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Time-Saving Shopping Tips Don't spend all your time wandering around dealerships. Save your energy for your business with these vehicle-shopping methods.

By Jill Amadio

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Effective shortcuts to buying or leasing business vehicles ifyou don't have time to visit various dealerships in personinclude:

  • Browse manufacturers' sites, read advice andrecommendations, learn about pricing, discounts and loans andfleets, and find out what services they offer. GMFleet.com, forexample, groups data into key industries including construction,electrical, plumbing and ambulance/fire/rescue. The downside is youcan't sit in the trucks, of course, but the site graphicsusually include exterior and interior photos. Once you'venarrowed down your search, visit the dealer to inspect the vehiclesin person.
  • Blast-faxing is popular. Fax a list of vehicle choices and yourterms to several dealers asking for their lowest quotes. You canfind the fax numbers in online Yellow Pages. Compare the answersyou receive and take the written reply of the price guarantee whenyou visit the dealership.
  • Fleet shoppers can save time at a dealership by discussingvehicle needs with the fleet manager rather than a generalsalesperson. Some may negotiate over the phone and even arrangedelivery.
  • Buying online from an auto resource is another option. Theirsites list vehicle specifications and direct you to your nearestdealers, which often have their own websites. Sites such aswww.carsdirect.com, rated by Time as thenumber-one car-buying site, www.edmunds.com and www.autobytel.comare loaded with information. www.invoicedealers.com lists dealer invoice and MSRPprices, and www.pricequotes.com, a Geico Insurance company, sendsyou quotes from three area dealers. Kbb.com goes one further and lists new carinvoice, retail and Blue Book value.

Jill Amadio is Entrepreneur's "Wheels"columnist.

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