Today you may have a lot of options to choose from or maybe only a couple in your area if your live in a rural area. Larger cities have dealerships both big and small, big box stores such as Home Depot and Lowes and small independent lawn mower repair shops.
But which one should you choose to get the best lawn mower repair service in your area?
We all seem to hold the “dealerships” in this category of mythical creatures (I used to) that have the best tools, best training, best test equipment, best parts and best warranty around. Well, that may be partially true, but the dealership is only as good as the lawn mower repair technicians and support staff working there. Good experienced technicians go where the money and working conditions are the best and that is not always at a “dealership”.
First let me say that size does not indicate quality service. I own a small independent lawn mower repair shop and clients will bring me lawn mowers that the large “dealerships” cannot seem to figure out. Now this article is not about bashing the dealerships, it is about arming you with information about choosing between the different lawn mower repair shop options.
One thing about most dealerships is that they do not service equipment brands that they don’t sell. So if you take your Troy-Bilt lawn mower to a John Deere dealer, most likely they won’t touch it.
Second in today’s world we can very easily check out a company’s reputation online. Find their Facebook page and look at those reviews. Check out their Google reviews or Yelp reviews. Look at as many sources of information as possible to come up with a good consensus of the local shops.
Remember, people are always willing to complain about a company when they don’t get it quite right, but not a lot of people will give a review when the service is well done.
Since reviews can also be fake, ask your friends for referrals and see what names they provide you. You know these people personally so a referral from them comes with more weight behind it.
Certifications & Training:
Another thing to review is their website. See if they list their certifications such as “Briggs and Stratton Master Service Technician” or “Kohler Expert Service Technician”. If they have any training and certifications, that adds another plus in the “pro” column to consider.
Labor rates can be all over the map. The dealerships and large shops have to charge higher labor rates to cover their large overhead in running those businesses. It is not uncommon for them to be north of $100 an hour for their repair services. The smaller shops have less overhead and can charge less for their services. Be wary of the shop that charges extremely low rates. Like anything else in this world, you get what you pay for.
This can be a confusing one for customers. For example, you buy your Husqvarna self-propelled lawn mower from Home Depot and in one month it breaks. Well, your Home Depot store most likely isn’t going to fix it in-house. They have a sub-contractor that picks up their mowers when they get enough of them that are broke and then perform the repair work at their location. These companies may be coming from out of state to pick up those mowers and you may wait weeks or months to get yours back.
The dealership can perform the warranty work IF you bought your mower from them. Some dealerships can be picky and not want to do warranty work if you bought your mower from a competitor across town or a big box store.
The small independent shops may be representing many different brands of engines and mowers. They could be able to take care of your warranty on your Briggs and Stratton engine even though it is in a John Deere riding lawn mower.
When you think of a lawn mower, it is made up of 3 basic components; the engine, transmission and chassis. Let’s use our John Deere riding lawn mower that you bought from Home Depot for example. If it is an L110, most likely it was actually made my MTD. MTD is a large mower manufacturer that private labels lawn mowers for 50 or so different brands including Cub Cadet and Troy-Bilt.
Your John Deere L110 could have a Briggs and Stratton engine, a Hydro-Gear transmission and the chassis made by MTD. In this case, any shop can work on it that is set up with any one of those 3 companies for their warranty work.
Bigger shops with thousands of clients can be very busy during the mowing season. Your wait time could be weeks to months in some cases. If your mower manufacturer is not doing a great job of keeping parts on hand, the wait could be longer. This means you will either have to hire a lawn service or borrow a mower from someone.
Smaller shops can be busy but have to more effectively manage their floor space and have more incentive to get work turned around quickly.
By doing your research and getting as much information about the potential lawn mower shop you are going to do business with, you will be making a more informed buying decision.
The grass continues to grow and the faster you can get your lawn mower back that has been repaired right the first time, the more cost and time effective it will be for you.