Twelve Rules of Negotiating a "Great Deal"

(from the myHopscotch CEO & Former Dealership Owner)

First Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

Have a step-by-step buying process, and stick to this process.

Second Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

Choose the right salesperson.

Third Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

Leave the dealership immediately after the test drive!

Fourth Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

You will deal with at least three dealerships.

Fifth Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

NEVER negotiate based on your desired monthly payments – Negotiate the best Price, Trade-in value, Interest rate, term, and aftermarket items, each separately, and you will achieve the lowest monthly payment.

Sixth Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

On a lease purchase, know what can be negotiated. The biggest mistake is just negotiating a lease monthly payment.

Seventh Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

Your Trade-In is a Separate Transaction.

Eighth Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

You can sell your car to any dealer—not just the one you buy your new car from! Market your car like dealers market theirs and sell it to the highest bidder.

Ninth Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

Keep your wallet "safe" during document signing – after-market and extended warranty sales are a dealer's biggest profit center.

Tenth Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

You can spend more at so-called "One-Price" dealers. They are a shortcut and sometimes convenient, but not the way to "great deals."

Eleventh Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

Online services that post dealers’ cars and claim to provide better deals for consumers all work for and get paid by the dealers to generate leads and increase their profitability—They do not work for you!

Twelfth Rule of Negotiating a Great Deal:

Celebrate your great deal and drive safely!


There are three things that you need to have to negotiate a "great deal". YOU NEED ALL THREE to succeed. Without all three, you may as well not have any which means "over-paying" at a minimum.

1) Time and Patience: Buying the right car and negotiating a great deal will take time and patience. Dealers use time in their favor. Dealers want you to have to make several significant decisions on the spot, while they are with you. Many of these decisions are costly and irreversible and can have major negative ramifications. IF you get caught up in their game, you will lose.

To do this right, you need to set aside at least twelve hours just for preparation and negotiation. That is after you have spent the time to identify which model is the right one for you.

You also need patience because chances are, you will come across multiple unprofessional, uninformed, and, perhaps, unethical people. You can’t get turned off and get thrown off your game. That takes patience.

2) A Car Buying Process: Dealers have a defined step by step "selling process". They may vary from dealer to dealer, but they all have one and they follow them too closely. These processes are designed to turn a "shopper" into a "buyer" and then to maximize the profitability of the sale

You must have your step by step process which helps you not become a "buyer" when you are a "shopper". And then when you finally become a "buyer", your step by step process will help you not over-spend, which means finalizing a great that you feel great about, with certainty.

3) Information: Information is power and that is why most car buyers feel so powerless in a dealership environment. Dealers come up with all kinds of information that, if you had before engaging in negotiations, you would negotiate differently.

You must have all that information PRIOR to entering negotiations. The only tricky thing about this one is some of the information is not available to the public or it takes a lot of maneuvering and knowing where to look.


1) Overpaying: The most obvious thing that can go wrong with a car deal is overpaying. By how much? You will be shocked when you see the difference between a deal that a savvy-yet-unprepared car buyer negotiates compared with one that a professional or someone who has followed each of the steps above negotiates.

We are not talking about just a few hundred dollars. How would you feel if while you were bragging about the great deal you negotiated, you found out you could have bought the same car while spending $5,000 less on your entire deal?

If every car buyer had their deal examined by a professional after they were done negotiating, nearly one hundred percent of them would be shocked knowing they could have spent an average of $4,000 less.

2) Ending Up with the Wrong Car for You: Thousands and thousands of car buyers will go into a dealership today intending to buy a certain make and model, but will leave with a different one. Why? Because they get talked into doing so.

Why? Because the car they ended up with worked better financially for the dealership. You may say "that would never happen to me". Please respect the fact that "everyone says that". Don’t under-estimate the selling machines that these dealerships are. When you get caught up in their machine, you will become powerless.

3) Carrying Negative Equity/Being Stuck with Your Car for Many Years: If you plan to finance your next car and you don’t end up negotiating a great deal for yourself, not only you can overpay and/or end up with the right car, you can also get stuck with the car you just bought for years to come. Owing more on your car than it is worth (negative equity) is a really bad thing when you go in to trade your car in and the dealership tells you that you owe the bank $8,000 more on your car than what it is worth. That essentially means you need $8,000 in cash just to get out of the loan you are already in – and without coming up with that much cash, you cannot trade it in or sell it.

4) Hefty Excess Mileage Penalty on Leases: So much can go wrong when negotiating leases if you are not prepared, but nothing worse than being told you owe $10,000 for excess mileage and not having that money two years down the road. How this even happen? Well, one reason is that the dealer talked you into a low mileage lease to lower your monthly lease payments instead of lowering their price or money factor. I see this happen all the time.


Be prepared if you are going to do this yourself. Buying a car is the second biggest purchase that any of us make in our lives – the first one being our homes. A lot can go wrong, but you can do this yourself if you have the time, patience, and discipline.

I have provided you a lot of information here from my guide How to Buy a Car Like a Pro, which I am happy to send to you for free. In it, I expand on every point and provide you a step by step "buying process" that you will need to follow in order to find and negotiate like a professional.

Or, you could allow a professional to do the work for you if you don’t have the required time to do this yourself. At we improve a deal that non-professionals have negotiated for themselves by an average of $4,200. We have improved all by as more than $1,000 and some as high as $14,000 but in all cases, our improvement is far, far, far more than the few hundred dollars we charge for our services. And our clients have spent an average of less than an hour in dealerships – and that time savings is priceless.


You don’t mind spending more than you should and you are ok if the dealership makes too much money on you, but you have no time to waste: Let a professional handle your purchase. You will save a ton of time and you will spend less.

Your money is precious and you don’t want to overspend, AND you have all the time, patience, and discipline in the world: Then you need to learn and adopt a buying process so you can do this yourself. Call us at 844.877.8537 or email us at and request a free copy of How to Buy a Car Like a Pro. Learn it and follow every step. You will be very proud of yourself and the deal that you will negotiate.

Money and time are both precious to you, but you don’t want to add another cost to the cost of buying your car by hiring someone to do this for you: Then let’s not add any costs to your purchase. In fact, let's reduce your total spend. With us on your side, you will have no unanswered questions, you will not get talked into anything that doesn’t benefit you, you will set the rules and the pace for everything (not the dealer), spend a lot less time hassling with the dealers and instead of spending a little extra for all this, you will actually spend less. We guarantee that the deal we negotiate vs. the one you would on your own, provides you a much bigger savings than the few hundred dollars we charge for our services.

You are comfortable in high-pressure settings and love the game of negotiating so much that you insist on doing this on your own just for the sake of the challenge: We all need some fun in life and if this is all fun for you, then go at it. Chances are you will pay extra for having the “fun”. The problem is that you won’t know how much. One idea would be to finalize your negotiations but prior to signing on the dotted line, contact us and let us look over your deal. Email us your deal or any questions you may have to and at no cost to you, we will happily evaluate your deal and let you know if you have a “great deal” so you can move forward with confidence.

Sponsored by myHopscotch, the most beloved car buying service in the nation