View Full Version : Long distance dealers

11-04-2002, 11:43 AM
I've been thinking about this awhile now , and another thread has something similar so I thought I'd ask.

How far would you go to a dealer?

My situation is I am hoping to add another mower next year. I know what I want, 48" hydro Walk-behind w/floating deck, largest engine possible, probably elec. start. I will add a stand up sulky, metal mesh catcher, and probably doulble blades, maybe even a flex-deck down the road.
With the info from this sight I have narrowed my choice down to Exmark, Gravely, and Hustler.
my problem is I have to drive over 100 miles to see any of these machines.

Exmark- there is a dealer here but he doesn't have any walk-behinds. He said he would try to get some in so I could try the Ecs controls, but that was a couple months ago. Also this dealer isn't realy a mower dealer, he is a sprinkler company I know and the Exmarks are just a sideline, makes me wonder about repairs and support down the road.

Gravely-there is an Airens dealer here but he can't get Gravely, I will have to go to a dealer he knows 100 miles away to try one. If I do get one he can do the service work for me no problem. Just doesn't sell the commercial side of Airens. (This is my favorite dealer here and always does his best to get me working again as soon as possible).

Hustler-No dealer here, again have to drive over 100 miles to see one, but this daler might bring a machine out to me to try, But this season is about done for demoing on grass. He did say that he knows my favorite local dealer (the one that sells Airens) and could have hime do any warrenty repairs or service even though they aren't hustler dealers.

The local dealer also sells Toro(res and comm), Scag, Dixon, and White.
Another dealer sell Snapper, and some Grasshopper, but I haven't dealt with them much.
Ace Hardware sell toro snapper and deere.
I think there is also a cub Cadet dealer but I don't know if they sell commercial. They might also sell Woods.

That's my situation. I don't want to tick off my favorite dealer by buying a machine from someone else, then asking him to fix it.
The only one he gets anything form the sale is maybe the Gravely, (out of my three choice) but that seems like the hardest for me to see. From the specs I like the Gravely exept the pistlol grips. I'dlike to get away from them.

I 've ran Snappers in the past and like the controls but I thik Snapper has gotten passed up with the new inovations on the other models like the deeper decks, blade speeds, tire sizes, etc.. I hav'nt tried Toros but I don't like the looks of the T-bar, and I don't like the stamped decks.

I guess I have to take a drive and hope I can try the mower I am looking for when I get there.

I just would rather do buisness local.

Sorry this post is so long, but I've been thinking on this awhile.


11-04-2002, 03:51 PM
Does the dealer you want to service the mowers sell Toro? If so get a Toro. I can understand wanting to support Lawnsite. But you have to support yourself first. Toro's are as good as any mower out there and usually most Toro dealers have very good parts availability.

11-04-2002, 04:03 PM
I would highly recommend going with a combination of closest and best dealer for your purchase. You are going to need parts, have questions and possible need a loaner. If the dealer is far away who is going to help you then. You are in a very difficult situation/location to say the least. Best of luck to you.

Thank you,

Alan Bechard
11-04-2002, 04:15 PM
we tried a dealer 60 miles away and that just did not work out for us. Our current dealer is 30 or so miles away and he is the closest dealer that I like / trust / respect.

I really wish we had a dealer that I wanted to deal with in my own town.

Al B

11-04-2002, 04:26 PM
Try out the Scag w/b's. Alot f guys here rin the SWZU's and theyproduce an excellent cut quality, a great stripe, and usually have good dealer support. Just a suggestion.

Envy Lawn Service
11-04-2002, 08:40 PM
If I were you I guess I'd just have to decide if those controls on the Hustler & Exmark were more important than other issues. If not I'd just buy the Scag of your favorite guy or get the Gravely and let him service it since he is an Ariens dealer.

If it were me I'd feel more comfortable dealing with my local favorite.

Now you "may" want to look into Husqvarna walkbehinds. They have some with the ETS system controls and they also have a quick deck lift on some of them too. It has a handle at the rear you use to raise and lower the deck right where you are. It looks like the lift handle on their ZTR's. Just a thought anyways.

We do 4 U
11-04-2002, 11:14 PM
If the Toro dealer is a good dealer then go Toro. i have a 44" wb gear drive and love it. I got a Super Z this year and hve been using that but I used the wb for 2 years with out 1 problem oher then 1 broken belt. i also think the cut is good but some on this site my not agree. Also the t-bar conrols are a lot easier on the hands than the pistol grips on the Scags imho.

Envy Lawn Service
11-04-2002, 11:24 PM
Does the t-bar offer a full range of control like other styles? It does look like it would be very easy to use.

We do 4 U
11-04-2002, 11:40 PM
envy, yes the t-bar does offer a full range of control.

