While We're on the Subject of Dealers......

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by MOturkey, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    It seems as if every time an issue with a dealer comes up in a thread, there are several who jump in with numerous derogatory comments about their dealer, or dealers in general. (We're talking equipment dealers here.:))

    There a few things that come to mind that I thought I'd put down on a post. I've never had any experience in equipment sales, but have owned 3 small retail businesses through the years ( 2 grocery stores, one C store), so can see things from both sides of the counter, so to speak.

    I recall at least one post saying that "all dealers are crooks". Now, I've absolutely no doubt that some are. I've also no doubt that some LCO's, some lawyers, some teachers, some Boy Scout leaders, are crooks also, but I'm also sure not all are.

    If your business experience is limited to mowing and/or landscaping, then you might have a limited perspective of retail businesses in general, and some of the problems that are unique to them, or at least, have not thought much about their problems.

    Most of you, when you shop for a new mower, expect to pay less than what the tag says. Kind of like the way we buy cars or houses. Many of you, if the dealer doesn't discount as much as you think he should, will walk and take your business elsewhere. Fine. Now, let's look at this from the other side of the equation.

    In many cases, the dealer has already paid for that piece of equipment. In many cases, he is actually paying interest on the money that was used to purchase the mower. If you are using a financing option, most of the time, a dealer will take a 2% or so hit immediately so you can use that option. I am not privy to the wholesale pricing of mowers, but suspect the profit margin is not all that large, percentage wise, as it generally isn't on high-ticket items. In all likelihood, the price he is asking is fair, and certainly not inflated.

    The point I'm trying to make, and seem to have trouble getting there, is to try and look at things from the other person's perspective. If you are asked to bid on a property, whether it be a simple "mow and blow" or a complete landscaping job, you normally submit a bid based on your particular costs (overhead) with a reasonable profit built in. How many of you would actually drop your price if the prospective client asks for a lower price? Most of you wouldn't, and most would be irritated that they asked for the discount.

    Additionally, most of us think highly of our loyal customers, and lamblast anyone who is a "price shopper". What if most of your customers called you up and said "Hey, just thought I'd let you know, I appreciate the job you've been doing for me the last 6 years, but I can get another guy to mow for $2 less, so I'm letting you go". Is there any difference between that and going elsewhere to save $100 on a $9,000 mower that will last you 6 years?

    Many of you almost religiously never purchase anything from a dealer other than the mower/blower/trimmer, etc. itself, yet you expect to get the lowest possible price and expect them to jump through hoops when you take the item in for warranty work. I'm all for saving money. I realize that " a penny saved, is a penny earned", but also realize that sales of equipment and warranty work won't keep the average dealer afloat.

    I suspect the average solo operator reading this post will have under $30,000 total invested in equipment. Many, a lot less than that. Think about an equipment dealer for a moment. He will likely have several times that sitting in his showroom, not to mention parts inventory. Then there is shop equipment and building. A larger dealer could quite easily have a million dollars or more invested in his business.

    In the off season, equipment isn't costing most of us much of anything unless we have it financed or have to store it at a rented location. A dealer has utilities, payroll and insurance, just to mention a few expenses, year around.

    I mentioned I bought a new BR600 last week. I've noticed several who bought them recently mentioned a price of $479. I paid $499 for mine. Now, I suppose I could have shopped around and found someone who was selling them for $479, but $20, when pro-rated over the life of this blower, which in my case, will likely be as long as I'm in business, is pretty insignificant, especially when I know Steve will bend over backwards for me if I have a problem.

    I'm not posting this to chastise anyone, just hoping that some of you, particularly some of you younger guys who are still a little "wet behind the ears" :), will be willing to see things from the other person's point of view the next time you are in the market for a new piece of equipment.
  2. Blunt

    Blunt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    It isn't the initial price that gets me I decide whether to pay that or not. It's when i catch them lying about repairs that I get mad. My brother took a company chainsaw in to be fixed. They called a week later and said the piston had a hole melted in it and that it was a total loss. So his boss had him buy a new one. My brother didn't think that was the problem so he took it home with his bosses permission and replaced the broken plug wire he found. After which it ran great. This is typical of both big and small repair shops in maine. And if you do complain to the state all they say is go some place else if you're not happy. Scumbags from top to bottom around here.
  3. Phil G

    Phil G LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 844

    Good post MOturkey.

