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Garden Tractors and Parts on eBay

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#1 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  

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Posted July 11, 2013 - 11:51 AM

For the past six or seven months now, I've been kicking around the thought of starting my own Garden Tractor Restoration business. This has been a dream of mine for a long time, and when I say for a long time, I'm talking years! It would be a big step, and with the garden tractor collecting being at an all time high right now, I just can't help but wonder if now is the right time to take the leap. I guess I'm just scared, not knowing if there is a big enough demand to keep the right amount of money flowing in, in order to pay the bills.

I know most guys like to restore their own tractors, myself included, but I also know there are collectors that want a nice looking tractor, but don't want bothered with taking it apart, stripping it, painting it, and putting it back together. The other thing I think about is, will people understand and accept that it takes time and money to restore these old tractors correctly? I know in the past when I restored a couple of tractors for indivdiuals, they were quite shocked when the saw the final bill. I had to sit down with them and explain to them each line item, as to why the total came to what it did. They seemed to understand, but didn't seem very accepting.

Let me know your thoughts. Is this something people would be interested in paying for? Is this the right time to step out and take the chance of hopefully being successful? Should I wait a year or two, or five, before making a decision? Would there be enough commisions in it to support the Family and keep the Bills paid? Will I be able to keep my head if a customer isn't satisfied with the results, and decides he isn't paying for the restoration? I don't know for sure, but the desire to do it, seems to be getting stronger and stronger each passing year.
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#2 IlovemyCub OFFLINE  

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Posted July 11, 2013 - 11:59 AM

That would be pretty cool! But, the thing you said is people wern't very excepting of the price overall. I would start out small, like a small engine repair, then make your way up! Just my suggestion! But, that would be a pretty neat thing to do, and make money on! Ian. 

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Posted July 11, 2013 - 12:10 PM

Troy, I cant support you enough in your dream... I think it would be wonderful if you can make it doing what you love.


I would however, be remiss in not echoing your own concerns.  The "To busy to do it yourself" crowd would be a small percentage anywhere.   Possibly try it as a part time deal.  Figure one a month and advertise for that... if you get 5 phone calls every month, it might be time to get more in depth...


I would be VERY cautious.  Start small, make no investments that arent a manditory thing and never, never let your work make you hate your hobby.

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#4 John@Reliable OFFLINE  


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Posted July 11, 2013 - 12:32 PM

Look on e-bay, how many "re-stored" garden tractors do you see sold, and more importantly for how much. I agree with the others, don't quit your day job, and start small and see what it brings.

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#5 larryd OFFLINE  

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Posted July 11, 2013 - 12:36 PM

I also tthink it would be great to do what you would like to do. Causious is the key word though



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#6 hamman OFFLINE  


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Posted July 11, 2013 - 02:00 PM

I have seen on other forums people wanting others to restore a GT for them. Not that many though. With that being said, Cost for you and equipment, parts, material and most important your time would probably be to much for most people. Have you done a restoration from start to finish? If so how long did it take you and could that time be cut in half? If so what were the costs of materials that you used? Next ask youself this question, what is my time, expertise, and knowledge worth per hour. Once you figure in all this then you can set down and see if you can do a customers restoration to their satisfaction and do it so it's affordable and a custom job for the customer and then make it profitable for you. I'm not trying to talk you out of this, or in any way disuade you from a dream to make some money and show your skills as a custom restorer. I just wanted to point out some of the pitfalls you might encounter. I encountered this when I wanted to start my own HVAC Service company. JM2CW. Roger.

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#7 olcowhand ONLINE  


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Posted July 11, 2013 - 02:02 PM

As a money making venture instead of for own shear pleasure, I figure it could get hard to make decent at it.  I got to thinking how much time I have in some of my restorations, and the price one might have to charge might make Rick on American Restorations not seem so outrageously priced on some of his jobs (did I really just take up for Rick? LOL).

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#8 Bolens 1000 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 11, 2013 - 02:17 PM

In all honesty I dont think there is enough demand to justify opening up a Restoration business in hopes of turning a profit.

Only a select few will shell out the $$ needed to do a proper restoration.

