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lancetaylor
12-24-2002, 11:35 AM
I'm planning to open a new lawncare dealership in a small town (75,000) and will compete with primarily one other dealership which sells ExMark, Walker and Encore. Ferris, John Deere and Gravely are also represented in town but by agriculture/implement dealers and aren't really a factor.

I'm seriously considering taking on Toro as the cornerstone of our product offering as well as Grasshopper due to a strong customer base which should offer alot of service work.

I'm interested in commercial mowers opinions on Toro ZTR's and Walk-Behind mowers.

Quality? Pricing? Factory Support? Warranty?

I've also looked at Scag, Dixie Chopper, Hustler, and Ferris, but none of these manufacturers seem to have the name to bring in both the commercial and homeowner customer.

Am I overestimating Toro?

geogunn
12-24-2002, 11:48 AM
I have absolutely no experience in the question you are asking which uniquely qualifies me to offer an opinion.:D

and that opinion is that the toro would be strong and the grasshopper wouldn't hurt, but I think you should consider another brand or two if that is possible.

I would be more enticed to deal with you if you had a broad base from which to merchandise.

here, the tractor dealers are a big factor in local sales.

good luck.

GEO

Clay
12-24-2002, 11:58 AM
Lance,

From a contractor's side, I don't think you can go too wrong with the Toro brand...

I've been using Toro for about 10 years now because I don't think anything mulches better than the 21" trim mower... It is also very reliable and has a more upright handlebar that saves one step on each turn over the Honda I used to use (but for bagging the honda is a clear winner)....

I was also very happy with my hydro 37" recycler deck with 20hp Kohler and t-bar handle, unfortuanately the new walk behinds with the T-bar are very underpowered with only a 15 Kohler available... There is no way I can mulch with that size engine, let alone think about riding with a proslide... Very unhappy about that...

I also run a Z-100 44" deck with a 17hp Kawi... again this is underpowered for mulching, but works great as a discharge unit.

Without a stronger lineup of engines (can you say honda) on their smaller decks, I will not be purchasing a toro again... Right now the Huster walk behinds, and especially the short cut with the uppercut deck have my full attention....

I have also heard praise for the Grasshopper, but never owned one myself... Hope this helps...

Good Luck, Clay

rodfather
12-24-2002, 12:03 PM
Toro ZTRs are fast and leave a nice stripe. Their WB's are a little tricky to operate with the T steering they have (especially when you are trying to jump a curb).

Quality is there and so is warranty. Pricing is a little dicey though, especially for parts. I cringe everytime something breaks on one of our 325D's, parts for those animals are real expensive. But that is good for the dealer (you).

Swampbeast
12-24-2002, 12:03 PM
When I go shopping for a mower, I always look for the dealer that has the most variaty. The law of Averages works in your favor as well, lets say you have 4 different brands of mowers. Someone comes in, you have a 75% chance they are going to pick a mower. Whereas if you have only two types, you only have a 50% chance. So the more types of mowers you have, the more likely you are to make a sale. So if I was you, I would have at least 5 different brands. Preferable SCAG, Exmark, Dixie Chopper, Toro, Grasshopper, and John Deere. I dont particularly like John Deere, but JD does have a HUGE customer base, I mean, even the ditzy high school girls know what a John Deere is. Everyone knows who they are.



:cool:

lancetaylor
12-24-2002, 12:25 PM
I may be able to support 3 manufacturers, but doubt I could handle 5 credit wise.

JD is already sold locally so I'd probably be inclined to sell Hustler along with Toro and Grasshopper.

rodfather
12-24-2002, 12:39 PM
I may be able to support 3 manufacturers, but doubt I could handle 5 credit wise.

