If you're shopping around for a used RV, the only time you might shop for a dealer is when more than one dealer has exactly what you're looking for. Then it may come down to who offers the best price.
When you know what you want to buy and you're buying it new (and used, in some cases), it's a sure bet that you'll have an opportunity to shop around for a dealer that meets your criteria. Here's what we looked for in a dealer:
- Friendly salespeople who frequently communicate with you and take their time with you when you visit
- Location near your home (if in a S&B) or a location that you can visit during the purchase
- A good service center that is recognized by the maker of the RV
- Web address (dealer)
- Email address (salesman)
I use my logs to not only document interactions with salespeople, but with vendors for various products we plan to add to the coach in the future. This includes things like towing apparatus, satellite TV, and wifi range extenders.
Local Dealer - or not
Working with someone who is near you and who you can talk to face-to-face is a real bonus. When you walk through a coach and can talk about the stove, and the toilet and more directly with the salesman, he really gets a good understanding of what you want. You can't get these interactions with someone in another state.
On the other hand, if you've really done your research and been to a few RV shows, you may really have a handle on what you want. In this case, you're just looking for the best price. Dealers across the country are more than glad to sell you a RV - even if they never see you. Everything can be done with e-mail and snail mail. You can arrange to fly to their location and drive it home, or to have someone drive it to you.
The bottom line is that you can always get your RV at the lowest price you find, but it's hard to replace the intangibles you get from using a local dealer. Consider that tradeoff when you make your choice.