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Support from "The World's Best Plow Dealer".

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by digger242j, Nov 24, 2002.

  1. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    I started composing this as a reply to John Allin's thread on "Blizzard update #1", but after I thought about it I realized it was getting off that topic and might be construed as putting Jerre or John on the spot. That's certainly not my intent, so I'll put it in it's own thread.

    Since that thread went in the direction of a discussion of "dealer support" (not just by Blizzard), I have a question....

    Hypothetically speaking, if "The World's Best Plow Dealer" sells Acme brand plows, and the "World's Largest Plowing Contractor" calls on line one, at the exact same time "Joe's One Man Show Snowplowing Company" calls on line two saying their brand new Acme plow broke down, who gets the dealer's spare plow first?

    I'm not trying to put any individuals on the spot, but I'd be interested in how everybody views the responsibility of being that hypothetical "The World's Best Plow Dealer". Do you take care of the guy who will be virtually out of business without his one plow, or the guy who'll be buying more than one unit from you?

    PlowSite's membership covers that entire spectrum of contactor sizes. I'm pretty sure how I'd answer the question, but if I were that dealer it's one I'd hope I never had to answer. What's everybody else think?
     
  2. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Probably the one there first with the money to buy it.

    Interesting question. I've never needed dealer support, but have been told the shop is open 24/7 during plowing season. No mention of a replacement plow while mine is being worked on. I just supposed that I was to bring it in and wait there until it's fixed.

    Honestly, I'd figure the "big guy". Money talks and sh-- walks. Seriously, we don't plow for charity (usually) and they aren't in business to be charible. The big guy is going to be buying more equipment. The little guy is going to be limping by with what he has for as long as he can. Even for repairs - the big guy is more likely to bring his in while the little guy will fix as much as he can himself.

    Everything else being equal - World's Largest Snowplow Contractor gets it.
     
  3. Lazer Man

    Lazer Man Senior Member
    from SW Pa.
    Messages: 139

    Man Digger you might as well just hand that dealer a gun. Or does he [ or she, better cover all bases ] flip a coin to see who gets the plow. Or, better yet did you give your own answer away to handle that situation. Give the plow to the smaller operator since John [ oops the big time operator LOL ] has other plow trucks to fill the loss of one truck going down.
    I'm glad you moved this to a new thread because this is a good direction to continue this discussion. It was mentioned on the other thread about certain ironies, that we demand the lowest prices on equipment purchases and a high back-up by the dealer to fix problems. Yet when we offer our services to our clients we ask them to pay us a higher rate because of the way we will or do service said account. We seem to want the best of both worlds.
    I have never minded paying alittle more for my equip. when I know the service if I have a problem is outstanding. Just like I expect my clients to expect of me. It all comes down to you get what you pay for.
    I have to give Jere high marks for handling the probs John had and wished all dealers took care of customers like that.

    Bob:) :)
     
  4. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Wow.... tough question, and a tough answer too. Either alternative is wrong, and neither of them is right either.

    I'm not certain which answer would be correct. One piece of advice would be that the dealer should not tell the one what he did for the other. I can tell you that we did NOT expect Jerre to come out with a loaner unit, although we did expect him to effect repairs right away.

    Given the described situation above, I'd have been satisfied with getting the plow fixed within a few hours and would have understood getting the small guy on his way so he could stay in business (easy to say now that the storm has passed - huh??).

    If it had been a Boss plow, I'm fairly certain we would not have gotten a loaner for the storm, but we would have gotten information on what to try to fix. Our guy (in our situation Friday night) did attempt to ascertain the problem before calling Jerre, and had Jerre walked him through a diagnostic analysis we would have gone down that road happily too.

    I just sure hope that Jerre never has this situation occur (as described by Digger) so that type of decision never has to be made......
     
  5. JD PLOWER

    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    Around here that would be an easy question to answer, neither customer would get any preferential treatment. The dealers close to me (within a fifteen mile radius) that sell the big name brands (western/fisher/meyer/diamond) don't stay open later during storms or have 24hr contact numbers or would even consider a "loaner plow". The only exception to this is when large storms are forcasted (10"-12"or more) and even then not all stay open beyond normal operating hours. A few years ago I had a broken hose that happened at 4pm and I didn't get to the nearest dealer until 5:10pm only to see the guy s closing up. When I approached them they said "I'm not turning on the computer to sell one hose". This is the type of attitude I find to be the prevailing one in this area. I can only speak from my past experiences with these local dealers so some you from this area may know otherwise and if you do know of a Fisher dealer in my area that does have the type of service discussed in this thread please feel free to let me know :waving: .
     
  6. jimsmowin

    jimsmowin Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    the fisher dealer here in my area is one of the best. he is open 24 hrs during a storm or event. when you walk into his shop you are treated like your the biggest plow co. inthe state weather you have 1 plow or 50. he sells fisher and meyer, but will work on any thing. they make you feel like a king. other words your treated like every one is equil. i know, started with 1 plow - up to 4 plows now.
     
