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What does everyone think of LCO's that are also dealers???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jon99, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 375

    I bought my Scag from the local dealer, who is also one of the larger LCO's in the area... Had a few minor problems in the last few months, and while he did take care of it for me, had to bug him a little or mine basically would have been worked on as soon as all of his own stuff was fixed...
  2. sbvfd592

    sbvfd592 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 668

    hmm dose he have a big display of eqpt?
  3. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 375

    Not huge, but not bad.... Normally at least 3 ZTR's, few WB's and a couple of Grasshoppers...
  4. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Posts: 4,664

    I do not see a problem if the situation is handled right. Of course, I may be a little influenced by the fact that I am a LCO AND a dealer.
    I am not out bidding against my customers. In fact, I try to give them leads on potential business. As to parts, and service, my customers always come first. I have even parked one of my own machines to rob parts, so we could get another LCO's machine running. I only work on my own equipment at night, or on weekends when the store is closed and we are not servicing customers machines.
    Since I use the same brand of machine I sell, I know them inside out. I can steer a potential customer in the right direction so they get the machine that best fits their needs. My biggest competitor has sales folks who really know nothing about the commercial mowing business. They sell what the store owner needs to get rid of that day. Many LCO's, especially those new to the business, have bought machines over there, that are not a good fit for their business. Now they are stuck with them. I think being in the LCO business, helps me better understand and meet the needs of my customers.
  5. Mark McC

    Mark McC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,565

    Mowingman raises a lot of interesting points, but there is nonetheless a lot of room for conflict of interest. If your operation is under his radar screen, so to speak, you probably won't have many problems, but the day you start competing directly with him, you might want to find another vendor or you may find your equipment held hostage.

    Most people won't do that, but do you really want to find out the hard way this guy will?
  6. chuckers

    chuckers LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 657

    well jon i would have to say were screwed because i use him for a dealer for my scag equip but. the down fall is that teh closest dealer is about 45 to 1 hr away so it is kind of tough to switch dealers
  7. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,458

    If a dealer is also running a lawn maintenance business you can bet that his overall costs are the same as yours.

    Each part of his business must make money. The savings a dealer might have over a lco who is not a dealer are not worth worrying about. When the dealer is working on his own equipment his costs are the same as if he was paying someone else to do the work. It just doesn't look that way to someone who just mows grass and has never written a business plan.

    Quit whining about what other people are doing and find the true costs of running your business.

    The dealer who knows how to use the equipment will have a better understanding of the problems a lco encounters each day.

  8. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517

    I am dealing with that situation myself. I feel the dealer/LCO has some significant advantages over us. Even is he is not competeing for your business, he is able to get parts much cheaper. He gets the best prices on mowing, and his labor costs for repairs are much less. It has to be an advantage to save 30 percent or so on the cost of new machines, and have a mechanic work on a broken tool for say $15/hr instead of $50. Yet there is nothing wrong with this, he is just taking advantage of the opportunity afforded him. We may not like it, but there is certainly nothing wrong with it.

    One area that causes me much irritation is the special deals he gets every year. I know for a fact that this fella gets great pricing on several tools, and this year I know there was great pricing on 2 riders. I asked about any specials on those riders for the coming year...this past spring.... Guys says yeah, we have 2 coming in. I enquired about pricing, and he told me they were not for sale, they would be using them in their crews! Ok, this does tick me off.

    Ok, so the bottom line is, a dealer probably can opperate in such a way as to not interfere with his relationship with his customers, but I have a feeling that it is indeed a rare thing.

  9. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,378

    When that perticular dealer can get parts/equipment bellow retail that makes his costs cheaper.

    Also, you failed to mention in your post that you were a dealer.
  10. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    Another angle? What about your nursery or plant supplier?
    I was out bid on a HOA job last year by the garden center that I was buying from. Also took a lot of install jobs from other LCO/landscape guys. Customers were sent in to look at flowers or plantings and the garden center told them that they would "be happy to bring them out and put them in"
    I now shop elsewhere.

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