Thinking of buying a new or used snowmobile? Don't rush into the first snowy deal you find. As with many things, timing can be everything when it comes to finding the best deal. Whether you're considering buying privately from classified sites like KIJIJI, Facebook Marketplace, or walking into a dealership, here's a guide to finding the perfect sled at the perfect time.
The Pros and Cons of Buying in Each Season
Winter: Right in the Heart of the Action
- Immediate Use: If you're itching to hit the snow right away, buying in winter makes perfect sense.
- Private Sale Upgrades: This is the time of year where you find people looking to upgrade their sled. Often times they will have a low quote offered for trade by a dealer and thus may be willing to take slightly over that with a private sale.
- Test rides: If there is fresh powder down, many sellers and dealers will allow you to give it a go.
- Higher Prices: Due to high demand, you're less likely to find a great deal on your used snowmobile.
- Availability: See the above mentioned demand. While there may be more people out there looking to upgrade, and while dealers may be offering sell-offs, there are equal as many buyers jumping on any deal they can find.
- Less Leverage: In-line with the increased demand, both dealers and private sellers the option to hold out for the next buyer knocking at the door.
- Service Shops are Booked Up: During the peak season, it may be difficult to find a snowmobile service shop that can fit you in, whether it be for a pre-purchase inspection or general sled maintenance.
Spring: As the Snow Melts
- Availability & Dealer Sales: As demand decreases, so do prices. Dealerships will be looking to clear inventory, and private sellers who don't have plenty of storage will try to move their sleds at a bargain.
- Potential for Better Negotiations: With fewer buyers, you're in a better position to negotiate the price, whether in a dealership or a private sale.
- Maintenance Costs: As it will be sitting through the off-season, your machine will likely require snowmobile maintenance before the next snow season, especially when buying used.
- Storage: You'll need a place to store the sled over the off-season. This comes at a cost in either space or capital, whether you're storing off-site or in your garage.
Summer: The Off-Peak Advantage
- Primetime for Used Sleds: This is the season where used snowmobile shopping will typically lead to the best deals.
- More Negotiating Room: With snowmobiling far from most people's minds, summer typically offers potentially the best deals and room for negotiation.
- New Inventory Availability: Most snowmobile shops are well-versed in knowing how much inventory to take in. This typically means that by Summer, they are fewer new models than ever.
Fall: The Calm Before the Storm
- Better Selection Than Summer: As winter approaches, more people will be listing their used snowmobiles for sale. You might also find pre-orders in which the buyer does not intend on going through will and could look to sell off at a discount.
- Reasonable Prices: Before the winter rush, you can still find some reasonable prices.
- Less storage time: If you're buying now, you'll have to store it for far less time than you would in the spring or summer.
- Rising Prices: As winter nears, demand increases and prices rise.
- Time Crunch: You'll want to ensure any needed repairs are completed before the snow falls. This timing can be hard to predict, so book in to your local snowmobile mechanic before they book up.
Whether you take the private sale route, or shopping at the dealer, there are snowmobile financing options available. Many dealers and online lenders today allow for private sale financing which vastly opens the door for those who may prefer a sled loan over buying outright.
The decision on when to buy comes down to what fits your needs and budget best and ultimately, when you're ready to shell out the dough to cover the expense, whether it be outright or through a snowmobile loan. Enjoy the ride!