Price negotiation on new kayak????

I am going to buy a Alchemy 14.0L kayak from a kayak/canoe dealer. I test drove a Alchemy and two other kayaks at this dealership. They are asking MSRP and mine will have to be ordered. Is there any negotiation in price on new kayaks or does the manufacturer offer end of year sales on last years model? I know it is not a car but I have never bought a new kayak and was just wondering.

Have to say that the owner and all the people that work for him have been FANTASTIC. Extremely nice and helpful and always encouraging me to put any kayak they have on the water and test it out.

Definitely the kind of dealer I want to support if I can but don’t want to be foolish either and overpay.

Again, I have never bought a new kayak so I thought I would ask.


Dealing with reputable shops
Most reputable paddle shops will post a fair price for paddling merchandise. They are small businesses that don’t make a lot off of each boat. You can politely ask if the boat is likely to be part of a sale or if they can do any better on the price, they may throw in some gear you need, but I would not expect them to haggle down much. I started kayaking in 1999 here in San Diego and we had many places to buy decent kayaks. We are down to one long term reliable store, where most of the serious paddlers here in San Diego know the owner well. I don’t buy much kayaking gear lately, as I’ve moved into niche of waveskiing, but when I buy from the shop I wound never consider haggling over price.

End Of Season Sales
Definitely look for an end of season sale.

I bought two kayaks 2 Septembers ago at a 30% discount, which was just about dealer cost.

There again, that dealer - one of the largest on the east coast - went bankrupt this summer, which might say something about their fairly generous discounts!

Most likely depends on the outfitter.
I had inquired about a specific kayak locally and was offered a discount on the spot. I hadn’t asked for one. This was on a new boat, to be built this winter and delivered in the spring. No delivery fee, either.

It might come down to how much they want your business.

On the other hand, if you find a great outfitter you like and trust, treasure and support it.

Know exactly where you’re talking about and can vouch that they make very little profit. In fact once they were going through the process of special ordering me an item and found out that it would save about $100 if I bought it directly through the manufacturer’s website compared to if they had to order it into the shop. They didn’t have to tell me that, but because they did, I made a point to purchase several smaller things through them with a small mark-up just to support their business.

Seasonal sales are usually for in-stock
The main purpose of end of season sales is to reduce stock on hand. You say you will be ordering this boat, so it’s kind of unreasonable to expect a discount. Honestly, the MSRP markup on kayaks is really quite small compared to other goods, even sporting goods. The real margin is usually 25% or less, so even a 10% discount can be cutting the shop’s profit in half.

So, no, you are NOT being naive or a sucker for paying full price. Good quality kayaks are worth what we pay for them, in my opinion. And they will hold their resale value far better than most other goods. I paid full MSRP for my first kayak ($3,300 at the time) from a local dealer and never regretted it.

Not to mention that supporting our local independent paddling outfitters is an important contribution to the advancement of the sport. I’ve sorely missed the shop in my town that closed its doors two years ago after being the convenient source for all outdoor gear and skills instruction for more than 40 years.

You got fantastic service

– Last Updated: Oct-24-16 10:52 PM EST –

So you want a discount. Imagine going to a fantastic restaurant, then bartering the tab after the meal was over. Paying msrp isn't "overpaying" it's how they are able to pay the bills and the wages of those folks you got fantastic service from. If you want to paddle "a deal" go find a deal elsewhere and don't try and barter their wage down.

second what Willowleaf said
End of year sales are to reduce inventory.

Dealers get a better price and/or less shipping costs when they order in bulk. Often this is done at the beginning of the season (or even prior fall) as the do a pre-season purchase. These boats then arrive in spring. They want to sell as many of these as they can before the next year’s pre-season order arrives, which is why you can sometimes find end of season sales. Mostly happens for products which have seasonality (next year’s model is different than current) or ones which they sell a lot of. Not common for the higher end products.

If they are ordering a single boat for you, they will have to pay a higher (per-boat) shipping rate (than if they ordered a full container full). That shipping price comes out of their margin, so that reduces their ability to discount that boat. Shipping a single boat can be over $100.

If you really want a boat at a discount and can wait, perhaps see if they can add the boat to the next order, which helps them a bit on shipping and maybe they will pass on this saving to you. But likely not worth it.

