The right dealer will give you a discount. If one says no, try a different one, although it might be a little bit of a drive. Everything is discountable. Someone that tells you otherwise is lying to you.
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high end speaker's have the largest mark up margins in all of high end audio(up to 60%)i wouldnt dream of buying a new speaker system from a dealer & have him slap me in the face with a 20% discount let alone 1%.
look for dealer's in your area who use the web & advertise on audiogon as they will be way more likely to set you up with a great deal instead of feeding you a line of bull about not being allowed to lower their price's due to constraint's placed on them,that's the biggest lie in high end.
better yet,after you decide on which model you want just wait it out here on audiogon,sooner or later the exact model your looking for will be listed close enough to pick them up & save 50% or more off retail.
It's people that expect the big discounts that are killing hifi, plain and simple make no excuses about it. If you had worked in retail for even a week you'd realize this. I can't imagine a dealer discounting those prices, he simply can't. Yes, he's making a markup, but he's investing time and effort into you. If you don't appreciate seek a better deal elsewhere. But DON'T waste his time then beg him for a lower price. You're insulting him and making yourself look like a fool.
More then 20% off at a high end dealer is mind blowing. For as much as you might think you're spending alot of dough (And you are if your in this hobby) you have to realize, this dealer isn't a big box store. He makes this 50-60% because he HAS TOO in order to survive. If you think I'm wrong check out how many hifi dealers there are, they are a dying bread. I guess that's ok right? Well it isn't because soon you'll be buying online only and dreaming of the days you could actually audition stuff in a store and learn from somebody.
dont make apologies about wanting to spend your hard earned cash sensibly,there are a lot of guy's here who are hourly paid worker's & yes 11k is alot of cash.
the best advice i could give you is that you need to know exactly what you want & exactly what the going rate is for the same item used,if you approach buying high end gear like a business investment things will become much clearer,dont walk into a dealers store & beg as "lush" says is done just walk in & state what you want & what your willing to pay but also be sure to let him know that you will not be buying on impulse & if he cant meet your price for simply running your credit card thru then somebody else will,nothing personal just business.
get a handle on reality bro,dealers are not a dying breed they are undergoing a major change & the one's who are too set in their way's to accept & make nessacary change's are being phased out,like it or not audiogon has drasticly changed the way hifi is sold & i personally like the changes.
the day's of dealer's treating every customer like the next big whale are all done my friend,high end audio has been being sold by volume percentage's for a few years now just like everything else.
i dont care what your trying to do there is no experience like hand's on experience & no amount of time spent with any dealer will will beat hand's on experience,i would much rather have my audio know how come from my own experience with different gear in my own home because that is what teaches people how to build great sounding system's & not what was talked about with a dealer,with the exception of one dealer most other brick & mortar dealer's ive met dont even have hifi system's but choose instead to abstain from owning high end gear or have low dollar midfi system's so what's to be learned from them.
also you say that more than 20% off at a high end dealer is mind blowing well get ready to have your mind blown,on many occasion's ive walked into my dealer's store & left with deep discount's on new gear & several time's these discount's have came close to 50% & my dealer is far from being broke or stupid but he is a fantasticly savy businessman.
if you choose to pay top dollar for your gear that's fine but dont try to make other's look like the root of all evil or the grim reaper's of hifi because they chose to approach this hobby just like the dealer's do,business,nothing more.
you can talk shop till your blue in the face with dealer's but in the end all that talk will get anybody is a vocabulary full of useless audiophile phrases & a pile of geat that cost a small fortune.
How much are you willing to pay, and is the price worth it for what you get?
Discounts are just a marketing tool on a lot of products.
Remember that companies can always over-inflate the MSRP in order to offer a larger discount. Double the price, then offer 50% off....
Look at cars. People liked getting large rebates on American cars, so Detroit just raises the price so after the rebate they're getting the price they want anyway.
As an x-salesman for several high-end audio brands...if the dealer does not discount atleast 10%, go somewhere else. Furthermore don't take no BS from the dealer, be firm, and if he refuses simply leave.
Of the 4-6 different brands that we carried the markup ranged from 42-55% above dealer cost. Furthermore, the supplier gives even better discounts depending on quantity ordered and number of sales.
