Expert says you should never go into the dealership when buying a car

@billythecarkid/TikTok serhiibobyk/Adobe Stock (Licensed)

‘Early bird gets the worm’: Expert says you should never go into the dealership when buying a car

‘Works for leases too?’


Jack Alban


“If you’re planning on going to the dealership to buy a car before doing any homework, you’re in for a rude awakening.”

That’s the advice a car buying expert named Billy (@billythecarkid) gave to prospective buyers in a viral TikTok. He decries physically going into a dealership to buy a car.

According to him, if you’re not fielding multiple offers and crunching numbers at home, then you’re doing yourself a massive disservice and playing directly into the types of games dealerships use to jack up the prices of its vehicles.

“There is absolutely nothing to be gained by going to the dealership to negotiate your car deal and so much to be gained from doing it from home,” Billy says in the clip. “Today, I’m going to tell you why it’s such a bad idea to go to the dealership without doing your homework and I’m gonna give you tips if I can’t talk you out of it on how to do it right if you do go to the dealership.”

Can you buy a car online?

After hearing Billy’s opening bit, you, the reader, may be wondering if completing a car deal online is even a possibility. Some manufacturers like Tesla and other electric vehicle companies that sell their cars at a set-in-stone no-haggle price—so you just apply to purchase the car and fill out a bunch of forms on your computer or mobile device. But for some reason purchasing a traditional ICE vehicle requires the rigmarole of going into a dealership and engaging in the negotiation pageantry.

However, this isn’t the case, according to ABC News, since 2021, 30% of new car buyers have been purchasing vehicles online. And right around the time online car sales experienced this boom, surveys asking folks about their car buying experiences showed heightened levels of satisfaction.

And while one may think that the negotiation process is something that must be conducted in person, that’s not the case according to J.D. Power and Associates. The research entity published a handy guide on negotiating car sales with online representatives—just make sure when you go into the dealership to pick the vehicle up that whoever is there honors the price that was agreed upon on the internet.

In his video, Billy states that he’s a “car buying expert” who gears his content towards helping folks save money at the dealership.

“If you do work your entire car deal from home you’re gonna hear your sales person say when can you come in at least 10 times during the initial conversation and that’s because they are so hell bent on getting you in house so they can take advantage of you,” he says.

According to Billy, going into a dealership in person is almost always a disadvantageous position for the consumer, even if the sales reps flat out lie and say the opposite. “You’re even gonna hear things like, my manager is much more likely to work with you on price if you’re in house, he knows you’re serious then,” he says. “This just simply isn’t the case, it’s never in your best interest to go there and it’s always better to call multiple dealerships and find out who has the best price and get your financing arranged before you ever step foot in the dealership doors.”

Billy references videos he’s posted that cover this same topic, but says that he’s got some tips for folks who are intent on going physically into a dealership in order to process the purchase of a new vehicle: “Now if you’re interested in buying from home which you should be then you should go back to my page and check out my car buying series. But for those of you who are going to the dealership and won’t listen to me, I have some advice for you.”

Again, he says that a person’s absence is the best biggest “leverage” they could have, but still provides some in-house buying insight.

Just know that whatever happens, you’re never going to buy a car that first day. Ever.

“Go to the dealership, let them look at your trade and drive it and give you some trade numbers. And drive theirs. Test drive all you want. Test drive everything you can while you’re there,” Billy suggests. “And then narrow it down to one or two vehicles that you really like and have them give you some numbers to put on paper to go home with.”

He says that even though the dealership is going to try and talk you into buying a car as soon as possible, don’t fall for it. You want to get two different quotes on two different vehicles so you can compare and contrast when you’re at home — “You heard me right, go to the dealership, test drive all day, find out what you really like, get numbers to go home with. There’s no reason to negotiate that day whatsoever. But the dealership will make it very appealing to do everything right then and there.”

It’s at home when you get to work. After getting those sales figures from the dealership in person, this gives you ammunition to call other dealerships and see what better prices you can get: “Now when you get home and you have these numbers in front of you that they wouldn’t have sent you over the phone, call all the other dealerships that have those vehicles and find out if you’re really getting the best price. You’re gonna find, just like I do every day from my customers that this dealership and this dealership on the same vehicle can be $4,000 different and all you had to do is make a phone call.”

Billy goes on to say that while this methodology works best with new car purchases when it comes to comparing models, that it could still work with used vehicles but other variables (condition, mileage, etc.) should be taken into account: “This is going to really benefit you with trade numbers now you have physical numbers from a used car manager you can use at other dealerships and tell them that somebody actually physically looked at it, that knows what they’re doing and that was their offer. Beat it. Don’t forget CarMax, Carvana, High Road right on my website you can get five instant offers with three questions guys. There’s no reason to take the low ball trade number that the dealership’s gonna offer you every time. This totally works for used cars too. You just can’t use the comparison shopping as much but you can still get better numbers by leaving the dealership and doing everything from home, via text after you’ve test driven.

Leaving with the numbers isn’t always an easy task, Billy says towards the end of his clip.

@billythecarkid If you’re planning on going to the dealership to buy a car before doing any homework, you’re in for a rude awakening. ##carbuyingtips##carbuyer##carbuyingsecrets##carbuyingadvice##carbuying101##dealership##negotiate ♬ Relaxed beat 2/long ver.(1425965) – nightbird_bgm

The car buying guru stated that there are instances where dealerships won’t even let customers exit the store with the numbers they wrote out for them so the second those numbers are put down on paper, just snap a photo of them with your phone before you even ask if you can take them.

“Sometimes the dealership won’t let you leave with the numbers that’s how crazy they are. So make sure you take a picture of the numbers before you even ask if you can leave with them. You can go to your own bank, can get pre-approved, and come back to the best dealership that had the best price and give them your check.”

Billy also said you shouldn’t leave that first dealership in the lurch if you did get better offers from other places. “Don’t forget that first dealership that did all the test driving with you and took the time to give you the numbers, give them a chance to earn your business,” he says. “So if somebody else is cheaper than them, simply show the numbers from the competitor to the guy you originally started with and see if they can beat it.”

Commenters weigh in

Some people who responded to Billy’s video didn’t exactly agree with everything he was saying.

One user commented, “Toyota salesman don’t hassle you. They know their vehicles won’t sit on the lot. Most cars are already spoken for while still being built.”

Another person said there are some potential pitfalls when negotiating prices for cars outside of the dealership—like arriving there and a rep there switches the price up on you: “Negotiated a price for Kia Sportage Hybrid on phone. Drove 2 hrs to dealer. They said the price had changed since we spoke.”

A further user on the application said that they prefer going in person. “I want to see it, feel it, smell it, and drive it!!!” they said.

Other viewers seemed to appreciate Billy’s advice, however.

“i just bought an f150 and bought it via phone call and text message and i got a hell of a deal and just went there for delivery.. it was awesome,” one user penned.

Still, some said that they didn’t have the best luck when attempting to buy a car outside of the dealership.

“I lost a good deal on a car when they sold it to someone on the lot while I was negotiating online,” one wrote.

This was a phrase echoed by someone else: “Early bird gets the word by the time you are half way through negotiations somebody already got it.”

However, Billy says that you shouldn’t really worry about that as there’s no shortage of good cars for folks to buy. “Yeah, that’ll happen but there’s lots of vehicles out there,” he added.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Billy via TikTok comment for further information.

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