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Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious what you guys think dealer cost on a reference 54 alto might be. In fact, I'm wondering what the mark up is on instruments. Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks..
 

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mattbutler said:
Does anyone have any ideas?

Thanks..
Yes the dealers do, and quite frankly it is none of your business. Shop for the best deal you can and don't try to leverage a dealer based on how much profit you think they are making.
 

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Dealer cost is really high on Selmers. Trust me, I used to work at a Selmer dealer. There's not much markup on them, generally. I fully agree with Carl on this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Carl H. said:
Yes the dealers do, and quite frankly it is none of your business. Shop for the best deal you can and don't try to leverage a dealer based on how much profit you think they are making.
I actually have a pretty good reason for asking. I'm doing some work for someone for gear and..? One of the things I was thinking of putting on the table is getting some specific pieces of gear at cost.

Don't assume my motivations because you're wrong and you come off as rude, man.
 

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mattbutler said:
I actually have a pretty good reason for asking. I'm doing some work for someone for gear and..? One of the things I was thinking of putting on the table is getting some specific pieces of gear at cost.

Don't assume my motivations because you're wrong and you come off as rude, man.
Why not ask the person that you're doing the work for?

And chill out dude. It's just 1's and 0's written to a magnetic disk.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I will ask him, I was just sitting here mulling it over and thought I'd throw a post up because I was curious.

The assumptions about my motivations and the "it's none of your biz" delivery seemed a bit harsh and I think my response was appropriate. It wasn't done in anger, I think it was 'like fire'. ...and really, it *does* seem like a rude response to the question. I'm not sure how pointing that out requires me to chill, it's just an assessment. Maybe I should have left off the comma and the word "man". :)
 

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mattbutler said:
I will ask him, I was just sitting here mulling it over and thought I'd throw a post up because I was curious.
Next time, you might consider the fact that there are dealers roaming around here too, and they tend to be rather sensitive when somebody mentions the profit margin. For a customer that's always too high, for them it's never enough.

They have to earn a living too, and they don't really like to be questioned about how and how much. Not that you meant any harm with it. But you could have expected that very response you got.
 

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What's wrong with being an informed consumer? When was the last time you went to a car dealer and paid sticker price? It's become common to research price before buying a car, on www.Edmunds.com , for example. If you know, at least generally, the dealer's profit margin it allows you to make a reasonable offer that gives the dealer a fair profit,and saves you some money. The dealer can always say "no" to your offer.
 

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Sherman Friedland, on Clarinet Corner, has said dealer cost of new clarinets is usually 50% to 60% of manufacturer's list price. I have no idea if that is accurate, but it sounds reasonable.
 

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The cheapest internet price you can find is generally just at or below dealer cost, that's how deep the margins are!
How can it be below, you ask? Generally it is older stock, purchased before a price increase or current stock purchased through foreign distribution.
They are no longer products, but commodities!
Many consumers feel no guilt in trying out horns at a well-stocked
brick-and-mortar store to find what they like before price shopping on the internet, but then are bewildered that fewer local shops are stocking pro instruments.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Just for the record, I've been at this dealers before to buy a stand. There was no price and the guy was having his clerk look it up and said "give him..." and started to offer a discount. I stopped him and said "no, I'll pay what it costs". Another anecdote is when I got a deal for a Mark VII a few weeks ago where the guy said "800, I need the money pretty quick and I want you to have it". I told him he could get close to 2k for it but he still stayed at the price. I gave him 1000$, 200$ over what he was asking for. Why didn't I give him 2k? I didn't have the $ and he wanted to sell it. He has 3 other horns and didn't really have an attachment to this.

These aren't the only two instances where I've done things like this...

Bottom line, I'm a fair guy. :) oh.. and cool.. and good-lookin'.. and...well.. not rich. In fact, I'm almost broke because of my horn addiction.

Edit: spelling mistake.. :(
 

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Hey Matt, don't get defensive over this. I personally think it's a fair question to ask. If I am being hired to write music or to play -or even give private lessons- the client is ever mindful of the going rates for such services. That's just the way it is. Why shouldn't I, in turn, as a consumer of others' services or merchandise not also be privileged to the same information?

I realise businesses have to make a profit but I owe it to myself to get the best deal I can and part of that, like someone mentinoed above, is being a well informed buyer. Cars or musical instruments are no different in this regard. I want the best deal and the most for my money and getting any kind of leverage over a product price I can get helps me do that.

Does anyone really think the sellers aren't doing the same thing? Are they in business to make you happy or to feed their families and save up a nest egg for retirement?

