I thought I would post - so you guys can see what the numbers are looking like and the decision I have to make - and as always I'm open to your thoughts as to what you would do..........so here goes - The lowest price I've gotten on a 23kaw is $6799 - BUT it is from a dealer which is roughly 1 hour away from me. The local (and only) dealer - less than 5 minutes away say's that their price on the same exact unit will be $7250 - $451 more........ Yesterday I met with the owner of the local dealership and simply asked (after he stressed what a great price his was) - how is another dealership able to sell the same thing for $451 less - and his response was - they aren't making any money on it.....and got real defensive about his price being great and how he is in business to make money. Frankly - I don't think the other guys are in business to lose money !!! All I can think is there sure must be a whopper of a markup on these things! What I find interesting is that the local dealer kept stressing over and over how he will cater in service to the commerical buyer who buys from him - but won't guarantee the same kind of service from those who buy their units from another dealer - which is understandable - EXCEPT - he certainly does not give ANY cuts in his hourly service rates because you buy from him - his rate is $58 per hour. I can't help but shake my head when I think how these dealers just like car dealers (for the most part) - just don't have a clue - that a very healthy business can be built - just based upon service to the customer alone. If I was in the equipment sales business I think I'd have to look at the long term or big picture - rather than short term quick buck game. I'm inquiring as to the reputation of the service department of the less costly unit dealership - and having to weigh - in the long run is it worth paying the extra $500 to this dealer and only have to travel a few minutes to take it to him - or go with the one at a further distance.........then of course the issue in my mind is - how often do these units have to go in the shop - if in fact ExMarks are a solid built - quality machine vs routine preventative maintenance, i.e., oil changes, blades, belts, etc...being done by us.