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Are mower repairers in Canberra killing the trade?

By 00davist - 20 July 2012 53

As a hobby based in passionate intrest, I run an add hoc mower repair/sales shop from home for a little extra cash on the side, and some of the stories I hear from the folks who find me have me wondering weather mower repair for the domesic market is an industry being killed by the people in it.

One example is a lady who brought in a honda firefighter pump that had been killed in a flood (submerged for a week) which she had taken two a mower shop, only to be told it was well beyond repair.

The shop managed to sell her a new one, but thankfully her son was quick enough to refuse there offer to ‘dispose’ of the dead one (although they were apparently quite insistant that they should get rid of it for her)

Anyway, it sat in a shed for about a year, then ended with me, the car trip home was enough to dislodge the muck in the carby from the jets, and it fired up straight away for me.

I gave it a good clean out, but really there was little to be done, it’s hard to fix a machine that’s working fine!

I’m guessing the shop she went to knew the pump was fine, but thought they would be able to sell her one, then simply dry out the electricals (which the year in the shed would have done) and sell her’s off for a few hundred.

Aside from that extreme example, I have heard of basic services for victa 2-strokes costing over $100 and sometimes $200 at some shops (it’s about $25-$40 for parts depending on the service) which leaves many people simply calling easy scrap and hitting up ebay or gumtree for a reconditioned mower for the same price.

In reality, if you want to put $150 into your mower for a service, that could give you new filters, seals, bearings, blades wheels and more, with room left for change.

I know these shops have rent’s etc.. to cover too, but at the end of the day, perhaps the industry needs to adapt to survive.

Does anyone else have horror stories to share about the repair industry for small engines, I’m very curious to see how many people even bother getting older mowers repaired these days.

[Ed – But let us not name names]

What’s Your opinion?


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53 Responses to
Are mower repairers in Canberra killing the trade?
00davist 4:19 pm 20 Jul 12

imarty said :

00davist, I too would like to use your services, can you get in touch with me through here?
Cheers,

Message Sent.

I also recall a story from years ago from the southern highlands (Where I used to live)

We used to see a fella named fred, who ran a repair business, he was very much a dishonest salesman.

I remember the old ride on he sold us, it was a shocker, after a few years it went back to him, permenatnly.

He got it running, and decided to use it to boost his business, so at a local footy match, he drove it across the feild at break, with sighns on the side reading along the lines of “With Fred ****’s mower repairs, you can have a mower like this”

Sadly for him, the engine failed gloriosly half way across in a ball of smoke and flame, requiring an extingisher to be rushed out.

Last I heard, he’d moved to the central coast.

00davist 3:51 pm 20 Jul 12

BigD said :

HI , I have a mower nth side that I need repaired. Pls contact me.
Thanks

Message sent, I think if you go to “I want to” in the top right corner, and choose view/edit profile, you will then see a link to messages on the left.

imarty 3:47 pm 20 Jul 12

00davist, I too would like to use your services, can you get in touch with me through here?
Cheers,

BigD 3:32 pm 20 Jul 12

HI , I have a mower nth side that I need repaired. Pls contact me.
Thanks

00davist 2:12 pm 20 Jul 12

caf said :

00davist said :

I’m involved in a forum that provides free assistance to those who want to do it themselves (A very affordable and actually easier than you would think option) which is combined with the online store of a repairer in sydney.

Link?

Certainly:
http://www.outdoorking.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=cfrm

Membership is free, if you have a problem, just ask, and if you don’t know where to start, just put up some pics of the mower/machine, and tell us what’s going on/what you want it to do, I’m there under the name “Mr Davis”.

caf 2:06 pm 20 Jul 12

00davist said :

I’m involved in a forum that provides free assistance to those who want to do it themselves (A very affordable and actually easier than you would think option) which is combined with the online store of a repairer in sydney.

Link?

00davist 2:06 pm 20 Jul 12

Rangi said :

I took my ride on mower to a retail mower place in Yass, they said it would cost about $350, when i went to pick it up they said it was $650.

When I reminded them about the estimate and that no one had called me to say it was going to be so much more than the estimate, they knocked a little bit off.

Admittably they were good about letting me take the mower and pay the extra later. But since then I have come accross 2 other people that have had the same experience with the same shop. I regularly recommend people to steer clear of that particular shop.

(some of the stickers on the mower came back damaged also the service took a week longer than they said it would when booking it in)

Incidently, the lady with the pump also refferred to a shop in Yas being the culprit, as well as mentioning the pump had previosly undergone a $900 service there, I’ve since worked out you could fully recondition the machine for less than 1/2 that!

I’d love to know more about this place in Yass…

Rangi 1:52 pm 20 Jul 12

I took my ride on mower to a retail mower place in Yass, they said it would cost about $350, when i went to pick it up they said it was $650.

