View Full Version : Buying Mowers Online vs. Local

GrassRoots Lawn Care
01-31-2001, 05:38 PM
Got a dilema, I am close to purchasing a Great Dane Super Surfer 52" 19HP Kawasaki. Local dealer wants $6,700 ($7,200 with sales tax). Seems a little high to me and he won't budge an inch. Alamia has the same mower in stock for $5,600 (free shipping, no tax).

Now I'm all for supporting the local Mower Shops, thus getting better service after the sale, but at what price? Is this worth the $1,600 difference? How is warranty work handled when purchased online? Do the local Dealers still do warranty work on the equipment if purchased online or out of town?

01-31-2001, 05:56 PM
You could fix a lot of problems for $1600. You should call the company and ask them about the warrenty.

01-31-2001, 06:20 PM
We have purchased from alamia and the warranty is from the manufacturer. The warranty is suppossed to be honured by locals who sell the same product but many here have said that they have had trouble with them fixing things under warranty that were bought online. We on the other hand have not had any trouble.

01-31-2001, 06:24 PM
When you buy online the mower comes in two or more crates, to be assembled. Can ya handle it?

If there are parts missing/damaged you need to fight it out between the seller, shipper, mfr, and whoever elses hand is in the pot. Can ya handle it?

When you need warranty work chances are you will be unwelcome at the dealer you blew off to buy the machine online, and best case will sit at the back of the bus waiting for the machine to be fixed elsewhere. Can ya handle it?

If you answered "yes" to ALL the scenarios then buy it online. If not work your local dealer a little more, then buy it from him.

You can lose out of mowing a lot more than $1600 worth of lawns while your machine gathers dust waiting for service at the shop you didnt buy it from.

01-31-2001, 06:49 PM
As a commercial cutter, normally the dealer knows this and will take care of you right away. That is, if you bought it from him. He's not going to be as eager to bend over backwards to help you if you were not loyal to him. $1600 is a lot, but if the mower was down for say 3 days, what would it cost you? But if he could have it back to you in 1, would it be worth the money difference? What if it needed work more than once? Then say total of 6 days verses 2. A few trips to the shop could hurt your business badly.

double e
01-31-2001, 06:58 PM
You might want to go to the dealer and show him what you can get one for. See if he will budge a little- mabe meet you in th middle

01-31-2001, 10:58 PM
I have heard a lot of bad things about the Super Surfer. Read some of the posts on them. The new redesigned Super Surfer with fenders should be a lot more reliable. Check into it.

01-31-2001, 11:03 PM
Ask if he'll meet the on-line price. I don't mean half way. Other wise get the mower on-line. $1600 will but a lot of other lawn related items.

02-01-2001, 12:15 AM
Ive been to the Alamia site alot. They do have some good deals on mowers. Why don't you ask your dealer to give you a 15% Discount. if your going to deal with him alot. I get 15% off any item i get form my dealer. But the mowers on te Alamia site are warranted. Same as the Manufactrues. 1600 is a nice chunk of cash. If you do order it ,and are not sure how to get it together. I bet you know someone ,like a cutter buddie of yours who would help. If the dealer wasn't going to treat me right i think i might order form them. Marks Mowing Service

02-01-2001, 12:30 AM
This dealer who isn't budgng on price - what makes him so great that he can do that? Even if you DID buy from him, does he offer demos to keep you up and running if and when your machine goes down? How is his parts availability. Many times, it's the dealers who don't do very well that don't or can't come down on price. I'd shop around. If this mean not getting a Super Surfer, then so be it. You're probably better of anyhow - esecially with not dealing with THIS guy. Oh, and when you DO get a mower that you have backed support with a demo, and a price that was worked a little for you, don't forget to let THIS guy know that he COULD have made a sale.

02-01-2001, 12:37 AM
Thats a lot of money to me to I would buy online also. If the dealer is an authorised service for that money they will get reimbursed for the work they preform on the mower. Just sounds to me they want to make alot of money even if you have to put the mower together, this will just help you learn the mower and its parts better when and if it does brakedown. But this is just my opinon.

