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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi folks. I know I'm a new guy here and I don't want to make any waves, but after reading this forum for a week or so I'm a bit amazed at how many people are buying their snowblowers from big box stores and recommending others do the same. Big mistake IMO.

As a lawn care and landscaping professional for the last 15 years with a heavy dependence on power equipment I have learned the value of buying equipment from local servicing dealers ONLY. Sure maybe you can get a cheaper price and bigger selection at the big box store or "mail order," but it simply isn't worth it.

Your local dealer will inspect the unit to make sure it hasn't been damaged in shipment, assemble and adjust it properly, fire it up and make sure it runs right and isn't leaking fluids all over and often deliver it at no charge. Usually they will fill out the warranty card and get your unit registered as well so you don't forget. And if you do have any problems they have the tools and knowledge to fix it, and having purchased it from them you will get expedited service. Sure, you could bring the unit you bought at Home Depot to your local dealer for warranty work, but don't expect to get expedited service and a smile the way you would if you bought it from them. And don't be surprised if they tell you to take it back to wherever you bought it.

Unless it's an emergency and it's 9:00 p.m. and you have no other options, go to your local dealer and purchase from them. Maybe it's the local hardware store, or the rental center (most sell equipment too) instead of a large dealer with multiple brands, but you'll still be better off. When it comes down to it, having a relationship with a local dealer who has parts and can service your unit is more important than brand. If it doesn't operate, it's useless no matter what color it is.
 

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I agree with everything you said. However, I bought my Ariens from a local dealer, in business over thirty years. That was late last year. Now they are out of business and I get to go to the back of the line if I need service,
 

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Also agree here.

I went to a local dealer first (my first SB purchase ever) expecting to spend 5 mins. Guys there walked me through several different choices asking questions like driveway size, slope, as well as how much time I want to spend doing it. Then they said let's take the unit (that I was most interested in) outside and see how it runs. It was newly assembled off the crate, and still started on the first pull after priming.

After 30 mins I thanked the guys and said I was still looking around. They were genuinely happy to help, I could tell.

After hitting two box stores where no one appreciated me, let alone asked any questions, I headed back to the dealer.

10 mins later he was filling out my warranty and telling me it would be at my house (free delivery) in a few hours.

They came when they said they would, walked through the entire SB again, including all the grease, lube, and maintenance points and that was that.

That was 1 month and 3 storms ago. Been a great experience since.

Now I get to enjoy it and know that with a 3 year warranty, we go to the front of the service line if I bring it to them.

Oh, and the price was the same as other stores \ online.
 

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I don't agree as it really depends on the dealer. I bought mine from an authorized dealer. First they dropped off the wrong machine, older model than I bought which was really kind of left a bad taste in my mouth from the beginning. The replacement wasn't assembled/adjusted properly. Even when I questioned the operation of the chute he claimed it was working properly which it wasn't. They didn't fill out the warranty card like they said they were going to. If you need to have it fixed you may as well fix it yourself as the wait period is so long winter will be over by the time you get it back. My choices for an Ariens was the dealer at the time and now Lowes. When I need to replace it some time down the road and if I choose Ariens, which I probably won't, I'll go to the big box store. That's just me and my area however, YMMV. If you're not mechanically inclined then you probably should buy from a dealer regardless.
 

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I had an interaction with my local dealer a couple days ago that sold me my 24" SHO fall 2015. That interaction left me feeling not so 'warm 'n' fuzzy'. My machine clearly has a problem and I feel like they're trying to distance themselves from it, not take ownership. I was stunned by the attitude and this is no small operation. And I have to believe the machine was never touched/adjusted before being dropped off at my home :(





My confidence in them is border-line at this point. I'm concerned about getting the machine properly repaired.
 

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My 2 cents.
All dealers are not great. So check them out before buying from them I guess. Hard to tell though unless you have a service done on a piece of equipment.
I bought from a local dealer that I had never done business with. They were top rated on Toro's web site, had been in business for years, and I had driven by the place for years.

I called, talked quite a while, asked some questions that I knew the answers to from research to check them out. They were friendly, never rushed me and explained their answers. Proved to me they knew the equipment. I called a second time with more questions. Then visited the place.

I personally would not buy from a big box store or the internet because of the after sale service as mentioned. I know the big box stores have an unqualified employee assemble their products.

This is along the same lines as a car dealer ship. Some are great others not so great. Lots of negative experiences on vehicle forums.

Maybe there should be a section on this site for dealer input. Listed by location or alphabetically.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah, of course not all dealers are created equally, and my experience may be a bit different because they know I'm a professional that will have ongoing equipment needs so they probably cater to me more than they would an average homeowner. But still, overall you have the best chance of having a good experience with your purchase when buying from a servicing dealer. Personally I prefer the small 3 to 5 man shops that believe in the value of stocking parts for what they sell.

I had a bad experience years ago with a Sthil/Exmark/Billy Goat dealer. They were just awful and have since gone out of business, but that doesn't mean I'll be buying any equipment (or anything else for that matter) at a big box store unless it's an emergency.
 

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Agree.
I personally would not buy from a big box store or the internet because of the after sale service as mentioned. I know the big box stores have an unqualified employee assemble their products.

I also try to support small businesses if I can.

I mentioned in another thread that the dealer I bought from knows me when I call and so does the lead mechanic because I talked to him in the store.
 

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I worked in sales and service for outdoor power equipment shops for a number of years and my experience varied. Most were good and are still prospering, others, well, not so much. I left one employer because I was afraid of meeting people who had unfavorable experiences with the owner.
The successful dealers work hard to satisfy their customers and keep them coming back. They know that it takes years to build a good reputation but only a short time to destroy it. I worked hard to build a good professional relationship with my customers and it paid off, we had box store customers come in for service and never return to H-D or Lowes.
Most of the 'warranty' problems on new equipment stemmed from the piece not being properly assembled and adjusted. Some wanted to take it in a box so 'I know it is being done right'. Others go to the Big Orange Menace because they assume it will be cheaper which is not always the case and no, we will not assemble it out of the box and charge it to warranty. Enough, you are probably tired of reading my rant.
 