When I reminded them about the estimate and that no one had called me to say it was going to be so much more than the estimate, they knocked a little bit off.

Admittably they were good about letting me take the mower and pay the extra later. But since then I have come accross 2 other people that have had the same experience with the same shop. I regularly recommend people to steer clear of that particular shop.

(some of the stickers on the mower came back damaged also the service took a week longer than they said it would when booking it in)

00davist 11:38 am 20 Jul 12

I have noticed a few of the surviving ones run their shops from home (on a much more professional scale than I do) Like Aco’s over in Higgins.

I’m involved in a forum that provides free assistance to those who want to do it themselves (A very affordable and actually easier than you would think option) which is combined with the online store of a repairer in sydney.

I guess alot of my curiosity comes from watching a number of industries trying to work out what to do with themselves these days, with the influx of cheap replacements, an increase in a throw away attitude, and a lot less focus on traditional advertising and sales, some industries seem to be finding great ways to evolve, but others are fighting to hold on to a way of life that is not sustainable.

Even with cheap imports, done right, repairs can still really save money, especcially if you want to learn to do it yourself.

Felix, a mower with donor base from Tiny’s would have been no more than $20, and I can think of a number of hobbyists, including myself who would not charge more that $20 to do that job, hoever even that could have been saved as the procedure is really simple, just unbolt the blade bar, then undo 3 bolts, pull off the engine, pop it on the other base, do up the 3 bolts, and refit the bar, it takes about 10 – 15 minutes.

If you ever want to try, message me, advice and instructions are always free for anyone who wants to DIY, I think it’s important to be able to fix things if you want to.

james270 11:32 am 20 Jul 12

Felix the Cat said :

I guess the mower repair shops have an hourly rate they charge based on what they have to pay for wages and other on-costs like rent/electricity/phone/Yellow Pages/other misc expenses. This may work out to be $50-$70 p/h or more. You being a confessed hobbyist don’t have all these expenses so can charge a much lower rate.

The mower shop is more than likely paying tax as well.

p1 11:20 am 20 Jul 12

I’d say that kind of unscrupulous behaviour and/or apparent poor value us likely an symptom of a market which is already stressed. As you say, people running shops have big overheads, and a lot of customers aren’t going to want to travel for to get a mower serviced, so the customer base is small.

Add to this the fact that you can get a cheap (add really crap quality) two stroke these days for the cost of a complete overhaul has just taught the market to toss it and get a new one – as you have identified.

I really can’t see a easy answer for you – I imagine that the “good” mower services survive mostly on long term repeat customers (and word of mouth referrals), and the bad ones come and go or operate as a small part of some larger business.

Holden Caulfield 11:13 am 20 Jul 12

Sorted, thank you.

Felix the Cat 11:08 am 20 Jul 12

I guess the mower repair shops have an hourly rate they charge based on what they have to pay for wages and other on-costs like rent/electricity/phone/Yellow Pages/other misc expenses. This may work out to be $50-$70 p/h or more. You being a confessed hobbyist don’t have all these expenses so can charge a much lower rate.

Plus (some) shops may not have qualified or experienced staff performing the servicing – this is certainly true in the automotive industry. Being a mechanic (talking auto, I imagine lawnmower mechanic to be worse) isn’t a particularily well paid or glamorous job and so hard to attract decent people to do it. So it can be easier and simpler for the shop to just sell someone a new mower/fire fighting pump (probably made in China, price not much more than repairs needed to old unit) rather than fix it.

I don’t get my mower serviced, I just use it until it stops working and throw it away and buy a new one. My last mower lasted 10 years, a cheap Victa 4 stroke I bought from K-Mart, the motor was still working fine, the body of the mower cracked. I could of bought a cheap body from Revolve/Tinys Shed but I would of had to pay someone to swap all the good bits onto the “new” body but it would probably of cost as much or more than another brand new mower of similar quality. My current mower, while not as good as the former Victa, is now about 3 or 4 years old and still goes well with out having a spanner laid on it.

00davist 10:44 am 20 Jul 12

Naturally that’s part of it, it may only be a hobby business, but word needs to spread.

However, dont let the thinly veiled lines of advertisment distract from the rest, I am actually curios about the industry;

1) I’d like to work out HOW it can adapt to survive

2) I’d like to know others mistakes to avoid them myself.

So if you have a good story, please add it.

I’ve sent you a ‘Friend Request’ on here, so that I can message you my details, I can take on a few more Jobs this winter, but I dont want to just throw my details up again (did this once before, not a good idea, I’m a hobbyist with a full time Job!)

Holden Caulfield 10:28 am 20 Jul 12

Okay, your quasi-advertisement has worked for me. My mower needs a tune up, how do I get in touch with you? 😛

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