Unless they were strictly on consignment you might be able to. But I am sure none of the 5 manufacturers are going to be real thrilled they have 4 other competitors on the floor to compete with.

just my thought.

jkkalbers
12-24-2002, 01:11 PM
All we use are toro products. We bought the first walk behind mower(not actually the first one) toro ever built and have never used anything else. We run 52" pro-lines and 62" z-masters. Never had major problems with either, and I don't plan on changing anytime soon. One thing with Toro is, they have a reputation of being a quailtiy product and they have history to back it up.

brucec32
02-02-2003, 11:32 PM
I have used toro belt drive wb's for years and find their T bar steering a great alternative to a more expensive wb. They're very popular here in Atlanta. Their ZTR's aren't as popular, with the Exmark version being preferred. I have a Lazer Z myself. Seems the deck design is said to be superior to the Toro's, and I find the Exmark pretty close to perfect personally. I also found the deck/engine size selections better on the Exmarks for my type of use. Toro has some homeowner style ZTR's, so that might help sales, since I think that market will grow rapidly.

The Toro homeowner market should be huge, however. They're a superior design. I've used 21" Toro's for years w/o any major problems. And they're available in a wide range from expensive to cheap, which helps make sales.

I think if I was going to have a dealership, it would be Toro, since they combine strong presence in both commercial and consumer markets.

brucec32
02-02-2003, 11:50 PM
Originally posted by Clay
Lance,

From a contractor's side, I don't think you can go too wrong with the Toro brand...

I've been using Toro for about 10 years now because I don't think anything mulches better than the 21" trim mower... It is also very reliable and has a more upright handlebar that saves one step on each turn over the Honda I used to use (but for bagging the honda is a clear winner)....

I was also very happy with my hydro 37" recycler deck with 20hp Kohler and t-bar handle, unfortuanately the new walk behinds with the T-bar are very underpowered with only a 15 Kohler available... There is no way I can mulch with that size engine, let alone think about riding with a proslide... Very unhappy about that...

I also run a Z-100 44" deck with a 17hp Kawi... again this is underpowered for mulching, but works great as a discharge unit.

Without a stronger lineup of engines (can you say honda) on their smaller decks, I will not be purchasing a toro again... Right now the Huster walk behinds, and especially the short cut with the uppercut deck have my full attention....

I have also heard praise for the Grasshopper, but never owned one myself... Hope this helps...

Good Luck, Clay

Wow, you must be mowing some tough, tall grass. With 15hp, their 36" deck has a hp/deck size ratio of .416 on a mower that weighs less than 500 lbs. A "big" Exmark Lazer Z rider has an identical hp/deck inches ratio with a 25 hp Kohler and a typical 60 inch deck. And that mower is about 1100 lbs and has to carry a rider's weight. Even considering the greater torque output of the twin cylinder engine, I still think the wb has plenty of power with 15hp.

For small areas and as a backup I use a Toro 36" with only 12hp and it cuts heavy stuff great and tows me at 200 lbs decently with a one wheel Velke.

Perhaps it is the 37" deck design, I had one and it didn't handle heavy grass well at all. I used it mostly for mulching leaves and bagging.

Envy Lawn Service
02-02-2003, 11:58 PM
Husqvarna

Get both markets. Nuff said.

IBGreen
02-03-2003, 12:59 AM
I love there 21 in w/ the Suzuki, but of course they aren't going to produce it with the Suzuki, woud,'t you know it. There bagger is crap, but greenpastures, is a big Toro fan as you know I'm sure.

thartz
02-03-2003, 01:19 AM
I run Toro's and Scag units.I have nothing bad to say about either model.If I were going to sell I would definetly look into Hustler or Walker.They both are fairly well respected on this site.

TMlawncare
02-03-2003, 02:35 AM
Be careful with the line you pick. The competitor you said carries walker, exmark and encore also sales toro and simplicity. They also carry a good selection of handheld products. Most of their business is commercial. Homeowners still favor the box stores. Also doesn't AAA still carry toro and grasshopper as their featured products. I don't know if grasshopper would want two dealers in a limited market.

TMlawncare
02-03-2003, 02:51 AM
If you want to pick up a line I would suggest
scag, hustler, dc and lawnboy. None of these companies have any dealers in the area excluding lawnboy.

Equipguy
02-03-2003, 07:34 AM
Toro would be a good choice but why not consider Hustler. The dealers here really like the support they get from the company.