I found the biggest reason for price difference of one dealer to another was FREIGHT...shipping to Washington state seems more expensive than any other area...if I drove 8 hours to Boise, I would save quite a bit because freight is less expensive...same as in buying from California...and if I was willing to spend a few days on the road, I could go to Iowa and really "save" a few dollars....but my time is worth more to me.
I decided to make my purchase methodically and tested the advice given online for "how to negotiate the best price for an RV"....#1 word of advice was not to pay MSRP - offer 30-40% less....be prepared to walk away, be prepared to wait a day or two for them to come back and counter offer your low ball figure.
If you start out with a high offer, you can go lower...but if you start out low, you can always go higher. Those who think you are offending a salesman for offering 40% less are just not comfortable with the prospect of negotiating conflict....the salesman is a professional, he knows how to work that end of "guilt" and discomfort to his best advantage...
This is a product a person is buying, NOT a service. In my opinion, you can negotiate products, but "services" are not really something you want to negotiate if you dont want to anger or offend the provider & you truly believe you are at the best place for that type of service needed. Who in their right mind wants to negotiate a heart surgeon's fee, or a hairstylist, or a mechanic - (oh sure, let them make up for that reduced fee by using lesser quality parts, used parts, cut corners on other areas so you can save) - service is waaay different than product. A dealership can offer fantastic service, but you must first negotiate the product at the price you want to get that wonderful service that a dealership touts...and hope that the dealership is solvent and not going to go out anytime soon.
SO anyway, I did offer 40% less the MSRP...got a huge pregnant pause from salesman on different lots after a little sputtering on their end. I just smiled back and said well, present my offer to your financial manager, I will wait. I knew I was willing to pay no more than 30% of the MSRP. They came back with a 'no deal' response. I did this with several local dealers. I finally checked out of state and out of area. They were willing to accept 32% off their MSRP. I just didnt want to make the drive...in the end, a couple dealers called me back and basically they were all at the same price (in my price requirement) so then I selected the dealership who treated me the best, they were 2 hours away.
may sound weird, but it is easier to make the deal when you are prepared to walk away. Also look at buying in the Fall - (they dont want to floor these units during winter when no one looks at them) or early Spring.
Bottom line, to save in your purchase, you have to have done your homework & know what the average cost of what you want is & realize difference in regional prices could be driven by freight expenses...I think its not surprising that the last dealer contacted is usually the one who gets the sale, because they get the educated buyer who has discovered the bottom line & all the conflict dialogue has been handled at other dealerships. LOL
Happy hunting...heh heh...it really can be a fun experience if ya dont sweat it.