I used James Bragg’s car buying process that he lays out over on the Clark Howard blog he posted. This is my experience with it.
He noted that this was a 3 day process from months end. I choose to start 4 days out. Also because of the number of dealers I was contacting I wanted time to asses the deals in the negotiation round.
4 Days out: Morning called all dealers. Got proposals by email.
3 Days out: Morning contact dealers I didn’t have all the information from. Afternoon contact all dealers to start round of negotiation.
2 Days out: Morning decision time. Evening get car!
1 Day out: Deal with sick kid. (totally optional but it was what happened to me.)
Total phone time was 2 hours, 1 ½ hour the first day to start the process, and 30 min to clarify the first proposals.
Than I did everything by email.
Twice I needed moral and focus support. I called Husband and talked through what was in calls and emails. Once after all the calls were done. Second when I was about to start to contact dealers to tell them the my best deals. I was going to call, how Mr. Bragg recommends, but I decided I was going to email them all and be done with it.
I am a mom, and anyone out there with kids knows things come up. I am glad I was so smart to start early. On the third day I had for making final choice and taking delivery …
The Spawn woke up with a 101F temperature.
I finished filling my spreadsheet while cleaning out buckets of puke. I then sorted by the lowest response price and that was the end of it. That dealer had my car and I didn't care if I had no idea what color it was. I had a sick kid.
I called them and ask if I could come get it that night instead of the next day as I planned. Husband could stay home with the kid while I got my brand new car.
I waited until the next morning to email the other dealers. I didnt want to close options until I had car in hand. It would have been okay to do right away but sick kid. Did. Not. Care.