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Depending on where you live, choosing a place to purchase power equipment may be as simple as going to the only place in town. Most larger cities will have a number of options ranging from mass merchants to specialty/professional shops. The specialty/professional shop will tend be more expensive but they carry more up-scale equipment. The mass merchant will be cheaper, usually with lower quality models. The specialty/professional shop will send you home with a unit that is assembled, serviced, checked out and adjusted. The mass merchant will send you home with a box of parts.

If you should need warranty repair, or when the time comes for service work and non-warranty repairs, you're likely to wind up at a specialty/professional shop in the end. Most mass merchants don't have repairs facilities. For the most part, the mass merchant carries very few parts for the DIYer and usually those are after market parts. The specialty/professional shop will have all of common needed repair parts and they'll be original factory parts.

Specialty/professional shops get very busy at times, particularly in the spring and summer. If you live in snow country they may be inundated with snow blowers in the winter. If you take a brand X model to the repair shop during their busy season you may (will) be put at the end of a long line of low priority work. Customers who buy from them expect and get the priority service.

Actually the picture isn't as forlorn as I've described. Equipment sold in a box is usually designed to go together pretty easily. If you've got a few tools and the ability it's not that hard. Most units do need some adjusting and tweaking and how well you do that will result in proper performance and unit life. However, it is a fact that any brand X model will play second fiddle when it's time to take it to the repair shop in the busy season. It's really quite simple. Would you take a Chevy to a Ford repair center and expect priority service? I don't think so!

Naturally I'm a bit biased. I don't mean to sound as if I'm slamming the mass merchant. Most folks have a budget they need to work within and the less expensive units found at the mass merchandiser may be their only alternative. If that is your situation I'd suggest checking to see if the non-servicing dealer you want to buy from has an arrangement with an authorized repair facility to take care of their customers in a timely manner. Some mass merchants have done so to make sure their customers aren't left hanging. Warning; Don't take the word of the floor walkers in these "Big Box" stores, verify. A week doesn't pass when someone with a piece of equipment bought at the orange box brings in their highly abused unit and tells us they were told that we would fix it under warranty, while they waited. It ain't gonna happen friends. If a servicing dealer has an arrangment to take care of the box store equipment, the box store will have that dealers business card to give you. Otherwise, you'll wait your turn at the end of the longest line, and in any case if it's your fault, you'll pay.

The Lawn Mower Repair Man's Pages

The Lawn Mower Repair Man
Front Page
Selecting Outdoor Power Equipment
Making the best choice before purchase
Maintenance and Repair
Tips and advise
Keeping an edge
Injury Avoidance