Dealers Prepare for a Busy Spring

Dealers across the U.S. are in the middle of preparing themselves for the 2011 spring sales season. I’ve recently talked with a couple distributors about how their dealers expect the season to start out and how they are getting ready for it. All talk was positive as dealers prepare their showroom and staff for what will be a spring that kicks off a promising sales season. Debbie Wallace from Power Equipment Systems, a West Coast distributor, shared news that they are well over their target goal for spring orders. “Our spring order totals are up $80,000 more than our target goals,†says  Wallace. “We have also seen the number of dealers increase over last year. Overall our dealers are of course nervous about the economy, but feel better than last year about the consumer’s buying trends.†Wallace encourages dealers to communicate to the customer that the cost of continuously fixing equipment is comparable to purchasing a new machine. “It’s all about how the consumer thinks,†Wallace said. “Most believe fixing is cheaper which is driving the market up for parts. Dealers are optimistic that once the weather returns to normal they will at least see a significant increase in parts sales and repair.†David Tilton Jr. of Tilton Equipment Company, U.S. distributor for Jonsered, says he and his dealers are also hoping for a good spring. “Most of our northern area had extremely heavy snowfall and the ground has just recently started to reappear,†says Tilton Jr. “We feel that there is plenty of pent-up demand out there, so we're hopeful for a strong spring season.†Dealers in the Northeast enjoyed a good winter that brought heavy snowfalls that pushed their snow blower inventory out the door. According to Glenn Beyerl from Northeast distributor KPM, the strong sales and service business over the winter has put dealers in the ideal position for spring. “The winter has postured our dealers for a strong spring while also generating some nice cash flow over the winter,†says Beyerl. “Dealer attitudes are very positive and their stocking orders represent their optimism for a very strong spring. End users, particularly commercial contractors, will be collecting a large portion of their snow and ice removal billings and plan on investing where necessary in their fleets of equipment. Some end-users await the renewal of their contracts, and renewals bode well for investment in new equipment. The start to the retail sales season appears to be about a week to 10 days behind a year ago (a very early start), but we are still anticipating a timely start overall.†How about you? Do you anticipate a good year? Does it show in your floorplans? - Lisa Danes, Managing Editor