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Old 09-25-2010, 10:15 PM
shovelracer shovelracer is offline
LawnSite Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: North Jersey
Posts: 2,009
First thing I want in a dealer is to be treated like a paying customer. I have left one dealer because the couple grand a year in small equipment and parts and a new mower every 2 years wasn't much to him. I fully realize I my not be the biggest spender, but I will be in every year for the next 30 years. He would always try to sell me some POS garbage he had lying around collecting dust, and constantly remind me that the big guy in town would buy 10-15 new mowers a year.

Second thing I want is to have them stand behind the items they sell. I did research on a certain mower and decided that was the machine for me, next generation of a mower I owned once. I walked into dealer #2 and said I want this machine. He told me he could get it, but wasn't sure when and wasn't excited. He then tried to sell me another brand I had had some problems with in the past. I explained my discontent, and we parted friends. I still go there once in a while but he lost out on my small item purchases.

My current dealer listens, and only shows me what I want. He at least pretends to seem interested in my concerns. He puts me to the top of the line when my equipment has issues beyond maintenance. He goes the extra mile to make sure the repairs are handled well. I have one issue and that is that he does not stock regular items that I need. Even 5 lb spools of trimmer line have to be ordered. This is a problem for me, but I have adjusted. Although he gives me small spools to hold me over if I run out. I generally give him first shot at all items, but the delay sometimes forces me to go online for certain items. If he kept all major wear items for equipment he sells in stock and could get me all other parts in 24hrs. I would never go anywhere else. There is a value to me of this. More so than the 30% online saving can offer.

So in conclusion, treat everyone that walks through the door like they have money to spend, they are there in the first place right. Second know what you are talking about, and if you don't back a product then don't offer it. A real savvy buyer see's the BS and does not appreciate it. Last, treat your customers good. They will come back. Try your best, and they will appreciate it. If you screw up, make it right. I'd like to say stock everything, but I also realize you could have a million in parts on the shelves and in 5 years half of that will still be there, so instead stock the common sellers and have real good leads to getting the rest fast. I don't care if your supplier is back ordered, I need it now, that is why I am here.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:07 AM
Mike's LawnCare Landscape's Avatar
Mike's LawnCare Landscape Mike's LawnCare Landscape is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Hendersonville NC
Posts: 488
Ps I do not have a good dealer yet on mowers !!!!!!(yes I did not say a mower)
But my Redmax dealer is the best out there (to bad they don't sale mowers)
If they don't have it it will be there NEXT DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:42 AM
RHR101 RHR101 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: NY
Posts: 29
I think a dealer should carry a good selection of quality equipment. Have access to and knowledge of specialty equipment. Carry common service/repair items in stock. Expert service dept. that can get you working quickly. Loaner machines to minimize down time is a huge plus.

Also parts and maintenance items should be competitively priced. I would love to buy all my service items from my dealer, but sometimes the price difference is just too high to justify, after all I'm running a business too.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:43 PM
seabee24 seabee24 is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 619
have EVERYTHING POSSIBLE and then some, with reasonable prices, and flat out the most knowlegeable staff!

i do business almost strickly with XXXX because it doesnt matter if i need a shovel, a mower, parts, salt, fertilizer.... i ALWAYS walk out with what i came for. even if they are a little higher on a few things, the saved time and gas is worth it. they start every peace of equiptment up when you buy it and even fill out the warranty card for you. someone loads it in your car/truck..doesnt matter if i bought a box of pens.... they carry the bag.

parts staff is so has so many years.... with out a vin number, or anything, you can describ the part, and i promise 2 mins later your holding it in yoru hand. they figure it out, they know the differences between a 2003 and a 2004..even if the model didnt change....and they know it off the top of their head. Yes i know in an idea world if we had all the model numbers with me at all times, that would be great... but how many times the guys call..and they bearly speak the ablity to walk in say hey i got an echo trimmer about 4 years old needs a starter....the guy goes well , they were all the same for the last 6 years.... I cant tell you how many times i walked into a place before this one..and if you didnt have the model, i promise you walked away empty handed
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:24 PM
Chilehead Chilehead is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Stockbridge, GA
Posts: 1,860
For me, quick repair turn-arounds are a MUST. The more experienced your mechanics are, the more productive they can be. An in-stock inventory of replacement parts is also very handy. I can't begin to tell you the number of times I've gone to several dealers that advertise "WE CARRY EXMARK", only to find out that none of them have parts on hand. And I'm not talking about special order parts either. I'm talking about belts, blades, spark plugs--anything that is a normal wear part.
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:01 AM
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shooterm shooterm is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 453
The shop should know everything about parts and equipment. The moment you try telling someone how they're job works you've lost them.
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Old 10-01-2010, 02:49 AM
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Southern Pride Southern Pride is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Memphis
Posts: 1,382
I'll try to throw my .02 in here but I think the best thing a dealer can have is that home like feeling, where the employees are not in that impatient what do you want, lets buy it and move on attitude. I love dealer employees who leave me alone but are right there to assist in explaining, or fetching me that part. Feeling appreciated whether you're buying a $10,000 mower or an air filter. I think meeting with your employees and instilling good selling techniques in them is what will set you apart and get that word of mouth going, which is the most important marketing a company can have in my opinion. I don't even know that you are specifically asking about what you can do better as a whole, or just in terms of parts but that is my basic opinion. Look at a car salesman or car dealership and try to act as far opposite of them as possible. Noone likes a car salesman. People like calm, easy going, salesman who do not push anything on you. A normal person can smell a salesman's BS from a mile away. A company is only as good as its employees. Knowledge would be your best asset, anyway let me know if I was even remotely close to giving you an accurate answer, but I take it you were mainly asking about parts.
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Old 10-01-2010, 03:16 AM
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shooterm shooterm is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Midwest
Posts: 453
Theres a supplier in my locale that has a salesman that will stay late for supplies, drink beers, drop some key info when needed. I mean everyone goes to him only non-local goes to the other supplier. That one person pulls there sales for the year. It doesnt matter what india/china crap is stamped on that product everyone still buys. I really respect the old traditional salesman.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:14 PM
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PROCUT1 PROCUT1 is offline
LawnSite Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: TN
Posts: 4,910
Parts stock is number 1

