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I recently had a conversation about backyard landscaping and hot tub placement with a friend and he threw a dollar number of the average hot tub at me and it was too high which I told him and he looked at me with surprise. It turns out he had shopped at a store and was getting a quote with some extra bells and whistles that he thought were essential and he didn't realize that the markup on these tubs is pretty good for the store.
How do I know that you ask in an unbelievable tone of voice. Well, I've owned three different hot tubs over a period of 25 years and I've shopped for them quite a few times. I believe that the worst place to buy the tubs are at the store unless you find a store model that they want to move out and it has what you need. Then you will see a sale price on it and you can get them to go lower than that by showing interest and walking out the door at their price then returning a couple of days later and show interest and then walk again until they get down to a price that is rather unbelievable. After all, you are buying a hot tub that is now not the latest and greatest so they WANT to get it the hell outta there.
They need to move an older model in order to showcase a newer model with more bells and whistles for customers to order and get extra on the model they talk customers into buying. They can SELL those extras real easy if you aren't an experienced hot tub customer. The extras are nice but not really needed to get the benefit of the hot tub.
So, if you have a budget issue and want a standard hot tub here's the plan. Go to home shows, big one day tent sale events, or where there is an event that hot tubs will be sold at and seen on display. Look at all of them and talk to the sales people, they will volunteer a special price just for that day, you can get them lower because they know you are talking to competition at the show or event. If you are with the significant other you need to have your conversation about the pricing and benefits of a different hot tub brand in front of a sales person for the brand you're in front of. They will hear you discussing other options and they don't want to lose a "buyer" to the competition, they will now come down $500. $500 is the absolute lowest amount of discount you will take. If you are doing this on the last day and it's a model on the floor that they don't want to drive back to the warehouse then talk about how little you money you have and go for $1,000 off; you might get $750.
If they aren't playing along then walk to the competition and try again but it must be a standard model that they want to sell and not take back to their warehouse. On the last day they will have already sold some models at a higher price while they were there so their desire is to go back to the warehouse empty handed; help them get to that place. My latest tub started at $4,800 then reduced to $4,200