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Any experiences buying a snow blower from an online retailer? The cost difference is significant compared to the dealers near me. Do they come already assembled in the crate? Any issues to be aware of? Thanks.
 

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All I know is if it breaks on you your local franchise is responsible for repairs but you will go to the bottom of the list. I doubt they come fully assembled. You are probably required to install the chute and handlebars at minimum. Also you will probably have to "set up" your blower. Skid and belt adjustments etc...
It ain't always all about the money. Try working with your dealer before pulling the trigger on an online pruchase.
 
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What snowblower brand and model are you buying?
It all depends on what you are getting.
2 stage Honda models I've read come almost fully assembled, browse through the forum and you'll find that info.
Other brands I'm not familiar as how they come, but probably need at least some assembly.
 

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I agree there can be added value from buying from a local dealer. I'm just not sure there is that much for a snow blower, although this will be my first snow blower so I could very well be wrong. The pricing on Toro and Ariens are about the same online and locally, the big savings is with the Honda's.
 

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although this will be my first snow blower so I could very well be wrong.
wellll..it's probably safe to say, you are wrong. ;)
We have seen it time and again on this forum..90% of problems with brand-new snowblowers are due to poor or incorrect set-up and adjustment of a new machine.
Most of the time from big-box employees who dont know what they are doing, but also from people putting together their own snowblower, with no previous experience.
Meanwhile, these kinds of problems almost never happen when buying a snowblower from a dealer, because they have the knowledge to do it right.

If its a difference of $100 to $200, IMO, spend the money and get it from a dealer..
the savings might not be worth the potential hassle and frustration of having a brand-new machine not work properly (or at all) when you need it most.

Scot
 

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i think it depends on what model blower you are buying and your mechanical aptitude.

for instance, if you are not real mechanically inclined and would have trouble figuring out what is wrong, buying from a local dealer makes perfect sense. i bought my new john deere 928 blower 8 years ago from a local john deere dealer. fact is, nothing went wrong other than the slipping drive wheel issue which i eventually fixed myself. but for the pricepoint, i don't think i would have saved a ton going on line and i enjoyed the shopping experience and buying it. OHHH, i also bought a X304 mower at the same time and worked out a bit of deal on two units purchased at once. so there is that.

i just recently purchased a Honda HSS928 to replace the Deere. i bought it online. it came fully assembled in a big box. it was wooden structure inside with cardboard surrounding it. came freight. i will do my maintenance on this myself. it will need to have a major issue for me to take to a dealer and if that is the case, they will fix it under warranty. it is a honda so i believe that happening is very slim. i also know how to set up mechanical stuff so that is not a worry. and finally, since this is such an expensive blower, the savings online was more than what could be found on a $800-$1000 blower.

my experience, let your circumstances guide you.
 

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My garage/workshop is pretty well equipped with the appropriate hammers and such needed for snowblower maintenance. Add to that the timing of purchase last year, right after a heavy and very early storm, and the option of buying from a local dealer wasn't real. So I bought one online, saving about 30% by getting an Amazon "Prime members only" deal. Delivery was later than I would have liked, as they freight them in truckloads, scheduling all the deliveries in the area for the same day.

My next-door neighbor, on the same day "ordered" a snowblower from a local blue big-box store. His "arrived" at the store a couple days before mine was delivered. The Good News was that we had a chance to go through the whole pre-delivery assembly procedure before it was really needed, so were were able to avoid some infant-mortality issues that would have plagued him had he left it as-found. Nothing huge, just stuff that needed a little extra attention like tightening things correctly and fixing little assembly boo-boos.

Mine arrived on a pallet with cardboard cover, and took an hour or so to unpack and "assemble". That included mounting the chute and handlebars, air in the tires, top-up of the (minimum) as-delivered oil level in the engine. It also included some cover removal for inspection for a possible drive belt routing issue noted prior by other here, a full clean and detail with good paint sealant (looks good, keeps snow and ice from sticking as much), along with a general once-over with the torque wrench and sockets.

It's these last two paragraphs that highlight the differences that make a good dealer prep and purchase a worthwhile investment for most folks. Is this stuff that you are capable of and equipped to do? When something does happen and it's warranty or not, the support you need will be a lot closer and more convenient at your local dealer who knows you. As others share, you are much more likely to be higher on the dealer's service priority list if you are already a customer. How much is that worth? Probably depends on how deep the snow is that day.
 