Personally if I purchase something new I always shoot for around 20%
on my car a brand new quest i paid 3% above dealer cost. I understand how to deal with auto dealers. Its a little bite different with this game, its a little harder to put on a poker face when the gear is so sexy. 50 to 60% mark up to me is just wrong. I am not aware of any other bussines that dose that except for the medical field. As aparamedic if i put a bandaid on you which costs my company17 cents we charge the insured $6 dollars. I get the reasons why for this mark up but whats the repercussion if the dealer sells me the wrong speaker? Not much, I just take it back.
Any intelligent audio consumer shops for price value. Just because someone is fnancially solvent enough to buy 11K speakers doesn't mean it's a smart purchase. Get your tools out and look inside most of the equipment. Very few speakers are hand made start to finish, most are mass produced to some extent (maybe not in consumer-electronics numbers, but assembly-lined nontheless). Like countless others have said, there's this true-ism "it's worth what you'll pay"
Here's my question to people who have Lush's retail phlosophy:
If I have 11K to spend and there's two different salespeople in stores next to each other on a street. They both offer excellent service, are very knowledgable and have quality audio equipment. Do you know what separates them? Think hard. Yep, it's the discount. One sales person is coming to me and one is making me come to him. Guess who gets my money?
Audio retail has, in so many stores, skewed the sales hierarchy. Somehow retailers have placed themselves at the top as the most important and the consumer has tumbled to the bottom. The disgust directed at consumers who don't immediately buy something at their price and on their terms is epic.
So many reatilers have their head in the sand in regard to the competitiveness in the audio world. Unwarranted "sense of entitlement" is one of the most destrucitve human characteristics
Dealer cost of most items they sell, including speakers, is 60% of retail price, generally, not the 40% someone above is implying; lower priced lines like Marantz and NAD may give them even lower margins. Exception is cables, which seem to have a higher markup, particularly at the manufacturer's end. High end dealers generally do not have the volume and profit margins car dealers do, so I'd cut them some slack--remember that they have operating costs that eat into that 40%. My suggestion if you want to buy from a dealer is to buy the dealer's demo speakers (assuming it's a competent dealer that knows how to set them up and doesn't blow them out), you'll save 20-25%, even more if the dealer is desperate, and they'll be already broken in as a bonus.
By the way, in answer to your question at the top of the post, Thiel always used to, at least, try to keep a leash on their dealers to keep them from discounting much. I bought my CS3s as demos when I first got into this hobby, they served me and my friend to whom I sold them well to this day!
Cj1capp, "50 to 60% mark up to me is just wrong. I am not aware of any other bussines that dose that except for the medical field."
I think you need to look at other industries before making such comments. The furniture industry is at least 100%. Most computer consulting organizations charge at least 100% over what an individual consultant makes. The overall price of products is more of an issue than just markup.
Thanks Mt10425 , it took me 2 years of over time to raise that sum and its my entire budget for L,R, C speaker and display Im am ready to wait if i must and put in the hours needed to raise the aditional funds if requried. I understood Martin Logan to be of superb bulid quality and I love the sound at least at the Dealers. My friend who was a Doctor and always got me great deals well the axiom he told me was " Never never pay retail". I as a paramedic have not had such luck. I hope I dont come across as having a Unwarranted "sense of entitlement" .Belive me I have worked hard and just want the best my money can do for me and my children. I hope not to put out this kind of money on speakers again for at least 6 to 8 years. Got to keep them kids in school.
There is another answer to your dilemma: Buy them used.
In looking here on Audiogon, there are dozens of used Martin Logan speakers. If you can't get the entire package here, you might be able to at least get some or most of them used, and then limit the amount you end up spending at a dealers.
Just my two cents worth.
PS When I bought my ML Sequel IIs, many, many years ago, I got about 10-15% discount without trying to much.
I learned a great bargaining tool from a guy who bought a used car from me once. This guy came to me with $100 dollar bills in the amount he was willing to pay for my car. It was considerably less than I wanted to take but couldn't resist the quick sale. I haven't tried this at your price point but it has worked in many situations. Just know what you are willing to pay (it should be reasonable), have funds available, talk to the decision maker and be ready to follow through.
