What you need to know before you pick an equipment dealer.
The first step in buying a tractor may be choosing a HP range or finding a brand you like but here is a must know before you buy equipment. Don’t forget to shop around for your dealer! After all, you are forming a relationship that will last the life of your warranty or longer.
“I hate to talk you out of buying something from me but…”
What an odd line for a salesperson to say but here, after being in business since 1959, we say it a lot more than one would think. Sometimes we don’t fit a customer. They may be too far away, really needing something we can’t offer or a number of other reasons they would be happier with another dealer. With the ultimate goal of making our customers happy, we can’t help it sometimes. On the other hand we often find ourselves working hard to gain trust of customers who have experienced not so great relationships with other dealers. A dealer that is a good fit for you is just as, if not more, important than the equipment. What should I be looking for in an equipment dealer? Every situation is different so let’s go over a few talking points.
Is your dealer a full survive dealer or will any warranty work need to be done at another dealer? What is the turn around times for warranty work and are there any up front costs? If your dealer will not be the one doing any warranty work, get to know the dealer who will be. Be aware that most companies do not hold dealers accountable for doing warranty work on units they did not sell. This means it tends to be normal for dealers who did not sell your equipment to put their other customers first, ask for a payment or partial payment upfront that you may or may not be reimbursed for, or completely decline. Your brand may also have dealer levels or types. For example a Kubota engine dealer who is not also a tractor dealer for the company can not do warranty work on tractors, or Kohler who lets dealers choose if they would like to be certified to warranty all equipment using a Kohler engine or just their own brands. Another thing to consider is dealers may not sell, and therefore lack the equipment or training to be able to handle a brands full catalog. A simple search on a company’s dealer database should not be used to confirm a dealer can and is willing to handle your warranty work if your selling dealer is unable or less convenient.
Consider if you are able to transport your own equipment for service or warranty. Check how the dealership you plan to use for warranty and service handles transportation, if they charge, or if they offer field service to your location. Does the dealership or company cover pickup for warranty transportation?
If you plan to do your own work, does your dealer offer parts and in what timeframe. Do they offer shipping if you need it? Will they provide parts to allow you to do simple warranty work. Will you need someone to give advice and are they willing and helpful? This is easy to test by asking your dealer hypothetical questions. These might be things like: “Can you price me out a few parts you see get worn out and do you keep those?” “How easy is it to check fluids? Can you show me?”
Community and ease of use
Every dealership has its own community. Ours often seems to be a living and breathing creature with its own personality. Are you comfortable dealing with the people at your dealership(s) who will be involved in the sale and upkeep? Are you able to communicate with them smoothly and do you feel they are honest and trustworthy? Have you seen how they treat smaller transaction customers who are in for parts or questions? Do they offer communication options that matter to you for example parts ordering through text aided by the use of pictures, operating hours you can work with or a good track record when it comes to picking up the phone or promptly returning calls?
Does this dealership seem stable and available for the long haul? Are they a new business. It is rare but quite possible to receive warranty work or any other kind of assistance from a closed dealership.
All and all when it comes choosing a dealership, having a good one is a huge value. It can even over shadow price or brand. What’s a good deal on a carefully chosen brand if the unit is not in working order? Thank you for reading. Check out these other articles:
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