Where to purchase: Big Box vs. Local Dealer - Snowblower Forum : Snow Blower Forums
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post #1 of 23 Old 01-03-2015, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Where to purchase: Big Box vs. Local Dealer

Hi. I'm a first time poster and about to buy my first snowblower. Never used one either. Never even used or maintained a gas lawnmower so this is all new to me. Long time manual shoveler!

I've pretty much narrowed down my model to an Ariens 24" Deluxe. I own a home with a steep driveway and path around to the back patio. The main pain I want to get around with the snow blower is the packed-in snow at the opening of the driveway resulting from the town plow cleaning the street. I figure the Ariens 24" Deluxe should do the trick. The power steering is also important to me.

As I said, I know nothing about these machines and am not all that keen on doing my own maintenance of it. Therefore, i'm trying to determine if it's worth paying what will probably be $150-$200 more to purchase it from the local Arien's dealer vs. Home Depot. i know Home Depot (when you're lucky enought to find them in stock) will send the boxed machine to the local dealer who will assemble and test it for you then deliver it and hopefullly give you a short lesson. I went to the local dealer and asked what I get for the extra $200 or so. Basically he said you'd be put further up the list when it needs repair or maintenance. Maybe I'm answering my own question since I stated I don't want to deal with changing parts and oil, but is it generally worth the $200 or so more you'll pay from the local dealer for that "advantage"? I went to the local dealer today (Saturday) to place the order and they were closed. Apparently their winter hours are Monday-Friday only. That caused me some concern. Given I work Monday-Friday, the day I'd probably schedule maintenance, drop-off/pick-up would be Saturdays. I was surprised that a business that sells largely winter power equipment would choose to not be open on the weekends during the winter? They are open Saturdays the rest of the year.

For what will be a $1000-$1250 purchase, I guess $200 for a strong relationship with a local dealer that purports to give you good customer service is worth it, but I'm curious as to what the more experienced posters here have to say.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.
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post #2 of 23 Old 01-03-2015, 03:53 PM
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Don't walk, but run from box stores when it comes to assembling power equipment. They don't have the training or experience to properly set-up power equipment. I'm not aware of them sending out equipment to a third party dealer to be assembled. Not sure why a third party dealer would want to assist Home Depot with the sale and assembly of power equipment??? I would recommend buying the machine directly from your local dealer. Peace of mind knowing if you have a problem or need maintenance you're in good hands with an authorized dealer.

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post #3 of 23 Old 01-03-2015, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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I would guess it's so you become a customer of their maintenance and support services thereafter?
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post #4 of 23 Old 01-03-2015, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brvid View Post
Hi. I'm a first time poster and about to buy my first snowblower. Never used one either. Never even used or maintained a gas lawnmower so this is all new to me. Long time manual shoveler!

I've pretty much narrowed down my model to an Ariens 24" Deluxe. I own a home with a steep driveway and path around to the back patio. The main pain I want to get around with the snow blower is the packed-in snow at the opening of the driveway resulting from the town plow cleaning the street. I figure the Ariens 24" Deluxe should do the trick. The power steering is also important to me.
Welcome the forum Brvid, It would be nice to know the size of your driveway but be as it may, you might like the Platinum SHO 24" better with a more powerful engine and because you have a steep driveway (how steep and for how long?) I would keep in mind that you may add a set of chains which you could bargain for at the blower purchase time.
Good Luck

Snow Removal Apparatus I own:
Ariens ST1530DLE, and good ole arm powered scrapper.
The 15 HP is a new Ducar engine sold
by Princess Auto in Canada.
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post #5 of 23 Old 01-03-2015, 04:02 PM
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Money spent at your local dealer stays in the neighborhood. Who knows where money spent at the box stores go.
Support your neighbors.
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post #6 of 23 Old 01-03-2015, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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The driveway / carport accomodates 3 large cars. One is in the carport, the other two on the drive way. Most of the carport has a roof over it therefore it's only a bit of snow that blows into the carport from the opening that you have to deal with. From the opening at the end of the carport to the street is 45'. The driveway is 8' wide. With two cars on it when it snows, it's only what's left that you have to shovel/blow, mostly the side and end near the street...a good car length at the end. In terms of the inclination of it, I don't really know how to judge. There are two sets of stairs and a walkway up to the front of the house. The first set of stairs is 4 steps. The second set is three steps.
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post #7 of 23 Old 01-03-2015, 04:54 PM
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The driveway / carport accomodates 3 large cars. One is in the carport, the other two on the drive way. Most of the carport has a roof over it therefore it's only a bit of snow that blows into the carport from the opening that you have to deal with. From the opening at the end of the carport to the street is 45'. The driveway is 8' wide. With two cars on it when it snows, it's only what's left that you have to shovel/blow, mostly the side and end near the street...a good car length at the end. In terms of the inclination of it, I don't really know how to judge. There are two sets of stairs and a walkway up to the front of the house. The first set of stairs is 4 steps. The second set is three steps.
So you have roughly 6 ft of inclination over 45 ft which is not an overly concern and I would disregard my SHO suggestion as the deluxe will be plenty but I would still try to bargain for a chain set if you can or get a future discount should you need it after trying the blower without them.
Keep in mind you will have to learn some basic mechanical aspect to keep your unit in good shape as you will have access to this site for any support you might need and your blower's manual will be a must read and learn which will not be too difficult.

Snow Removal Apparatus I own:
Ariens ST1530DLE, and good ole arm powered scrapper.
The 15 HP is a new Ducar engine sold
by Princess Auto in Canada.
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post #8 of 23 Old 01-03-2015, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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A chain set sounds like a good accessory to have on hand so I will make arrangements for that. I'm trying to minimize my personal maintenance responsibilities...hoping to contract with the local dealer to do pre-winter setup and post-winter "shut-down" maintenance. Of course, whatever I need to learn about minor maintanence while operating it during winter months I'll do my best to learn here and from the experts such as yourself. Thank you for your quick feedback. You haven't directly weighed-in on who to purchase from? Are you in favor of paying a few hundred dollars more to the local dealer for "potentially" better customer service on maintenance issues as they arise?
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post #9 of 23 Old 01-03-2015, 05:56 PM
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I would guess it's so you become a customer of their maintenance and support services thereafter?
hello brvid, welcome to SBF!! even if you bought the ariens you are looking at from a big box store you would be at an ariens dealer for service or warranty work of any type. back when I bought my house I went to home depot and looked at toro lawnmowers ( I already had two toro snowblowers purchased from a dealer that had gone out of business ) one the way home I spotted another toro dealer and stopped in and got the same mower

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post #10 of 23 Old 01-03-2015, 05:58 PM
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Are you in favor of paying a few hundred dollars more to the local dealer for "potentially" better customer service on maintenance issues as they arise?
Most definitively with the dealer but you may have to try if possible to get some feedback on him from people you know, like anything the best homework you do the better the odds for later. Lastly like mentioned previously read you operator's manual thoroughly to get as proficient as possible with your unit. Good Luck

Snow Removal Apparatus I own:
Ariens ST1530DLE, and good ole arm powered scrapper.
The 15 HP is a new Ducar engine sold
by Princess Auto in Canada.
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