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View Full Version : How important is dealer support?


lilred731
01-18-2004, 05:33 AM
How important is dealer support to you? I ask this question to all of you to help me come to solution to a dilemma that I have.

I am looking to purchase a walk-behind. What size, possibly a 48 maybe a 52. Brand either a Toro or Exmark. Out of the three dealer I will deal with two are Toro and the other is an Exmark dealer. The Toro dealers are closer than the Exmark. 1st Toro dealer is 1 miles from my house the 2nd is maybe 13 or so miles and the Exmark is 20 miles from my house. Just for reference sake I don't cut any lawns in the area around the Exmark dealer. I cut closer to both of the Toro dealers.

The reason I am asking this is, my wife said that she will allow me to use most of the income tax return to purchase a lawn mower. She specifically said "The one you want." I immediately thought of the Exmark 52" TT with the 23hp engine. After talking the the dealers and asking questions I started to think alot harder about this than before. The Exmark dealer has the mower I want but the attitude of the salesperson just wasn't up to par. The Toro salesperson were more friendlier and informative than the Exmark person.

My thought at the time was if he acts this way towards me now, will he act this way after I put some money in his pocket by buying the mower?

How important is dealer support to you?

GarPA
01-18-2004, 06:15 AM
I would not worry so much about the attitude of the salesperson, as I would the reputation of that dealer as it pertains to how they are at getting commerical guys in and out when you have a problem.

If you are able, try to talk with other commercial guys about where they get their work done. Most of them will know the dealers who value their business and get them back working asap after a mower breakdown.

At least for me, the #1 issue is how they handle repair problems and how quickly. Personally, I think all the major brands of mowers are decent machines. I now have to drive a half hour one way for my new dealer after having to fire my original dealer who always gave higher priority to companies that are much larger than mine. My new dealer treats all commercial guys the same way. For routine service, he has a waiting list and works thru it from top to bottom. For emergencies, he gives priority to ANY commercial operator regardless of big they are.

You will hear the folks here tell you that dealer support is everything....because it is

John Gamba
01-18-2004, 07:56 AM
Do what garpa says, The TT 52 Ultracut is a great mower not to get because of a bad attitude of a sales man. It the fixing thats important.
John

BB36
01-18-2004, 10:24 AM
I look for a dealer who is close to my operation ;way spend any extra time(lost time) going to a shop further away,time is money.
I would find out the turn around time in the shop.My shop for instance will work on a repair immediately if you need to get back to work; this applies to all comm. lcos that deal with them.
Find a shop who has loaner mowers when your mower is down . Some shops will loan you a mower free of charge.Some others shops will rent you a mower on a daily basis while yours is being repaired.
Also find out if there is a large parts inventory;and if a part is ordered how long it takes to get the parts.Toro(I run Toro mowers) for example will guarantee parts within 48 hours or they will pay for those parts.I know this to be true because this happened to me and Toro paid for all the late parts.

sprout
01-18-2004, 10:27 AM
Time is money! Dealer support is everything. I've been at this for almost 24 years, owned Scag, Exmark,Bobcat,Walker and JD all good mowers. When they go down your out of business, a PITA mower shop can be a nightmare. A good shop makes the bad times easier. Forget about witch mower is the biggest and baddist, they are all good. You decide what will work for you and help your business.

kris
01-18-2004, 12:32 PM
Although we do almost all our repairs "in house", I believe it is important to have a good relationship with your dealer. Prices and service, if ever needed, get better as the years go by.

SCFF
01-18-2004, 12:40 PM
I agree with what sprout said. I have had personel exp with a PITA mower shop, their service went to crap, so when it was time to buy new equip I changed dealers and products, haven't had any problems yet.

rodfather
01-18-2004, 12:48 PM
Originally posted by sprout
Time is money! Dealer support is everything. I've been at this for almost 24 years, owned Scag, Exmark,Bobcat,Walker and JD all good mowers. When they go down your out of business, a PITA mower shop can be a nightmare. A good shop makes the bad times easier. Forget about witch mower is the biggest and baddist, they are all good. You decide what will work for you and help your business.