I agree with Lush. Either appreciate the service provided by a dealer, and be happy with a typical 10-20 percent markdown, or buy off the internet and take your chances. Using a dealer can benefit you by being able to listen first (and sometimes even audition in your own home) and not choosing your equipment solely based on reviews and user posts, which can be a big economic advantage in the long run since you are less likely to purchase equipment you don't like. Good dealers can also be very helpful with equipment matching, set-up, and room optimization. But you are paying for that service. If more and more of us choose not to pay for it, then the number of dealers will decline. That is why most of them do better with HT.
Bigjoe and Rcprince are greatly mistaken about the realities of retail. THe higher ticket items are often at lower dealer margins because the manufacturer assumes the higher actual dollar figure taken in offsets the lower margin. Fact.
Brands that have a %60 margin or greater are often from borderline generic companies that do inflate the retail price to make the high percentage discount appear like a great deal.
Please refer to the post by Lush if you want some useful information. If you enjoy this hobby support it. If you don't support your local music scene you will get no good local live music. If you do not support your local restaurants you will have Hardees and Ruby Tuesdays. If you don't support your local furniture/clothing/stereo store you will have Wal-Mart.
For those who will be content with an Audiovox boombox after hi-fi is dead I say "beat those greedy stereo retailers into submission and get your stereo at cost while you can."
Some manufacturers do protect their dealers and their brand by having strict no-discount rules. Many of the brands mentioned above have these rules in their dealer agreements. This is why you will be hard pressed to find them at the same bargain discounts as brands like Pinnacle, BIC, and Cerwin-Vega.
End of rant.
I have been buying audio equipment since the mid sixties.In those days you did not get any discounts from the very few high end dealers,the seventies minimal discounts however service was impecable you could borrow equipment for home audition,the dealers were knowledgable.They came to your house set it up for you,you did not like the sound they would exchange for full value of your original purchase etc.
well in the ninties minimal or no discount,but NO service,delivery charges set up charges.Set up people had no idea about the equipment they stil charged like experts $60/hr or more.That is when I started using audiogon to purchase equipment.I am willing to pay a fair price for good service.The Audio store that will provide that MAY survive.
I beleive that the future of high end audio retail will be based on direct on more direct purchase from manufactures,direct manufactures show rooms(like in the furniture business design centers) and most important speciallity services for home set ups charging by the job or by the hour.I would hire that expert in the washington DC area in a minute and pay premium.Under this set up everyone will win the maker of equipment that sells for 4X could sell for 1.5x and the user/hobbiest could afford more high end and the qualified specialist could make a good living without the huge investment of starting an audio retail outlet.these are my 2 cents.
Bignerd,im not implying anything & im not mistaken, my figures are a fact,'certain' dealers get additional discounts for being a select/premire dealer of certain brands & they also get another discount for paying their bill to the manufacturer within 30 days & the added discount percentage's are not small,do these additional discount's not apply ?
notice that i wrote "up to 60%" when i was refering to mark up & that reflects on some of the highest priced speaker models on the market,not every model has a mark up in that range but they are there none the less, you are correct that certian manufacturer's have no discount rule's but the problem with that is that not everybody follow's these rule's so where does that leave the consumer ?
all the guy's who preach the death of hifi kill me,hifi isnt going anywhere nor are dealer's, the same guy's tout this big wealth of knowladge that can be gained from dealer's,i'll agree that you can get good advice from any competent dealer but that advice alway's come's at a price.
When customer X comes into the store and is in love with speaker Y that he read a glowing review of in publication Stereophile do I start lugging the box out to his car with my pocket full of cash?
No. I and quite a few other sleazy salespeople qualify the customers possibly misplaced lust for a possibly over hyped POS that got a great review. Often a more appropriate for room/equipment/listening preference product is available for the same if not lower price.
Is this 30 second redirection easier and more cost effective than reading hours of anonymous threads, purchasing without audition (at a great discount!), waiting, setting up, waiting for break-in, and only then realizing that this was not the right product for you?
When you go to Outback Steakhouse and ask the super-duper intelligent waiter for a recommendation on a meal that will satiate you for 8 hours you not only pay full price without hesitation,... you tip 10-15% for the honor of getting a medium steak when you ordered mid-rare and a 10 minute wait for a second Budweiser.
Go get good advice, a personalized demo, an in-home demo, from a knowledgeable salesperson on a product that you may keep and enjoy every day for 20 years and you beat him out of his commission and the store out of some of the profit that it uses for little things like electricity, wages, insurance, pest control, paper for the printer, etc.
