We sat down with Doug Vahrenberg, owner of Vahrenberg Implement, a one-store Massey Ferguson and RhinoAG dealer in Higginsville, Mo., and got his thoughts on key factors driving buying habits, what the most innovative equipment advancements have been in the past decade, and more.
Rural Lifestyle Dealer: What key factors are currently driving buying habits in the market?
Vahrenberg: Disposable income has increased for many families. One farmer stated that he saved $10,000 not taking his family out to dinner in 2020 ($200 a week for 52 weeks). People have learned how to save money again by changing their buying habits. Working at home has saved on commuting expenses, clothing needs, perfume, cologne and deodorant. It adds up to cash they have available to buy nicer things like tractors.
RLD: What do you think has been the most innovative equipment advancement in the past 10 years?
Vahrenberg: Product reliability, especially for Massey Ferguson. We sell more and more machines with longer warranties and we work on less equipment every year. That’s innovation! May not be for all brands, but with Massey Ferguson, we see it happening. Transmission features like the PowerShuttle and eHydrostat have changed features and functionality and ease of operation for first-time to professional tractor operators. They can all be pros in a matter of a few minutes with these new transmission technologies.
RLD: What product innovation do you foresee in the next 10 years?
Vahrenberg: I see electric tractors coming to the market because of governmental regulations. There are some beneficial features like instant power. The electric grid can’t handle today’s needs, and no way it can handle future needs if we continue to add more vehicles. I’m not sure it’s the most economical reliable choice.
RLD: What’s your outlook on the outdoor power equipment market for this year and beyond?
Vahrenberg: The end of this equipment buying boom is coming — it always does. We are fortunate in that we are in both a consumer and an ag market. Normally, when the consumer market falls, the ag market grows. I see the commodity prices rising and time for the consumer economy to start falling. I still see opportunities, but you better be prepared when it falls that you have not over-ordered more than you can handle.
RLD: What keeps you up at night?
Vahrenberg: How to get the machines for the customer in time for their needs. I have many sleepless nights worrying about taking care of my customers. When you’re in a small, single store, you wear many hats and every aspect of the business brings thoughts and ideas that wake you up in the middle of the night. I love it better than punching a timeclock and not worrying what happened after hours.
[Dealer Video] Doug Vahrenberg on Quick Attach Safety: Would you be interested in a safety video toolbox to share with customers?
[Video] Get Results with Low-Cost Digital Marketing Tactics: Rural Lifestyle Dealer talked with Doug Vahrenberg of Vahrenberg Implement, Higginsville, Mo., at the recent Dealership Minds Summit, a Farm Equipment magazine event. Farm Equipment is a sister publication to Rural Lifestyle Dealer. Vahrenberg says he is achieving solid results from doing his own digital marketing, spending as little as $50 a month.
- Getting Results with Do-It-Yourself Marketing: Ditch the agency, do your own marketing campaigns, save money and get better results. You just need to get started. That’s the message from three dealers, Doug Vahrenberg, Lee Parish and Ben Garton.
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