Dealer spotlight: Devon Garden Machinery

. minute read

Inside Devon Garden Machinery

Dealers are an integral part of the Reesink business and as a Toro dealer for 30 years, Devon Garden Machinery is one of our longest and most successful partnerships. A third-generation family business run by Steve Dommett and his wife Charlotte, Steve has some fascinating insights into the industry and what it means to be a Toro dealer.

What’s your recipe for success as a Toro dealer?

The quality of the Toro product obviously helps, but its also all about offering honest advice and a professional after-sales service.

What have been/are the biggest changes in the industry?

Its hard to ignore the impact that COVID has had on any industry including ours. Delivery times have certainly been a challenge, but this has been fuelled by strong demand for Toro and not just COVID.  What it has resulted in is the customer having a better understanding of trying to plan ahead with replacing machinery rather than expecting just to pluck it off the shelf.

How do you see your role in helping customers buy and maintain their Toro equipment?

When you purchase a piece of Toro equipment you are investing in the best quality kit on the market, but we also have to ensure that it is the right model for the job.  Toro’s portfolio is truly comprehensive and that’s why we play an important role in helping our customers to make the right selection in the first place and provide them with service package options to ensure it performs and lasts as long as it should.

What’s your current top seller – and why do you think that it?

The Triflex greens mower range has consistently been our top seller and now with hybrid and full electric options becoming more prevalent we can see this continuing for many years to come.

How do you see the future of the industry and your role in it?

Technology is moving rapidly, and we have to continue to adapt as a dealer to keep up with that. I find that our industry is often compared to the car trade, especially where service is concerned and I categorically believe that our engineers have to be skilled in more areas than your average automotive technician, especially when you consider that on top of the various power sources that we are dealing with they also need to understand hydraulics, electronics and cutting technology!  Training is always going to be key to keeping up with this technology.

Are you seeing a demand for green/eco-friendly machines?

Definitely. Noise, fuel consumption and emissions are much higher up the customers priority list than ever before. However, this also comes at a cost and not every customer can justify this additional expense.

Is there one specific thing that you feel is the reason for your dealership’s success?

That’s a hard one, but I’d have to say passion. We’re passionate about the product, and we are passionate about providing the best possible after-sales service that we can.

If you could change the industry for the better, what one thing would you want to see?

More predictable weather would make everyone’s life easier!!

Have you noticed any new trends in how your customers are buying turfcare machinery?

Finance has always been important to most of our customers when it comes to purchasing.  More and more now we are seeing customers wanting fixed monthly costs and we can provide that with service packages and extended warranties, to give total piece of mind.

From a customer viewpoint, what changing market perceptions are out there?

Total cost of ownership is becoming more prevalent. It’s no longer just the initial purchase price, but also how much it will cost to run and what it might be worth when it comes to trading it in. Toro is number one when you consider all these factors by some margin.

Other than sales, do you provide other services, such as maintenance, consultancy, finance and how important are these?

We do offer a full suite of services, including maintenance, advisory services and finance which are all important parts of building relationships with our customers. We also have a hire fleet to help customers out at times of year when they might need an extra machine or something more specialist that they may only use infrequently and therefore cannot justify investing in.

Do you utilise any extended support and sales backup from your distributors, such as Reesink?

Reesink and our other distributors are always there should we need additional support. We try very hard to be self-sufficient, especially because of our location, but it is reassuring to know that there is someone on the end of the phone or able to come down to us should we need it. Reesink also provide us with a comprehensive training programme for our staff.

What one thing do you think your customers appreciate the most from buying their turfcare machinery from your dealership?

From our dealerships point of view, it’s being able to offer the whole package, selling machinery is important, but that has to be accompanied with the right level of after-sales care.

If your distributor or the OEM could, what might help you create new or repeat business and loyalty from your customers?

Reesink and Toro are totally customer focused, so as long as they keep doing that, we will be fine.