Sure dealers get any number of different incentives to pay bills on time/early, buy in quantity, and demo entire lines of products. These huge sums of money keep them in the black too right?
(Unless you are a communist.)
Freedom, pride, victory!
About a year ago I was wanting to purchase a $6000.00 subwoofer for my HT setup. I could not get my local dealer to give me the same great price I could find online, after several emails to the owner of the local store I purchased my sub from him. What I got for the higher price I paid was about 3 hours of the salespersons time in my home, 30 miles away, to properly set up the sub in my system, which also included some help recalibrating other parts of my system that I did not even purchase from him. I paid for the personal service I got but I have been fully satisfied with the sub in my home and feel confident that the dealer will be there to assist me further if I have the need. Like everyone else here I want to purchase for the best price I can but sometimes we get what we pay for. Thanks and good luck.
Anyone who thinks a 50-60% markup is "wrong" has obviously never spent any time in retail. Many things are marked up many times over, clothes for example. A markup of 50% only gives you a gross profit of 33% try living on that after expenses. Perhaps discounting is more of a standard practise, but these days it seems like everyone has this sense of entitlement when it comes to pricing. I make a point of buying my music from a local independent record store, prices may be a little higher but I know where the money's going. Try getting a part time job in an audio store and check out the economic realities first hand, it can be sobering.
Big Joe, I have a very good handle on reality. I've worked in retail I know what kinda margins big box stores have in comparison to high end stores. The margins in High end stores are set high for a reason, they need them to surive. They don't deal in volume, they deal taking customers showing them or introducing them to hifi and hopefully holding on them them for life. Discounts are fine, but to take a person's time...sometimes hours then beat them down on price then wonder why they are closed for business well...I think it add's up.
Actually, you mentioned some dealers not changing with the times, the ones that have survived have done it not through discounting but shifting focus from Audio, to Home Theatre.
In my area (Greater Toronto Area) I can think of at least 4 dealers that use to deal in high end audio but have now taken a more mid-fi approach to Home Theatre. The reason is simple, there is no money left in Audio based on custmomers expecting the same service in the late 80's early 90's and todays trend for discount pricing. They can't afford to sell 1 pair of Wilson Audio speakers a month at 30% off.
Two channel audio is a risky enough business to begin with. Count how many friends you have, now how many are serious about music? The percentage will be small I'm sure. Now take that small percentage and have a dealer cut deals to all of them. There isn't enough money left over at the end of the month to pay for bills. If you think I'm wrong count again how many two channel dealers now focus more on home theatre. I mention all of this because I'm not a wealthy man, so I buy used. Never do I walk into a high end dealers showroom ask a bunch of questions spend time with the equipment then ask for a crazy deal.
There is nothing wrong with saving money, but there is nothing wrong with making some either. And quite frankly, in today's climate high end dealers aren't reaping the rewards of years gone by.
A discounted sale is better than no sale at all. Anyone that goes in and pays retail in this hobby is either a fool or very wealthy. The reason most of us want a discount is to get the most bang for our buck. We all usually strive for gear above and beyond our budget. LUSH wants to scold us for not being sheep and paying retail for gear marked up 40-60%-but admits he only buys used gear. So while LUSH won't support his local dealers by buying new gear at retail-he expects the rest of us to be loyal audio fools. LUSH-when you pull your foot out of your mouth-please then kick yourself in the a$$ with it. Its all supply and demand-99% of audio gear is grossly overpriced. The manufacturers are the ones that need a reality check. If the dealers continue to close up-it will ultimately put the manufacturers out of buisness too. The popularity of this website proves that their are endless audiophiles looking to spend alot of money on gear-were just looking for fairly priced equipment that gives us the most bang for our buck...........
Good morning Lush. You make good points. Let me say that two of us (with differing POV's) have used the phrase "sense of entitlement". Both uses are valid. Customers who simply "expect" dollars off are better off using the net and retailers who "expect" potential customers to buy their sales lines Hook, Line and Sinker without asking questions or leaving to go home and process/discuss the info with a significant other before coming back to purchase is arrogant. I always support buying local if possible and I can't tell you how many times I've passed on a "done deal" because a salesperson just annoyed the sh*t out of me.
