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View Full Version : What is your best response to customers who ask for a deal or discount?


Direct Action Solutions
03-05-2012, 3:08 PM
This should be a good one.

This seems to come up a lot when I am talking to other dealers. Some don't mind it, some hate it.

Why does the firearm industry have to deal with this issue ( more than other industries)?

Why do customers feel that a discount or deal is in order? Why do they think prices are negotiable like buying a car?

jloffermann
03-05-2012, 3:26 PM
Sometimes I'll ask If I know there is a better deal, to see how the sellar reacts. Guns are like cars too in many ways. I like to keep money localy so I'll bargin if I MUST the worst they can say is no.

My main reason is I buy bulk items with cash, exp: bulk ammo, with a few accessories and the firearm. if they go for any discount I let my friends know and they're the kind of people that will go to that store and then they talk... so if the store is willing to work with some sort of discount with bulk purchases they'll get more business a win/win situation.

Rudolf the Red
03-05-2012, 7:45 PM
No one has ever asked me for a discount.

Munk
03-05-2012, 10:37 PM
This should be a good one.

This seems to come up a lot when I am talking to other dealers. Some don't mind it, some hate it.

Why does the firearm industry have to deal with this issue ( more than other industries)?

Why do customers feel that a discount or deal is in order? Why do they think prices are negotiable like buying a car?

Firearms, collectibles, TV's, appliances, food, cars, books, car parts, tires... these are just a few of the things that i've gotten at a discount just for asking.

Every single one of them has had me as a repeat customer, provided the prices remained competitive. I've also told friends about these places when they were looking for similar items.

Firearms are expensive (yes, I know you'll probably feed more in ammo through the thing, but as a 1 time pickup, it's a decent chunk of throwing around money). There's competition online and in private sales. To justify buying from you, I would either need a discount, an added incentive (throw in a crappy holster, a case, a box of ammo, or don't hassle about the gun lock-just throw it in), or some of the most amazing customer service ever.

People think the prices are negotiable, because they ARE negotiable. No margin is so small that a portion of it can't be sacrificed to encourage repeat business. If the gun isn't a rarity, then you can afford to lose 10% or so of your profit margin in the name of customer retention, word of mouth, and growing your brand, especially since you can easily restock on many common guns.

Discounts that are reasonable to offer: Price matching an online price that's not at a clearance place like CDNN or selling below cost, minor $ off directly (5 - 25), a free item like mentioned before, a discount if they buy X items with the gun (buy a scope with your rifle and we'll lasersight it, install it, and throw in some scope rings free).

curvejunkie
03-06-2012, 6:32 AM
Firearms, collectibles, TV's, appliances, food, cars, books, car parts, tires... these are just a few of the things that i've gotten at a discount just for asking.

Every single one of them has had me as a repeat customer, provided the prices remained competitive. I've also told friends about these places when they were looking for similar items.

Firearms are expensive (yes, I know you'll probably feed more in ammo through the thing, but as a 1 time pickup, it's a decent chunk of throwing around money). There's competition online and in private sales. To justify buying from you, I would either need a discount, an added incentive (throw in a crappy holster, a case, a box of ammo, or don't hassle about the gun lock-just throw it in), or some of the most amazing customer service ever.

People think the prices are negotiable, because they ARE negotiable. No margin is so small that a portion of it can't be sacrificed to encourage repeat business. If the gun isn't a rarity, then you can afford to lose 10% or so of your profit margin in the name of customer retention, word of mouth, and growing your brand, especially since you can easily restock on many common guns.

Discounts that are reasonable to offer: Price matching an online price that's not at a clearance place like CDNN or selling below cost, minor $ off directly (5 - 25), a free item like mentioned before, a discount if they buy X items with the gun (buy a scope with your rifle and we'll lasersight it, install it, and throw in some scope rings free).


I would agree with this...^ Even the illusion of working with someone, IE the example of throwing in a cheap holster or case/gun lock can make or break a deal on an expensive purchase. On the other hand, being a brick wall, can not only allienate the customer to you, but kill the sale and any future visits. I think its worth the negotiation, even if the sale falls through.

efillc
03-06-2012, 6:46 AM
People often know that with used or consignment guns there may be some wiggle room. New - not so much.

OldShooter32
03-06-2012, 6:55 AM
Years ago, I was negotiating the purchase of a rifle from an "old shooter" and when I offered a lower price, he looked at me over his glasses, said, "It don't cost anything to feed." and put it back in his safe...

therealnickb
03-06-2012, 7:16 AM
This should be a good one.

This seems to come up a lot when I am talking to other dealers. Some don't mind it, some hate it.

Why does the firearm industry have to deal with this issue ( more than other industries)?

Why do customers feel that a discount or deal is in order? Why do they think prices are negotiable like buying a car?