For me what's key is what I said above - getting the best for my money and that likely includes personalised service, maintenence and other services that might come with a higher price. So just negotiating the best deal doesn't necessarily mean just getting something the cheapest you can get, it also means getting the most for your money even if that means it might cost you a little extra. And this is to a merchant's benefit.

Bottom line, a business has a right to try to keep such information as their wholesale costs to themselves to enhance their profit margin but by the same token, it is not unethical for a consumer to try to find those costs so he knows where and how he can get the best deal. In this regard, the businesses do not have any more ethical superiority to withhold that information as you, the customer has to learn it.


Oh yeah, BTW. What is the answer to Matt's question. ;)
 

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Gary, your points are vaild, but again do you walk into WALMART asking the manager what they paid for pillows?? I have never been to a car dealer when they tell you what they actualy have to pay for a car is. How is that going to help you in a purchase? I understand getting the best price for you as a consumer, but you really never know what someone as a dealer paid. Not to say that you cant get info on value of the item or high price or low price info from the internet to make a wise choice and smart buy. I just think its funny how the rules change from big to small businesses and its usually the small guy that gets the sour end, sort of.
 

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I think Kessler has mentioned that mark up is about $50 for a Ref horn.....that would be tenor of course.

That's a lot of over head for hardly any return at all.
 

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Simon Weiner said:
Gary, your points are vaild, but again do you walk into WALMART asking the manager what they paid for pillows?? I have never been to a car dealer when they tell you what they actualy have to pay for a car is. How is that going to help you in a purchase? I understand getting the best price for you as a consumer, but you really never know what someone as a dealer paid. Not to say that you cant get info on value of the item or high price or low price info from the internet to make a wise choice and smart buy. I just think its funny how the rules change from big to small businesses and its usually the small guy that gets the sour end, sort of.
No offense meant, but I think it's funny that you complained at first about someone comparing music shops to car dealerships, and then you throw Walmart in the mix. IMHO, a car dealership and a music store have WAY more in common than either of the above and a Walmart. The difference is that in the former two, there's typically a salesman involved, and the items are big ticket items. I'd go out and buy new pillows on a whim (to use your examples), but you better believe that if I'm buying a horn/car/sound system/etc., I'm going to talk to the guy that's going to be selling me this piece of equipment. I know the guy that I buy horns from VERY well. Know his family, his personality, etc. I also know the guy that sold me my car. We still send each other Christmas cards. That's good business. No one sold me pillows... I bought them. Big difference. Walmart doesn't give a flip if I'm happy with those pillows in a year. My car guy and my saxophone guy do. Because when I'm in the market for a new car/horn, they know who I'm going to go to do business. I recommend them to friends. I'd never recommend Walmart for pillows (I buy mine from Bed Bath and Beyond, FWIW ;))

On the last three horns that I've purchased, I know I could have gotten a better deal (monetarily), but I like the service that I get from my guy. Plus he's helped me out in some sticky situations. That's what my dollars have gotten me.

Chris S
 

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Chris S said:
No offense meant, but I think it's funny that you complained at first about someone comparing music shops to car dealerships, and then you throw Walmart in the mix. IMHO, a car dealership and a music store have WAY more in common than either of the above and a Walmart. The difference is that in the former two, there's typically a salesman involved, and the items are big ticket items. I'd go out and buy new pillows on a whim (to use your examples), but you better believe that if I'm buying a horn/car/sound system/etc., I'm going to talk to the guy that's going to be selling me this piece of equipment. I know the guy that I buy horns from VERY well. Know his family, his personality, etc. I also know the guy that sold me my car. We still send each other Christmas cards. That's good business. No one sold me pillows... I bought them. Big difference. Walmart doesn't give a flip if I'm happy with those pillows in a year. My car guy and my saxophone guy do. Because when I'm in the market for a new car/horn, they know who I'm going to go to do business. I recommend them to friends. I'd never recommend Walmart for pillows (I buy mine from Bed Bath and Beyond, FWIW ;))

On the last three horns that I've purchased, I know I could have gotten a better deal (monetarily), but I like the service that I get from my guy. Plus he's helped me out in some sticky situations. That's what my dollars have gotten me.

Chris S



I was just using the idea of getting the best deal as a example. WALMART was the most familar retail that floods and controls the retail market. Not to get into a arguement about the positives or negatives of WALMART. I am just saying that your pricing is based on many factors and as a consumer, dealer cost is a small matter. And their is a difference between cars and horns. I sold and sell both at different times and can tell you that much. You have a much smaller client basis in the horn business then in cars.
 
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