This isn't a black/white customer vs retailer issue. Customers should work for the best deal and salespeople should extol the virtues of quality accessories and equipment and try to acquire every dollar the customer budgeted.
What gets lost is what a "customer" actually is. A person doesn't become a customer "only after a sale", we are customers as soon as we have an interest in something (our brain says we need it and we put a mental plan in place to get it). I am a customer before I walk into your store and the onlt way I have to know if you understand my need/want is to talk casually with you. I may not have the money today because I'm not shopping for equipment, I'm shopping for a salesperson, some I trust and like talking with. Personal interactions are very complex, equipment is not (if you don't seem to care if I'm in your store, act like I'm wasting your time or treat me in a condesending manner by putting yourself on an informational pedestal, I'm gone and so is my future money). Audio is emotional and we want to FEEL good about our purchases. Negotiation is about feeling good, not about money. Reatilers often lose sight of this factor. If you see us as simply $$$, ultimately no one will be happy with the sale.
I carry roughly a dozen high-end electronics and loudspeaker lines. On paper the average mark-up is right at 40 points, but in practice it's less because in most cases I have to pay for shipping. I have one line that's at 50 points if I pay in time, and two that are in the low 30's. My cable lines have a higher markup on average, but I don't have any that are over 50 points. The trend I have seen is lower markup (as low as 25 points in some cases) in the higher end gear, with higher markup (up to 80 points) in midfi gear.
I haven't had to deal with the overhead of running a brick-and-mortar store, as mine burned down before it ever opened. My experience has been as an in-home showroom. Now some of my manufacturers have strict rules about discounting, and if I want to keep those product lines I have to abide by their wishes. I'm not a Martin Logan dealer, but that might be your dealer's situation.
You might try this: Ask your dealer if, instead of offering you a discount (which I would say is customary for large or system purchases), would he consider giving you a generous trade-in allowance on some used gear? He may be prohibited by his manufacturer's rules from discounting, but he is not prohibited from offering you more than bluebook value on a trade-in.
Best of luck to you,
KrellDog, I think you need to re-read my post. I said I buy used because I'm not a rich man, but I don't waste a sales person's time. I have bought new before, NAD CD and Amp and gotten a little off, I know there is room to move but I didn't bust his chops about it.
The difference in my opinion is that I'm realistic in my approach. I'd never dream of wasting somebody's time or taking alot of it only to badger him on price. If price is my main concern I'd do online research and buy used or online. Which I have done lately...that's the difference. So please try and actually read what I'm typing before you go on some ignorant post yammering on like I'm the anti-christ.
A large part of being a succesful retailer is to get people in your store(physically) Regardless of whether you buy something or not it gives the retailer the oppurtunity to win your buisness. That buisness may be today/next week/or next year. If your in their store during buisness hours it doesn't cost them anything to provide you with information and equipment demonstrations. This is their oppurtunity to win you over as a customer. I've kicked many of tires in my day,and I've also spent thousands of dollars in audio shops. My money will always be spent with the store that bends over backwards whether their making a sale or not. Buying audio for me is a process. I'm going to take my time and road test the gear/and drain the salesperson for every drop of information I can get. If the store/salesperson isn't willing to do this-and provide me with a realistic discount(10-20%)off,I'll go somewhere else. You put your foot in your mouth by preaching to us about supporting our local dealers-and not beating them down for a discount. Yet you don't support your local dealers because you only buy used gear. You buy used gear because you can get more gear for your money-and thats all any of us are trying to do regardless of whether we buy used or new. My whole point is that your in no place to scold people looking for the best deal they can get. Ultimately the dealer can just say no. It still beats a store full of gear and no customers.
I don't know how many times I have to type the same thing Krelldog...I never said I ONLY buy used. I said I have bought used. I mentioned I bought a NAD CD and amp at a local dealer...I've also bought accessories from them as well...I just don't waste their time with outlandish discounts
I never said there's anything WRONG wtih asking for a reasonable discount...I said the 30% and over get's a little out of hand, these are high end dealers not Best Buy's moving clearance...their business is service first, not discounts. And in regards of getting people in the gate, yes its important, but In the world of hi-end anything, its more important in keeping them. This is done through service rather then pricing. Much like a car salesman working for BMW or a person selling Rolex watches.