  7. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    It sounds like JD Plower and I have quite similar experiences. Until I have someone show me otherwise, I won't buy equipment, parts, etc. in town unless my back is REALLY against the wall. If I have to wait until 7 or 8 am the morning folllowing or during a storm for someone to even think about looking at my plow, I'd rather spend the money on backup vehicles (which I have!) and buy the parts from the cheapest possible source out of town that will follow thru with their promises.

    I'm all for paying for good service. I'd spend a little more anytime for that. Unfortunately, in my market it seems no matter the service, the service industry has a bit of an attitude and often service people get off on a power trip knowing they have you in a vulnerable position. If you do get "good" service, you will pay dearly. Too bad that people are that way. I've actually driven 200 miles to have a plow serviced before because I knew I would be taken care of in a professional manner.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2002
  8. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    There's a couple other questions which came to me: Which pays his bills on time? Who breaks stones the least? Which makes the least amount of unreasonable demands?

    Some of my highest paying accounts are not necessarily my best, some are habitually late in keeping their account current, and are usually the ones making the most noise. Others pay on time every month and have nothing but gratitude for their service. These are the accounts I cater to.

    Certainly a hard question to answer, Digger, I hope you're happy! How many will lose sleep tonight trying to figure this one out?:eek:
     
  9. Mike 97 SS

    Mike 97 SS Banned
    from U.S.A.
    Messages: 1,106

    Everyone has made very good points here. But i think i have the answer. If 2 phone calls came in at the same time, 1 from the little plow guy and the 2nd call from a big plowing company, or vise versa, the right thing to do is give neither one the spare plow. Then you give the 1st plow guy the 2nd plow guys cell phone number and the 2nd guy the 1st guys cell phone number and let them call each other up and fight for it. You invite them both to the plow shop and let them beat the crap out of each other, and whoever is left standing, gets the spare plow to use. The guy who got beat up is in no physical shape to go back out snowplowing so he has no need for a working snowplow, you see what im saying here? :D :D The guy who won the fight is all charged up cause he got the plow and cause he just beat up some poor sole and hes ready and willing to go back out snowplowing. Of course this is just my oppinion on what to do, oppinions may vary. ;) No seriously though, that is a tough question to answer and i think no matter who got the spare plow, someone is gonna be left unhappy they cant go plow and make their money. I guess the big guy could do without 1 plow if he has 5 or 10 others, but the little guy only has his one plow and he needs it. I really dont know which way would be the better thing to do. Mike :drinkup:
     
  10. Garagekeeper

    Garagekeeper Senior Member
    Messages: 459

    Which One Gets It?

    I've been watching this post since this morning, trying to think how I would handle this. Being a small dealer it's always great to start a relationship with some one that "may" in the future buy more plows as their fleet is added to or as trucks are replaced. But we are still at the phone call level, I haven't seen either one in the shop yet. It just seems that when the larger fleet customers call they are shopping to see who has the plow, and who can get it on the quickest. I know what its like to be the small plowing service that really depends on his or her only truck to make a living. And most of the time the smaller plower is going to come back for not only their plow service and parts but their truck and trailer repairs too. I think that I would really have to lay the cards on the the table and say who ever gets here with their check first would get the plow, it would be the only fair way. As far as service and parts I stock most of the parts that are needed to support the equipment that I sell, and do make them available to my customers after hours when it's snowing. I try to make every effort to get my customers back out plowing as soon as possible. Customers who bought their equipment from me will receive priority over plows that where bought else where when it comes to service during a storm. And "yes" I would wait or open back up to make a hose or get parts for someone that called. :rolleyes: John
     
  11. Got Grass?

    Got Grass? Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    This is easy, suprised no one else thought about it...

    I'd give it to the guy who's plow is going to take longer to repair.
    One guy may just need a new pump while the other might need a whole new wiring harness...
     
  12. ADLAWNCUTTERS

    ADLAWNCUTTERS Senior Member
    Messages: 212

    how about getting the service manual for you plow lean the in and outs of your plows before the snow hits. maybe even stock some common parts, i depend on no dealer for service i have lean to fix everything myself. of course if you own a meyers plow you will be fixing them all the time.just kidding guys.
     
  13. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415

    Digger242j

    To answer your post if I read your post right ;) you asked who would get the spare plow to use. To me it's a no brainer a guy who buys 1 plow or a Co. "with potential" to but many plows & parts if treated right.

    Come on now think about it as if your a sales man & who is going to make you more commission. Or your the owner of the Dealership & a large Co. that can buy any plow it wants & you just sold them a new brand for them to try & it broke. :rolleyes:

    Look I'm not saying it's right but in the real world the BIG guy wins amost all the time. And I've done the same thing with my Water Well Pump biz. :eek: you do what's best for your biz.