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Certainly not all dealers are created equal. Not all customers are equal either. A one time customer won't always be afforded platinum level service from the dealer.

I'm my case I've built a relationship with two dealers that I switch between when it comes to equipment and parts. I've taken the time to have conversations and shoot the breeze as well as not nitpick on prices. I'm not a perfessional landscaper, but I'm a good customer and I'm treated as such.

In a perfect world all things would be created equal, but in the real life their not. Don't be dissuaded, you are far more likely to have a better experience from a dedicated equipment retailer.

Support small businesses, support local dealers, support America. :) had to throw that in there.
 

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I would agree if you a hands off / not handy sort of person, then the dealers are the way to go.

I have bought all of my yard equipment at the big box stores without issue.
 

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I would generally agree except for one thing.

Do you pay an extra $600 for a blower for better service.? You can get an Ariens 1028 from Jacks for $1199 with no taxes and free shipping with a 3 year warranty.

our Honda dealer has them for $1699 plus tax. that's more than 600 extra.

and how about parts for Honda blowers from the dealer? Their prices are outrageous! You can save 30% or more from boats.net.

If anyone knows of a better deal than that for honda's , please let me know.

Anyway, ya , the dealer is the way to go if money is not an issue and you are willing to pay thru the nose so you will be treated better.
 

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Guys ... I do not know what it's happens in the US or Canada but in Europe warranties does not really mean so much! Most companies, in the warranty certificates introduce "a million" of conditions that the customer is always guilty !!! I have negative experiences with Briggs &Stratton , Makita, Karcher, MTD, Stihl, VW,others many big names! With Honda have not had any problems so far, so I became a fan!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Also agree here.

I went to a local dealer first (my first SB purchase ever) expecting to spend 5 mins. Guys there walked me through several different choices asking questions like driveway size, slope, as well as how much time I want to spend doing it. Then they said let's take the unit (that I was most interested in) outside and see how it runs. It was newly assembled off the crate, and still started on the first pull after priming.

After 30 mins I thanked the guys and said I was still looking around. They were genuinely happy to help, I could tell.

After hitting two box stores where no one appreciated me, let alone asked any questions, I headed back to the dealer.

10 mins later he was filling out my warranty and telling me it would be at my house (free delivery) in a few hours.

They came when they said they would, walked through the entire SB again, including all the grease, lube, and maintenance points and that was that.

That was 1 month and 3 storms ago. Been a great experience since.

Now I get to enjoy it and know that with a 3 year warranty, we go to the front of the service line if I bring it to them.

Oh, and the price was the same as other stores \ online.
Yes, this is exactly what I'm talking about. This is an experience that you simply can't have buying online or from a big box store.
 

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More often than not, the dealer is going to take better care of you and will be a better buying experience vs some store or online thing. Nothing can change that the numbers reflect that.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I would generally agree except for one thing.

Do you pay an extra $600 for a blower for better service.? You can get an Ariens 1028 from Jacks for $1199 with no taxes and free shipping with a 3 year warranty.

our Honda dealer has them for $1699 plus tax. that's more than 600 extra.

and how about parts for Honda blowers from the dealer? Their prices are outrageous! You can save 30% or more from boats.net.

If anyone knows of a better deal than that for honda's , please let me know.

Anyway, ya , the dealer is the way to go if money is not an issue and you are willing to pay thru the nose so you will be treated better.
Of course you're free to buy your equipment anywhere you want. I just thought that some might think twice about buying their equipment online or from the big box stores if they realized what they're sacrificing.

Like I said in my original post, my livelihood depends on power equipment...properly functioning power equipment...and that's what I expect it to do from the moment I purchase it until it's used up or sold. In my experience buying it from a servicing dealer is the key in meeting that expectation. I've got 20+ pieces of gas-fired equipment to keep running: 2 snowblowers, 2 chain saws, 3 mowers, 5 leaf blowers, 4 hedge trimmers, 3 string trimmers, 2 pole pruners, a power broom, a mini-tiller and an edger and 15 years experience purchasing and maintaining it all. Take it for what it's worth...
 

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Dealers I have with dealt with on Snapper and Stihl and Echo products were horrible - expensive, condescending ....One good dealer I found retired.

I was looking at an Echo string trimmer that HD had for $189. I stop at an Echo dealer and he has it for $209. I ask what the difference is and he says it's tested and they will repair it within the warranty period. I ask about the one from HD and he says it has a different serial number extension and he says that won't repair it if it's broken. I ask why not since Echo would pay him anyway and he just says they won't. I bought it there anyway and it never needed any service.

I needed a fuel tank cap for my chainsaw recently so I went to the dealer with the broken one in hand. One they gave me was a newer design and wouldn't fit my saw so I go back and he says 'that was the wrong cap, wasn't it' like he knew in advance. He gives me another cap and redoes the paper work. I get home and look at the receipt and the second cap was 4 dollars cheaper yet he gave me no change. What?

Other little stories that seem kind of silly when you write them down but seemed galling at the time. There's a reason people hate dealers. If I never had to go to one again I would be fine with that.
 

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Darryl G,
I understand your situation.

orangputeh,
Supply and demand, I wouldn't pay that either.

I use the net for a lot of things to get better prices.

I got my blower from the dealer for the same price I found online and at all my local dealers.

I avoid dealers if possible because of the high prices and do the same with auto parts. I use Rock Auto a lot, cheaper than local auto stores.
 
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