Spa Purchasing Anxiety
Internet message boards are becoming a more and more popular tool people are using when shopping for a spa. Much of the information found there should really be taken with a grain of salt. Most of the postings are anonymous and you really have no way of knowing who is making the post, and if there are filling some "agenda" they may have. Information is frequently "personal opinion" based on nothing else and you could even come across a spa dealer trying to "make a deal", or even steer potential customers away from his competition. One of the more popular topics is people checking to see if a price they've been quoted is fair and reasonable. Following is a post by, yes, an anonymous person, with never the less, some great advise. This has been slightly edited and reprinted with permission from the original poster.
As a 1st time hot tub/spa buyer I found there was one "down side" to doing my research using the hot tub message boards and forums, anxiety over prices. Anxiety that I actually did not have prior to starting research. Let me explain:
The 1st thing you find when doing proper research is that this purchase is probably going to cost you more than you had planned. Most total newbies, like myself, see tubs at Home Depot and Costco for under 4k and quickly realize though research here and other places that it is probably not a wise choice...i.e. I'd rather pay double on a purchase of this size to know I will be backed and serviced, and hopefully have less trouble with the product...Yugo versus Honda anyone?
The 2nd thing you will find in making this purchase is that purchasing a spa can be a similar experience to purchasing a quality mattress (anyone buy a good mattress lately?) The asking/invoice price is RARELY and probably NEVER that.
Example: The 1st dealer I went to said a particular spa was a $13000 tub all day, and that didn't include steps cover etc. Though I did not negotiate, the salesman made me believe that there was little room to negotiate. He quoted me this price AFTER I told him I had done months and months of research on manufacturers, models and prices. I knew that this was way way over what this tub was worth, and was rather insulted that he still quoted me that price after he knew d**n well I was an informed consumer. I knew this dealer wasn't for me.
The 2nd dealer I went to had the same spa, with invoice price listed on the tub of $10900, and the "sales" price of $8599, including cover, lifter, steps, chems. Now we are talking.
Now to brass tacks. I found myself bouncing back and forth, from message board to message board, looking at brands and models, options etc, but quickly got down to prices on each and every one. Mind you that I am the type of person who always wants the best, biggest and nicest of anything I buy, and always at the best price (there's a flaw in my personality that way). I quickly found myself only looking at the top end product in each and every manufacturer's line. I started driving myself nuts over prices and saving that $500 to $1500 from one model to the next, which actually confused me to the point of delaying a purchase.
To my point here, to those of your who are having price or model anxiety to the point of not making a purchase, I realize that if you pull the trigger on a tub and find that someone else got the same tub as you for $750.00 less you are going to have buyers remorse, or be bummed out. Heck that's human nature. I feel I got the best price I've seen for my tub, and the 1st time I see someone get it less than I did, which inevitably will happen, I will be bummed as well......for about 30 seconds.
Wet test, find that good dealer, decide on that tub you want and can afford, research the price, and try like hell to get it at the lowest price you've seen on these boards. Ill bet you will get the tub you want within $1000.00 of the lowest price on these boards (tax is probably the real factor here).
Would I have paid $9599 vice the $8599 I paid for my tub, nope, that would have been more than the absolute top dollar I was willing to pay for a tub. Mind you that is probably the key factor for most people in the end, what is the most you can/are willing to pay, what is your budget? Did I want to pay $7999 vice the $8529 I did pay, you bet! Would I have been happier with a different brand of spa for $7950 vice the one I choose at $8529. Yes, if after the long run the different brand was a better tub for me, but certainly not happier because I saved $679.00 for a product that wasn't for me.
In closing, are you going to be miserable and not enjoy your tub if you paid $679 to much, or are you going to be more miserable going tubeless, while you drive yourself crazy over a few hundred bucks and spend 5 more months trying to save that few hundred bucks.....my guess is the latter.
Go buy that tub. If you really want one you will eventually buy one, so why delay the inevitable over a few hundred bucks. People do actually survive the purchase of a spa, I did.