Heeding Oz's advice, I tell her I'll come back for the test drive with my family. We start negotiating on price again, but she slams my latest lob of an offer to the ground, explaining she can't go any lower but might be able to cut me a deal on a few accessories. She suggests I install a few options myself, to save on the labor charge.
"I hope you did your homework, pal," Oz laughs in my ear. "Typically, anything not attached to the boat is probably cheaper at the local marine supply. As for installations, let the dealer do them. That way if something goes wrong, the dealer's mechanics have to fix it. Besides, do you want to install a head or tap into the electrical system? It's a pain in the butt, and I'm not gonna help."
I feel like Oz and Stacy are playing tennis with my brain. But her last offer has gotten my attention. Desperate to save her commission, she tosses out a juicier bone-an extended warranty.
"Tough call," says Oz. "The odds, however, favor skipping it. Most boats don't experience serious problems within the warranty period. If they did, the dealer and the insurance company would never make any money selling the policy. Besides, you don't have to buy it now-or even here. You can shop warranty coverages and usually have until the factory warranty expires to buy that extended coverage."
I tell her I'll return with the wife and kids for that test ride. Besides, next week is the end of the month. We'll see just how well Stacy holds fast when her quota is on the line.
STOP 3. The third time, as they say, is the charm. The negotiating process is going smoothly. Unlike Stacy, however, Chris seems to be doing everything he can to push me into the high end of the engine options. I start to open my mouth to say I'm not interested, when Oz promptly shuts it for me.
"Not so fast, hotshot. Maybe he's trying to upsell, but maybe he's using his experience to save you from being disappointed by an underpowered boat. This dealership has a good rep, and this guy's a boater. Listen to what he has to say and consider his advice."
Again, Oz turns out to be right. Chris gives me statistics on the lower engine choices, and I'm not impressed. I want more power out of the hole and a cruising speed where I won't be continually pushing the engine to its limit. We settle on power, but rather than lead me back to his desk, he seems to be prolonging the negotiations. "Come on, let me introduce you to our service manager and show you the service area."
Oz is obviously pleased. "That's a good sign, buddy boy. If he's proud to show it off, that means it has a good reputation and probably some well-trained mechanics. Ask about the mechanics' certification."
I do, and the answer is a good one. The primary mechanics all have a decent amount of experience under their belts, and the dealer sends them to factory training on a regular basis. He even shows me the certificates on the wall to prove it.