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I'm the kind that never wants a machine set up by anyone other than myself, because I'm a bit more meticulous and I take more care in it that anyone else would. Besides, I love to do that kind of stuff and I have the tools and aptitude for it. I'm the guy who buys something and always makes improvements to it beyond how it arrived brand new from the factory. (Any major alterations are usually only done after warranty expiration!) But for the person who is not mechanically inclined, does not like doing their own maintenance, does not read the operators manual, or who is just not into working on their own OPE, I agree they should pay the extra money for equipment & service from their local dealer.
 

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I'm the kind that never wants a machine set up by anyone other than myself, because I'm a bit more meticulous and I take more care in it that anyone else would. Besides, I love to do that kind of stuff and I have the tools and aptitude for it. I'm the guy who buys something and always makes improvements to it beyond how it arrived brand new from the factory. (Any major alterations are usually only done after warranty expiration!) But for the person who is not mechanically inclined, does not like doing their own maintenance, does not read the operators manual, or who is just not into working on their own OPE, I agree they should pay the extra money for equipment & service from their local dealer.


I'm the same way.

In my book, no one is going to take more time to assemble it and carefully prep it than I will. The issue then is do I have enough knowledge to do as good a job as a dealer? No doubt, they clearly know more than I do, but do I know enough? I assumed yes and ordered one online last week. It showed up yesterday and assembly wasn't exactly rocket science. I did need to adjust one cable from the default setup so the impeller and auger weren't spinning without the handle depressed, but again, not rocket science.

The other issue is what would I have done if it was defective and needed service right at the outset? That would suck a bit if you don't have access to a truck, because then you are paying a local dealer to come and pick it up and drop it back off (unless the warranty rocks). My local dealer charges $50 each way for such transport. I decided that was worth the roll of the dice since they wanted $200 more for the blower than HD, another $50 for assembly, and another $50 to deliver it. I don't mind paying a premium to support a local dealer, but not a $300 premium on a $999 purchase. I have hand tools and a funnel. ;)
 

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I'm the same way.

In my book, no one is going to take more time to assemble it and carefully prep it than I will. The issue then is do I have enough knowledge to do as good a job as a dealer? No doubt, they clearly know more than I do, but do I know enough? I assumed yes and ordered one online last week. It showed up yesterday and assembly wasn't exactly rocket science. I did need to adjust one cable from the default setup so the impeller and auger weren't spinning without the handle depressed, but again, not rocket science.

The other issue is what would I have done if it was defective and needed service right at the outset? That would suck a bit if you don't have access to a truck, because then you are paying a local dealer to come and pick it up and drop it back off (unless the warranty rocks). My local dealer charges $50 each way for such transport. I decided that was worth the roll of the dice since they wanted $200 more for the blower than HD, another $50 for assembly, and another $50 to deliver it. I don't mind paying a premium to support a local dealer, but not a $300 premium on a $999 purchase. I have hand tools and a funnel. ;)


It's interesting that the dealer was charging $200 more, plus $50 setup, $50 delivery. I know in my area the local dealers charge the same exact price as HD for Ariens blowers. I've never paid a setup fee at a dealer either. Same for Honda power equipment. The local dealers charge the exact same as big box stores.
I actually bought 2 deluxe 27's at once from a local dealer a few years back and convinced them to comp the sales tax since I was paying cash for 2 units.
I don't think HD would have gone for that one! Lol!

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It's interesting that the dealer was charging $200 more, plus $50 setup, $50 delivery. I know in my area the local dealers charge the same exact price as HD for Ariens blowers. I've never paid a setup fee at a dealer either. Same for Honda power equipment. The local dealers charge the exact same as big box stores.
I actually bought 2 deluxe 27's at once from a local dealer a few years back and convinced them to comp the sales tax since I was paying cash for 2 units.
I don't think HD would have gone for that one! Lol!

