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Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: madRiver] #5354359 02/19/20 11:05 AM
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fsdork Offline
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Originally Posted by madRiver
The key thing is to negotiate price including all fees including doc and prep and whatever.


Exactly. The total amount at the bottom of the invoice is all that matters. How the lines above are broken down is of no concern.


2003 Ford Explorer Limited 4.6L 4x4 - 219K km
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Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: WhyMe] #5354418 02/19/20 12:18 PM
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nthach Offline
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Dealer prep is paying the flat rate time to PDI a car(usually "waking" up the electrical system from transit mode, initializing the TPMS, idle learn and a trip to the gas station for $10-20 worth of gas for test drives) as well as the detail staff to peel off coatings, wash and "wax" the car.

When I worked at the dealership one of my jobs was to grab the invoice, verify VINs against the bill of lading and enter the cars into Reynolds with their stock number, VIN, model, etc. The techs would ask me for the keys to do their PDIs. "Detailing" was usually done at the time of sale when finance gave us the OK.

Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: nthach] #5354431 02/19/20 12:26 PM
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bdcardinal Offline
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Originally Posted by nthach
Dealer prep is paying the flat rate time to PDI a car(usually "waking" up the electrical system from transit mode, initializing the TPMS, idle learn and a trip to the gas station for $10-20 worth of gas for test drives) as well as the detail staff to peel off coatings, wash and "wax" the car.

When I worked at the dealership one of my jobs was to grab the invoice, verify VINs against the bill of lading and enter the cars into Reynolds with their stock number, VIN, model, etc. The techs would ask me for the keys to do their PDIs. "Detailing" was usually done at the time of sale when finance gave us the OK.



I miss Rey Rey. We have Dealertrack and while I am good at the system, it is not anything like Rey Rey. The people that do our new car check in stopped entering the key codes and keyless door codes into the system because "its too much work."


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Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: WhyMe] #5354435 02/19/20 12:34 PM
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It is part of the total cost to the consumer to purchase the car. If shopping, compare apples to apples including the dealer prep and other similar charges. Tax and state registration should be (I would hope) the same at all dealers in that state.

Folks get nuts about this charge, but some dealers quote a lower price on the car along with a high prep charge hoping that the purchaser will not notice the prep fee. It is all part of the overall price.

Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: nthach] #5354444 02/19/20 12:41 PM
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WhyMe Offline OP
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Originally Posted by nthach
Dealer prep is paying the flat rate time to PDI a car(usually "waking" up the electrical system from transit mode, initializing the TPMS, idle learn and a trip to the gas station for $10-20 worth of gas for test drives) as well as the detail staff to peel off coatings, wash and "wax" the car.

When I worked at the dealership one of my jobs was to grab the invoice, verify VINs against the bill of lading and enter the cars into Reynolds with their stock number, VIN, model, etc. The techs would ask me for the keys to do their PDIs. "Detailing" was usually done at the time of sale when finance gave us the OK.


is this not compensated by the factory? i have bought 3 cars within one year and only the Civic had this prep fee .

Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: WhyMe] #5354448 02/19/20 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by BMWTurboDzl
As a teenager I was volunteered to help a family friend who owned a Dodge/Jeep/Chrysler dealership. Spent a Saturday washing cars which had just been sold. We washed them, pulled stickers and such, cleaned the interior and wiped down hard surfaces with a spray which had that "new car" smell etc. It's more or less a BS fee but there's an argument to be made that the w/out the fee it would be incorporated into the price anyways.
I was on of the "prep guys".


Yours is a good example of a fee that is or should be listed as a line item on the final invoice. The total is nothing other that the itemized listing of fees, prices or charges EVERYONE should read, understand or question as they peruse.
As a prep guy, you either took on a paid employee position as a "free" volunteer or your term volunteer is meaning something else. My point being the prep stuff is done and does cost the dealership unless they all net 'free' volunteers. B.S. fees and getting ripped-off are sometimes another way of describing things when customers walk in demanding $3000 over wholesale for their trade in.