    And yes some large accounts are slow to pay but what I make in (volume) it's worth the wait.

    Hind sight is always 20-20 they should 've had a manual & spare parts but that wasn't the ??? Plus not all guys are handy to do repairs.

    And at the time of the phone call you don't know which is the faster repair, just who they are.
     
  14. long0

    long0 Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    I don't mean to sound like a smart @ss here, but if this is the "Worlds best plow dealer", then why would he only have one spare plow??

    So lets say he only has one spare. I would have to agree that the customer that is the easiest to deal with gets the spare. Account is current, no unreasonable demands ect.

    Andy
     
  15. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Andy,

    I think (from another thread) that some of these guys know that the situation (referred to) is that the "very large contractor" is using all Boss plows and JUST purchased his first Blizzard plow to test it, with the intent of slowly switching over the fleet to Blizzards.....

    The contractor in question has several back-up Boss plows, but Boss plows don't fit on Blizzard undercarriages.....

    Just a thought.....
     
  16. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    In my area the point is moot, unlike lawn care dealers, no plow dealer has a spare plow to loan out. As soon as they did, it would be a used plow, no profit in that. Or a trade in that wouldnt be worth attaching to my rig. The only exception is the Meyer plow blade itself. As dealers have plenty extra of those around.This is one reason that although I wasnt a big fan of the unimount, I continued to buy unimounts so I would have back ups.
    In this case, if the two plows were unrepairable in a short time frame, then the one who called on line one would get the plow, he did call first didnt he.
     
  17. long0

    long0 Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    JAA,
    I understand the situation, I was keeping up with the other thread also. This thread was started as a hypothetical question, and that is why I made my last statement about the "worlds best plow dealer" having more than one spare.

    You guys back east are fortunate to have dealers that will work with you. Out here, there are only two dealers within a 100mile radius, one is a western dealer, and the other a meyer. They open at 9am, and close at 5pm, no mater what the weather is doing. I'm sure that some of the larger contractors have more parts than the dealers. I run 3 trucks, but have had to invest considerable monies to ensure that if something breaks, I have the parts to fix it.

    I'm getting side tracked, back to the original subject.
    If I was the dealer, the above quote by Pelican would be my deciding factor. The more people ***** and moan, the more effort (and expense) it takes to serve them. If people want you to go out of your way for them, they should extend the same courtesy towards you; ie. paying their bills on time. Everybody is in this business to make money (at least I hope they are). People that create headaches for me do not get the service that others do.

    Andy
     
  18. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    Lots of good replies.

    I just stated in another thread that I'm not one of those "misery loves company" type people, but when I get one of those deep thoughts that gives me a headache thinking about it, I'm more than happy to share. :)

    Interesting to read the comments about quality vs. price in regard to "service". I'm not surprised that it echoes what seems to be the atitude on PlowSite in general--customers should expect to pay more for good service than poor service, and vendors can't be faulted for catering to customers who understand the dynamics of that.

    Personally, I'd lean toward helping the "one plow" operator. (But I'm not known as a "hard nosed businessman" either.) If the big operater was an easy going guy it would be a no brainer. (I bet there's alot of guys here who'd lend their own spare unit to a fellow plower in need.) It would be a lot more problematic if the larger customer was the demanding type. (Let's face it, lots of "the world's largest" businesses are run by folks who beat up employees, suppliers, and even customers. That's how they get to be that big.) (And I've not yet met John Allin, but from his posts here he doesn't seem to fit that sterotype.) (At the risk of putting almost every sentence in this paragraph in parenthesis, John's last post mentions the "very large contractor". Is there one bigger than SMG? Just curious.)

    I purposely phrased it "the world's best plow dealer" because I'm sure everybody recognizes that largest and best, while not mutually exclusive, are not necessarily the same. It was interesting to read (and read between the lines) about how we view the designation "best".

    Maybe the most workable solution is the one proposed by Mike 97 SS--Let em duke it out, last man standing gets the plow.... :)
     
  19. Mike 97 SS

    Mike 97 SS Banned
    from U.S.A.
    Messages: 1,106

    I knew someone would like my idea. I guess they could flip a coin too. Heads i win, tales you lose. :drinkup: Mike :waving:
     
  20. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    First come, first serve.

    Andy and I are in the same position, no dealer for 100 miles. What I would hope for from a dealer is:

    Help me fix it over the phone! I can not stand calling up a dealer of equipment not being able to get definative answers from a tech person.

    I've spent 4 weeks staring at transmission/transfer case adapter for my Bronco. The "dealer" kept giving me the wrong information. The manufacturer, who I broke down and called gave me the correct answer in less than 2 minutes. I spent a month writing letters, emailing pictures and sitting on a milk crate in my garage.

    Answers, that is all I want.