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Business Owners & Managers

Maintaining Your Equipment - Should You Use a Dealer or Do It Yourself?

By Jim Nelson from J and J Lawn Service

Whether your equipment is maintained by your dealer or yourself, there are pros and cons to both. Who should maintain your equipment? This is a choice that only you can decide; do what is best for you and your company.

I personally perform around 95% of my own maintenance for the following reasons:

  • I really enjoy doing it.

  • It saves me a lot of expenditures at the dealer - $85 per hour labor at the shop and the markup on parts and shop supplies.

  • I'm able to pass on my knowledge to my children and grandchildren.

Areas that need to be considered:

Your Knowledge and Skill Set – If you don't have the proper knowledge, you stand the chance of potentially causing other damage that could result in additional cost and frustration. With that being said, however, I've known a lot of mechanics that have mastered their skills through trial and error.

Don't be afraid to learn and ask any questions you may have. If this is something you enjoy doing by all means do it.

Schedule – Do you have the necessary time to perform your own maintenance and repair work? If you do not this isn't even an option for you unless your schedule can accommodate it.

Any major repairs can be very time consuming. Do you have back up equipment to use in the down time? Something to consider since some dealers will offer loaner equipment while yours is being repaired.

Warranty / Records – If you perform your own maintenance make sure you maintain thorough records of all service and repairs that are performed. Failure to have the proper documentation can result in denied warranty claims.

I have found it easier over the years by having a service schedule on each piece of equipment, along with a service log for tracking. You should have a binder or folder for each piece of equipment and keep at a minimum it it the service schedule, service log, operator manual, parts list and receipts.

Parts / Supplies – At a minimum use parts, lubricants and filters that are recommended by the manufacturer during the warranty period. You have invested so much in your equipment up front and if you continue to invest in it you will reap the rewards.

The cheapest part isn't always your best purchase; just one example of the difference in quality can be found in the air filter. Check the micron rating to make sure it keeps out what it needs to; the cheaper ones tend to allow more particles into the carburetor!

Tools – Quality hand tools should have a lifetime replacement warranty. I consider my hand tools a one-time purchase but I tend to pass them on to my children and purchase some new ones!

Check out each manufacturer they each have their own design, markings, angles, lengths, thickness and grip but a ½” wrench is a ½” wrench. I still own some Craftsman and Snap On tools I purchased over 35 years ago.

Purchase and use tools that you can afford and are comfortable with.

I really hope this information was helpful. Should you choose not to perform your own maintenance on your equipment at least learn the functions of the different components; it will help you understand the overall function and operation of it.

Wish you the best!

J and J Lawn Service
UAG Member 2018
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What do you do when it comes to maintaining your equipment? Join our forum to share your tips or ask other pros for advice.