Caveat emptor! After all, the dealer doesn't have to listen to you daily for 10 years, but you have live with your system. Nobody has the stake that you do in investing your hard-earned money.
I have recently bought a system and have learned a big lesson: if you buy new from a dealer, MAKE SURE IT IS THE RIGHT THING FOR YOU! Things don't sound the same when you get them home. If you buy something new, and try to return it, you will get pushed into keeping it until it "breaks in", as in "Oh, yeah, those speakers need 200 hours before you should listen to them". So if after a month or so you still find it's not what you want for your $10,000, what will you do? You can sell it used, and take a 20% loss (or more), or you can return it to your dealer, who will also charge you a restocking fee of 20%. So with a new $10000 purchase, you will lose $2000 just by taking that equipment home.
Whereas if you buy something used, you get a chance to realy try it out. If it turns out not to be the right thing, you can sell it and probably not lose too much.
I support buying from dealers, and do it when I can. But just try returning a $10000 item to a dealer and see what happens.
Good luck with your negotiations
I must be one of the lucky ones. My dealer lets me home audition anything in his store than doesn't weigh more than a small car. I can go in his store and listen for a full day 10am to 6pm and he doesn't bother me for one minute unless I ask him too. On top of
that he gives me 20%
off on new equipment and up to 35% off on current demos. BTW- He carries all the top brands that you can't get discounts at the other stores. Is this guy going out business, Hell no he is one of the highest volume dealers in the state and I don't live in Kansas.(no offense to Kansas people I'm just trying to make a point) He lives in a multi-million dollar house and drives a car that cost a third as much as my house and I don't live in a shack. Meanwhile the other dealers have turned down my business because I asked for a discount. In the last year 2 of those dealers have closed there shops and the 3rd one just sold his business.
Cjlcapp, you have clearly touched a nerve! I have wrestled with the ideas at the core of your question for some time. The answer for you will be of course be your own, but it's encouraging to see such differing points offered for consideration. In fact, the emotion displayed in this thread shows that we take this seriously.
On that thought, I offer my own view. Lush, I agree with you. Krelldog, I disagree but I see where you are coming from.
The litmus test for me is found through intention. If your intention is to buy from a brick and mortar, then taking their resources is potentially an equitable transaction. If, however, your intention is to take their resources without buying, you have in fact stolen.
This is obviously a moral thing, and I don't pretend to take the high road easily. Anyone else have the same view?
Krelldog,you took the words right out of my mouth,10% is better than nothing.
here's what make's no sense to me about the dealer's who are unwavering on their price's or your defense of them,when you know the prospective buyer your talking with is a working man who needs to save in order to fund his purchase(like me)wouldnt it be smarter to make that buyer an offer he cant refuse even if it only meant making a 10% profit & gain a customer rather than chance alienating him,people who have to save & i really mean save & not just taking one vacation instead of 3 or putting off new furniture for their vacation home but realy save need to make their cash stretch & if you give them a smoking deal they will be back,instead of taking that approach they keep the price's high & drive that person to buy used leaving them with zip.
im very lucky that i have a great dealer who realizes that i simply cant afford to buy high end gear unless the price's are low enough that when i want to buy something different i can sell my old gear & not loose anything & maybee even put a few buck's in my own pocket instead of loosing a fat wad.
i will never understand the elitest attitude that many dealer's have twords customer's that ask for discount's or beg as you call it nor will i ever understand why people such as you leap to their defense,one thing that i know for sure is that if i had to pay 90% of msrp on the gear i buy i would be limited to midfi gear at best & by the time i saved up enough cash to buy a better 'whatever' the rest of my rig would be obsoulete so what would be the point of even trying to upgrade,i'd call it quit's before i went thru all of that & took huge losses when i sold to upgrade,the same 'starving dealers surely dont give a second's thought to me loosing 50% out of pocket at resale time,is that fair?
when a dealer give's a customer better price's he not only gain's a loyal customer but he gain's a customer that will upgrade more often & spend more in his store because he isnt loosing when he sell's his old gear to buy new but these guy's cant see that far ahead they are only worried about now instead of building a real customer base.
when i first went from midfi gear to the higher dollar gear i was forced due to a severe lack of funds to buy only used gear but after meeting a dealer who was willing to go the long haul with me & not try to make his whole monthly expenses off my single purchase i have been able to spend a lot of cash in his store & i constantly upgrade,also when i do upgrade i never make a move without first giving him the chance for my business.