IMO it's not so much what you say but how you say it. Since there are many different business models for retail sales, just be true to yours. If you generally do not over price to begin with, a simple "this is our best price" will do. Be polite & professional.

That said, you don't need everyone to be your customer either. What's the point of matching anyone's price or giving away free stuff if you lose money on the deal. Some folks are just cheap bastages that will never be happy unless they save every possible penny. Nothing will change that. Again, be polite but I would just steer them toward whatever is on sale and leave it at that.

Most folks I know are reasonable. They just want accurate information and to be treated with courtesy.

kemasa
03-06-2012, 1:14 PM
It really depends on the situation. If the price is reasonable and you are just trying to save some money, then it can cost you money if the person gets annoyed and decides to not sell it to you. In other cases, it does not hurt to ask.

When the price is low and the person wants it even lower, then that makes it a bit annoying. It also does matter how the person asks.

tenpercentfirearms
03-06-2012, 2:30 PM
I purposely mark up my in store items so I can just say, "For you, today, how about $50 off." I also offer cash discounts because I don't have to pay the credit card company.

I don't take it personal. If they ask for too low, I say I can't do it. If they storm out and I never see them again, no big deal. Very few people have ever stormed out of my shop. And those that did, I wasn't sad to see them go.

X231
03-06-2012, 5:32 PM
I'm gonna thread crash here because I'm a consumer.

Most times I will sweat a nickel out of a seller just for fun. But I never ask for nor expect a discount when it comes to guns. I shop online to find the lowest price, then check out a local gun shop. If they are somewhat inline then I buy. I now have my favorite LGS and I'm more loyal to them than I am to my doctor. Their price, while not the lowest in the land, is usually the lowest around. The owner treats me great and that is worth giving him my business. Last time I was in I bought two guns from him. He offered to take care of the dros on the second. I didn't ask him to, but I really appreciated it. I know he made money, but so what if he made money off of me? .. that's why he's there. I understand that it cost him considerable $$ to run the place and keep his doors open. If he only makes $10 on every gun he sells he won't be there long. On the other hand the guys that want to charge full bore on everything will only see me in their store once.

INDABZ
03-09-2012, 1:17 AM
I don't take it personal. If they ask for too low, I say I can't do it. If they storm out and I never see them again, no big deal. Very few people have ever stormed out of my shop. And those that did, I wasn't sad to see them go.

Right...don't take it personal.....but what gets me is when the consumer takes it personal when you won't sell it to him at his offer....

The people who says I got cash....ok...than bust out the plastic:facepalm:...ya don't see benjamins don't get cash price.....

But it's the same for buying from distros....looking for the best price...free ship..etc

Plus go to few gunshows outta state...there are 3 prices on guns....CC..CASH...TRADE

Just the nature of the business...

Wait till prices skyrocket.....people want old price.....ya me too...but they won't sell me gold at 250 an once

OK...gotta answer the OP question.....RESPONSE

"you paying cash"
"you plan on buying five of those"
"Who the hell has it at that price"

natrab
03-09-2012, 1:47 AM
Gun stores seem to have some of the highest mark-ups I've seen. I often see guns marked up $100 or more over MSRP and it blows my mind. I usually end up not even offering and I either order online or through my preferred FFL.

I've also noticed some local gun shops that have no interest at all in selling to an informed buyer. They'd rather not give us the time of day when they can sell someone a Glock 19 as their first handgun for $700 without them knowing the difference. I understand it's a demand based market, but it gets on my nerves sometimes.

Most of the Calguns FFLs/shops are honest and give reasonable prices. Unfortunately you're not the majority of gun shops and the rep of others probably bleeds over to you.

SFgiants105
03-09-2012, 2:32 AM
No one has ever asked me for a discount.

That's cuz you keeps it real ;)

cbaer5
03-09-2012, 2:33 AM
I'll just say this, for me I dont expect to get a deal on one item whether that be a gun or a high priced single item. However if Im buying multiple items I would like to get something. Case in point I went to riflegear (because they had all of the items I wanted in stock) for my last AR I bought nothing but parts and had $1500 cash 15 hundred dollar bills in my pocket. My total before asking for a deal was at just under 1300 and the guy said the prices are set and I said ok, but there was a reason I brought 1500 it was because I had planed to buy a few other things but I knew I could at least get a "cash" price for the other things my local store even though it was only for 200.

You know since then I have not bought anything over 20 bucks from them and it was only once just because I was there meeting someone for a privet sale. I dont think I will ever buy anything else from them again if I can help it. They are out of my way and next time I can and will wait for my local guy to order whatever it is. The truly messed up thing about it is I know my local guy doesn't do as much busyness and most of the time he will beat riflegears prices, and if he can do it I know they (riflegear) could have done something. anyway thats enough from me.

akcooper9
03-09-2012, 4:58 AM
Why do customers feel that a discount or deal is in order? Why do they think prices are negotiable like buying a car?

