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Thread: Negotiating a fair price for the conversion package of a minivan??

  1. #1

    Negotiating a fair price for the conversion package of a minivan??

    I?m in the process of purchasing my first wheelchair accessible minivan. When it comes down to negotiations, there are plenty of websites to find the invoice price (and/or fair market value price) of new and used vehicles. The problem is I can only find the MSRP for some conversion companies conversion packages, such as VMI. I?m trying to determine the actual invoice price and a fair negotiable price. Does anyone know where I can find such information? I realize there is probably less room for negotiation regarding the conversion packages versus the actual vehicle itself. But obviously when purchasing a new vehicle that?s already been converted, you need to know the actual value of both in order to negotiate a fair price. Any information or suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

    Note: I?m leaning towards a new vehicle but still considering a low mileage used vehicles. (Hoping to have the minivan for a long time with the least amount of problems.) I?m in a power wheelchair, do not drive, and have had problems getting into most minivans. The VMI Toyota Sienna seems to provide the best turning radius and high ceiling clearance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member ZEN12many's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
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    Woodland, CA, USA Old male, T12 incomplete TM 2004
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    I have no idea how to negotiate for a converted vehicle. I bought a used converted minivan from AMSvans last spring. Expensive (but aren't they all) but I am very satisfied with the van. I bought a one year old Dodge Grand Caravan with 24,000 miles and the van cost $20,015 and the conversion cost $17,980. I bought it on line from a company in Georgia and it was delivered to California. The delivery charge was going to be $2343. They zeroed out the delivery charge. So the total cost was $37995. I had a converted Ford E250 that I traded in. I didn't know how to value it either and took what they offered.

    I live near Sacramento California and there are about 5 places that sell converted vans. Even with such a large city, there still doesn't seem to be a large inventory of used conversions. I was glad to find AMSvans since I could do the shopping on line. It did seem a little like "buying a mail order bride" but I ended up liking the bride.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ZEN12many View Post
    I have no idea how to negotiate for a converted vehicle. I bought a used converted minivan from AMSvans last spring. Expensive (but aren't they all) but I am very satisfied with the van. I bought a one year old Dodge Grand Caravan with 24,000 miles and the van cost $20,015 and the conversion cost $17,980. I bought it on line from a company in Georgia and it was delivered to California. The delivery charge was going to be $2343. They zeroed out the delivery charge. So the total cost was $37995. I had a converted Ford E250 that I traded in. I didn't know how to value it either and took what they offered.

    I live near Sacramento California and there are about 5 places that sell converted vans. Even with such a large city, there still doesn't seem to be a large inventory of used conversions. I was glad to find AMSvans since I could do the shopping on line. It did seem a little like "buying a mail order bride" but I ended up liking the bride.
    Thank you for the information. I'm glad you are happy with your purchase. Hopefully someone with the knowledge I am seeking will enlighten the two of us so we can be more confident in our negotiations in the future. Enjoy the open road!

  4. #4
    I bought mine off Craig's list already fully converted. I only had the hand controls replaced, just updated them..
    In a few years we won't even need the hand controls, it will drive its self.

  5. #5
    You can save a lot of money buying slightly used on Craigslist. Buy privately and when you find 'IT' act fast. There are lots of scumbag dealers that try to buyback these vans after grandpa dies. They screw grandpa on the initial sales and then screw the estate on the buyback. Many families would rather have the van go to someone that needs it.

    Stick with Toyota and Braun. I've had VMI, Rollx, VMS, etc. All problematic.

  6. #6
    We been looking for a few months. Always went with fullsize with lift but this time want try minivan. Current van is 2003 Sprinter Passenger SHR 140" model.
    Prices are crazy on mini-vans with conversions!!!!! Even used are nearly as high as new. So far, hoping it due due to winter, none advertised locally as private sales in newspaper, Ebay or Craigslist.

    Around here very little competetion by dealers. Hence the been looking not buying.

