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View Full Version : A different kind of "Which Brand Is Best"


Green Machine Mowing
10-16-2011, 10:01 PM
I started a small engine repair shop this spring and got setup with Tanaka and Dolmar handhelds and am really pleased with them. Over the winter I would like to establish a relationship with someone who does Commercial WB's/ ZTR's. Toro is out of the question. Other then that I think all brands are open for my area. I also plan on picking up Ventrac, tho I do not plan on selling a whole lot of them. So who would you pick? I am leaning a little toward bobcat as I already have a relationship w/ them and IIRC their warehouse is pretty close.

DavidD
10-16-2011, 11:39 PM
Have you considered Efco? I have a few of the saws run them daily for over 2 yrs and havent had any issues at all with them.

StanWilhite
10-16-2011, 11:41 PM
I started a small engine repair shop this spring and got setup with Tanaka and Dolmar handhelds and am really pleased with them. Over the winter I would like to establish a relationship with someone who does Commercial WB's/ ZTR's. Toro is out of the question. Other then that I think all brands are open for my area. I also plan on picking up Ventrac, tho I do not plan on selling a whole lot of them. So who would you pick? I am leaning a little toward bobcat as I already have a relationship w/ them and IIRC their warehouse is pretty close.

I don't think anyone would even attempt to give you educated advice without first knowing a WHOLE LOT more about you and your situation.

Good luck, Stan

knox gsl
10-16-2011, 11:53 PM
I'm a big fan of both exmark and scag, because of little downtime. I would think as a dealer you would want to carry machines with small issues, then stay on top of everything with great customer service.
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GMLC
10-17-2011, 06:52 AM
Stan is right as most of us don't have enough knowledge on the dealer side of things. Anyways Scag and Exmark would be my top choices. But as a new and small shop they may be hard to get at first. I'd say Bobcat and Snapper Pro would be a good place to start.
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MOturkey
10-17-2011, 09:09 AM
For what it is worth, my dealer has told me several times that Gravely is the easiest company to work with in regards to warranty claims, dealer programs, etc, among the brands he carries. (Gravely, Toro, Walker, and Scag)

Green Machine Mowing
10-17-2011, 01:29 PM
David D. I could pick up Efco pretty easily, as a matter of fact I asked my sales rep to bring some demos when he gets a chance.

Thanks for the advice MOturkey, that is the kind of info I am looking for. :drinkup:

MONTE
10-17-2011, 04:28 PM
Efco does not compare to the dolmar saws nor does there weed eaters. If you could add redmax would be a good trimmer addition. Bobcat is a solid choice in commercial mowers.

Green Machine Mowing
10-17-2011, 05:36 PM
I have heard alot of good things from Redmax. I am pleased with the handheld I have now, my main quest is someone who cant get me commercial equipment.

MONTE
10-17-2011, 06:47 PM
What is available in your are? What is already being sold? You mentioned bobcat and that is a Very Good and complete line from walks to z turns. Also with it you should have access to the ryan line.

SDLandscapes VT
10-17-2011, 09:30 PM
tanaka makes incredible trimmers and dolmar saws are king of the hill--really the only close competitor to a 5100 or 5105 is a husky 346 xp

exmark is solid, walker is solid, bobcat is good, hustler is good. I m going to go on a limb here and make a few deeper observations.

exmark, scag, and toro are full line providers--several sizes of Z's, standers, both floating and fixed deck w/b's (at least toro and exmark)
hustler makes good Z's but the w/b line is limited and expensive same with bobcat though their w/b's are simple, inexpensive and perhaps bulletproof. if you go with bobcat or hustler you might need something else to provide a full line to accommodate all the potential shoppers.

knox gsl
10-17-2011, 09:41 PM
I would go with having honda mowers on the floor and maybe kawasaki, redmax or stihl handhelds. Ybravo seems to be a new but solid mower brand out there to check into. I would make sure that you have a good supporting parts and equipment supplier, this will help you to be a better dealer. The gravely and bobcat lines both seem like a solid lineup.

dutchacres
10-18-2011, 12:34 AM
I looked into opening a shop myself. The thing I love about my business is dealing with the customers. I was wanting a brand that I could sell to the homeowner as well as the pro. I looked into simplicity for the fact of there garden tractor mowers are well built but I could sell the ferris line for the commercial guy. I would sell a better known handheld line to draw in customers that have the products already and you could get there service work. It's all about getting them in the door in my opinon.
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Green Machine Mowing
10-19-2011, 10:59 PM
olmod, I agree one of the best things about this kind of a business are the custoemrs, I love most of them and have met some great contacts as well as some really cool people.

