Tips for Spending Less on Mobile Audio
A censored guide to finding a great bargain on automobile radio gear.
What you’ll learn here is:
How to save at least 25% on high-priced stereo gear at your neighborhood electronics store 1.
How to save more than half (!!!) on audio gear purchased on eBay
Three ways to save more money while bidding on stereo equipment at auction.
Four ways to save money by purchasing pre-owned machinery
Five ways to save cash when purchasing used machinery.
How to acquire free items and sponsors
Seven steps to starting a business, saving money, and making more money.
Here’s the deal:
Stereo systems don’t come cheap. Autosound is, by far, the most financially draining pastime I’ve ever pursued. Those of us who don’t have a ton of disposable income naturally look for ways to save money without exerting undue effort.
I’ll wager you were unaware of this…
Stereo equipment is overpriced for what it offers. The average cost to a dealer for a component is well under the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). A trader cannot buy an item wholesale and resell it for a profit. Because of the effort and expense involved in selling, dealers typically add a high markup to the retail price. If a dealer has an item with a $500 retail price, they might pay only $250. However, the dealer must cover additional costs, such as overhead, to make that product available to you. A dealer must also invest effort into sourcing, ordering, and storing the product. In a nutshell, the dealer is performing services and should be compensated for them. This results in a price increase. You can count on this happening. The good news is that if you barter hard enough, many stereo stores won’t charge you the full MSRP.
So, you’ve found a sound system you like at a little mom-and-pop store in Anytown, USA (or Anytown, World). It costs $499. You spot a salesman hovering nearby, so you politely inquire whether you can purchase the item for $250. The salesman is flat-out denies this.
To what end did this occur?
You allegedly gave the salesman a “lowball” offer. Essentially, you expected the salesman to sell the product at cost. Drop the idea. Since most salespeople get paid on commission, he won’t take your offer because it’s below his minimum wage. How about no pay at all? Not at all!
Make a counteroffer significantly lower than the retail price but still above the wholesale price. The middle ground between these two is reasonable. If retail is $500 and wholesale is $250, your offer should be $375.
The salesman is still rejecting us. Hold on a sec! What the heck? I thought you said you could haggle with the salesman!
You can negotiate, as I predicted. However, the salesman’s mind is focused on making a profit. There’s no reason for him to sell it for less than he usually would. Because you’re keen to help him, inform the salesperson that you will spread the word. Inform the salesperson that you will be happy to spread the word about their company. You’ll get your own back scratched if you scratch his.
Don’t be sneaky about this any longer. Don’t tell the salesman you’ll refer your friends if you do not intend to. Consider: you just avoided spending $125 on a necessary tool. In all honesty, you owe the salesman $125 for your time. Referring to your pals is one option. Inquire for some business cards to share with your pals.
What should I do?
The magic words for me have always been:
Inquiring, “How much discount can you give me on that DEH-P960?”
This is a powerful phrase because it provides the salesman with crucial information:
First, by referencing the model number, you give the impression that you have some expertise on the subject.
Second, you want to buy (if the price is fair).
You are looking for a bargain.
A salesperson will often return with a slightly reduced offer. They may ask, “Well, how about $475?” if the price is $500. Tell the salesman you know you can get a better deal elsewhere. You and I know you can pay at least $400, so come on. “How about $375 instead, and I’ll spread the word to all my friends? Do you have any business cards?”
There is a good possibility that the salesman will agree. If he declines, try offering a little more money. It’s not uncommon for a salesperson to dispute your initial offer. Never give up! At this point in the sales process, the salesperson is highly motivated to make a sale. Be firm without being rude or arrogant.
In-store audio shops are where I’ve found the best deals, with savings ranging from 25-33% off the list price on high-end equipment.
Another piece of advice: if you do this at a national chain, you will be turned away. Why? Why? Because they are terrible, terrible businesses. They can afford it anyway. Instead of supporting companies that hire incompetent teenagers, support local businesses that treat vehicle audio seriously and care about serving you well.
eBay. Okay, this is it. When purchasing sound equipment, I found that eBay has the best deals and the widest variety. The main drawbacks are that you will have to wait for the item to arrive (I know this can be nerve-wracking), that some people are still wary of conducting business transactions online due to concerns about identity theft, fraud, etc., and that some brands, like high-end brands, are extremely limited in availability. By following these guidelines, you can avoid danger and save a lot of money on a sound system.