Everything is negotiable...PERIOD

Rule .308
03-09-2012, 5:08 AM
I run an automotive repair business and I get ground on by customer's routinely. My simple rule of thumb is that if you want a discount then you need to bring something to the table too and that something is cash. You want a discount and then you would like to put it on your CC so I can pay up to 3% to process it? I don't think so and as Wes pointed out, if you get a discount it is probably because they saw you coming and set the price 5-10% high in the first place and let you grind a little off the top so you think you got a deal. Remember, it is not so important that someone really got a deal or not, just so long as they think they did.

tenpercentfirearms
03-09-2012, 7:25 AM
Gun stores seem to have some of the highest mark-ups I've seen. I often see guns marked up $100 or more over MSRP and it blows my mind. I usually end up not even offering and I either order online or through my preferred FFL.

The margins in the gun business are pathetic. If a shop can sell a $700 Glock to someone, I am proud. Let consumers spend more money they they "could". As long as you don't feel like you wasted your money, then why do you care?

This is business, don't take it personal. If a gun shop can "gouge" their customers and the customers are happy, then good for the gun shop. This isn't Communist Russia. We are run by a capitalist system. Supply and demand.

I try to keep my prices as competitive as possible, so I won't be selling $700 Glocks. However, I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge that ill-informed customers weren't my favorite. I would rather have a regular Joe walk into my shop any day over a Calgunner. However, Calgunner's money is just as green I offer decent prices with a great selection and a lot of knowledge. Just remember this thread. Bring cash and you can work a deal.

Rigmarole
03-09-2012, 11:56 AM
I will work with a customer if there is something that I can do to offer a better deal.

Very often, our margins are already set so low that I have no where else to move and will simply say, "that is our best price on that item."

Roach_Infinity
03-09-2012, 2:30 PM
As above, as a salesperson I would use the opportunity to work a "package deal." Also depended on the customer.

"Heavy Users" as Mc Donalds refers to them likely wouldn't even need to ask for a discount, they would just get one.

Random L.E.'s are a different story... L.E.'s can walk in expecting a huge discount on whatever item and an individual store can't always compete with other dealers because of exclusive manufacturer and distributor L.E. only specials that one store or another won't have access to. See my posts about "bribing" gun store employees =p there IS wiggle room in the industry and I guess a smart buyer should try to exploit that. That said, as a consumer I always pick my local gun store over a chain, and I always give them the opportunity to say no without it ruining our relationship, the places I shop offer more than just "gun sales" and I intend to utilize their other assets. If you get upset when a store turns down your request of a random "discount" you are more mentally unbalanced than the rest of us, might want to check that undeserved sense of entitlement.

-Eric

NYsteveZ
03-18-2012, 9:16 PM
As a consumer, and specifically California consumer, I have realized one important thing that a lot of residents here dont factor in- When you see certain firearms online that are going for $500 in Georgia, but $650 here at your local shop, it is because of things like shipping, and most importantly modifications to the firearm to make it compliant. Bullet buttons, modified magazines are not free. Ive only ordered a couple firearms out of state due to rarity, and each time I did, it came out the same, if not MORE than what my local shop charged on that item. MSRP is just that-for the firearm. That doesnt include BBs or modifications, which is usually done by someone totally different. Sometimes, oddball guns require some intense mods costing the shop time, money and research.
A lot of customers see LEOs get deep discounts, so they figure they try. The difference in those discounts maybe paid for by that LEOs department, much like my employer will pay 20% the difference in any computer I buy.

Beatone
03-18-2012, 9:25 PM
This should be a good one.

This seems to come up a lot when I am talking to other dealers. Some don't mind it, some hate it.

Why does the firearm industry have to deal with this issue ( more than other industries)?

Why do customers feel that a discount or deal is in order? Why do they think prices are negotiable like buying a car?

Dealers do the same thing. Part of the game. :43:

freonr22
03-18-2012, 9:26 PM
Gun stores seem to have some of the highest mark-ups I've seen. I often see guns marked up $100 or more over MSRP and it blows my mind. I usually end up not even offering and I either order online or through my preferred FFL.

I've also noticed some local gun shops that have no interest at all in selling to an informed buyer. They'd rather not give us the time of day when they can sell someone a Glock 19 as their first handgun for $700 without them knowing the difference. I understand it's a demand based market, but it gets on my nerves sometimes.

Most of the Calguns FFLs/shops are honest and give reasonable prices. Unfortunately you're not the majority of gun shops and the rep of others probably bleeds over to you.


What is a reasonable profit margin? For anything? A $1000 sale the shop makes 15%~25% omg, they make $150-250$. ... How much does the bookeeper make? How much is rent, how much is insurance? Workmans comp? A good company, 401k? Etc.

