Competing Dealerships

WHY buy from Earth Tools, when there are other walk-behind tractor dealerships? If you have a few minutes to read this, here are a few reasons to consider:

We have been doing this a LONG TIME. My father started using & selling walk-behind tractors in 1977, and we are currently the largest dealership for walk-behind tractors in the WORLD. No other dealer selling walk-behind tractors can match our experience, knowledge, expertise, spare part supply or custom tractor and implement / accessory selection. However, a few dealers have decided to match or beat us on Price. To do this, these dealers are typically selling equipment unassembled and untested, sometimes even drop-shipping it to the buyers to cut corners on price.

Here’s why we DO NOT and WILL NOT do those things:

1. STOCK. We don’t just “order something in” when you want it…we have the largest stock of walk-behind tractors and implements of any dealer on this planet…we carry over 2.5 million dollars worth of inventory at all times, and this includes over $250,000 worth of spare parts. I don’t believe in “just-in-time” inventory; my Dad taught me that if you want customers to buy from your store rather than someone else’s, STOCK THE PRODUCT!

2. SETUP. This equipment does not come from the factory “ready to use”, it is designed to be dealer-serviced before the end user gets it. We take this very seriously. For example, BCS America has issued a 21-point checklist for setting up a new tractor…but here at Earth Tools, our in-house checklist is 30 to 40 points, depending on tractor model. (Actually, BCS America used to have just a 10-point checklist, but they revised it after they got a copy of our checklist!) Our check-out culminates in me (Joel, Earth Tools founder & owner) personally giving the final checkout of every new tractor, including a test-run. Plus, we have an in-house 5 to 10-point checklist for most implements. Obviously, some defects might slip by us occasionally (while we test-run every tractor, we do not actually test-run every implement)…but we do our best, within reason, to catch whatever the factories might have left undone. (We have seen the factories screw up too much, after working on equipment for almost 4 decades…Even the best pieces of equipment suffer from “human error” on the assembly line.)

The time we spend setting up a new tractor is our ‘insurance investment’ that the new owner will be well satisfied with a dependable, well-tuned and properly serviced piece of equipment that they can put to use right away and not have to ‘fiddle’ with to get such things as cable tension adjustments right. Not only has our customer invested a lot of money in an excellent piece of equipment and deserves to have it as well-tuned as possible from the start, but of course we have also found that the better the impression a customer has of their new equipment, the more likely they are to send other potential buyers our way…

Example: The BCS factory starts every machine for a few seconds as it comes off their assembly line, but more often than not they fail to adequately drain the test fuel out of the carburetor & fuel tank. This “test fuel” is always stale by the time the machines arrive here from Italy. Consequently, we drain the fuel systems on all the BCS machines we set up, and put fresh fuel in…otherwise they will not start or run properly.

Another example: Many of the BCS warranty claims we submit to the company are generated DURING THE TRACTOR SETUP…Some of them are for seemingly silly little things like bolts improperly tightened, cables improperly adjusted, cable clamps not tight enough, etc…. BUT the fact is, any of these “little” things, if NOT corrected by the dealer before the customer gets the unit, will aggravate the new owner and lead to a poor impression of the equipment, not to mention of the dealer. If you buy a BCS tractor or implement in an unopened box, as some of these low-ball-price-dealers are selling them, BEWARE.

We have enough experience selling, servicing and using this equipment to know what may go wrong in the future and we take every step to prevent it with proper setup… this includes recommending the proper equipment options, configurations and accessories to give the best service for the implements chosen with the tractor. Experience counts.

–It is worth noting that a few other “online” walk-behind tractor dealers around the country are now trying to “copy” what we do in terms of their equipment check-out procedure and their product offering (often buying some items FROM US to be able to offer what their customers want!)….well, I guess “copying is the ultimate form of flattery”, as they say. The fact remains, though, that while they may want to be “experts” on walk-behind tractors, any other dealership that tries to emulate what we do STARTED LATE IN THE GAME. There is simply no substitute for the amount of experience we have with this equipment…even if they try to “tap into” our expertise by “consulting” with us. If you have a question or a problem, do you want to: A. Ask a dealer who will “get back with you with an answer” (and then they go ask someone else [us] who actually knows the answer), OR: B. Do you want to ask the dealer that knows the answer in the first place?

3. LONGEVITY (the equipment, AND our business). This equipment is designed to last a lifetime with proper service, and I want this business be here to give you the product support you need for that lifetime. My family has been selling, servicing and using Italian-made walk-behind tractors since 1977. I enjoy this business and I plan to keep doing it as long as I am physically able to do so. I am not in this business to make a fast buck; there are plenty of other businesses I could be in if that were my goal. Our sale prices run 5% to 10% below suggested retail price and our sale prices are good year ‘round. We stay informed of all BCS factory promotions and pass them along to our customers. I could play ‘price wars’ and try to undersell all our competition, but I want to still be in business in 30 years, so I can take care of my customers… so I’m going to make enough to stay in business. We don’t have other lines of equipment that are our ‘moneymakers’ so we can afford to give away Walk-behind Tractors at super-deep discounts. Walk-behind tractors are the primary focus of our business; I know every inch of the equipment from both a user’s and a mechanic’s perspective. When you purchase from us, one of the ‘perks’ is that you can consult us for our experience & expertise for FREE, for as long as you own your equipment.

If you are considering buying from another dealer, here are the questions you need to ask that dealer:

  1. How many walk-behind tractor parts do you stock?
  2. How many dedicated, full time walk-behind tractor service personnel do you have?
  3. Do you use this equipment yourself, on a regular basis?

The answers to those questions will likely tell you something about the future satisfaction level you will have with that dealer…

Thanks for taking the time to read this. As they say around here: “Lord willin’ and if the creeks don’t rise”, we will be here to serve you!

Joel's signature

Joel Dufour, Earth Tools owner