02-01-2001, 06:41 AM
I am sure that the dealer will be obligated to perform warranty work on the machine. MOst OPEs give the dealer a certian timeframe in which warranty repairs are to be made, mostly 30 days. Your dealer could take that machine in his shop, sit it in the corner for 29 days, and then do the repair on it the very last day, and there wouldn't be a thing that you could do about it.

02-01-2001, 07:30 AM
I had a dealer or two treat me like that last year. No problem. It's likely I am spending $8000 plus on another mower this season. Guess who isn't going to sell me that mower?

One of my local dealers was always really helpful, one time was even going to work on my mower, although it isn't a brand they have ever sold or serviced. I had made an operator error :) and needed to take the mower in to be repaired. They let me use their Demo knowing I wasn't interested in buying one! That is who I want to buy my next mower from, if possible.

If you have a local dealer that is reasonably priced (not read as the cheapest price), I would say go with them. Yes, $1600 could buy a lot of service, or a couple of bad service calls could cost you $1600 plus.

My experience is that the guys that threaten you with poor service, no warranty work, etc. because you bought your mower elsewhere are pathetic individuals for the most part. Avoid them like the plague because there is a little bit of that attitude in everything they do!

Make sure a dealer's pie in the sky promise of a demo when your mower is down is a reality. Some dealers may do this. Many more promise, then don't deliver.

The same Toro shop that had my mower for 2 weeks to replace a key on the crankshaft tells me they have all the major Toro parts in stock. Am I gonna bet the farm on service like that??? I'll bet if I had 15 of their Z masters on trailers it would be a different story. Too bad because I think I would probably be on a Toro now if it weren't for that. Not <b>their</b> Toro, it was worth over $8600 to them when I could buy it for just under $6500 last season.

Conversely, one of the biggest cutters in town was buying a couple of mowers at the Exmark dealership when I stopped by there the other day. I was treated no differently than him. I'd be willing to pay $800-$1000 more for this guys mower than a "mail order mower." The other dealer just hasn't won my trust yet. Keeping me up and running is #1. Having reliable support for my mowers, that is priceless. This dealer also may be adding my favorite line of mowers, which sweetens the pot that much more.

02-01-2001, 07:37 AM
I agree with the post by double e. This is a new machine so why would there be down time on a reapir. If you have a proper maintenance schedule it should be trouble free. If the dealer won't budge, althought its done to us also take your buisness elsewhere.

02-01-2001, 09:12 AM
Well let me start here. I bought my Walker through a Broker off the net last June. My local dealer had no used mowers at the time. He told me that I was getting a very good price for the mower. He told me for that same machine he would have to have $4200.00, I bought it for $3650.00. Dealer told me to go for it. So I did. He said he would give me the service I needed to keep running. I took it in for a new gear box, said 3 days,and $198.00 to fix it. 3 weeks later I got it back and the bill was $395.96. He said there were other parts that were bad also. When I went to voice my opinion (*****) he said well you know you didn't buy that mower from us, you bought it in MO. Then I reminded him of what he told me before I bought it. He then said they would try and do better the next time. I even told him I was willing to rent a machine for a day or two. So if I were you I think I would look around a bit local and try to find a dealer that might come close to the internet price. I look at it this way if you save $1600 now and if it brakes down and dealer SCREWS you around for weeks how much CASH are you going to be out. You are the only one that can make that decision.
Good Luck,

02-01-2001, 10:00 AM
When you pay more from a dealer than online, your not just paying for the mower. Your paying for assembly, loaners, his parts stock, his yearly update service schools, litature, advertising... should I keep going? I have said it before, the most important part of buying a machine (new or used ) is SERVICE, SERVICE and SERVICE.

02-01-2001, 02:21 PM
my perspective on this is that the difference in price that we are talking as it pertains to the dealer price is only $1100, which is of course is still very substantial. The cost of sales tax should be considered as an out of pocket cost to you but not as profit to the dealer. In other words, it the on line cost and the dealer cost were the same and the only cost difference was the sales tax there wouldnít be any carping about dealer profit.