You need to pay me enough to make enough to be here tomorrow, to take are of my people, to pay myself...

Shadowhawk012
03-18-2012, 9:33 PM
i work the front line at a car dealership and I know how to make people pay ;)

"our products are already at a competitive price point so thats how we draw business in. you can go to the big auto malls but be prepared to pay auto mall prices. so we do the shopping for you and you know we'll get you the best price"

and if they don't like it I don't mind losing the business if they want to take what i'm selling for less than what we own it for.

it is what it is.

Moto
03-18-2012, 9:39 PM
Wow, so much fail in this thread.

NYsteveZ
03-20-2012, 9:23 AM
Wow, so much fail in this thread.

How so? I think its a legitimate question, and I think the answers are pretty spot on too. Enlighten us, what is "fail" about it?

RazzB7
03-20-2012, 9:30 AM
I'm not a FFL, so let me put that out there first.

I do manage a business, so I think that gives me some insight.

First, the gun industry is not alone in consumers asking for discounts. I get it all the time (auto repair industry).

I usually respond like this: "We have worked hard to give you a quality service at a competitive price. If you want a discount, the only way I can accommodate that is by giving you less than you deserve. Neither one of us wants that."

Frankly, I find it insulting when people ask me for a further discount than what I quoted originally. It says to me that I was overpriced to begin with and that simply isn't the case. There will always be a cheaper product/service out there. A corner is getting cut to get there, it's inevitable.

Rudolf the Red
03-20-2012, 5:33 PM
I have it so easy. I just charge 10% over wholesale. I'll turn the monitor so the customer can see what I pay for the gun. Just add 10%. No one ever haggles because they KNOW they are getting a great deal. Transfers are $35 in or out. No one hassles me. Of course, I have a real job so I do not do this for big profit.

Rhythm of Life
03-20-2012, 5:50 PM
Depends on the customer.

I'm not going out of my way for bad manners and disrespect.

Come in, be cordial and there is a 100% chance you get it if you ask. I don't want much from customers, just to be treated the same they would want to.

jasilva
03-21-2012, 12:09 AM
I shop prices ahead of time so before I walk into a shop(any shop not just guns) I know what the cheapest and average prices are and have an idea what it's worth to me to buy local. A few bucks more is okay if I'm supporting a local business that I like walking into, if it's a huge difference or the local shop is staffed by aholes(Guns, Fishing and other Stuff for example) then I'll jam them for the lowest price possible or shop elsewhere. I've also paid more than I intended to just because the merchant made the experience pleasant enough that they earned my business.

Chief2Guns
03-21-2012, 1:12 AM
Everything is negotiable, money talks. When a customer ask for a deal that's an opportunity to sell them more. If he ask questions hes interested. Close the deal.

efillc
03-21-2012, 5:39 AM
First, the gun industry is not alone in consumers asking for discounts. I get it all the time (auto repair industry).
Wow, I have never asked my mechanic for a discount - and with four vehicles ranging in age from 13 to 43 years old, I see him all too often!

bohoki
03-21-2012, 12:59 PM
just say if you find it cheaper and bring proof i'll match it

jmunks
03-28-2012, 1:29 AM
I personally like Rudolph's method... I don't know how well it works from the business standpoint, but seems pretty easy to show to the customer.

NoHeavyHitter
03-28-2012, 1:47 AM
Why do customers feel that a discount or deal is in order? Why do they think prices are negotiable like buying a car?

I never had it happen...

Hearing this from you clearly indicates that you overprice your goods by more than the average dealer. Try not to be quite so greedy and you'll hear fewer requests for a discount. :)

NoHeavyHitter
03-28-2012, 2:06 AM
I purposely mark up my in store items so I can just say, "For you, today, how about $50 off."

This^

Is EXACTLY why people want a discount before they buy! Nobody (particularly seasoned gun buyers) are stupid enough to fall for that kind of idiotic crap.

Me, I won't ask for a discount. I 'll just spend a lot of time looking at and handling your guns to find out what I like, then go place my order w/RSR, Bumblebee, SOG or whoever - and have the gun transferred to me and pay the FFL holder $30 for his effort. I guess I should at least say "thanks" for having your in-stock inventory to help guide my decision on what to order! :)

IntoForever
03-28-2012, 2:22 AM
I work in the service industry and I get the "you mean it isn't free?" all the time. I ask them if they have a job and when is the last time they told their boss "Keep this month's check, I'm OK". :facepalm:
I usually give a slight discount for cash unless the person irritates me.

NoHeavyHitter
03-28-2012, 2:27 AM
I have it so easy. I just charge 10% over wholesale. I'll turn the monitor so the customer can see what I pay for the gun. Just add 10%. No one ever haggles because they KNOW they are getting a great deal. Transfers are $35 in or out. No one hassles me. Of course, I have a real job so I do not do this for big profit.

