You can save money to purchase new mowers by not repairing old ones

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 22, 2020 17:46

After five years of mower usage, repair costs soar while the value of the machines slump. So don’t repair machinery after five years; the money saved can fund the leasing of brand new mowers, explains Ian Henderson.

Don’t step off the ladder!

Q: When do you start throwing good money after bad?

A: Usually when it is too late to realise.

Whilst it is easy to justify making your greens mower last a little longer when times are difficult and money is tight, this can be a very costly money ‘saving’ exercise.

Golf clubs tend to be judged by many factors, but in truth the only word every club has in common is ‘GOLF’.

True, a great catering service is much appreciated, a well-stocked pro shop adds to the overall experience, friendly ambiance in the clubhouse is appreciated … but ultimately golfers come to play golf.

You can have the best fish and chips within 50 miles, but if the course is poor, that is what is imprinted on the memory – and on social media.

It is therefore vital that, above all, your course is presented in the best possible condition at all times. I know this seems very obvious but when times are trying it is amazing how easy it can become to focus on the wrong things.

Even when it comes to the course its self, there is a definite ‘pecking order’ when it comes to golfers’ priorities.

You can get away with the rough being a little untidy, if the fairways are decent. You can even get by with modest fairways, if the tees and approaches are well presented.

The one area you cannot escape are the greens.

If you have good greens, your members and guests will go home enthusing about how good the course was.

We watch the European Tour and the PGA Tour on Sky TV, with greens which resemble well-manicured billiard tables – and this is what today’s golfer expects.

So, when do you start throwing good money after bad?

I think it is fair to say that the build / manufacturing quality of the grass cutting equipment from all the main producers is exceptionally high and, if serviced and maintained properly, should comfortably last most clubs five years.

Over the life of the agreement, you will have paid servicing, maintenance and repair costs, and the machine will have a reasonable trade in value.

Having compiled records over many years, it is easy to see how exponentially the repair costs increase over the life of the machine, as you would expect.

Once you start to go past the five-year replacement cycle, repair costs continue to grow, and the trade in value of the machine dwindles.

So, instead of a change-over figure of £30,000 after five years, you could be looking at £35,000 after seven years. A £5,000 increase. In addition to this, you may have incurred £5,000 to £7000 in additional maintenance costs, (providing there are no significant breakdowns).

The extra £12,000 you have effectively spent to keep an unreliable machine running could easily fund two years of lease charges of a brand new greens mower.

As well as the quality of cut improving dramatically, lack of down time leads to much better productivity and operator satisfaction, as well as greens which golfers will go home talking about, for all the right reasons.

While I have highlighted greens’ equipment in this article, it is important you keep all cutting equipment as current as is financially feasible. The points I have tried to highlight are relevant to all your machinery. Much of the above applies to mowers, both cylinder and rotary. For tractors, aeration equipment and ancillary equipment such as trailers, top-dressers and so on, a longer term of up to seven years is now fairly common.

Leasing also give the club the benefit of spreading the VAT over the life of the agreement, and in many cases, ownership can be arranged at the end of the hire period, with little or no additional charge.

This is why it is important that once you have a structured machinery plan in place, you do everything you can to stick to the replacement schedule.

Remember, if you step off the ladder, it can be a very big step to get back on it.

Ian Henderson is the managing director of Golf Finance, which arranges finance deals for golf clubs for leased machinery. Tel: 01620 890200.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 22, 2020 17:46
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