11-05-2002, 01:34 AM
Thanks for all your replys.

A couple of you have sugested I try the Toro. I will admit I have never run T-bar, but in order to try one I will probably have to go to another dealer ,again the 100 mile drive. Same with the Scag. I have looked at the toros that belong to another Lco when they were in for repair. They didn/t seem like they held up *** well as others. Also I have seen the lawns cut by these toros and they look uneven and shabby. I don't know if that's operator or mower but It makes me wonder. Whenever I mention getting a demo of commercial equipment from any of the local dealers I get a blank look and the name of the dealer in Omaha NE that carries them.
The main things I like about the brands I mentioned that I don't see in the Toro or Scag are:
Deep decks, Large tires without being a monster machine. (650-700#), maintenance free spindles, electric clutch, and few others.

I have a 36" Lesco now(dealer is in Lincoln) and it does OK but I realy want a better quality of cut and better lift and discharge. and. easier/less maintance.

The city where I work is about 20,000 people I live about 18 miles away near a town of 200. Lincoln Ne 200,000 and Omaha ?? are both a little over 100miles away and they are the only places where the dealers actualy stock commercial stuff.

It looks like I am going to have to take a drive to Omaha I just don't know when I can before the snow comes to stay, Then when spring comes It will be busy, busy, busy again.

I like small town livin' but I guess this is one of the disadvantages.

Envy Lawn Service
11-05-2002, 01:36 AM
If I were going to get a walkbehind and a stand style sulky, the Toro hydro with the Tru Trak sulky would be hard to pass up. It's very nice. I just don't think I could take all the standing :(

Randy Scott
11-05-2002, 01:54 AM
I feel bad for some of you guys in this predicament of having dealer problems and availability. I live just outside Milwaukee 20 minutes or so and we have so many dealers and a huge variety of mowers to pick from. Actually, most of the dealers are all in the suburbs around Milwaukee. It's not even a thought of having trouble getting or demoeing something. Just hard to picture your guys situation, but it must suck.

I really lucked out when I started my biz two years ago. I first hit the local Scag dealer to check out their line. Dealer was a complete jerkoff, ended the Scag thoughts. Then I hit the eXmark dealer. (10 minutes from me) We couldn't have hit it off better. Great husband and wife team running it. Got to be great friends and have a great business relationship. I wouldn't THINK of going to anyone else, for anything. The 7001 that captdevo is selling here is a great price but I just can't do that to my dealer. When a guy will leave his house on a weekend, or at eight o'clock at night to either bring you or meet you at the shop for trimmer line, or a broken hydro spring, saving $50 on a blower is suicide.(no offense devo) We do dinner at his house or lunch during slow times. It's great having that type of relationship and environment to be in. He has, and will again I'm sure, drop everything in the shop to keep me and other good paying (key phrase) commercial guys going. Of course the $40+ grand I have spent with him must carry some weight. He has a few slow payers that don't get that attention, but then why should they. I really can't say enough good about him and that really makes this business enjoyable, all my suppliers in fact are great people. That's the luxury for me in my area, there are alot of dealers and product suppliers that in two years I was able to get with the good ones and that really makes things easier for me. That's whats good about being the boss, picking people that are enjoyable and good at what they do. People with attitudes or the pushy sales guys can kiss my butt. I don't need them.

So PaulJ, to sum it up, I haven't given you one bit of useful info but talk about my dealer and suppliers, sorry! :eek:

11-05-2002, 02:22 AM
haven't given you one bit of useful info but talk about my dealer and suppliers, sorry!

But you have. again thanks to everybody for your thoughts.

Randy you made me think a little. I get Great service from this dealer and enjoy just talking and shooting the sh** when I'm there. So I asked myself why should he contintue to give me great service when I've only bought I piece of 2-cycle equipment from him.? (an EFCO blower-vac)

Everything else I've gotten used. (most from an LCO I bought out last year).
I'm going to talk to him again about just what different brands he can get and If his distributers can get a demo machine here.

Your right, saving a few $ isn't worth hurting the relationchip with the poeple who have to bail us out when things break down.

11-05-2002, 03:41 AM
Hello just curious about the lesco mower, you said you have a 36 wb but didnt like the cut. Iv'e been looking at a 48 wb hydro that they have on sale for 3300.00. should I look at another mower? thanks Trav

11-05-2002, 11:15 AM
The Lesco mowers are OK. I do get a pretty good cut, but I'd like better. teh way some on here have talked about there exmatks and other brands makes me at least want to try them.
Actualy for the price the lesco is very good. built solid. It still suprises me some of the things I put mine through.

I still have to make two passes sometimes is heavy grass to leave it lokking "clean". I've had to try different blade combinations, and I think I've finally found the best one.