That's how ya do it - and is exactly how I did it when I was in business.

Now that I'm retired, I do 90% of my business with transfer dealers. Since I also collect older firearms as well, I do buy from my local dealers on occasions where they acquired a piece reasonably enough to offer it to me at a fair price. It helps make up for me never buying any of their over-priced, injection-molded guns..

Motodad
04-12-2012, 8:39 AM
Lots of good info here for both shop owners and buyers. I am a buyer, just last night something like this happened to me. I will give you a little of the story. I was buying a couple of guns from a friend that lives in a small mountain town close to where I live. There is a small mom and pop gun shop there that we did the PPT at. I get to the shop about an hour early than our meeting time so I can check the place out. I chat it up with the owners while looking at their selection. I tell them I am looking for a place close to my house to start buying all my guns from rather than driving to LA like I have been. I tell them I appreciate them doing the PPT for me and that I will take an FNP40 they have. I don't ask for a discount and pay full price in cash. Ok, fast forward to last night. I go in to pick up the guns and I take a buddy with me because he has never been in the shop. He ends up buying an XD40, of course I point out that I brought in a paying cutomer in a joking manner. They just got in a Kimber CDP that I have been wanting to buy. I ask for a discount from the msrp he was asking. He only offered $30 off, to which I declined. Then the sales tactics came out, "I have 4 people that I need to call about this gun. It's a 6 month wait for these, etc". I will be going back to a shop that is 30 minutes further than this one. They were very honest with my last purchase showing me their price on the computer and giving the gun for only $100 over that, which to me is reasonable. Their full margin for that particular gun was $350. They will get my business from now on and I most likely will only go into the closer shop to look/handle but never purchase like NoHeavyHitter does. I am not asking for shops to give their stuff away, all I ask is to offer me competetive pricing.

winnre
04-12-2012, 8:53 AM
If you want to change the price, let me raise it first so you can talk me down to this price.

-or-

I order it, I ship it, I build it, I house it, I guarantee it, I maintain it, and you want me to take LESS?

RazzB7
04-12-2012, 9:04 AM
We just bought a Makarov for my wife from DAS last weekend. I forgot to ask for the disount! :facepalm:

kemasa
04-12-2012, 9:23 AM
...
They just got in a Kimber CDP that I have been wanting to buy. I ask for a discount from the msrp he was asking. He only offered $30 off, to which I declined. Then the sales tactics came out, "I have 4 people that I need to call about this gun. It's a 6 month wait for these, etc". I will be going back to a shop that is 30 minutes further than this one. They were very honest with my last purchase showing me their price on the computer and giving the gun for only $100 over that, which to me is reasonable. Their full margin for that particular gun was $350. They will get my business from now on and I most likely will only go into the closer shop to look/handle but never purchase like NoHeavyHitter does. I am not asking for shops to give their stuff away, all I ask is to offer me competetive pricing.

So, let me get this straight, they have a firearm which is in demand, have multiple people who are interested and you want them to sell it to you for much less than they can get from someone else?

It is called supply and demand. Quite clearly it is your choice, but to be honest I think that you are being a too harsh, especially since you said that they gave you a good deal on another firearm.

winnre
04-12-2012, 9:29 AM
I won't insult the seller by asking for a $30 discount when the gun price has a comma in it. I can ask if they have military discounts but sometimes their profits are already stretched. Or you can ask right off the bat, "Are your prices set in stone or negotiable?" and they will usually tell you.

When you go to KFC be sure to ask for your Frequent Fryer discount.

Motodad
04-12-2012, 10:23 AM
So, let me get this straight, they have a firearm which is in demand, have multiple people who are interested and you want them to sell it to you for much less than they can get from someone else?

It is called supply and demand. Quite clearly it is your choice, but to be honest I think that you are being a too harsh, especially since you said that they gave you a good deal on another firearm.

No, you misread what I wrote. I was trying to become a regular customer of a closer shop to my house. I paid full msrp on the first gun and brought in a friend that also paid msrp. I asked for a discount and they wouldn't budge as much as another shop a little further down the road. What I am saying is; I will now buy everything from the shop further down the road because they offer a much better price without even asking and they show me their cost and added $100 to it. The gun may very well be in demand but it is my choice to not pay too much for it.

SPaikmos
04-12-2012, 12:51 PM
I never had it happen...

Hearing this from you clearly indicates that you overprice your goods by more than the average dealer. Try not to be quite so greedy and you'll hear fewer requests for a discount. :)

I think you hit this on the head. I have been to DAS. Their prices aren't outrageous, but IMO they're on the high end, usually around MSRP (because they have to do SSE or other CA compliance work). You guys deal in products that are in high demand, so by the laws of supply and demand, you have rightfully raised your prices without gouging people when you could easily do so. Kudos on that. You're also a small shop with small purchasing power, so you do the best you can to survive.

