Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Willing to Drive Where?

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.

I created this two weeks before.

I live in Southern California. There are a lot of dealers here. I knew the price I wanted and was willing to drive to get it.

I went straight to the Find a Dealer page.

Sheet 3: All Dealers

I made a line item for each dealer. Listing their Link to their inventory of Prius Threes in stock and the actual number in stock. I made a column of the lowest price on the site posted. Also grabbed the Address and Sales Phone number. My headers ended up looking like this:

Relative Distance
Threes in stock as of 7/18
Threes in stock as of 7/26
Diff in Wk
Site Price posted Lowest
Internet Sales manager
Every call I make saves another dollar.

Bold headers came from information from the car dealer sites.

The site listed dealers closest to you to farthest to you in a circle. I added “Relative Distance” to give me an idea how far I would drive to said dealer. Dealer that was a 21 was WAY farther then a 4.

Using Mapquest I calculated that the furthest dealer I had listed was about $15 in gas. So the deal would have to be $30 or better to get me to drive there and drag someone along with me to pick up my new car.

The City helped me refer to the dealers in my head.

You can see I listed 2 different dealer stock dates. I had the links set up already, it was easy to go through again the weekend before buying that James Bragg recommends.

This was no joke in a time commitment. I think I spent 3 hours plus looking at dealer sites, collecting information, and looking at cars.

This was my car shopping time.

There was 40 closest dealers listed on the site. Of those there were 32 dealers that had cars that met my criteria. For a total of 166 cars I was willing to consider to buy.

I next sorted the list by “Threes in stock”. The top 13 dealers had 6 or more cars available. Those 13 dealer are the ones I chose to contact.

From Sheet 3 I copied over just the 13 dealers I was going to call. Creating:

Sheet 4: Call Dealers

I dont know if limiting to just the most cars in stock was a good choice. But it was the arbitrary way I chose to narrow down dealers to a more reasonable list. Even crazy me has limits.

A week before I was planning to buy I updated Sheet 4: Call Dealers in my spreadsheet with the current stock. This is why I ended up with 2 columns of in stock. Wanted to see what actually changed and keep with Mr. Bragg’s process as much as I could.

There was 112 cars on that list and one of them was going to be mine. At this point I fantasized about my car sitting in a car lot waiting to be born into my life.

Singing was involved.

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