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What consitutes a good dealer/ service?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Guinessnc, Mar 16, 2008.

  1. Guinessnc

    Guinessnc LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Messages: 14

    Being that I am looking for my first ZTR (commercial) and everyone says it really comes down to good service/dealer, what are some of the important things to ask whether they do/don't do? As with all purchases, lowest price I assume is not everything.

    Thanks for the advice.
  2. wheels910

    wheels910 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    i would check to see about parts availablity for the model you buy. blades, belts, filters, etc. I know its basic, but who wants to wait 3 days to get an oil filter.

    see if they have any demos you could try

    at least drive a couple in their lot and see what suits you the best as far as comfort and operation.
  3. abclawncare

    abclawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    i think most of the time it is who is running the dealership than what the product is, don`t get me wrong i thinkk that there are some mowers that are better than others but if the people at the dealer ship don`t respect you as a customer and what to try to help you than you`ll will have a bad experiance. maby this sounds a bit weird but i would just go into a dealership that i would like to do service with and see how the atmosphere is like, if yoou go in and the guys look like they don`t want to be there or there rud or seem like there better than you go to a didferent dealer. maby i just had a bad expierience and someone else might think i`m crazy but this is my opinion
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    It's this Yin and Yang...
    Larger places I find I get more butt kissing for my money, but they also treat me more like a number, here wait in line please hold and thank you have a nice day (whether they mean it or not lol). But they're faster to try and please when there's more of the "customer is always right" stuff, I might get a part under warranty just because I have a problem, as one example. I like the large dealer when I need something now and no stupid questions asked, they have a larger parts inventory and I can't wait, but the flipside is they might sell me the wrong part (which, this has happened at the smaller place too lol) but there's less of a direct steering 'feel' to the larger place.

    Small places it's more direct, I'm treated more like an individual but they have little qualms about letting me know if the shoe don't fit... Perhaps for that reason I prefer the smaller place, even if there's much less of "the customer is always right" stuff for myself I prefer it straight if it hurts, when that's how it needs to come around, I don't always appreciate it but at least I know where I stand. For another, there's much less lost in communication, when I call to ask for a part and they say they have it, if I ask them to hold it because I'll be there in 30 minutes there's far less a chance that another person steps behind the counter and sells that part before I get there (matter of fact the person behind the counter is almost always the same one who answered the phone). As for getting put on hold, that still happens but I don't take numbers.

    So, take the good and the bad, to each type there's some of each.
    Unfortunately I have yet to find the best of both worlds, somehow I think I'm asking too much...

    And either one has advantages and disadvantages, but there's one thing to keep in mind:
    - There likely only exist two maybe three dealers within some sort of reasonable distance, some folks have to drive 20-50 miles just to get to the ONE in their area... So you're lucky if you have more than two to decide between, better still if you have 3-4 of them but there isn't one on every corner.

    So it almost boils down to beggars can't be choosy, but what does help is take a drive out to your nearest one and see how things go, you might want to, if you intend on doing this for any length of time... Consider it some sort of testing the waters, but just say Hi and see how these folks are, there's but so much we can tolerate but I think with dealers some kind of tolerance on the customer's part is a fair requirement.

    Which isn't to say put up with their crap if you so hate it, but consider your alternatives carefully before giving one the boot, do NOT play one off against the other if I may advise... If you later decide one is better than the next so be it, but know that dealers may not be around forever so from my own experience it is always best to stay (or leave) on good terms (yes in case you have to go back there later).

    Hope that helps.
  5. kleankutslawn

    kleankutslawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,185

    ask about there service dept.what is there average in/out time on str's
  6. verant

    verant LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 484

    my dealer is great at getting my ztr in and out as fast as possible. they have the parts and experience to get it done....professional and easy to talk with. this makes them a great dealer
  7. ProStreetCamaro

    ProStreetCamaro LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,289

    1. Do they have a large parts department
    2. How long does it normaly take to get a part in they dont have
    3. What is there average turn around time on warranty repairs
    4. Price on equipment and parts
    5. Do they offer loaners to use if your machine breaks down
  8. Guinessnc

    Guinessnc LawnSite Member
    from NC
    Messages: 14

    Well, I am considering an Exmark, Hustler and JD. My closest JD dealer just merged with about 7 other JD dealers in I guess a 60 mile radius. I think as far as getting a part I need it shouldn't be a problem. I will find out about the Exmark and Hustler.

    Thanks for the great advice guys.
  9. wheels910

    wheels910 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 163

    yeah, i work at a 1 of 7 jd dealer and we are able to transfer parts next day all the time. we even do same day transfers in some instances. works out well for our customers
  10. tallimeca

    tallimeca LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,229

    narrow down say your top 2 or 3 choices. Visit your nearest dealer. Go in and ask as many questions as possible. Is it a larger dealer where you become a number, and get lost in the shuffle, or is it a smaller dealer where they appreciate your business and don't have a problem saying "thank you, let us know whenever we can help". Are the owners on site? Do they work there? That can make a real big difference, especially if a problem has come up.

    How long have they carried this product?

    Do they stock belts, and basic engine parts?

    What is their average turn around on commercial equipment?

    What are their operation days and hours (important!! Some guys are closed on weekends......why, i don't know. Sunday i can see, but Saturday?)

    Have you heard any word of mouth? Good / bad. Some guys don't like anything or anyone but you can usually get tipped off by their personality when you ask the question...haha.

    If they have a demo or can get one, that would help.

    Not all dealers have loaners. Manufacturers have really tightened up on loaner programs. It falls on the dealers and in most cases, loaners aren't necessary so who wants to shell out 10k for a machine to sit there and be used once or twice a year.

    If your machine is that important, you really need to have a backup. Even if it's a 48" walkbehind with a sulky. When you get your machine back, you'll just need to catch up. If they have a loaner, that's all the better.

    Hope this helps?

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