Rural Lifestyle Dealer recently looked at opportunities in the light construction market. Greg German of German-Bliss comments on the opportunities in his area in this excerpt of the full feature

German-Bliss has 3 locations in Illinois and has concentrated sales efforts on the light construction market. The dealership also carries Exmark, Gehl light construction equipment, Stihl, Honda power equipment, Land Pride, Bush Hog and other lines.

“In the last 5 years, we’ve been trending up because we are putting more resources to it. We have 3 stores and each store has someone concentrating on the market. Our traditional business has been to be a tractor dealer, but Kubota has expanded its offerings and we took on Gehl several years ago and now we have complementary products to our tractor lines,” says Greg German, president. “Kubota’s new skid steers will be a big boost for our light construction sales.”

He says his light contractors will generally run equipment to 1,500-2,500 hours before seeking a trade. Good financing is encouraging new purchases over used equipment, even though Tier 4 technology has increased costs. German says contractors aren’t pleased about the added costs, but they’re dealing with it. He says the technology does have a benefit for dealers. “The complexity of the new technology is good for us in the long term because they need us for service. For the customer, it can be aggravating in the short term,” he says.

That’s why service is so important to retaining customers. “For a lot of these guys, they don’t have 4 or 5 of these machines in the shed. When their machines go down, we offer a loaner or a rental, depending on where they are in their warranty,” German says. “You need to decide in your dealership whether you are a ‘rent-to-rent’ business like Sunbelt or Hertz or whether you are a ‘rent-to-sell’ business. We’re trying to get customers into the machine to turn them into a long-term purchaser.”

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