Originally Posted by demarpaint
A dealer prep fee is just another fee to rip someone off with, or something for a dealer to use as a negotiation tool. Either way it's BS, and drives their profits higher. Some people pay it though. I tell the salesman right from the get go, I negotiate on the out the door price, no hidden fees, no surprises, the bottom line with taxes, etc. If he/she or they don't like it I'll buy from someone else.


That's the trick.
Remove emotion, vote with your wallet and at times, "the dealer" will let you walk away. There are some deals or customers they don't want or need. Sometimes the last day of the month or year does factor in.



Originally Posted by DaleRider

Pssst......dealer prep costs are already figured into the price of the vehicle. For every auto maker. If it weren't, dealer prep fees would be listed on the window sticker instead of a dealer add-on sticker. Use of the add-on sticker usually ([censored] near always) represents just ADM.....additional dealer markup....or ADP.....additional dealer profit.



Originally Posted by Char Baby
I am aware of fees that dealers add on to the vehicle such as:

Paint Sealant
Pinstriping
DOC Fee
etc., ect., ect.

Here's a video(there are others similar) that will help you to avoid this in the future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g53DkNWRgDE


Yes ! Add-on's may be something you want on the car anyways or not. They are tangible items usually and if you want a car with no UV protection / sealant or ? they call it, no accent striping, mud guards or Lifetime LOF , you can negotiate or ask to take the next car off the rack before it goes to the add-on department. They would have some mark up on those items/labor as does the wrench I bought at AutoZone.

There are some shady business , dealers , managers and salespeople for sure so it pays to read, listen and question. Thinking dealerships give away cars at little to no profit while having giant well-lit showrooms, "free coffee and donuts" , imported marble floors and 72 degree service bays is about as victimized as deserved.
The OP question directed to the mgr or sales staff would provide the insight most of us are looking for. Do we get a straight-up answer winning some trust or something more long winded?

I expect a fair offer when working out a car deal and tell them right up front. If they don't respect my time or honesty, we get that figured out before wasting much time. Some of them respect that direct honesty and reciprocate. Honestly, I'm not out there to train dealers. I find one that works and repeat.
*Heck, if they are all crooks lying and ripping people off, save yourself some time and just go to the one closest to your house! laugh


95 Honda Nighthawk- Rotella T6 syn
17 Golf SW 4MO dsg- Dealer LOF/5-6k *New spec syn -VW/Audi XOM ?
16 Mazda CX9 Tour- Dealer LOF/5-6k Casterol full syn
Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: WhyMe] #5354460 02/19/20 01:02 PM
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Still curious on how one ignores the line items on the invoice and still determines what is a good/ total "out the door price"?

Especially once you consider rebates, incentives, etc..etc.. on the vehicle being purchased. Rebates come off pre tax, incentives are after tax.

Sales tax, DMV fees and some type of doc/processing fee are all a given and have to be paid one way or another, so I get having the ability to total those up.

How are you determining the 'your price' on the vehicle with all things above being considered?

FWIW, I'm no expert, but have been through new/used vehicle purchasing dozens of times and consider myself OK at it, yet I don't do this "out the door" thing.


2019 Nissan Pathfinder SV
2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L.
2015 Nissan Versa 1.6 S
Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: bdcardinal] #5354480 02/19/20 01:26 PM
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nthach Offline
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Originally Posted by bdcardinal



I miss Rey Rey. We have Dealertrack and while I am good at the system, it is not anything like Rey Rey. The people that do our new car check in stopped entering the key codes and keyless door codes into the system because "its too much work."

Wow. That's pure laziness. We did it since we saw return business for service and sales. It also made life easier for the techs and parts department with due bills. Sure, Honda now allows anyone to get a radio/navi code online for their cars.

Most of the dealers here still use Reynolds. ERA hasn't evolved, it was originally a Unix program that used WYSE clients for access. Last time I've visited the dealership I worked at, they used a branded terminal program within Windows 10 to access it.

Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: WhyMe] #5354481 02/19/20 01:26 PM
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They say that the customer who just pays the asking price and drives away is WAY HAPPIER than the guy who spent 8 hours trying to negotiate the best price.

One owner is enjoying his new car, the other is staring at the ceiling all night wondering if they got the very best deal possible ...


