PianoBuyer

Negotiating Price and Trade-ins

LARRY FINE

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The prices of new pianos are nearly always negotiable. Only a handful of dealers have non-negotiable prices. If in doubt, just ask—you’ll be able to tell. Some dealers carry this bargaining to extremes, whereas others start pretty close to the final price. Many dealers don’t like to display a piano’s price because not doing so gives them more latitude in deciding on a starting price for negotiation. This makes shopping more difficult. Use the price information in the “Model & Pricing Guide” of the current issue of Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer to determine the likely range within which a given model will sell. Don’t give in too quickly. It’s quite common for the salesperson to call a day or two later and offer a lower price. If there’s an alternative piano at another dealership that will suit your needs just as well, it will help your negotiating position to let the salesperson know that.

Due to the high cost of advertising and conducting piano megasales (such as college sales, truckload sales, etc.), prices at these events are often actually higher than the price you could negotiate any day of the week, and the pressure to buy can be substantial. Shop at these sales only after you’ve shopped elsewhere, and look for the real bargains that can occasionally be found there.

If you’re buying a new piano to replace one that’s no longer satisfactory, you’ll probably want to trade in the old one. Dealers will usually take a trade-in, no matter how bad it is, just to be able to facilitate the sale. In fact, in many cases the dealer will offer you what seems like a king’s ransom for the old one. The downside is that when a generous trade-in allowance is given on the old piano, the dealer is then likely to offer you a less-generous price on the new one. To see if you’re being offered a good deal, you’ll have to carefully analyze the fair-market value of the old piano and what would be a likely price for the new one without a trade-in. Sometimes it will be to your advantage to sell the old piano privately, though in that case you’ll need to take into account the hassle factor as well.

For more information about new-piano prices and negotiating, see the introduction to the “Model & Pricing Guide,” elsewhere in this issue, as well as in The Piano Book.

Used-piano prices may or may not be negotiable. If the used piano is being sold by a dealer who primarily sells new pianos at negotiable prices, then the used-piano prices are probably also negotiable. Prices of restored pianos sold by the restorer are less likely to be negotiable, as technical people are usually less comfortable with bargaining. Prices of pianos for sale by private-party sellers are usually negotiable, in part because the seller often has little idea of what the piano should sell for and has made up a price based only on wishful thinking. But even knowledgeable sellers will usually leave a little wiggle room in their price.

 

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2 thoughts on “Negotiating Price and Trade-ins

  1. I am interested in buying a new Steinway Model B . I am told that Steinway pianos can only be purchased from the Steinway Gallery or from a Steinway dealer and that the price is not negotiable; that is, you will pay the MSRP unless Steinway is running a sales special. Is this true? For example, a 2021 new Steinway Model B has a msrp of $118,000.00 . I have been told by other than Steinway Associates that you can purchase this piano for about $92,000.00 or 22% discount asnd that people have bought them for this price. Is this true? Where do I go to get this deal or better on a new Steinway ModelB. I live in New Jersey and the only Steinway Dealer in area Jacobs Piano and they say Steinway does not discount their piano

    1. Most Steinway dealers are independent businesses, thus Steinway cannot dictate at what price they sell their pianos. However, Steinways are in high demand, and the company has only a limited number of dealers that are authorized to carry Steinway pianos. The principles of supply and demand therefore dictate that the dealers will be able to charge pretty close to MSRP for their instruments. In our experience, there may sometimes be a discount, but if so, at most only about 5 or 10 percent. If you want to buy a Steinway piano from a dealer outside your area, you have to actually go to that dealership in person to do it (you can’t do it over the phone or Internet, for example). This is true for almost every brand of new piano. But don’t think that will necessarily get you a lower price — the selling Steinway dealer will have to pay your local Steinway dealer a large fee to cover future warranty service. This will likely make it impossible for him/her to give you much of a discount at all. If you want to save money on a Steinway, you will have to buy a used or rebuilt one. There are a number of fine rebuilding shops in your area.

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