Ditto...only I'm starting my 10th year. I think of my dealer as being my silent business partner btw.

mtdman
01-18-2004, 12:55 PM
My dealer kicks ass. He always gets me in and out fast, does a great job for me. Goes the extra mile, etc. For me, the salesmanship isn't as important as the service department. My guy will try to get my repairs done quick, and if it's something he thinks I could do, he'll tell me exactly how to get it done. THere are a few other dealers in the area that handle more brands, but their rep on repairs is horrible, and I'd never think of going to buy from them.

:D

cantoo
01-18-2004, 09:28 PM
I guess I have been lucky, no real need for my Dealer even after I spent lots of time researching before I bough the Walker. He's 2 hours one way and sends stuff next day if I need it. Hasn't been anything that was a problem. We have other mowers for back up so that helps too. Now that the warranty is over it really doesn't matter. I buy wherever I want.

Turfcutters Plus
01-19-2004, 12:35 AM
Dealer support is everything.NO headaches when THE time comes.And it WILL come!

olderthandirt
01-19-2004, 01:09 AM
I must be the exception I think dealer support is important but I would buy the mower I wanted regardless of what I thought of the dealer.Most all major brands of mowers are built pretty good and are of excellent quility. If it under warrenty any dealer can work on it and if its out of warrenty I have a mechanic that fixes it. Also if you feel the dealer is not living up to your expectation a call to the dis. rep will solve a lot of problems. It won't make the dealer like you but it will get you your parts or whatever.


Mac

GarPA
01-19-2004, 05:19 AM
well Mac thats exactly what I did...called not only Exmark about the problem but also the Regional distributor...from that point on, the bad situation got so bad I had to find another dealer...When you have to report a dealer, you and that dealer will most likely end up in divorce court

lilred731
01-19-2004, 11:55 AM
I want to thank you all for your help here. I see and understand that dealer support is very important and not the sales. Sales is there to get you in the door service is what keeps you going back.

GarPA
01-19-2004, 12:10 PM
this may be saying the obvious, but unless you've experienced your largest machine breaking down right in the middle of the peak of the mowing season, and your dealer telling you it will be at least a week til its even looked at, you have not expereinced real stress...and you don't want to...been there done that...

I dont care if the next machine is red, yellow, orange or green...all that will matter in their reputation for putting machines back on the trailer

rodfather
01-19-2004, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by GarPA
I dont care if the next machine is red, yellow, orange or green...all that will matter in their reputation for putting machines back on the trailer


Point well taken Gary...

lilred731
01-19-2004, 12:29 PM
GarPa, after reading that last comment it may be more beneficial for me to get two used mowers instead of one new one. I am pretty sure that that was some stress for you.

What did you do about this particular situation?

GarPA
01-19-2004, 01:36 PM
I tried to rent one...no luck...all I could find was the John Deere tractor types and that just would not work... I have a friend who was only in his 2nd year and had time in his schedule and he covered me for about a week and a half. That was the beginning of the end for the dealer who sold me the machine. Bottom line I later found out, was that there were allot of breakdowns from bigger operators at the same time and they were getting priorty for repairs. Found that out from actually one of the bigger operators at the gas station..oh the things we talk about at the gas stations huh...

rodfather
01-19-2004, 01:51 PM
Originally posted by GarPA
Bottom line I later found out, was that there were allot of breakdowns from bigger operators at the same time and they were getting priorty for repairs.


Maybe you should go big time and expand then Gary...or use Ferris, haha...

lilred731
01-19-2004, 07:32 PM
After finding out what the delay was do you still do business with that dealer?

rob1325
01-19-2004, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by Turfcutters Plus
Dealer support is everything.NO headaches when THE time comes.And it WILL come!

100% RIGHT. Well said!

J&R
01-19-2004, 08:06 PM
The thing i look for does the dealer have a large inventory of parts. I can repair any mower, trimmer or blow only if i have the parts.

LawnMower
01-19-2004, 08:12 PM
I think dealer support is huge huge huge. I was going to buy my Bobcat Z from Alamia.com. They are about $1000 cheaper then my dealer. I went with my dealer.

Iv had numerous break downs that stopped me from mowing. I went down to the dealer and he had me back up and running in 15 minutes to a half an hour every time.

If I didn't buy the mower from him, he would have told me to crap in my hat.