I think you, as the seller, have the right to charge what you want, and the basic laws of supply and demand mean things will go up in price when they're in low supply and high demand.

However, as a buyer, we have the right to shop for competitive prices and to inquire about a discount. Doesn't hurt to ask (as long as we don't offend you) and the worst you can do is say no.

It takes two to make a transaction work, and I agree with a lot of what's been said in this thread - attitude and how you say it means a lot.

For me, I don't like haggling with sellers so I only ask for a discount when I'm buying multiple stuff, as Munk suggested. If I don't like their price, I walk away. Usually if I buy a gun, you can sell me extra mags, a holster, ammo, etc and make it a package deal. For instance, every bicycle shop I've been in will offer you at least 20% off on accessories if you buy a bike from them.

If customers are going in and asking you flat out for a discount on a single gun, then I think they're a little too cheap or your guns are priced a little high. Could be both.

When I sell stuff and people ask me for a discount, I admit, I get annoyed too. Here's what I do:

I ask them what they think is a fair price and why. If they can show me why my price is too high, I'm willing to listen. By listening to their reasoning, you can figure out what they are willing to pay, or maybe steer them to a product that fits their reqs better.

For instance, they really love xyz but they want $200 off, then I'll ask why they like xyz, and try to find something else that is like xyz and fits their bill if I can't discount xyz itself. Or, I'll see if there's other stuff I can package with it.

However, if it's "the dude in LA will give it to me for $20 off" then I'll say "ok, then why don't you drive there and buy it from him?" (if I'm really set on my price point). No harm in figuring out what works for the two of us; if he's really set on saving a few bucks and I can't lower my price, it works for both of us for him to buy it in LA.

Believe me, I would love to be able to buy everything in your shop at the prices you are asking. However, my fund$ don't allow me to do it, so sometimes I do need to hunt for a bargain. In essence, I am trading my own time (to do legwork) to save a few bucks. I'd rather spend that money with you and spend time shooting guns, but that's not gonna happen for now. Eventually it will and both of us will be happy, but until then...

Mr.1904
04-12-2012, 3:27 PM
This should be a good one.

This seems to come up a lot when I am talking to other dealers. Some don't mind it, some hate it.

Why does the firearm industry have to deal with this issue ( more than other industries)?

Why do customers feel that a discount or deal is in order? Why do they think prices are negotiable like buying a car?

It's not just the firearms industry. It's any small business or retail shop i feel like.

The real question is why do they think they can ask you, and not the guy working at target?

times are tough, money is tight. You can't blame a person for trying to save a few bucks.

A good counter would be a frequent buyer program or rewards program. People like saving money.

Mr.1904
04-12-2012, 3:32 PM
What is a reasonable profit margin? For anything? A $1000 sale the shop makes 15%~25% omg, they make $150-250$. ... How much does the bookeeper make? How much is rent, how much is insurance? Workmans comp? A good company, 401k? Etc.

You need to pay me enough to make enough to be here tomorrow, to take are of my people, to pay myself...

In my mind, a locally owned retail shop should be comfortable making 40-50 points. The more the better of course. But that's not always the case.

For a while my shop was at about 30 points on our products. We've since slightly raised our by a small margin on some items and mainly brokered better deals at the distributing level which helped a lot, but it's hard to survive on 30% margin on small ticket items. With firearms where there's at least 3 digits in the price you can get away with smaller margins because the items are higher ticket items.

Oh how i love retail................

RazzB7
04-12-2012, 3:53 PM
Let's say your average gun shop is 1000 square feet. Commercial real estate is usually somewhere close to $2.00 per s.f. (Higher in some areas, lower in others)

Now, let's say you have one full time employee at $15.00 per hour. Assuming he/she works no overtime, that's $1800 per month, plus workmen's comp and any other benefits they may have.

Telephone, internet, electricity, alarm company are going to be pretty close to $700 a month.

So, you haven't sold a single round of ammunition yet and you're on the hook for $4500.00+.

That doesn't even account for any other employees. And I can't even begin to guess what insurance for that inventory is going to cost you.

So...by that "$100 profit per gun" philosophy, that poor shop owner would have to sell 50 to 60 guns before he even climbed out of the red. If he is making $300-500 profit per gun, he's earning every cent of it, and probably scraping by.

I don't try to negotiate at the counter. If it's a good shop and a fair price, they get my business. If it's a few bucks cheaper on the internet, I still shop locally. I want that local shop to still be there when I need something.

