Dealer vs Box Stores

What is a box store?

A Box-store usually sells you an item in the box. You take the box home.
You are responsible for proper assembly and service.
If you want them to do it, there is typically an extra charge (if they offer that service).
If you want them to deliver it, there is an extra charge.

What is the main difference between a dealer and a box store?

The difference becomes more apparent once there is a problem or question about the equipment you purchased.

    • Dealers tend to sell better quality goods than Box Stores.
    • A Dealer has a vested interest in taking care of a customer who buys their goods.
      • Has trained staff on hand to support what they sell.
      • Goes through training to have a better understanding of what they are selling.
      • Assembles and services the equipment they sell.
      • Will check for and fix problems with new equipment, prior to or upon the sale.
      • Will give you a quick education on use and care.
      • The equipment is ready to use when you get it home.
    • If a problem comes up after you get it home, a Dealer will jump right onto a solution.
    • Dealers offer priority service to customers who buy from them.
    • A dealer will have a good stock of support parts on hand.
    • If a part is not in stock, a Dealer will order it in a timely manner.
    • A Dealer has a mechanic to provide faster turn-around on equipment they’ve sold.

If I buy from a dealer, aren’t I going to pay more?

Not necessarily; however, you should consider more than the price tag for the value of buying from a dealer.

Support after the sale is very valuable. Dealers:

    • Educate consumers on how to operate the equipment they sell.
    • Are there for you if your have questions regarding your purchase.
    • Troubleshoot issues remotely, if possible.
    • Have parts on hand for those who want to do repairs for themselves.
    • Match customers to the type of equipment they need.
    • Offer faster turn-around on repairs on equipment they sell.
    • In general, make you a priority.

Can’t I buy the same thing from the Box Store for less money?

You may think that items are identical to what you find at a dealer’s store; however, in many cases, what looks to be the same really isn’t. Whenever possible, “box stores” dictate to it’s vendors what it wants to sell an item for. The vendor must then find a way to make it happen. While it may not always be visible to the naked eye, manufacturers cheapen products to make them less expensive. Keep in mind – everyone has a profit margin to maintain if they want to stay in business.

Instead of buying from my local dealer, why not price shop and buy from whomever quotes the lowest price?

At some point, you may need your local dealer to work on your equipment. That local dealer may tell you to take it back where you bought it; rather than bend over backwards to keep you happy with your purchase.

Why doesn’t my local dealer want to perform a warranty repair for something I bought elsewhere?

Dealers prefer not to perform warranty work on equipment that they didn’t sell for many reasons.

  • Because your local dealer didn’t service the unit when it was purchased, they’re not able to judge who’s at fault when a repair is not a warrantable issue. This puts that local dealer in a tough spot when they have to explain why a repair isn’t free to the customer. Non-warranty issues include:
    • Non-starting due to fuel issues.
    • Problems due to lack of proper maintenance.
    • Seller didn’t review proper operation of the equipment with the Customer.
    • Damage or non-working issues caused by improper assembly.
    • Abuse or neglect (Some sellers leave new equipment out in the weather, which can cause issues).
  • Because dealers may not have enough resources to take care of warranty work for equipment bought elsewhere; and still be able to offer fast quality service for their loyal customers.
  • Because dealers lose money when performing a warranty repair. Manufacturers only cover the bare minimum and don’t take into consideration the time taken besides the mechanic for work performed outside of the actual repair time. For example:
    • The service writer who takes in your equipment.
    • The parts department that looks up and orders the repair parts.
    • The clerk who may spend time educating you on how to care for and use the equipment.
    • The data entry clerk that processes the claim.

Tip: A reputable dealer who sells you a product is more likely to offer superior service before and after the sale. They know their product and want their customers to stay satisfied with their purchase.

Fuel Issues

I’ve been using the cheap gas for years. Why use high-test for my equipment now?

Engines manufactured since 2008 have had to meet increasingly restrictive EPA guidelines. As a result, equipment is now running much leaner than older equipment. It doesn’t take much to knock a lean-running engine off kilter. 91 – 93 octane gasoline is cleaner and has additives that the cheaper gas doesn’t. As a result, your engine will run more smoothly.

Why should I use a fuel-stabilizer?

Fuel with ethanol begins to turn after one week. It’s an organic substance made from corn. It doesn’t want to stay chemically bound to gasoline, and will separate from it. It absorbs moisture, which causes ethanol to gel. It rots rubber, corrodes metal, and generally causes havoc within any fuel system. Note: If you have hand-held equipment with clear fuel lines; over time, you will see an accumulation of ethanol. Ethanol will coat the fuel lines, as well as your carburetor. Adding a fuel treatment to your oil/fuel mix fuel will cut down on the time it takes to have this happen.

I’m buying ethanol-free gas. Why should I still use a fuel-stabilizer?

Ethanol-free fuel begins to turn after two weeks. Eventually it turns to a varnish-like substance that can clog up your fuel system. A few dollars invested in fuel treatment (which you add to your gas can before adding gas) can help prevent the fuel from turning up to a year.

What should I treat my fuel with?

We have been successfully selling the B3C line of products, such as Ethanol Shield and Mechanic in a Bottle, to pre-treat gas bought at the pump, as well as solve problems caused by ethanol. We also sell a line of Tru-fuel products as gas-station alternatives for the occasional user or as a storage use alternative. Come in or call us for more information on these products.

Are there any other fuel tips I should consider?

When buying gas at the station, keep in mind that multi-grade fuel pumps may have 1/3 to 1 gallon of gas that the previous customer purchased. You may want to pump a gallon of hi-test into you car prior to filling your gas can.

The Importance of Model Numbers

Engine Parts

Unless you already know your part number, it’s important to have the following information to to properly look up parts for your engine.

        • Model number
        • Type or spec number
        • Serial number

  • Parts are not all the same. The reason is that engine manufacturers build engines for different applications; therefore, certain parts may differ. For example:

        • Carburetors
        • Charging systems
        • Air filters

  • Tip: Some parts cannot be returned, such as electrical parts. By having your engine information handy, you will save time, aggravation, and money.

Equipment Parts

As with engines, equipment parts can differ. Model and Serial numbers are an important way to make sure you’re buying the correct part for your machine. Many parts are unique for every brand, model name, and year built.

Where do I find my model number?

Depending on the brand and when it was built, you will find the model number in different places. When you purchase a new piece of equipment, your dealer should have a record of the equipment model and serial number. If you can’t get the information from your dealer, equipment models can be found in the following places:

Mowers and other equipment:

    • Underneath the seat.
    • On the frame, either near the seat or under the engine area.
    • The base of the deck.

For engines:

    • A sticker is usually on the shroud that covers the top of the engine.
    • The information may be etched on the block.
    • Overhead valve engines may have the information stamped on the valve cover.
    • On older engines, the information is stamped on a tag or shroud.
    • Smaller engines may have the information stamped on a plate that is over the muffler.