    We may end up with either a mid roof or high roof fullsize Ford Transit with lift added due to costs.

    Seems most big minvan conversion companies have at least one model conversion with 14" drop over 10" drop. I sit tall so that 4" makes alot difference.
    Conversions that fit my needs for head room are:
    Eldorado AmeriVan 14":
    http://www.eldoradomobility.com/whee...icle-brochures
    VMI Northstar:
    https://www.vantagemobility.com/whee...toyota-sienna/

    So far Toyota Sinnea is vehicle we like most.
    "Good Luck!"

  7. #7
    Senior Member RoJo's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    Monterey Bay Area, California
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    117
    My experience is that there is not much price negotiations on new conversion vans. Not claiming they price fix but if no dealer significantly undercuts others on price they all benefit. We are a fairly captive audience. I think used van prices are more negotiable. Mobility dealers lose money everyday their inventory sits on the lot. Make your best offer and be ready to walk/roll away if it is not accepted. No dealer of autos wants to see a potential sale walk out the door. You can buy your own van from a Toyota dealer and ship it to Braun for conversion. You can definitely save dollars on the van purchase but shipping it to Braun may eat up some of the savings. More important in my opinion is finding your closest mobility dealer that you can trust servicing and repairing your van. Reliability and minimal down time is my priority.

  8. #8
    why not another Mercedes?? I love my full size. I looked at the mini but just not the room I wanted. we haul my handcycle, wifes bike and all our gear with room to spare.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeP2013 View Post
    We been looking for a few months. Always went with fullsize with lift but this time want try minivan. Current van is 2003 Sprinter Passenger SHR 140" model.
    Prices are crazy on mini-vans with conversions!!!!! Even used are nearly as high as new. So far, hoping it due due to winter, none advertised locally as private sales in newspaper, Ebay or Craigslist.

    Around here very little competetion by dealers. Hence the been looking not buying.

    We may end up with either a mid roof or high roof fullsize Ford Transit with lift added due to costs.

    Seems most big minvan conversion companies have at least one model conversion with 14" drop over 10" drop. I sit tall so that 4" makes alot difference.
    Conversions that fit my needs for head room are:
    Eldorado AmeriVan 14":
    http://www.eldoradomobility.com/whee...icle-brochures
    VMI Northstar:
    https://www.vantagemobility.com/whee...toyota-sienna/

    So far Toyota Sinnea is vehicle we like most.
    "Good Luck!"
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

  9. #9
    You can always make offers on a converted van. Many factors play in, such as local competition. I have been happy with my dealer movinonmobility.com. Have saved may thousands over the competition. I plain old just trust them to give me the best van for my dollar. I do not have that trust with other shops. I have bought on ebay before and have lucked out wonderfully. Buying craigslist and ebay can be tricky. VMI and Braun if the frame is bent even slightly the companies will consider the van salvaged and may not support with parts etc. Had someone hit our 2012 Honda Braun in a parking lot. Geico claimed they could repair for $3,000 and probably could have. According to Braun it was unrepairable per their standards and would not be supported even though 1 year old. Many newer expensive vans end up as auction salvage and a good body shop can do wonders. I am not saying they have no use or value but know what you are buying. Google the vin plus the word "salvage". Be on the lookout for the re-built title. Some will say that because the converter remanufactured the van it says that, others will tell you straight up whats going on. Run the vin, pay a good shop for a diagnostic and history.

    Here is the search I do in craigslist under the Cars category.

    ( wheelchair | " wheel chair" |handicapped | handicap | handycap | rampvan | VMI | braun)

  10. #10
    I found buying the van then paying for mobility work separately gave us more negotiating power. I got 3 quotes from 2 states and there was a 3-5 k difference. I took the lowest quote to the local shop, showed them, manager said no problem. any dealer across the usa has to do any warranty work needed. I get my work/service done at a different shop than I had do install.
    Bike-on.com rep
    John@bike-on.com
    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
    sponsored handcycle racer

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