Mr.1904
04-12-2012, 3:59 PM
Let's say your average gun shop is 1000 square feet. Commercial real estate is usually somewhere close to $2.00 per s.f. (Higher in some areas, lower in others)

Now, let's say you have one full time employee at $15.00 per hour. Assuming he/she works no overtime, that's $1800 per month, plus workmen's comp and any other benefits they may have.

Telephone, internet, electricity, alarm company are going to be pretty close to $700 a month.

So, you haven't sold a single round of ammunition yet and you're on the hook for $4500.00+.

That doesn't even account for any other employees. And I can't even begin to guess what insurance for that inventory is going to cost you.

So...by that "$100 profit per gun" philosophy, that poor shop owner would have to sell 50 to 60 guns before he even climbed out of the red. If he is making $300-500 profit per gun, he's earning every cent of it, and probably scraping by.

I don't try to negotiate at the counter. If it's a good shop and a fair price, they get my business. If it's a few bucks cheaper on the internet, I still shop locally. I want that local shop to still be there when I need something.

The trick is pricing essential items like guns, and ammo at a fair price. and than making your money on the little things. Holsters, eyepro, earpro. Those things is where you'll make the money. You can't have an item that MSRP's for 500 and sell it for 700 unless you're in a very affluent area, regardless of what your margins are. Stuff like AR parts, holsters, lights you basically can set the price at whatever because they're usually not worth it to pay for shipping for the consumer unless it's a large order.

RazzB7
04-12-2012, 4:15 PM
The trick is pricing essential items like guns, and ammo at a fair price. and than making your money on the little things. Holsters, eyepro, earpro. Those things is where you'll make the money. You can't have an item that MSRP's for 500 and sell it for 700 unless you're in a very affluent area, regardless of what your margins are. Stuff like AR parts, holsters, lights you basically can set the price at whatever because they're usually not worth it to pay for shipping for the consumer unless it's a large order.

I totally get what you're saying. We do it in our industry too. I'm just saying "What's wrong with a businessman making a profit?" A decent gun shop will have over $100K wrapped up in inventory, he invested that money and is not trying to steal anything to make a profit on his investment. If someone is gouging, then don't go back. But a fair price is a fair price and not every transaction needs a discount attached to it.

rromeo
04-12-2012, 4:18 PM
"We would love to give discounts to our friends, but it turns out that our enemies don't shop here."

cgates
04-14-2012, 8:02 AM
Gun stores seem to have some of the highest mark-ups I've seen. I often see guns marked up $100 or more over MSRP and it blows my mind. I usually end up not even offering and I either order online or through my preferred FFL.

I've also noticed some local gun shops that have no interest at all in selling to an informed buyer. They'd rather not give us the time of day when they can sell someone a Glock 19 as their first handgun for $700 without them knowing the difference. I understand it's a demand based market, but it gets on my nerves sometimes.

Most of the Calguns FFLs/shops are honest and give reasonable prices. Unfortunately you're not the majority of gun shops and the rep of others probably bleeds over to you.


+1 on this

Here is a recent experience of mine...

There is a newer local shop very close to my house so I stopped in a few weeks ago. I had never purchased anything from the shop before but if the price is good, I prefer to keep my money local. I was looking to buy that day - specifically an XD subcompact 9mm. They had it in there, priced at $499. (well over MSRP) I was nice about it but I explained that this was the gun I wanted and I was ready to buy....I didnt need to waste any time looking at other guns or even handling the one I wanted. But I explained that the shop a few miles away sells them at $435 and that if they could match that price I would get it on the spot. The guy had to ask the owner....so the owner comes up and says oh really, let me check on that (seemed to be a surprise that everyone in town was not selling these for $500) So she comes back and says she was sorry, but if she sold it to me at that price she would only make $80. She politely thanked me for giving them a chance and I left the store. I left really surprised that $80 in profit for a gun like that was not enough - especially considering that she didn't have to waste any time answering questions or trying to make the sale. So I tried to support a local shop....I really did. I didn't feel like I was low-balling, especially since I simply asked if she could match another local place. Both the shops are getting guns from the same distributor too. Long story short, I bought the XD from a shop an hour away....and while I was at it I threw in a $1000 shotgun.

AragornElessar86
04-14-2012, 8:59 AM
Cgates, $80 is not enough for a retailer in a reasonably good location. Most of my retailers need to see about 40% just to break even. $80 is only 22%.

ap3572001
04-14-2012, 10:22 AM
99.9% of the guns I buy are used.

When I walk into a shop and see a firearm I like to buy , I look at the price and take it form there.

About a year ago I saw a used Smith and Wesson model 57 from the 1970's. It was liek new in the box in facvotry nickel finish and 4 inch barrel.

The owner of the shop just brought it out to put it on display.

The price tag had 595.00 on it , I told Him that I will take it and reached for my credit card at the same time. AT that price , I woudl NEVER even try to ssk Him for a discount. It was already a GREAT deal.