Still I think the lesco requires a little more mainteance(lots of grease fittings, screw type belt tension instead of springs), small tires, and the floating deck models I think are close to 750#, that seems on the heavy side to me.

So I do think Lesco makes a good mower, but not the best, at least not for me.

Try one It moght be right for you.

P.S. I do plan on keeping mine as a backup, second, small yard mower.

11-11-2002, 02:54 AM

We were visiting the mother-in-law in lincoln today and I thought I'd check out the Exmark dealership to see them first hand.
But when I get there they closed at noon on saturday:mad: :(

I will have to make a trip during the week.:rolleyes:

After reding the liturature from my dealer here I think I've narrowed my choices down between Scag and Gravely. Does any one have expierience with BOTH of these brands of Walkbehinds?

They both have features I like. Still wish I could get bigger than a 17hp on a 48" machine.:mad:

Does the scag advantage deck do well with double blades?

Thanks again:)

11-12-2002, 09:17 AM

Ya, most all the dealers here close at noon on Saturdays. One I know stays open till 2 and another till 3. The one that is opened till 2 is an Exmark and Snapper dealer (also sells echo and stihl handheld stuff) - one man show operation - really busy on Saturdays. The one open till 3 is a snapper dealer, but has Stihl equip also.

12-08-2002, 03:22 AM
Well, I finaly got to Omaha to check out some mowers.
What a disapointment:(

I first went to the gravely dealer. I was realy looking forward to seeing the new machines. When I walkede in the door I knew it didn't look good . only a couple of wb's in sight. I asked about the new "pro-steer" controls. dealer says they are not out yet, not being shiped? I know that some on here have acutaly gotten to try these mowers. I tolk him I was looking for a hydro 48".
He shows me this 50" pro300 I said what about the new style ?
he went on to tell me he didn't like the new 48" and 52" gravelys. said the didn't leevs as nice of a finished cut. I told him I know alot of thought went into the new designs he didn't here me. just whent on how he won't stock them until they change some things. By now I'm getting pr=etty frustrated. but I try to get a little more info. On what it was going to take to actualy see a new gravely walkbehind. I'm not sure now if I ever will:(
We looked a little at the gratdane walks(scamper) but that's not what im looking for.

I go find the hustler dealer and discover they also have scag.
I will admit this daler actualy acted like they would help . but again no mower to see. they did have a 36"belt scag on the floor and said they would have more models in the spring. and they had the hustler I wanted to see sitting on top of a stack of crates of ZTR's tucked away nice and neet for the winter.
After compairing some specs and info the scag is looking promising, I would just like to see one in person.

I finaly stoped at a third dealer, I wasn't even sure what brands they had but it was oin my way. They cary Yazzo/kees. but al they had was 36"hydro and 48" fixed decks. I remember reading on here that the Huskavarna and kees wer similar? the kees I saw were nothing like the pictures of huscavarna that I've seen and the dealer knew nothing about a floating deck or non'pistol grip controls,(the hukavaras have both). So that was even more confusing:dizzy:

sorry for the long post. but I had to vent.
I'm seriosly considerng another Lesco just because I know the daler actualy has one for me to see/try.

thanks again

Envy Lawn Service
12-08-2002, 05:06 AM
Dang man! Sounds like you are having a time!!! I thought I had it bad. But don't feel bad, I drove 200 miles to check out some brands only to be a bit disappointed myself. Same deal, lack of stock.

I have acess to the following walkbehind equipment here....

John Deere
Great Dane

The Snapper is one you haven't mentioned. You should see if they are available locally through anyone who caries there homeowner stuff. Nice machine.

As for the yazoo/Kees thing, Husqvarna owns them and they make their commercial stuff. But that is all that is maketed under Yazoo/Kees. I'll attach a pic of their brand new WB!!!

If there is anything I can check out for you and pass info along, let me know. I'm going to check out the Gravelys soon anyways and the brands I have listed are close by. Still stock is quite limited here too :(

12-08-2002, 05:26 AM
Envy that kees is a neet looking mower, kind of futureistic. And nothing like the ones I saw. I think the dalers around here dond't care about new stuff untill they sell there 2-3 year old stock. I specificly asked the guy "does kees make a floating deck?" He said nope, that's it.

Yes I have considered Snapper. there actualy is a daler right here in town, just not "my" dealer. I have run snapper machines in the past and am considering one again. I would like to support the local dealer who has been good to me when I needed repairs. But If he doesn't start acting like he want's to sell me something, I will look harder elswhere. I never relised It would be this hard to just get a mower demo. Car dealers about trip over themselves to get you to take a test drive. go figure.

Maybe I have to walk in with a few thousand $$ sticking out of my pockets, ready to spend befor they take notice.?

