Just how important is dealer support?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by mrusk, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    I am talking with Cat, Case, Deere, and now NH for a skid steer. Deere is pretty much out of the picture since i am looking for a 7000lbs unit.

    I already got approved for Cat and Case credit. I am demoing a case this week and a cat next week. Both dealers are over an hour away. If the cat breaks down under warranty, and the cat dealer has to pick it up, i would have to pay the truck time for them at $140 an hour. I am unsure about what Case's policy is.

    Now today i am down at my supply yard and the owner of the new New Holland dealer was in there and he over heard me talking. This guy has a successful mower dealership, than added club cadet tractors and now skids. I bought alot of stuff from him over the years. He asked me why i wasn't looking at NH. I told him #1 because i heard there behind the times and #2 since he is a new dealer. He told me all his guys went to the NH school, and he even hired a dedicated mechanic. He told me if the machine ever broke down under warranty he'd be out there in under a hour to pick it up with his new rollback truck that he bought to be able to move skids around. For free. I've dealt with this guy for years and have never heard any proablems with him. I know i will proably get the best service from him. I just feel bad since i don't want to buy a NH since i heard ther outdated, long as hell, under powered, can't grade, etc.

    I'll give the guy the trailer sale atleast proabaly.

    Its basically down to the case 440, or the cat 246b.

  2. Gravel Rat

    Gravel Rat LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,544

    Ask Ksss he runs Case skids he should give you the low down on them. A hour away from a dealer is nothing like I meantioned in my posts the nearest equipment dealer for us is well over 4 hours away.

    Case has been in the skid market for many years and make one of the best rubber tired backhoes on the planet so I wouldn't be worried about them.
  3. iowacatman

    iowacatman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 93

    My two cents:

    Sounds like this NH dealer wants your business pretty bad. NH is a good load and carry machine, not a great grading machine. Sounds like you already came to that conclusion. They seem to be pretty poor in the resale value arena.

    I don't have alot of Case skids in my area, so I can't tell you much about the product, but I will say that they have low market share here because they have a poor dealer presence/support. The Cat machine is a good all around machine, there are others that are better in some area's than Cat, though I don't think you can beat us in service around here. (bobcat is pretty good service support wise here, they seem to appeal to a different customer though). I sell primarily big iron, and we have quite a premium in price (as you probably know). We get that primarily because of service support, secondarily in terms of operation, production, durability and resale.

    If you have long periods of downtime, your hourly operating costs increase dramatically. If machine 'a' is available to you 95% of the time because of downtime and parts and service, and machine 'b' is available to you 94% of the time, this impacts your profitability by 2%. So a 6% price premium can be overcome on your bottom line by a 3% increase in machine availability (which is access to parts and service).

    Being an hour away from service is unfortuately a problem many deal with. Most of my customers operate 2 or more hours away from our nearest branch. So, many times I am hauling units back and forth for guys as a service to them.

    I would ask the dealer you decide to buy from to cover your transportation costs and travel time for the first 30 days or 100 hours, since this is when 80-90% of most failures occur anyway. Plus, the principle of having to pay to have service on your new skid is not a positive. If they are confident you will be okay, they will agree to that.

    I apreciate the fact that you want to be loyal to your NH dealer. If he is a good business partner (which your vendor should be), then he will apreciate that as well and understand if you have to go a different direction than his. It is business after all.
  4. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,156

    I would give the NH a demo. I am not a big fan of them but they sell a lot of machines. It may be outdated but if it works for you that really is whats important. I believe the reason they haven't updated them is because they continue to sell. They will get the same pilots controls that CASE is working on so I am told.

    The CASE warranty here is I have to pay for the truck time. I have had around 16 machines and I have never had to have one have my machines put on a truck. I have had some service calls, but nothing that couldn't be fixed in the field or brought to the dealer under its own power.

    Those two machines match up nicely (CAT and CASE). A note on the 440. depending on what your used to you may find the controls too responsive. it is a very fast machine and again depending on what your used to it may take some getting used to. One of my guys that has work for me for five years ran the 440 demo that we had last fall. He called me after 4 hours and said he couldn't run it. I went to the job myself by the end of the day and he didn't want it to leave. So short story is spend enough time in it to get familiar with it.

    Good luck
  5. mow king

    mow king LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 571

    I'd give the New Holland a shot, at least demo one.

    A good dealer like that is price-less when the time and needs comes around.

    I've only run a New Holland one day total, I rented one to set boulders, and I was happy with it. Since I never graded with the machine, I can't comment on that.

    I prefer running the cat myself (love the pilot controls) however better service (in your case) and most likely a lower initial price might make the NH your best option.

    just my 2 cents.
  6. qps

    qps LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indy
    Messages: 1,484

    My cat dealer treats me like gold....I don't know why....maybe I do...when I give him my word...I keep it....the problems I've had with the 257, they send a truck to pick it up and drop off a loaner to use...I do live very close to the dealer....they are letting me use a loaner on an as needed basis until my 304 is shipped in July....I really liked the takeuchi mini , but had issues with my local case/tk dealer...so dealer support is very important.
  7. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,454

    Dealer support? Here's a little story. I bought a BTI compactor to fit on my track hoe from a dealer I have never used before ( he was/is the regional rep for BTI). He kinda forgot about my Feb 25th order.....it arrived last week and they said it would be up and mounted on my machine in one day. Well, it is now April 12th and its been almost a week and no machine. One of my prime contractors told me that if I dont have my machine by tomorrow and perform, he will get someone else and we are done! Did the rep offer to give me a rental while my machine is down? Has this rep returned my calls? Are they helping me to grow my business? A resounding NO!!! So, in short, to me dealer support is pretty d**n important.
  8. gammon landscaping

    gammon landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    a good dealer is like a good woman, hard to find
    i love cat skids but i would go back to foot pedals if my dealer didn't baby my every request.
    i could run anything but if i have a hard time with the dealer i wouldn't deal with that more than once, i know my customers won't
  9. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,454

    Here's a little more on dealer support....I spent 4 hrs today "helping" the mechanic fix my machine. He had never installed a diverter valve before and needed some guidance.....so I guided, twisted wrenches, undid his work and fixed his hydraulic leaks, went to the hose store and bought the right hoses and loaded up at 5pm with something that works. They told me no charge for the install of the diverter valves........as if I was gonna pay them anyways!!
    With that machine down for a week, I have lost about $14,ooo worth of business, plus it is catch up time and who knows how much future business I lost because of "non-performance". Ya just gotta have good dealer support and a great staff of wrench turners and knuckle busters!!!
  10. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,156

    Carl I am surprised you didn't give Scott Machinery a plug for their quality John Deere Service and Support.

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