If you are considering purchasing a Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) product, I can help you make the right decision. Whether you're planning on spending $200 or $20,000, selecting the wrong brand, type or dealer, can be a costly and frustrating experience.  I have many years of experience in selling and servicing all types of OPE.

I can help you select the right type of equipment, brand and most importantly, the dealer. 

Best of all the service is free!  Contact me before you buy



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Below are areas we can examine, and a few tips, just to give you an idea of items that we can look at to make your buying decision easier.


  • Durability
  • Reliability
  • Versatility
  • Warranty
  • Availability of service plans and extended warranties
  • Cost
  • Availability of service
  • Ease of operation
  • Value retention

Tip: If you are going to purchase a walk-behind mower, and your primary concern is service, then Sears  might be the right place for you, since they offer the most cost-effective service plans. Some plans include repair and maintenance in your home.

Tip: If you are most concerned about cost and the availability of carry in service and parts, then a product manufactured by MTD, and sold in most home centers, might be right.  Many small shops specialize in MTD products.

Tip: Your father had an old Homelite blue chain saw. It was almost "bullet proof". You are getting ready to purchase a small chain saw for light work around the house. Should you just go buy a Homelite based on your fatherís experience?  The answer is no. Technology has changed a great deal since that saw was manufactured, and you should look at several different brands. Both Stihl, and Husqvarna, now offer homeownerís models that might be right for your needs. These are sold and serviced by independent dealers and because of this, you can expect more personalized service.


  • Ease of adjustments
  • Ease of operation
  • Gear drive vs. hydrostatic transmission
  • Two cycle vs. four-cycle engine
  • Air-cooled vs. liquid-cooled engine
  • Gas vs. Electric engine
  • Curved vs. straight-shaft trimmer
  • Single-stage vs. two-stage snow blower

You are considering purchasing a riding mower, and you have a relatively small lawn, and want the best quality cut and excellent bagging. A rider with a single blade deck (32" or smaller) could be right.  A single-blade rider bags better and gives the best cut.

Tip: You have a very small driveway, and need a small snow-thrower. You like the idea of the small single-stage throwers, but canít deal with mixing gas and oil for the two-cycle engine. Sears now has a single-stage thrower that has a four-cycle engine. It may make sense for your application.

Tip: You need a string trimmer for cutting grass around your house and barn. There is also a small field that you need to clear, and this contains saplings, up to two inches in diameter.  What should you purchase?  In order to decide this you need to determine whether the clearing of the field is a one-time event.  If it is, then it might be wise to rent a heavy-duty brush cutter to do the field,  and purchase a simple string trimmer. A good-quality unit, that will handle the clearing and also serve as a trimmer, may cost as much as $400. A good string trimmer, curved or straight shaft, can be purchased for $120 to $200.  This unit, if maintained, will last a lifetime.  As you can see, spending an additional $200 or more for a single use may not make sense.


  • Non-servicing home center vs. independent servicing dealer

  • Distance to store

  • Hours of operation

  • Financial stability

  • Reputation

  • Customer-friendly

If youíre looking to purchase a unit, and plan on doing the basic service yourself, then a home center like Lowe's, or Home Depot, is most likely your best bet.  These stores have several brands to choose from including the MTD line-up as well as Toro, Honda, Ariens and Troy Bilt.  In most cases, you buy it in a box, assemble it, and put it into service. They normally offer a free no-hassle exchange, or your money back, if you're not satisfied.  A step above this are the Sears and "Farm and Home" centers.  Sears offers assembly and delivery, at a reasonable rate, and of course, their famous service and services plans.  The "Farm and Home" centers, quite often, offer setup and delivery, as well as service.

The third choice, is the independent dealer.  Unfortunately, the number of these is declining.  The home center chains have cut into their business, significantly.  In addition, the reliability of much of the equipment is such that repairs are less frequent.  However, if you want the best equipment and service,  the independent dealer is for you.  You just canít beat the reliability, durability and service you will get at a well-run Toro/Wheelhorse or John Deere dealership. The successful dealers have good service departments, offer loaners, and know you by name.  My experience is that the good dealers focus on the customer, and manage their business extremely well.

I can help you select the right dealer by giving the right questions to ask, and areas to look at in the dealership. As an example:  If a dealer specializes in chain saw sales and service, look for a saw test area, like the one pictured below.  If you can't see one, chances are they really canít thoroughly test and troubleshoot a saw brought in for service.

Chainsaw Sharpening 

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