i think that alot of dealer's have lost their way over the last 10 year's or so & blame their slumping profit's on internet site's & used gear buyer's instead of looking within & try to figure out why they do not have a loyal customer base anymore & it's not home theater either,home theater has become a huge part of high end audio & like it or not any dealer that is to thrive will need to offer these types of products.
last year most dealer's snubbed their nose's at my business & made me offer's like 5 or 10% off & in return they gained 0% of close to 30k worth of my upgrade's & lost me forever as a potential customer while the dealer who i am loyal to profited 15% off of that same business with me & this summer when i upgrade he will profit again.
Cjlcapp,keep on looking bro,sooner or later you WILL find a dealer who wants to have you as a customer & who will give you good deal's,it took me a while but i found one & you will too.
dont take my comments as dealer bashing because they are not & i do believe that dealers can use our business but i dont believe that we should buy from them soley on the basis that they have the gear.
Douglikesaudio,thank you I have enjoyed reading all of the posts and am learing a little about this game. your litmus test for me is a little harsh. When you say"If, however, your intention is to take their resources without buying, you have in fact stolen." I never would even consider this option. If I hand over my money and the dealer takes it this results in a equitable transaction. Aussming each party has roughly the same knoldge base. I am but a green- horn in this sport, I belive in working for what i want and getting the most for that hard earned dollar. Douglikesaudio I enjoyed your post and hope to read more of your thoughts and that applies to all that have responed. cj
CJ, sorry if the litmus test seemed directed at you. I offer it as a counter to some of the posts above from other responders. Also, you made it clear in your post that you are new to the hobby and trying to figure out how to proceed. I don't like sounding high and mighty here, but there are so many views in the above threads that counter my own experience that I thought it best to offer another side.
In short, to some responders above a key component of "value" is the price they pay relative to MSRP. I suggest that you don't get hung up on that definition of value at such an early stage in this hobby. What I have found is that a really good dealer is worth alot more than they usually charge. Their charge being the difference between what I could pay from the lowest price alternative vs in their store.
Let me give you an example. My local 2channel shop has been in business nearly 40 years and is the last 2channel shop in our metro area. I went in last year to see if he had a Sony SACD player as I was hot to get one. He didn't have one but he acquainted himeself with me and my goals and said I may be interested in another product he carried. I borrowed the piece he suggested for the weekend. I brought it back the following week and ordered one from him that actually cost 3 times more than the loaner. I have since purchased many more items from the same manufacturer through this dealer. The kicker here is that I wouldn't know a thing about this manufacturer's products if the dealer hadn't been there to answer my questions and loan the product to me for the weekend. Now, when I buy from him I sometimes get discounts, but it's not the driving factor for the purchase.
On the flipside, I've bought on Agon after hearing things at shows and at friends. Doing so, I don't believe I am taking away business that I owe to my dealer. The difference is I didn't go to my dealer and listen and then say "if you don't give me a discount I'll buy elsewhere!" or some other ultimatum that puts his business at risk.
I am in a similar boat as you, in that $11k is alot to spend on anything audio, and I want to get a good deal like anybody. But, I don't want to sacrifice my values in the process.
This is a great hobby. Don't underestimate how much a good dealer can improve your enjoyment of it.
A good dealer is very important/and a good customer from a dealers perspective is equally as important. This hobby goes both ways. The internet has changed the whole marketplace of audio(and everthing else) With these changes dealers as well as manufacturers need to change their marketing strategies. The internet has increased the competition. This is great for the audio consumer. This is nothing we should apologize for. Finding the best price we can,and still expecting support(from the store and the manufacturer)is something that should be strived for and expected by an audio consumer. I think a large part of the problem lies in the lap of the manufacturer. Their prices are ridiculously inflated. Thats the part thats squeezing the audio shops. The vast majority of high end gear you would be lucky to get 50% of retail 6 months after its sold. This is gear in pristine condition. If this is the case-was it really worth what it originally retailed for?
OK here ya go,
If you ask no more than 5 questions ask for 20%
If he turns lights off around you and walks you out as he locks the door then dont get too greedy
If you slap your cash down or credit card and simply order your gear with no more then a pleasant
"Hello.....nice weather ehhhh?" then ask for 30%
(I mean you didnt use him for any knowledge riiiiight?)
and try not to feel too bad for dealers that dont make as much as they did some time ago......they made too much!
