, it CAN happen.
Fender Rhodes (x4) / Wurlitzer 200A / NE3 61 / Motif XS6 / Korg SV-1 73
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Hey, didja ever wonder why it's sometimes not so easy to find really good salespeople in MI retail? ;)

 

That's true. I usually prefer to get the infos myself than ask a salesguy about the products they have in stock. :grin:

 

You're right also that I don't know much at all about retail sales stuff. So I guess I was lucky that day. ;)

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you don't want to pay any MSRP or list price in any case, whenever buying a keyboard, car or anything more expensive then 5$.

There are lots things above $5 that are not negotiable. Ever try to buy anything made by Apple? Or Oakley? ;)

dB

 

 

in that case second rule is applied: walk away.. ;)

 

p.s

if I cannot buy Apple at a price I want, I buy pear instead :grin:

If you're in the store, then take one of the sales associates aside and flash the cash. Give him/her a moment to let it sink in, and then threaten to walk.

 

Incidently, I've negotiated deals on my Oasys, 2600XS, 2 or 3 Macs, countless PCs (both for me and for several of my clients), and other stuff.

 

Every business transaction is negotiable. For every sales associate who's unwilling to negotiate, there's another one who's hungry and eager enough to work with you to seal the deal. However, also keep in mind that the salesperson (who often works on commission and/or volume) has to make some money out of this.

 

I learned the "flash the cash" technique from my father. Here's another technique he taught me for being able to swing nice deals: throw in more stuff. For example, if you're going to buy a new keyboard, then you're also going to need/want a case, some cables, a DI box, etc.

 

I always purchase things in bundles. I usually will negotiate hard on 1 or 2 items (typically the most expensive ones), and then I'll throw a bundle of stuff at them with my bottom-line. I've already done my research beforehand, so I know that my offer is reasonable and economical. :) If the salesperson balks, then I walk. I assume that if s/he wants the sale, then s/he can stop me before I reach the door. In most cases, the deal is off after I've exited the door--but that rarely happens.

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I usually try to get the store to come 10% down from the "sale price", then throw in the tax. It usually works at GC, and I do walk if it doesn't. I have a regular sales guy there. I haven't bought enough stuff for him to see me as a VIP, but he does remember me, and knows that I will buy at the right price and that I will walk if not.

 

If I can't get the price I want from GC, I go to a local mom-and-pop store, and give them the "sale price" with no tax. They're good people, always willing to ask questions, so part of the value I get for my money is the warm and fuzzy feeling that I'm helping them to stay in business. They always give me that price with no tax without blinking, so I'm assuming that they can make a little money on it.

 

Being in business myself, I recognize that I have no realistic way to calculate someone else's margins. Every business is different, and the models are never simple. I'm comfortable trying to get 10% below simply because that's the point where I see to hear "no" just as often as "yes".

 

--Dave

 

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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Another trick is : never show you're too interested in a product.

 

exactly, last thing you want to tell to sales person is that you fried you keyboard and you have an important gig tonight...

:grin:

 

Actually, I do the opposite. I walk in the door with my sites set on the product I want. I go over to and stand by the product I want, and I wait for the sales associate(s) to come to me. I want for him/her to know that I'm interested in that product, and I don't want to even discuss anything else until I've heard his/her spiel on that product. Afterwards, I'll consider some dialogue on a few other things, but if those things aren't better than what I came there to get, then I'm uninterested--and I politely steer the conversation back to that original product.

 

After I've listened to and processed his/her information, then I'll ask for the price to begin the negotiation phase. Usually, a more experienced salesperson will ask me to counter. We might go back and forth for a few minutes, and then I'll end that phase stating "this is what I brought with me . . ." and I wait to observe his/her response. If I like what I see, then we'll continue. If I notice some hesitation, then this is where I might "flash the cash"--only if I can sense that the person is really interested in working with me. At that point the rest is up to him/her.

 

If that person does close the deal with me, then s/he soon will learn that I'm a very loyal customer who will do repeat business with only him/her. I'll also recommend him/her to everyone I know. The point is, as ProfD alluded to earlier, to build a rapport with that salesperson. Afterwards, you'll be put on the fast track for various no-haggle, VIP-only sales, and you'll get contacted whenever new things come out (that you know you'll GAS for). :)

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If I can't get the price I want from GC, I go to a local mom-and-pop store, and give them the "sale price" with no tax. They're good people, always willing to ask questions, so part of the value I get for my money is the warm and fuzzy feeling that I'm helping them to stay in business.

 

So the question being, if you can get the price you want from the mom&pop, and they're friendlier than the GC people, then why are you going to GC first? :confused:

 

I don't have a GC in my area, but for all the horror stories I've heard, I'm actually glad...

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