Last week at another store I saw a VERY nice older four inch S&W model 57 (blue) without the box but in mint condtion . The price was 975.00 +tax and dros.

If I come back to look at it again , I will make an offer because I KNOW that the price is a bit too high.

I would not ask for discount , just make the offer.

mosinnagantm9130
04-14-2012, 2:02 PM
I usually buy used, and pretty much always pay in cash. If the gun is already at a good price, chances are I won't haggle. But if it's a bit over what it realistically should be, I'll haggle. It helps once your LGS knows you, and knows you buy a decent amount at their store.

Ron-Solo
04-16-2012, 11:52 PM
As a customer, I do my research and know what a fair price is for the gun I am looking at. My local gun store is there to make a profit, so they can be there when I need them. My favorite local gun stores know me and give me breaks on transfers and fees when they can.

My father was an FFL before he died so I understand how the business works, and I did a little part time work for an FFL for extra mad money.

A lot of people don't realize that all gun stores don't pay the same price for guns. It depends on their distributor and the volume they do. Very few buy directly from the manufacturer.

One of my favorites buys directly from Smith and Wesson and Ruger, so his prices are very good. He sells to other FFLs at good prices, but they must still mark up the item to stay in business.

Haggle on a new gun, no. A used one, maybe, depending on the asking price.

Support my local gun store, every chance I get.

Support a place with horrible customer service? Not if I can shop elsewhere.

And to FFLs who give LE and military discounts....... THANKS. Manufacturers will often have special pricing for LE, partially because of some incentives by the federal govt, but our military often gets overlooked, and they certainly don't get paid enough.

MrsRazz
04-18-2012, 9:41 AM
I think you hit this on the head. I have been to DAS. Their prices aren't outrageous, but IMO they're on the high end, usually around MSRP (because they have to do SSE or other CA compliance work). You guys deal in products that are in high demand, so by the laws of supply and demand, you have rightfully raised your prices without gouging people when you could easily do so. Kudos on that. You're also a small shop with small purchasing power, so you do the best you can to survive.

As my husband said, we bought a Makarov from DAS.

Here's the thing: I'm willing to pay a little more to get great service. Yeah, I could have gotten the gun online for $40 less, but instead I chose to 1) support the local economy and 2) get fantastic face to face service. DAS gave GREAT service. They took time to let me look, gave suggestions and were extremely knowledgeable. They even went through their stock to find one that the safety was easier for me to operate.

The first salesman at Turner's didn't normally work in the gun department and couldn't answer questions. Since I was looking for a gun that fit my hands rather than a specific gun, the salesman I got on the second visit couldn't wait to get rid of me.

The two 20-something year olds at Discount Gun Mart really just wanted to keep talking to each other and acted like we were interrupting. The moment they'd hand us a gun, they'd go back to talking about their cars. (Although, the older gentleman that gave me advice on the range was great, but he wasn't selling the guns)

I'd rather pay a little more for great service and advice I trust.

Sacramento Black Rifle
04-18-2012, 10:20 AM
We offer a price match guarantee for in stock items and a perks program that I refer the customers to. It works real well, regular customers that tend to shop in the store come back to redeem those points often. Service is also huge when it comes to the price game. Customers will pay more if they are receiving the service they deserve period. Yea I am sure most things can be sold for less online, however the end user will need service at some point.

glockfu
07-08-2012, 4:09 AM
You have to expect any brick and mortar is going to be more expensive than online but if I like a shop I pay a bit more just because I want them to be around tomorrow. If you want that as well, you should support them when ever you can.

orangeusa
07-08-2012, 6:22 AM
( I know this is FFL's forum.. but have a point )

I've bought from DAS, they have fair prices and great service.

Folks have different back grounds and for some, everything is negotiable. So, don't let it bother you. Life's too short.

As a buyer - ask 'What's your best price on that item ?'

As a seller - if you have no wiggle room or it's a high volume item - just answer "Sorry, that's the best I can do."

Simple. Don't take it personal. And yes, some repeat buyers are the worst of the lot, expecting a lower price than the average Joe (not knowing your overhead)...

.

bombadillo
07-08-2012, 7:40 AM
Depends on the place. There is one shop that I know makes gobs of money on firearms and others that really don't up their prices much. One shop specifically that makes all the money I'll ask and usually get at least 15% off and they still make plenty because I know they employees well enough and they tell me their cost on those things. I don't mind asking, and I don't mind being told no either. Never hurts to ask, but you could have had it cheaper if you did.

In my business, I'm in a corporate setting where prices are set firm and there are ZERO discounts which is kind of nice. When someone says, "can I get a discount on these" I say, "I would, but I like having a job too much" or something of that nature. We don't give any discounts except 10% off floor model items out in other areas where I don't work. I'm in a fairly specialized area.