I bought BW speakers, Rotel amps and Processors, wires on 4 seperate occasions and always got 20% off MSRP everytime.
Matter of fact I think I got the wires at 50% but thet were not really high end stuff. I did get a quote for a cinema center that I was going to add to my Innersound Eros and again it was flat 20% off MSRP.
You are not donig your dealer any favors Chadnliz.
ML keeps an eye on these forums.
ML has a fairly strict "NO DISCOUNT" policy.
Dealers (yours included I'm sure) are some of the only people who have the time and inclination to spend all day on A-gon.
Don't be surprised if your dealer suddenly gets conservative with discounts.
Don't be surprised if ML gives him a spanking too.
Ata way to post yourself out of a good thing.
What about the notion of VALUE???? If one has a knowlegable dealer (as I've had--two actually), it can save a person time AND money by not having to first purchase, then empirically test a list of products in the quest of meeting one's own sonic criteria. Initial purchase price becomes less of an issue if long term satisfaction (and thus less component turnover) occurs. Also, the HASSLE FACTOR goes way down.
This is not to suggest that one should have blind faith, either. The above points apply ONLY if the dealer is:
1)totally honest, both with respect to pricing and with respect to sharing their blunt opinion (good or bad, and in detail) about products; 2)smart, experienced, knowlegable and familiar with your personal sonic tastes, and 3)is selling items which have a great price to performance ratio.
I've known a number of high-end dealers, none of which I would ever trust anywhere near 100%, to select the right component for me. But I've never met some of the hard working, knowlegeable and experienced, intelligent honest and helpful, high-end dealers/businessmen, who are sucessful in such markets as NYC and LA. If anyone here knows of such a dealer I would appreciate contact info. It would also help if he/she customarily gave significant discounts.
I've done repeat business with Kevin Deal; he comes closer than most. It's also very hard to ignore those 3-4 full page ads in every issue, each ad replete with numerous examples of Kevin's twisted sense of humor.
I sold audio in a retail setting from 1975 til 1988 and sporadically after that. In those days, hi-end stores were able to subsidize the cost of maintaining a high dollar inventory by selling large volumes of mid-fi stuff. We didn't have cables but most stores pushed some higher margin line of speakers as a loss leader and cheap phono cartridges had as much as 90 points in them. We used the term points to indicate what percentage of the total ticket was profit. A 40 point line cost the dealer 60% of list price. As a salesman, I was a sharecropper. I would work the floor typically maintaining a 31 to 35 per cent aggragate profit, of which I was paid 17 to 20 per cent. What this means is that I got between 5 and 7% of my total sales volume. This represented a significant piece of dealer overhead. Shipping, advertising, insurance, FICA, high rent, large floor space, yellow pages, utilities, etc. all added up. But the dealer could do it.........until the Best Buys and Circuit Cities took away the mainstream. As someone else stated, the higher end product did not offer the margins that were growing on the mid fi stuff. Also factor in that the mid fi customer was less savvy and more apt to pay list price and be otherwise duped. It left the high end store with the option of moving to HT or trying to hang on with infrequent high end sales. Today high end audio stores can only survive in areas of high population density and places like where I live are virtually unrepresented. That's a primary reason why I use Audiogon. We all know that the initial purchaser eats the depreciation and fortunately for me there are plenty of you willing to do that.
The higher the price of something, the fewer the potential customers. High end audio very nearly priced itself out of existence. Today there is a new and promising movement in high end. Factory direct marketing is showing signs of success. Srajan of 6moons.com seems to deliberately ferret out products like this for review. Typically there is an in-home trial period where you get to make up your mind slowly utilizing your own system and room over a predetermined period of time. What could be better? If you decide against the purchase, you will be out round trip freight but that can be considered rent on a brand new product which you return with no depreciation or insurance against buying something that you will later have to lose money on at resale. There aren't any villians in the picture. All parties are just trying to make their way. Remember that these are luxuries and, despite the half serious melodrama often expressed, not necessities like the exploitively priced fuels we all consume daily. If you want to be pissed off about pricing, I suggest that you direct your attention toward energy and medical extortion. Those are essentials. Audio consumption remains voluntary.