I think I am set on handelds for the time being. Dolmar saws and Tanaka trimmers :weightlifter: I am looking for a commercial line as well as some more residential mowers ect... Gravely looks like they have a nice complete line of equipment. Toro, Grasshopper, Honda and Walker all represented in my area at this time. Gravely is looking really good to me.

HLM HustlerZ
10-20-2011, 12:23 AM
If your planning to carry Tanaka and Dolmar handhelds, my advice is to carry a ZTR / WB line(s) that aren't top market share contenders like exmark, scag, walker. For the reason that your just starting out and your a small shop take on Bobcat, Snapper Pro / Ferris, or Gravely mowers. I would imagine that on the dealer side of things the support with one of these lines would be better suited to a small shop. Also, other lines that might be of interest that I don't know much about might be Badboy mowers or Dixie Chopper.

A guy close to me just opened a small repair/sales shop 5 months ago and he just carries Echo handhelds and Dixie Chopper mowers. Just my 2 cents.

StihlMechanic
10-20-2011, 01:33 AM
I have been in your shoes. I had a shop with intentions of taking on a handheld and z line. You need a good distributor and a good floor plan offered by the manufacture. Husqavarna has a great floor plan, as do Gravely. I believe Gravely doesn't accrue interest on their floor plan for 24 months. They are also easy to deal with and sell well. Look into Hustler, too. Toro commercial equipment slams you with at least a $70,000 booking order. You may have to become an engine dealer for Briggs (big PITA and $3000), Kohler, Kawi, maybe even Honda depending on which make you take on. Cub Cadet doesn't require that but the distributors as well as the manufactures have a horrible reputation for stiffing dealers. Scag is a good one I hear.

It really doesn't matter what these guys will or wont buy, a good sales team can close a sale with any brand. You need a product that is backed by a good distributor, a sales rep that does not load you down with product that wont move.

Good Luck.

hackitdown
10-20-2011, 12:39 PM
I think you may want to carry more in regard to handhelds. Saws and trimmers are a good start, but blowers, hedge trimmers edgers are vital. Redmax has a full line, so does Stihl and Echo. The local Echo guy here get tons of homeowner repair business on Echo product sold at Home Depot.

Out of all the mower brands discussed, Gravely, Bobcat and Ferris sell ok in my area. But Exmark, Toro, Walker, Scag, or Wright...those 5 have the market here. No one here buys Hustler, Cub Cadet and Husqvarna except a very few wealthy homeowners. I have never seen a Badboy, Grasshopper, or a Dixie Chopper on a trailer. Your area will be different

Gravely has walk behinds, ZTRs, and standers. And golf/turf stuff, and that little tractor thing. A nice full line.

I'd call on some large landscapers and ask them. Check the trailers.

madisonpressurewashing
10-21-2011, 01:18 AM
I would like to have Redmax and Bobcat my self.

Green Machine Mowing
10-22-2011, 02:58 PM
Thanks for the heads up guys. I am really pleased with my handheld lines for the time being, great product and my sales reps take care of me. Oddly enough there are very few people who run hedge trimmers around here, I think we have seen one or two all season. For those who said some brands are much bigger then others in your area, is it because of the brand or dealer?

Stihl mechanic, thanks for the pointers, the thought of a 2yr floor plan sounds really nice. I was told by a sales rep of mine that it takes a $50k booking to get in with Cub Cadet, I had no idea they were that exclusive these days :rolleyes: I will commit with Briggs one day, but it wont gain me much other then a sign and some stuff online, as I can already get anything I need from them.

hackitdown
10-22-2011, 03:21 PM
For those who said some brands are much bigger then others in your area, is it because of the brand or dealer?


We have multiple dealers for each brand within a 45 minute drive, so I don't think the dealers drive the decision. I made my mower decisions after talking with other landscapers, and checking to see what everyone else was running. Then I tested them. I researched online.

I buy almost all Stihl, my closest Stihl dealer isn't so great. When I first started, I really cared about dealer support. But then I learned...