In this article, we talk to Chris Walker, demonstrations manager at Reesink Turfcare, about what to look out for when demonstrating a machine, and how to get the best value for your money.
When choosing machines to demonstrate, speak to your dealer or sales representative, as they will have the in-depth product knowledge needed to find the best machines to suit your needs
With online shopping becoming ever more popular, more and more companies are offering a 'try before you buy' option, giving customers a fixed period of time to decide whether they want to return an item or purchase it. The reason this is gaining popularity is clear; customers want to see a product in person before committing to a purchase. And the same can be said for turfcare machinery.
Demonstrations have played a large part in turfcare machinery purchasing for some time. It gives customers the opportunity to test out machinery on their own playing field, pitch or golf course to determine if it's the right fit, before making any final purchasing decisions. With so much work expected from your turfcare equipment, and with it often representing a significant investment, demonstrations are a must.
How do demonstrations work?
If you're looking to get a demonstration, the first step is to speak to your local machinery dealer or local sales representative for the brands you're interested in. This is where you'll have the conversation about the machinery you already have, what you think you need, what type of turf you're working with and what you need your machinery to deliver.
From there, your dealer or sales rep will be able to recommend the machinery that you should demo. This may consist of one machine, or it could be several. Reesink Turfcare has a dedicated fleet of machinery for demonstrations, most of which come with all the attachments and features so you can test the machine to its full capability and find the right spec for you. The demonstration team will be able to talk you through how to use the machinery and all of its features before you get started and, with the team's excellent product knowledge, all questions can be answered comprehensively.
Demonstrations allow you to see machinery and how it works up close. Pictured: Reelmaster 5010-H
Depending on the number of machines that need to be tested, a demonstration can take between one afternoon to several days. For example, if you're testing out the ProCore 648 on your greens or pitch, it doesn't take long to see how well it works on that one area. On the other hand, with Toro's new all-electric eTriFlex 3370, some customers have tested it for longer to really get a feel for how long the battery can last and how many greens it can do in one charge. That said, there have been customers who have purchased it after just a day's demonstration they were so impressed with its technology and cutting quality!
No matter what machine you would like to demo, rest assured that Reesink will always allow enough time for you to properly test all the features of the machinery in all the places you need, to help make a final decision that's right for you.
What to look out for when demonstrating a machine?
When you're demonstrating a machine, there's probably a lot that you'll want to do with it to understand its capabilities. However, my main piece of advice would be to prioritise the problem areas of your course or pitch.
A brand new greensmower will cut grass on flat greens easily all-day long, and if you're demonstrating a couple of different brands or machines it might be difficult to really see the difference in quality and build from just that one area. Where you really need to test a machine is on the hilly areas, where it gets boggy or where the turf is undulating. This will weed out the machinery that isn't the right fit for your requirements, and hone in on the equipment that is built to last and will do the job well. There's no point investing money into a machine that you realise a couple of months down the line can't do what you need it to or the job properly.
Most demonstration machinery will come with all the attachments and features so you can test the machine to its full capability and find the right spec for you / As one of the most productive and efficient aerators on the market, the ProCore 648 doesn't take long to impress at a demonstration
How to make the right decision
In an ideal world, there would be one machine that does everything, but of course that isn't the case. If you expect the machine you have on demo to achieve everything you want it to, you're going to be disappointed, no matter what brand or machine you're looking at. The key is to take the time to speak to your dealer or sales representative, as they will have the in-depth product knowledge needed to find the best machines to suit your needs. It may be that they recommend one machine that can tackle the most important jobs you need doing, or perhaps they bring a wider range of machinery that combined can achieve everything you want. Either way, working with them to focus in on what you need from your machinery will only help.
Once you've had the demonstration, a key factor that always comes into play is cost. With the tricky economic situation due to the pandemic, it's more important than ever to make sure you get value for your money with any purchases you make. However, don't let a focus on cost become the most important consideration. There is a temptation to demonstrate a machine and, once you've seen it works exactly how you want and does everything you need it to, then try and find a cheaper model that on the surface appears similar.
This may seem like a great way to save money up front, but there's always a reason why a particular model is cheaper. It won't take long to find out it can't do the same job, or that you really needed the higher spec machine. That cheaper machine will likely not work on those tougher hilly areas, or it won't be robust enough to do the hours you need. Usually this tactic ends with an unhappy customer, and a machine that needs upgrading sooner, or needs constant maintenance as it's continuously pushed past its capabilities. This only makes it costlier in the long-term and leaves important jobs on your course or pitch incomplete.
Reesink recently launched Ree.Own, an online nationwide network, providing access to the best used Toro machinery available in the UK
How to get the best value for money
Before you even have a machinery demonstration it's important to do your research. Figure out what your maximum budget is and work from there to find the best options available in that price range. There's no point taking the time to demonstrate a machine if you then realise it's beyond your reach.
However, there are ways to get higher quality machines at a reduced price. With used machinery, you can get quality, robust machinery without having to compromise and opt for a lower-quality brand.
Reesink recently launched Ree.Own, an online nationwide network, providing access to the best used Toro machinery available in the UK. All machines listed have been certified for sale through a network of authorised Toro dealers and Reesink branch locations and are no more than seven years since first use, with less than 3,000 hours use. Plus, all machines will have a minimum ninety day warranty.
Purchasing used machinery is becoming an increasingly popular route to take, but if you're worried about not getting to test a machine before buying it, don't. If you're interested in a used machine or ex-demonstration machine from Reesink, it can be arranged.
We can bring to a demonstration the exact model you are looking to purchase for you to test on your turf, and the used machine itself to view. You might wonder why you can't demo the used machine itself? That's because all used machines for sale on Ree.Own have undergone a thorough check by trained technicians, and that inspection guarantees the machine is in top condition. By using this machine for demonstrations, the guarantee of the machine's quality would be compromised and would increase the hours on its clock.
Chris Walker, demonstrations manager at Reesink Turfcare
By bringing both the machine you are looking to purchase for you to view in person, and the same model from our demo fleet to test on your turf, we can protect the quality of your used machinery purchase, whilst still giving you the opportunity to test that machine on your terrain, so you get the best of both worlds.
The importance of demonstrations
Whilst there are many factors to consider when purchasing turfcare machinery, a demonstration is the fastest and most effective way to answer so many of your questions. There are some things you just can't tell about a machine on paper and, when it comes to getting the best possible value for money, by demonstrating machinery you can know for certain that what you invest in will work for you.