Alright! Let’s cut costs! But first, here are some safety precautions you should take.
Look at the seller’s feedback first. The percentage of positive feedback must be at least 98% for me to consider purchasing from this seller. Several trustworthy major eBay electronics retailers have thousands of favorable feedback ratings.
Second, ensure the vendor has been vetted and approved by a reputable online fraud prevention organization. BBB Online, ID Verify, and TrustE are just a few examples. This verifies that the vendor is legitimate and will deliver as promised. This checks that the merchant hasn’t received any serious complaints.
Check the cost of shipping third. Even though some less reputable eBay vendors may offer what appear to be excellent deals on stereo equipment, they may tack on exorbitant shipping costs. EBay prohibits this practice even though the final pricing is comparable to other vendors since the seller is fraudulently paying lower eBay fees than they should be. Never put your faith in such people.
The fourth piece of advice is to secure some insurance. If the vendor doesn’t include this in the shipping cost or requires it, you should probably fork up the extra cash. If your $500 Alpine faceplate arrives cracked, you’ll be disappointed. When this occurred to me, I was relieved to have insurance.
Fifth, verify that the vendor accepts PayPal. This is a valuable safety measure because it demonstrates that IF the vendor accepts PayPal, they have been verified as legitimate by Paypal. You do not need to use PayPal to complete your purchase, but…
Finally, number six, use PayPal. The system has robust anti-fraud features because of this. It’s a lot more secure than using other payment methods.
The seventh piece of advice is that you should always trust your gut. Be careful!
On my website, you’ll find the best bargains on audio equipment right now.
Thirdly: where to locate liquidators, dealers in confiscated gadgets, auctions, and the like.
This is the most cost-effective strategy. First, I’ll let you know that finding devices for meager prices is possible. I think this is the way to go if you want to get into the stereo business. Thousands of dollars worth of machinery can be purchased for a few hundred at liquidators and auctions. You can locate some great things to retain, then sell the rest on sites like eBay and Craigslist to recoup your initial investment. It’ll take some effort, but the payoff might be substantial. More information is available on my website.
Alternatively, you might purchase pre-owned machinery if you’re looking to cut costs. You can find high-quality tools at low prices on sites like eBay if you know what you’re doing, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you can be sure of the item’s condition beforehand.
Competitions are one novel approach to this problem. Meet a rival at a competition and learn from them. You can trust that their gear hasn’t been abused because they regularly replace it and are experts at installing it. Talking to rival auto sound companies is a simple way to locate high-quality gear at bargain costs.
You might look in many places, from automotive audio forums and enthusiast websites to online ads and local newspapers. Finding a well-maintained piece of equipment may be difficult, but it might be worth the cost savings in the long run.
5). Reconditioned items:
These look like they were used only halfway. When a problem arises with a product, it is typically returned to the manufacturer for repair. The manufacturer will repair the defective item(s), repackage it, and offer it to wholesalers at a reduced price. Refurbished equipment is a good deal because it is like buying new but at a lower price. Used or reconditioned items are plentiful on eBay, and I urge you to consider this route to save money.
Funding from Sponsors:
A sponsorship opportunity may present if your car is in excellent condition and turns heads. Sponsorship typically entails receiving free products from various firms in exchange for promoting and installing those products. You attend car exhibitions and spread the word about the sponsoring company in business. This is a rare opportunity to acquire no-cost goods. There is effort involved, but hey, FREE CAR AUDIO EQUIPMENT!
Make It Official:
Establish a company and connect with distributors. In most cases, a “reseller’s permit” is required. You can get this file for nothing, but use caution! It also necessitates performing some actions (such as remitting sales tax to the government). Keeping records is the only challenging part. For further information, contact the state board of equalization in your area.
Finding cheap stereo gear is easy if you’re prepared to look around.
Alan Bayer is a businessman and an avid listener of car stereos.
He operates the websites [http://www.honestaebs-caraudio.com] and [http://stores.ebay.com/honest-aebs-autosound/].
Go to [http://www.honestaebs-caraudio.com/buy-car-audio.html] to read this article’s “uncensored” version: How to Find Car Audio Deals.
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