Can You Go To A Car Dealership When It’s Closed

Can You Go To A Car Dealership When It'S Closed

When shopping for a new or used vehicle, you likely spend hours researching makes and models, comparing prices, and reading reviews before ever stepping foot in a dealership. Once ready to test drive, many head to car lots during prime weekend or evening hours.

However, visiting a dealership when they are closed can offer unique advantages if you know how to access the vehicles. While most assume dealerships are off limits after closing time, there are situations where you may be able to get inside and experience the inventory on your own terms.

Of course, only attempt this through legal channels with a dealership’s permission. Arm yourself with information ahead of time for a smooth after-hours dealership visit.

When Dealerships Are Typically Closed

Before discussing how to get into a dealership after closing time, it helps to understand their normal business hours. While hours vary between dealerships, here are the typical times when showrooms are locked up:

  • Evenings after 7-9pm on weekdays. Some close earlier around 5-6pm.
  • Saturdays after 5-6pm. Many are open 9am-6pm on Saturdays.
  • Sundays – Most dealerships are closed Sundays except for short hours on a few “open Sundays” per month. Holidays are also closed.
  • Overnight between closing time and opening around 9am the next weekday morning. Dealers usually close up tightly at night.

So if you work a standard day job, evenings, weekends and holidays pose a challenge to visit dealerships during operating hours. Even outside of work hours, prime evenings and weekends also draw crowds which some buyers want to avoid.

But don’t assume the doors are locked 24/7. Dealerships can and will arrange after-hours appointments for seriously interested buyers through prior arrangements. Let’s look at the advantages of a personalized after-hours experience.

When Dealerships Are Typically Closed
When Dealerships Are Typically Closed

Why Visit a Dealership After Closing?

Most buyers head to dealerships on evenings or weekends when it’s convenient. But for some, visiting a locked dealership after hours has unique benefits:

  • Focus – You can examine vehicles and take test drives with few distractions and no crowds.
  • Build Rapport – The salesperson’s undivided attention helps build a stronger business relationship.
  • Privacy – Discuss deals and pricing away from other customers overhearing.
  • Convenience – Arrange visits around your work schedule instead of rushing after work.
  • Flexibility – Spend as much or as little time reviewing options with no close of business cut-off.
  • Availability – The salesperson is there only to assist you, not other buyers.
  • Inventory Access – Browse all vehicles uninterrupted, even those locked up or in back.

For the right buyer, an after-hours personalized and focused visit can be advantageous compared to prime weekend crowds. You can leisurely view the inventory and chat deals out of earshot.

How to Set Up an After-Hours Appointment

Of course, you can’t just show up after the closed sign goes up expecting full access. Arranging an after-hours dealership visit requires following proper procedures. Here are the steps:

  • Research online and narrow down one or two dealerships with inventory you want to see. Independent lots are often more flexible than big chain dealers.
  • Contact the dealership during normal hours and ask to speak with a sales manager about scheduling an after-hours appointment. Explain you work odd hours and are interested in purchasing.
  • Provide details on vehicles you want to see and proposed date/time to visit. Most are willing to accommodate serious buyers.
  • Get contact information for the salesperson assigned to meet you. You’ll meet them when you arrive for access.
  • Arrive on time for your scheduled appointment. The salesperson will be waiting to let you in and review vehicles.
  • After your visit, be sure to thank the staff for their time. Let them know if you need any additional information or want to schedule a second after-hours visit.

Following proper procedures will ensure your after-hours visit goes smoothly. Dealership staff take time away from family to accommodate interested buyers, so treat them professionally. Ultimately, they want to earn your business.

How To Set Up An After-Hours Appointment
How to Set Up an After-Hours Appointment

What to Expect During an After-Hours Visit

Once you’ve scheduled an after-closing appointment and arrive at the dealership, you’ll want to make the most of the experience. Here’s what to expect:

A salesperson will meet and greet you outside and unlock the doors to let you in. They may ask for your ID. Only a skeleton staff will be present. Sales, finance, and management employees coordinate after-hours coverage.

The showroom and lot will be dark with only necessary lights on. Bring a flashlight if you want extra visibility. All doors and gates will be unlocked so you can access vehicles. But remain with the salesperson at all times and do not wander off.

Vehicle keys will be pulled out so you can test drive without delays. But no financing or final paperwork can be processed. Be very clear on what vehicles you want to see. Come prepared with models and stock numbers after researching online. Don’t waste time browsing aimlessly.

Bring your research, questions, and serious buying intentions to maximize the experience. While you won’t have crowds and noise, also recognize the accommodations made for your appointment.