2011 SUBARU Impreza 5-door manual / 2016 HONDA Pilot / 2011 MAZDA 2 auto
Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: geeman789] #5354527 02/19/20 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by geeman789
They say that the customer who just pays the asking price and drives away is WAY HAPPIER than the guy who spent 8 hours trying to negotiate the best price.

One owner is enjoying his new car, the other is staring at the ceiling all night wondering if they got the very best deal possible ...

Who is this "They" you speak of? i bought a car from Hertz where nothing is negotiable and enjoyed the experience, but I would never do that with a dealer. Saturn tried, Scion tried. Both failed


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Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: csandste] #5354540 02/19/20 02:37 PM
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nthach Offline
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Originally Posted by csandste
Originally Posted by geeman789
They say that the customer who just pays the asking price and drives away is WAY HAPPIER than the guy who spent 8 hours trying to negotiate the best price.

One owner is enjoying his new car, the other is staring at the ceiling all night wondering if they got the very best deal possible ...

Who is this "They" you speak of? i bought a car from Hertz where nothing is negotiable and enjoyed the experience, but I would never do that with a dealer. Saturn tried, Scion tried. Both failed

The only one who has come close to direct to consumer much to the ire of NADA is Tesla.

There are some good salespeople and F&I staff out there but most of them are scum.

Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: nthach] #5354611 02/19/20 03:56 PM
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bachman Offline
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Originally Posted by nthach


There are some good salespeople and F&I staff out there but most of them are scum.


lol, Might have created the very monster we suffer.

Never went to F&I but I'd think it's the last strike at creating, generating or retaining profits.
For every salesperson or F&I staff, there are thousands of customers out there- past, future and present. I tend to think the some customers and "process" has created much of the strife. As much or more so than any group of miscreants in the world of sales, F&I or marketing.
I was lucky to have found the right mix of humor and attitude to make my years of sales and marketing fun.

It was humorous to see some potential customer/s come in all revved up and hot-headed about the crooks and lies he/she invited themselves into because that's how they defined the car business. Such a tell or display of 'intellect' is welcome news to those crafty wizards in the kingdom of sales. The offending attitude, remarks and accusations get met with sneaky opportunities to up-sell or enhance margins.

Likewise, I've seen management b*tch and moan or make fun of contractors doing work for our facility and I know they (contractors) just smile and handle it with the utmost of professionalism. At the end of the project, they get to demonstrate what a pleasure it was to have us as a customer with a final bill that likely covers their costs, profits and a few add-on's to care for attitude adjustments. And they'll come back to bid the job again and again ! smile So who is the joke 'on' ? It's always the other guy - right ?

One thing I'm pretty sure I couldn't let myself do is sell cars financed at credit card rates. I'd be the guy trying to get you to a bank or credit union to establish a trend and get started on the right 'note' . Thankfully, my personal integrity stayed fairly respectable through 20 years of sales/marketing although I'd guess my exceptions or lapses were justified by the heat of the moment.

Be friendly and expect to be treated nice or professionally while demonstrating the same when shopping or working out a deal. If or when that isn't happening, move on. If you feel like you might be the biggest a-- in the room, you are probably paying too much and without doubt, deserve it.


95 Honda Nighthawk- Rotella T6 syn
17 Golf SW 4MO dsg- Dealer LOF/5-6k *New spec syn -VW/Audi XOM ?
16 Mazda CX9 Tour- Dealer LOF/5-6k Casterol full syn
Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: WhyMe] #5354625 02/19/20 04:08 PM
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Nothing more than $tealership shenanigans to rob you.

Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: WhyMe] #5354657 02/19/20 04:38 PM
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It’s a BS fee. Whenever I buy a car I always ask...what’s your BS fee? And they know exactly what I mean. Then I negotiate accordingly.

I once negotiated before knowing there even was a fee...then I just laughed as I gave it all back with their BS fee.


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Re: What is a dealer prep fee? [Re: fsdork] #5354666 02/19/20 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by fsdork
Originally Posted by madRiver
The key thing is to negotiate price including all fees including doc and prep and whatever.


Exactly. The total amount at the bottom of the invoice is all that matters. How the lines above are broken down is of no concern.


They are all basically the same around here so this is exactly correct...negotiate the "out the door" price.


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