Might be better to see if they will discount some of the added gear you may need - skirt, paddle, etc.

over the top
That’s a bit over the top, chill dude.

All he’s asking since he’s not bought a new kayak before is if it’s negotiated like buying a car or not, don’t have to get silly about it.

Bill H.

Thanks everyone for the information. I was thinking the same but thought I would ask anyway.

I did overreact. It’s not silly or overpaying to pay msrp. You can ask about sales or discounts. I guess my trigger are people who attempt to drive every purchase down after they got information they didn’t have before.

Not a problem
It’s cool LeeG.

The way I look at it,
is if they were fantastic, did a great job and went the extra mile for me, I would pay what they ask and not try to get them down on a small as it is profit. The little businesses need to stay alive or all or business will end up over seas. Support the little guy and he will always be there to support you.

Expect to pay
MSRP at most paddling shops unless they are very high volume vendors and you are not buying their best selling boat.

Also it is not unexpected for some / many shops to offer 10% to 20% discounts on select boats once or twice a year depending on promotions from manufacturers.

End of season
I’ve bought 2 kayaks that way. I bought a Necky Narpa about 20 years ago that was a rental boat that they were selling, and an Anas Acuta a few years ago that was a manufacturer’s demo boat that they were unloading.

Both were great deals, and in those cases, they probably made more money on them renting and demoing than they cost new before they sold them to me. The Anas was pristine, and $1,000 off MSRP.

If you know exactly what you want, definitely consider end of season sales.

Very lucky here.
While I am very sympathetic to the plight of business, I’m lucky to live where there is sufficient competition that there is always opportunity to get a deal and I guess it is in my nature to want a deal.

Some of the best deals I’ve gotten, I really didn’t ask for–they were just offered and I was grateful for that. In return, I have always felt somewhat obligated to put in a good word for the business and hopefully brought them many times the return on their “good deal” investment in me.

So with reference to the particular purchase in question here and since the boat is not in stock, maybe it would be best to see if there was a chance on a package deal for some ascessories–not necessarily freebies, but … well, you know what I mean.

Same here
Been a customer of hers since Ed Gillett folded shop. She’s shaved the price on boats for me some, but knowing that there’s little profit margin in boats, I won’t haggle. I buy gear there rather than from a manufacturer’s website so she can make a buck or two on the deal. So for the OP’s question, it doesn’t hurt to ask politely but be good to those people who are good to you. Good relationships in the sea kayak world are golden.

Different philosophy
If at garage sale, sure I might try to negotiate price on an item.

But I’d be loathe to nickel and dime an experienced and helpful outfitter specializing in a niche market. That’s a business I want to see continue flourishing as they seem to be few and far between.

I’d never walk into a local shop and try to buy an item at a lower price than what the tag states. Why is a kayak outfitter any different?

second that sentiment

– Last Updated: Oct-25-16 8:58 PM EST –

about sufficient competition and wanting a deal.For a long while, one of the local paddling shops wouldn't discount very much so I didn't buy much from them.

A change in management brought down prices and they focused more on volume rather than maintaining a margin.

I bought a lot more stuff, established a relationship with some of the staff, got good deals, and shop got a lot of referral business.

so it goes, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.

I agree with this

– Last Updated: Oct-26-16 12:08 AM EST –

Look how many times it's happened over the years where someone has come on here bemoaning the fact that their favorite paddling shop is closing. This doesn't happen as a result of these guys raking in the bucks with every boat sale. Many of us have seen the same trend in bike shops. Personally, I don't feel ripped off when paying full price for a boat at a shop that provides all sorts of things (accessories, knowledge, and general ability to talk about paddling if only for fun) that generic stores can't. I'm actually glad I to have a paddling shop to go to for all those things, and I don't begrudge them the little bit of profit that they make.

Try telling your barber or a professional photographer, or whatever, that you think you deserve a special deal. Think about it. The markup on professional photography is probably several-hundred percent, and does it really "cost" your barber $18 to run those electric clippers for 15 minutes? But the thing is, he/she isn't getting rich on that deal either. I don't begrudge people charging enough to make a living.

Oh, years ago I had a barber who said that he didn't want to hear complaints about his prices, so the last time he'd found it necessary to raise prices, he didn't. He said that instead of raising the price, he just reduced the quality.