Bradley Mower Updates

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Mark Stark, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. Mark Stark

    Mark Stark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    So a quick recap....We bought (2) Bradley's this off season. A 48" hydro WB and a 52" stander (closeout model they called a "stander", more like a WB with sulky attached). Forgot exact pricing but the 52" was closeout at $2750 and the 48" was maybe $3200.

    After having them in operation for nearly a full season here, we've had a number issues with them. No hours meters in machines. We estimate about 75 hours on each machine at this point. Mostly I'd describe the issues as minor, kinda irritating, not a big deal, etc. We weren't expecting these to be the most amazing machines ever. We wanted to try them for a season and depending on that test, either move them in backup status of buy a couple more. We're moving them to backup status.

    Some of the issues (keep in mind I'm not a maintenance guy):

    1. Belt issue where it would "jump" the pin thats supposed to hold it in place. Belt would then rub and start shredding and melting. Seems like a bad design. Our "maintenance guy" was able to figure a work around. Seems ok now. Happened frequently though.

    2. The grease points on one of the machines (can't remember which one) actually broke off and are no longer there. Specifically the grease points at the castor wheels. We suspect they fell inside the area where the grease goes at the castor wheels. So now there are small holes there instead of the grease points.

    3. Brake handle snapped off on the 52". It actually sheared the bolt that they have on it. Again, "maintenance guy" was able to figure a work around for this.

    4. There's an issue with the 48" not running correctly. Problem is intermittent. Machine will occasionally shut off when in use. Seems to be an issue with the fuel system. "Maintenance guy" isn't entirely sure on this one. Machine wouldn't start while in the middle of a route. I had to go out and swap it out with another mower. It's not bad fuel as we use the same fuel in all of the equipment.

    5. Bent spindles that are installed in such a way to make access and removal difficult. Plus, multiple bent spindles (happened around 25 hrs). Could be an operator issue. Not certain. Accessing them for removal was a hassle I'm told.

    6. The manuals are garbage. Figuring out a part number so that you can order something from Bradley isn't a simple endeavor.

    7. Customer service is poor. The people are nice enough when you can reach the "right person". We have multiple emails that have gone unanswered. Voicemails that are not returned. Yesterday, I called to ask a question about how to use the warranty. 1st guy didn't know, said he'd transfer me to the guy that knows all about it. 2nd guy told me "Oh, you need to call manufacturing, we're just the factory store". He transfers me. 3rd guy I leave a message on his VM and haven't heard back yet....

    8. I suppose I should mention their goofy financing thing...we like to use Sheffield at 0%. That saves us cash to buy trucks & trailers for cash since you can't get 0% on used trucks. Bradley told us they have a $400 fee for using Sheffield. My only comparison is to our Exmark dealer. I think the fee was $50-$100 for Sheffield financing and maybe that went right to Sheffield? Not that big a deal since Bradley's are so cheap. We just paid cash when we bought them instead of paying that dumb fee. We'd have preferred to use 0% and put that cash towards another truck or into marketing.

    I dont need high level customer service for everything but getting reply would be helpful. Obviously no dealer support which we knew and didn't really care about in this case but now rethinking that. Most of our other equipment is Exmark & Husqvarna from the same dealer that is always helpful, responsive, etc. I think we took that for granted a bit.

    The machines are cheap and the cut quality has been really good. These other issues are now beyond irritating. I'm sure there's other small stuff I've forgotten. MAYBE they are good for cheap backup equipment. MAYBE they're better for a company with a good/dedicated maintenance guy. These are not the right machines for us at this stage of the business. Would we circle back around in a few years to look at them again? Probably not. Your mileage may vary so please do take our assessment as just that, our personal experience.

    Lesson learned. Thankfully it was not an overly expensive lesson. :hammerhead:
     
    sjessen, Cam15, JLSLLC and 2 others like this.
  2. Doc8406

    Doc8406 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,684

    Calling @Greencuts518

    i am sure that he can chime in on some of his issues, if you don't mind him too
     
  3. Doc8406

    Doc8406 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,684

    And as for me, i have to say that i appreciate your candor and review.. i once considered getting one of their machines back in the spring.. now... now, i am glad that i didn't
     
    sjessen, Cam15 and JLSLLC like this.
  4. OP
    OP
    Mark Stark

    Mark Stark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    We had higher hopes for sure. No issues with any of the major components (we'll see about the fuel system issue) and the cut quality has been good. Better and more responsive customer service would be a big help.
     
    sjessen, Doc8406 and Cam15 like this.
  5. OP
    OP
    Mark Stark

    Mark Stark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    Yes, I think he has a belt drive. Wonder if any issues have popped up for him?
     
    Doc8406 and Cam15 like this.
  6. Cam15

    Cam15 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,902

    Thanks for the review I've been tentatively shopping for a mower and I was thinking about getting one of theirs, glad i didn't.
     
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  7. Doc8406

    Doc8406 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,684

    he indeed has.. with getting some parts, shipping i do believe.. we need to let him chime in..
     
    Cam15 likes this.
  8. Greencuts518

    Greencuts518 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,741

    Premature spindle bearing failure
    Broken ratchet pawl on Briggs
    Broken zerks

    2nd season pt mowing
    All of those parts are cheap but losing production waiting for delivery. Not impressed with FedEx shipping as flat rate USPS is quicker and cheaper for small parts. Mechanic broke 2 pulley and they were inexpensive as well.
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    Mark Stark

    Mark Stark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    Our zwerks are also broken off. The parts shipping is a major hassle. If stuff like that happened on our Exmarks (which it just wouldn't) we'd have it fixed pronto. The waiting is an issue for sure
     
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  10. Doc8406

    Doc8406 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,684

    This brings the dilemma of repairs by a shop.. that is if you can find one that will accept the warranty honor from the company.. then the wait for parts from the company and even worse, no loaner while it is in the shop.. that is where i finally drew the line.. was the concept of losing clients while i waited for a mower to be repaired.. :nono:
     
    sjessen and Cam15 like this.

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