Policies for After-Hours Access

While most dealerships are willing to arrange after-hours appointments, they have policies in place to maintain security. Expect limitations on the following:

  • Number of guests – Only the pre-arranged customers can attend after-hours. No extra family or friends.
  • Test drives – Drives must stay fairly local and not too far from the dealership after closing times.
  • Building access – Remain with the salesperson at all times. Don’t wander off into restricted areas.
  • Time limits – Visits are usually limited to 1-2 hours maximum out of courtesy.
  • Financing – Only product demonstrations and test drives. Final financing must happen during normal hours.

These policies protect both customers and the dealership. By following the rules, you position yourself as a respectful buyer so they want to earn your business.

Policies For After-Hours Access
Policies for After-Hours Access

Dress Appropriately and Arrive Early

To get the most out of an after-hours dealership visit:

  • Dress professionally like you would for an important business meeting. It shows respect for the accommodations made.
  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early. Avoid making the salesperson wait around or search for you. They are doing you a favor.
  • Park in a visitor space, not employee reserved parking. Wait near the main entrance for the salesperson to greet you.

Professionalism and punctuality will be appreciated. While after-hours access is special, treat it like an honor rather than an expectation. You want to build rapport with staff.

When Not to Attempt After-Hours Visits

While after-hours dealership appointments serve a purpose for serious buyers, they aren’t encouraged under these scenarios:

  • Casual browsing with no intent to buy. Don’t waste employees’ time away from family without real interest.
  • Visiting multiple lots the same night. Be realistic in what you can accomplish in 1-2 hours.
  • Negotiating rock bottom prices. Some leverage is lost after hours versus daytime crowds.
  • Test driving far distances. Keep drives reasonably close out of courtesy and safety.
  • Joy riding or reckless driving. Don’t damage or hoon their vehicles after hours when fewer staff are present.

Always demonstrate professionalism and sincere buying motivations when granted special after-hours access. Dealerships are running a business, not a library.

Contacting Dealerships About After-Hours Appointments

If you feel an after-hours dealership visit would be beneficial, here’s how to reach out:

  • Call the sales department directly during normal daytime hours. Ask to speak with the sales manager on duty about scheduling an after-closing appointment.
  • Briefly explain you work an evening job but are interested in specific models. Offer specific days/times that accommodate your schedule.
  • Take down contact information for the salesperson who will meet you. Get their cell number so you can communicate after hours if needed.
  • Thank the manager/salesperson for their help and flexibility. Clearly convey you are a serious buyer with buying power.

With a professional and polite request, most dealers will be glad to arrange an after-hours visit. Come prepared with vehicle stock numbers, financing pre-approval, and license/ID.

FAQs

Q: Is it possible to get into a car dealership after they are closed for the day?

A: Yes, most dealerships will arrange after-hours appointments for serious buyers if requested during normal business hours. This allows access to inventory when crowds are gone.

Q: What are the benefits of visiting a dealership after closing times?

A: Benefits include having more focus and flexibility without crowds, building stronger rapport with sales staff, privacy when negotiating, and being able to view more inventory.

Q: What steps should I take to set up an after-hours appointment?

A: Contact the sales manager during the day, provide details on vehicles you want to see, get assigned a salesperson, and arrive on time for your scheduled appointment. Come prepared with research done.

Q: What policies and rules do dealerships have for after-hours visits?

A: Policies often limit number of guests, test drive distances, building access, time length, and what transactions can occur after hours. Remain with staff at all times.

Q: How should I act when arriving for an after-closing appointment?

A: Dress professionally, arrive early, wait by the entrance for your salesperson, and park in a visitor space. Demonstrate sincerity and don’t overstay your welcome.

Q: When would a dealership not grant after-hours access?

A: If you just want to casually browse with no intention to buy, visit multiple lots in one night, or want to joy ride vehicles. Show genuine buying motivation.

Q: What if I need to contact the salesperson about my after-hours appointment?

A: Ask for the salesperson’s cell phone number during the day so you can communicate after hours if needed leading up to your appointment.

Conclusion

Visiting a car dealership after normal closing hours takes some advanced planning but can provide unique benefits. By contacting management and sales staff during the day, serious buyers can gain personalized after-hours access. This allows you to review inventory,

take lengthier test drives, ask detailed questions, and negotiate more openly away from daytime crowds. Treating the after-closing appointment professionally and arriving on time preserves a positive experience with the dealership for potential future business.

While most retail establishments lock their doors at closing time, car dealers will often accommodate vetted buyers who make the effort to arrange a special visit. Take advantage of after-hours access to focus your buying experience.

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