I stopped using dealers in the area almost totally.

Why does it take the dealer a week to get a part for $300 when I as a contractor can order that same part, have it the next day, for $200?

Parts pricing is secondary to parts stock.

There are many times I need a part NOW. And Im more than willing to pay the extra vs. the online price if I can get it NOW instead of tomorrow. You can be a little higher on the parts if you are the only one that keeps them in stock. Some parts obviously will sit on the shelf for a long time, and you will have money tied up in them. Certainly they will need to have a bigger return at sale time. Thats reasonable.

Pricing on fast moving high volume items should be better. Or at least better for your commercial customers that are buying a lot.

I dont mind paying a little extra for a case of oil filters from the dealer. But If I can buy the filters online at $2.50 a piece, and youre $8. Well I go online.

Sell them for $8 to the homeowner that buys 1 a year. Sell them to me at $3 a piece and ill buy the case of 48.

Ive been a mechanic for years. At one time I had almost 30 commercial mowers and small handhelds to keep up on when we were mowing.

How come with my service truck, with extremely rare exception did I have a machine up and back mowing in 10-15 minutes when a crew would call saying "The machine died"

Yet if I took it to a dealer, it would sit a week before they looked at it and would be 2 or 3 weeks before I got it back.

Somehow on a mobile service truck I was able to stock 99% of the parts I ever needed to get a machine back running. And this was for multiple brands of both mowers and handhelds.

Blade changeout. 3 minutes
Spindle replacement on a Bobcat ztr. 10 minutes
Headgasket on a walkbehind blower. 5 minutes
Transmission replacement on a walkbehind. 20 minutes
Engine replacement on a walkbehind 35 minutes
Engine replacement on a ZTR. less than a hour
Tube a tire. 5 minutes

Those are all things I did multiple times in the field in front of a customers house.

My service truck is set up like a dream. Air tools ready. Multiple battery powered tools, impact guns, ratchets.

I rarely touch a hand tool.

So explain to me why a dealer in my area could never "take a quick look" when I had a crew roll in with a problem on a trailer.

It was always, push it behind the fence and we;ll get to it.
Then it comes back 3 weeks later with a $450 bill for a job that I know takes 20 minutes.
Why can I as a contractor do the dealers job better than the dealer?

If I had a dealer that gave a rats tail and would put in a little effort to keeping me on the road, I would much rather have had the crew stop at the dealer and had the repair done rather than change my clothes, go back to the shop, leave my air conditioned truck in my white shirt, get in the service truck, drive to where they are, disrupt my day, and deal with the problem.

I woulda gladly paid $100 for you to take 5 minutes and put in a new PTO switch. Or $150 labor for the few minutes to change out the spindle they just detonated.

But not if its gotta sit at your place and not make me money for weeks.
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:24 PM
Southern Pride's Avatar
Southern Pride Southern Pride is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Memphis
Posts: 1,382
I agree with ProCut. The time when I find myself at the dealer is when I need that new set of blades, belts, oil filter, etc. etc. NOW. Try to give a licensed LCO a discount and just your average homeowner guy the normal price.
ProCut, I've been studying machines etc. as much as I can. People don't understand how important being a mechanic is if you are an LCO. Huge deal. I'm trying to learn as much as I can about my walk behind etc. so that I can handle 90% of what need be done out in the field (literally) There is nothing worse than having to surcome to a dealer/mechanics price rates and what's worse is them tying you up a week before they even look at it so, being a mechanic, handyman is way underrated quality of an LCO.
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