    Couldn't have put it better.

    atb Phil:drinkup:
  4. djflats

    djflats LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 460

    Now I'm not in business like most of the guys on here. I just mow here at the house, around 5 acres or so. I've been doing business with the same dealer for the last 15 years or so. I really don't want to go anywhere else because of the service I get. During the "off season" my dealer, Bennie, comes and picks up my mower and does a complete service and returns it. Since I don't cut for a living I don't have a trailer but I don't need one with this guy.
    I know a lot of the guys on here don't seem to like Cub Cadets but I haven't had any trouble with mine, again, I don't use it every day either. As for as getting parts he doesn't seem to have a problem with it. The only thing I've waited on was a suspension kit for my seat which took 4 days to get in. I paid around $225 for the kit and installation total.
    I know there are better mowers out there but with the service I get I'm sticking with whatever Bennie carries which has been CC's for years. I've sent 2 guys from work to the same dealer and they get the same treatment.
    I realize here in Missouri there's not much "cutting" going on during the winter so business has to be rough on a dealer. I've never tried to talk him down in price or even mentioned going somewhere else to get a mower. With the service I get I'm sticking with this dealer. I'm thinking of getting a new machine for next year. I'll have to see what he has when the time comes. I want more horsepower!!!:laugh:
  5. Rons Rightway Lawncare

    Rons Rightway Lawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,164

    I bought my BR600 at slightly above dealer cost and only paid 399$

    MOHUSTLER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,376

    I wish everyone thought the same as MOturkey, That would make my job much easier.

    As a dealer, We do try to give our customers the best price possible. Usuauly if im not the best on price, Il do what I can to be there. But in some cases we cant have the best price and if they are willing to drive 200 miles to save 200$ on a ZTR then more power to you.

    Comming from previously being a LCO and then getting into the business of equipment sales. Its MUCH harder to make money in sales then mowing.

    Everyone has bad days too, Im sure sometimes people think im a big jerk to deal with and ive just had a bad day. Case in point, We just had a guy waiting on his peice of equipment to be fixed and we had to wait for the part for 8 WEEKS. And that makes us as a dealer look bad, But we have no power over it. We had to give the guy a brand new peice off our showroom and ate the cost on it.
  7. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067


    Additionally, most of us think highly of our loyal customers, and lamblast anyone who is a "price shopper". What if most of your customers called you up and said "Hey, just thought I'd let you know, I appreciate the job you've been doing for me the last 6 years, but I can get another guy to mow for $2 less, so I'm letting you go". Is there any difference between that and going elsewhere to save $100 on a $9,000 mower that will last you 6 years?

    I think that the reason many of us expect to get a better price from a dealer is because we are living and working in the world of every man for himself and may the best price win. Why shouldnt we expect the same from other businesses that we deal with. This industry is getting ugly and I dont see a change for the better coming soon.
  8. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,444

    I couldn't agree more. I have a great dealer here As far as "service" goes. I never get any garbage about warranty repairs from them. They do a good job as far as that goes.

    I don't buy anything at "list price", period. All their prices are tagged MSRP.. I shop price on almost everything I buy. In this area it makes my dealer a pain in the behind to deal with... they are a large dealership, carry multiple brands and have a good inventory.

    But buying anything from them requires a prolonged negotiation session...even though by now they know I'm not paying list...

    Most of the time I get them to a reasonable price (reasonable to my liking is all I care about) when I don't, I go down the road and buy it elsewhere.

    A few months back one of their salesmen saw a new piece of equipment on my trailer and said " I don't remember you buying that", my reply was "of course you don't, I bought it from the guy up the road"...

    The conversation went back and forth a bit and I told him what it came down too was that I was tired of the "game". I called them and then the guy down the road.... the guy down the road offered me the item at about 12% over cost
    (500 buck item) and I knew from previous experience that's about what I'd get for from him but It would have taken an hour of hassling to get it.

    It was less painful just to go to the other guy.

    I bought a new walk behind 2 weeks ago and suddenly my dealer has a new attitude...

    No more BS. I'm sue he's still treating everyone else just like he always did me.

    If you tell the dealer you're not tire kicking but you're also gonna make the best deal you can he should give you his best shot right out of the box...

    Money is too hard to come buy to just pay more than you have too for equipment or parts.

    most of my parts are bought online just for that reason... I have a spare of everything so if one piece of equipment goes down it's not going to sideline me.
  9. Phil G

    Phil G LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 844

    A dealer can only discount proportionately to their discount.

    I buy Hayter mower for less 20% off retail. The 19" Harrier retails for UK£890. If I give a guy 10% that leaves me about UK£89 to cover my storage costs, assembly costs any bank fees and then assemble the machine and do a pre delivery inspection.

    When I buy Kawasaki I get 43% off retail. Storage costs are less and PDI is quicker, so LCO gets 20% off list.

    Some dealers will discount heavily at this time of year to make way for next years new models. So you can grind the dealer down:hammerhead:

    atb Phil

Share This Page