So what mowers have you actualy gotten to drive/cut with??

Right now al I've done for most of them lately is look at pictures.
I'd like to first see the machine in persone so I can look it over , then I would like to drive it, and It would be great to actualy cut some grass, but that wil have to wait till spring.

I realy don't want5 to just "settle" for what ever a dealer has on hand. I might give up on new altogether and buy a cheap used mahcine again. to get by for a while.

sorry I know this is starting to sound like I'm whining:cry: but mayby I am.

12-08-2002, 10:03 AM

given your options scag is a very good mower we have used there walkbehinds since we started in the biz.They built like tanks and cut very good stripe extremely well.
Your predictament makes me see how lucky we are around here dixie chopper,scag ,exmark ,toro, lesco ,hustler, gravely ,john deere,walker ,encore ,wright ,great dane or all right close with multiable scag ,toro, exmark all less then a hour driveing time to choose from .

Mowing Freak
12-08-2002, 12:54 PM
You said something earlier about having a Grasshopper dealer local, I would advise you to take a look at them. I own Walkers myself, and if it were not for them, I would have a Grasshopper. My Wallker dealer is 70-80 miles away from me and a Grasshopper dealer is 15 miles away. The Grasshopper dealer isn't a bad dealer, they are very nice, but when I started out, a used Walker was all I could find in the right price range and have since found they are in most ways better than Grasshopper. If your Grasshopper dealer is any good at all, you will get a demo, no problem. Snapper is a good mower too. Not necessarily the best, but a good one. Just a thought, your local dealers have so many people coming in to just look. Once you start waving cash around, then you will get a bite on who wants to sell and who don't. It may take you buying a mower from them before a good relationship is established. It, to me, is kind of stupid that you have to "earn their service" to you because they are a dealer, but sometimes it works that way. My dealer for Walker will now send me parts in the mail with a bill, then I just send him a check. If I need something immediatly, I will go get it. Hope this helps!

12-08-2002, 07:42 PM
If your dealer is 100 miles away, he would be rather worthless in a warranty situation. For that reason, I would suggest that you find a good used machine and not worry about warranty issues. There are some of the bigger walkbehinds for sale on the web and possibly in some of the newspapers surrounding you for maybe 500 miles. I donít know how far away Dallas is from you, but maybe you should take a look in their classifieds.

For repairs, a dealer is good, but I still like to have more than one option. You should know where you can find replacement parts, either locally or by phone so you are prepared to act quickly in case of a breakdown.

Go with the machine you really like, but just get a used one. Plus, the money you save will help cover any future maintenance costs.

Envy Lawn Service
12-09-2002, 02:04 AM

I know exactly where you are coming from about old stock...man!

Do a search on the Snapper. During my shopping trip, I saw some. They are nice machines to say the least. I don't think ou'd go wrong there and you have something local.I wish I had paid more attention to them now. I was a bit preoccupied with the Scag line when I was in the dealership.

I can't remember, what did you say your favorite dealer sold?

Some dealers are a bit anal about demos for various reasons. I wish it were as easy as getting a test drive in a car too! It gets old studying pictures and specs doesn't it?!

So far I have only demoed one mower that I was impressed with. A 52" Exmark Lazer Z HP. From what little I used it I could tell the others I had tried were not even worth a second thought anymore. I expect their walkbehinds would be good too.

As for MFG's that WILL actively seek to earn your business by doing there best to get you a demo, here is a list of my experience.

Exmark, Hustler, Ferris and last but not least Grasshopper.

Go over and take advantage of our sponsers in there forums. They WILL do there best to hook you up! With Grasshopper, just go to their site and fill out their request. They will seek you actively moreso than anyone I think. You'll get a nice package in the mail from them and a rep will contact you to deliver a unit to you for a demo. With Ferris, locally I can contact a dealer who puts me in direct contact with the local Ferris rep. Here they will deliver a truckload of equipment for you to try.

All that being said, I still think you might want to pick up something local unless you are just dis-satified with the product. Used equipment is not such a bad idea either if you feel comfortable with that route.

Originally posted by PaulJ
sorry I know this is starting to sound like I'm whining:cry: but mayby I am.

Whine all you like. I would if I were in your shoes.

12-09-2002, 02:25 AM

From a ton of experience in the Omaha area you are going to the wrong places. Email me and I will tell you where to go, who to talk to, and you will not be disappointed.

12-09-2002, 11:30 AM
i have been running a gravely 1336g, it has been a solid machine for me, not a single problem. Upgraded to a 62in Toro ztr love that one too. Chech out the gravely site they have a new model w/o pistol grip. Also call some of these dealers. If they want to earn your business they will come to you.