I generally end up having about 2,000-3,000 into mine when I do a complete restoration (Everything apart down to the last nut and bolt W/ engine rebuild)

Factor in your time and any other things you will encounter and you may be in for just as much as as Rick's restorations.

Another thing to keep in mind is if you open up as a business you may/will have to collect & charge taxes which will also raise the price for the customer.


Not trying to burst your bubble but thats just the way I view things at the moment.

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#9 Cvans ONLINE  



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Posted July 11, 2013 - 02:43 PM

I would love to say -go for it- but I don't think it would turn out in your favor.

Is there enough interest in this sort of thing in your area to keep you busy? If not the cost of doing business is going to go up dramatically. Travel and shipping cost on a garden tractors is going to be high along with the cost of having machine work done if needed. You will have to spend a lot of time on the road going to shows so that people can get to know you and see your work. If you were retired and looking for something to do, it might work for you. If another recession occures, the kind of business your considering will take a real hit as funds for toys dries up in a hurry. 

Always thought a small engine shop would be fun to operate but after seeing what life holds for us I'm glad I didn't pursue  that dream. 

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#10 OldBuzzard OFFLINE  



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Posted July 11, 2013 - 02:49 PM

I can't see there being enough demand for something like that being viable as a primary source of income.  It might be good for supplemental income though.


I think that offering a few different 'levels' of restoration would be the way to go.  Simple repaint.  Restore to working condition with or without engine re-build.  Museum class restoration.  Different folks would want different things.


I am someone that WOULD like to find someone to do some 'restoration' of at least three tractors.  Not Museum pieces, but to good working condition with a decent paint job, as they would be working tractors, and not 'trailer queens'.


I just do not have the room, or the resources to do that.

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#11 js5020 OFFLINE  



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Posted July 11, 2013 - 03:48 PM

Im with most everyone here, keep it a hobby and let it build into a living IF it gets that far, dont quit your day job for sure.  In my opinion most of those who could afford to pay for your service are just buying new ones, with zero% interest. 

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#12 JDBrian OFFLINE  


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Posted July 11, 2013 - 04:02 PM

From what I've seen you would be better off buying old tractors and parting them out as a business. I'm pretty sure that's not your dream but it would have a better chance of being a money maker. Like many others I don't see it as a viable business. The market is too small and the time required to do a detailed restoration means you would be working for a very low hourly rate. 

  I don't know if this interests you but perhaps a business that produces replicas of hard to find GT parts for DIY restorers would be a way to help others and stay involved with the hobby. 

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#13 Jack ONLINE  

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Posted July 11, 2013 - 04:10 PM

I think its a Great Idea !  When you are retired and do not have to depend on it to make a living.  When I was young all I wanted to do was work on cars etc as a hobby.  I became quite good at it and went on to do it as my profession. I still enjoy doing it for myself on my own cars, But after doing for 40 years I don't want to fool with others peoples cars and there problems. It has taken a lot of the "fun" out of it.  I would tell you to keep your hobby just as it is and fool around with a few "side job" restorations to see how it goes before you commit to something you might wish you hadn't.  Not that I want to rain on your parade but its just my thoughts on the subject. I am not saying I don't think it would work but I think you would have to branch out to some other areas to make real money from it.  Like a full service Outdoor power Equipment shop or something of that nature. You would need something with a few employees to make your real money while you worked on the things you enjoy. Good Luck with what ever you do. Jack..

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#14 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted July 11, 2013 - 04:33 PM

Troy, There are a few around doing this already, you have helped out one or two people get their stuff back when it wasn't being done right. The business might be there, but I would try it out as a side business and see if it will grow into a full time deal. You can find some people willing to pay the price of a restoration, but a lot of people do it for the sake of doing it. I think you might be able to make a living, but it will be a long road to get established. IMHO.. :thumbs:

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#15 LilysDad ONLINE  


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Posted July 11, 2013 - 05:09 PM

As an alternative, I see folks doing well manufacturing replacement parts for all of us who, as you say, want to do it ourselves.

Examples are the guys who make decals, replacement parts such as the M-F grille, the rear mount for the Wheel Horse, etc. The list is just endless. A survey of the members will quickly tell you what we can't find anymore.


How about a kit to make tricycle Wheel Horses!

Edited by LilysDad, July 11, 2013 - 05:11 PM.

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