IMHO, if I were an equipment dealer and someone bought me a used machine to fix, Iíd fix it regardless of where it was purchased used. Used is a completely different situation than new.

If I were an equipment dealer and someone bought me a machine that they bought online and asked me to fix it under warranty, I would simply suggest that the online purchaser should send it back online for repairs.

If the online purchaser insisted that I was obligated as a warranty retailer to make repairs and threatened me with going to the manufacturer, then I would simply agree to repair the online purchased mower and move it to the spare parts shed usually maintained behind the repair shop. After the tires were flat and the dust an inch deep then I might consider fixing it. But probably not.

In another HUMBLE OPINION, Iím not at all saying that it is a mistake to purchase a new mower online, I might consider doing it. But there is no way to defeat the human nature of a small business man in the mower retail business. And that human nature is to remember where you sent your profit on that sale.

And by the way, someone suggested that why would a new machine even need warrant repair. Idunno. The best reason that comes to mind was discussed in about a hundred threads on the KHOLER 25. As I recall, there were plenty of posts that said their own bought at retail dealer didnít even want to cover the repairs on those things.


Green Finger
02-01-2001, 02:30 PM
Lonestar and Mowman are the only ones who responded to actually purchasing machines off the net.

Are there any others out there who purchased machines off the net and how are the machines currently doing?

02-01-2001, 03:29 PM
as a dealer and maintenance co. owner i've experinced this both ways.i've bought and sold used machines on the net and have run into other dealers who would not honor the warranty because it was from elsewhere and simply stated the same to the manufacturer. If someone brought a new Walker to me after recently inquiring about one, unless you were a good customer, yours would be "in the shed" That is the good thing about Walker, they believe in "non-infringement" I think I would go to the dealer and let him know that you are local as he is and that you are beginning a long and profitable relationship, it would probably work out best for both of you. You gotta remember, this is our slow season also, we need to make sales. he can always go down in price, but it's hard to go up!!

02-01-2001, 05:41 PM
15-20 years ago I used to work for a Toro dealer and I know first hand the trouble we would have with some of the machines fresh out of the crate-hidden damage, defective engines and transmissions, these problems would be fixed before any customer even saw the machine on the showroom floor.

When you purchase online you dont have the luxury of a dealer checking and repairing the machine before you see it.

Chances are the machine you buy will be trouble free and all is hunky dory but you must decide if you can take the aggravation if by chance all is not roses upon opening that crate.

As a Toro dealer (among other brands) yes we were obligated to repair the equipment under warranty but no obligation to repair in any particular time frame. Many a time, if the customer was known to have shopped our dealer and purchased elsewhere, then returned for warranty service, the machine was disassembled beyond use and left to sit for a month or six.

You can always buy the parts and fix it yourself. Heck you did save 1600. But if you are mechanically an idiot then forget the idea.

02-01-2001, 07:11 PM
Grass Roots,
$1600 is better in your pocket than his! Unfortunately, some of the local merchants had better learn to sharpen their pencils if they want to remain competetive in this new economy. Making a REASONABLE profit to cover expenses, overhead, etc.., is fine, but Alamia must be making a profit as well selling it at their price, right? Now think how much the dealer is really making on your one mower purchase. As for warranty work, I purchased a machine when I was first starting out while I was living in Massachusetts. I then moved to NH 8 months later and found a local dealer of my product and inquired about warranty work. He told me point blank that if I had bought from him, he could take it right in, but becasue I didn't it would be a week! My fault for moving I guess? Thankfully, this guy just went out of business so his attitude finaly caught up with him. I found a new dealer 3 miles from my house whom we purchase a new Z master from every who gives us extremely good prices, sometimes rivaling mail order. I never try to chew him down because he makes a reasonable profit. So my point being, why give this dealer any business when there are alternatives available? If you have warranty problems, call corporate and give them a piece of your mind, saying you'll never buy another of their xyz mower again. I'd take a chance, that's a free 18' trailer that you could have!