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I would have actually been willing to pay a $100 premium to support them, ensure I didn't take delivery of machine with a factory defect, and be in their good graces for the future. 30% premium? Not so much. I did, however, pick up some supplies there to try and help the cause. ;)
 

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I no longer buy any power equipment at big box stores. The main reason is support after the sale. They also don't carry many of the brands that I buy such as Stihl and red max. As mentioned, in my area in central Massachusetts, the Ariens and Honda dealers are no more expensive than online or big box.


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I got home about an hour ago with my new Toro 824qxe, that I bought at my local toro dealer, and they did an amazing job...it's not that I don't know how to do it, but why would I want to spend an hour or so doing it myself, and then Have to clean up the mess (card board, and stuff), if they can do it for me, and load it in my truck. Maybe I'm too lazy, lol. It was so much easier this was
 

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I got home about an hour ago with my new Toro 824qxe, that I bought at my local toro dealer, and they did an amazing job...it's not that I don't know how to do it, but why would I want to spend an hour or so doing it myself, and then Have to clean up the mess (card board, and stuff), if they can do it for me, and load it in my truck. Maybe I'm too lazy, lol. It was so much easier this was


+1

I read story after story of online blower purchases arriving dinged and danged.
I do my own tuneup, etc.. but before I lay my money down, I prefer to see the machine assembled and running. Plus if I do actually need warranty service, I know I'm not at the end of the list.
Plus the fact that the price is the same as local dealer on most models I've looked at online. Local dealers also give tips on operating and adjusting machine if necessary.


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Hi

At least around here, the local dealers and HD have the same prices. Delivery is free if you are a reasonable distance. There is no "setup fee " or other weird add on charge. On the stuff that HD does not carry, their prices are the same as the normal online prices. If the online guy puts on a "sale" you might see a $2500 blower at the dealer be a $2400 blower online. Right now the dealers around here are getting machines in at the > 100 a week rate and have been at that level for a few weeks. I have absolutely no doubt that they very much want to move most of that inventory before mid February. They typically carry less than two dozen machines over the summer.

Indeed these guys are "real" dealers for the brand. They carry at most two brands of snow blowers. They don't sell house plants and garden hoses. They just sell power equipment. I suspect that if I went over to the local nursery (where they also sell some stuff) I might not get quite as good a deal. If you dig into my posts, you will notice that I didn't really know about some of these dealers until I started digging. Since they only sell power equipment, they aren't big advertisers or anybody you routinely drop in on every week or two.

I'd suggest you do some hard core shopping around.

Bob
 

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I leaning towards buying my next single stage snowblower online.

I went to two different dealers that are carrying the blower I want (Toro qzr 721)

The one dealer didn't even Have it after I was told by him it was there on the floor, drove all the way there (about 30 miles one way) and it was in the box in his warehouse. Not a good 1st impression.

The other dealer I called doesn't match prices doesn't even deliver and only sells at retail prices.

I found the blower I'm leaning towards at an online retailer, and given my 2 local dealers are actual dealers my only other choice is to buy online if I purchase the Toro qzr 721 I'm leaning towards, since Home Depot quite carrying it.

I've bought a snow blower online before and never had an issue.
 

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After I made the decision to go with the Toro 721 qzr I went to my local Toro dealer (were I have purchased 3 mowers) to see if he had one. On his site they were listed for $679 but when I got there he had if marked $739 so I told him what I seen on his site and online. Long story short the best he would do was $669 so I said I'd think about it. I went to Toro's website to see if there were any other dealers close by and came up with 3, one 45 miles away, one 35 and one 20 so I sent each one an email and asked if they could do $599 and only one replied and said **** ya I got one for that price, turns out it was the closest one. Needless to say it's in my garage as I type.

With this blower buying online I wouldn't worry to much about the setup there isn't much to it but I would worry about the service and being put at the bottom of the list. To tell you the truth I would of paid my local guys price rather than buying it online.

FYI snow blowers direct says their sold out on these and to check back next year.
Toro 38743 Power Clear 721 QZR 21" 212cc 4-Cycle Single Stage Snow Blower w/ Zip & Quick Shoot
 

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I bought my Ariens Deluxe 28 from a local dealer.Same price as HD.Not only did they set it up.When I went to pick it up they brought it out and started it up,showed me all the controls,and sent in all the warranty info to register it.Great service
 
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