02-01-2001, 08:53 PM
Is this the 1st time you've bought anything big from this dealer? Maybe he doesn't know you, he might not be willing at this time to make you a better deal. He might be waiting to see if you show up ready to buy. Call Great Dane, ask if there is another dealer in your area. You might be surprised to find another one you didn't know about. When I went looking at exmarks, I only knew of one place that sold them. After to talking with the factory rep, I found that there were 2 others in my area I didn't know about. I bought one from each of them. :)

Michael Fronczak
02-01-2001, 09:16 PM
Right now we run Lesco's, but with the Viper's price increase I went looking at Exmark(proven machine, closer dealer & same $).
After speaking with THAT dealer I wouldn't buy one. Told me flat out, no loaner machines avalable ever, has "huge parts selection"-all times I've been in didn't have it. Also said if I bought from the "other" Exmark dealer-usually cheaper, also sells John Deere so you can get much better interest rates on loans, that service would be slow or non-existent, the other dealer is almost an hour away, but every time I need parts they have them, I just call them then make the drive, it's easier than calling all around.
In contrast Lesco, will give me a loaner, as needed- if machine is down at all(even 1 hour). Service is awesome-even before they had a mechanic, I had a problem called, by the time I got there sales man was on phone with Kawsaki, had 2-3 pages of things to check, I was up in running in 15 minutes.
As much as everyone thinks of Exmark, on this side of town, the dealer is what is keeping me out of them. He just gives me a bad feeling, I don't trust him. Ive learned trust them. I'll probably stick with what works for me.

02-01-2001, 11:17 PM
I've bought 5 Shindaiwa items from the same dealer (not Alimia) off the net. I don't even bother going to the local dealer anymore. I've never had any kind of problem and dealer always takes the time to answer any of my questions.

02-02-2001, 04:29 AM
Bob: "I bought five Shin's from the same dealer ... off the net..."

Where? I haven't been able to find anyone competitive other the Alamia.com and Russo, in Chicago.

02-02-2001, 08:29 PM
As a Toro dealer (among other brands) yes we were obligated to repair the equipment under warranty but no obligation to repair in any particular time frame. Many a time, if the customer was known to have shopped our dealer and purchased elsewhere, then returned for warranty service,

"the machine was disassembled beyond use and left to sit for a month or six."

I can think of no way to express my disgust. I would never so much as buy a belt from a dealer who did that to an enemy of mine. Yuck. That is stealing.


02-02-2001, 09:48 PM
Probably one reason why the dealer is no longer in business. I will be the first to admit the dealer was a first-rate piece of s***.

02-03-2001, 07:46 AM
I repect the loyality to a dealer but here a a few questions.
If we buy from a dearler dosen't he make the profit off that sale?
Why do a dealer get so annoyed if you bring in an item to repair that was not bought there. Are they fixing it for free?
As professionals we are in the middle and it would be nice to save money

02-03-2001, 03:04 PM
"Why do a dealer get so annoyed if you bring in an item to repair that was not bought there. Are they fixing it for free? "

Well for some companys it takes 6+ months to pay the dealer for warranty claims, so for a while, yes.

I think the big negative is that the time they take working on Mr Bought it from Internet, Mr Bought it Locally has to wait, gets ticked his machine isnt done, and eventually brings his high-profit repair job somewhere else.

02-20-2001, 11:07 PM
I bought a new Ford last year - drove to Florida on vacation - the trans went out - towed it to the local Ford dealer - he told me he wasn't going to warranty it because I didn't buy it from him. Took it to the Ford dealer in the next town - he said yes he'd warranty it, because the Manufacturers contract said he had to, otherwise why would anybody buy Fords - then he takes it apart and makes you wait 4 weeks. With that attitude, if you moved or went on vacation - you would have to sell your car and buy a new one locally.

Point is - warranty is only as good as the Manufacturer who stand behind it.

Those who buy on line do run the risk of not being helped by the locale dealer. I pitty the dealer - he is loosing a chance to regain that customer and show him the benfits of buying from him next time. I'm always amazed at the attitude of the small closed minded "Business Man ?" who doesn't see it.

Welcome to the new millenium. Wake up and figure out how to WIN customers not loose them for life with piss poor attitudes of "Getting Back" at the customer. No wonder the buying public doesn't trust the merchant!

Bill Nero