Machinery at the touch of a button: We live in an age where we can carry out any amount of business from a laptop, tablet, even a phone. Where once we had to engage the services of an advisor or expert we can now do what we need do from the comfort of our own sofa, or from the layby of a busy road.
Our fine industry has long been regarded as traditional – loving the personal touch of a sales rep we’ve know for years and the strangely comforting pleasure derived from kicking a tyre or two – but it is not adverse to dabbling with the modern age.
Thanks to a new company we too have the option to purchase high quality used machinery by the touch of a button.
Grass Plant has been set up by Martin Guy, a sports and amenity turf industry entrepreneur of over 30 years standing, to enable machinery dealers to offer their used machinery to end users and potential customers in a similar manner to that of Auto Trader, in the domestic vehicle market.
“Grass Plant has come about following my work with another of my companies – Martin Guy Developments. I’ve operated and owned golf courses for many years so contracting has been a big part of the business,” said Martin.
“With contracting comes a lot of equipment and at any one time we can be holding in in excess of £1.5 million worth of machinery because of the nature of work that we do.”
Having such a stock of machinery means that Martin spends a lot of time with machinery sales people and he began to realise that as an end user, and someone who buys and sells himself he saw the benefits of an on-line trading platform for used machinery.
“Grass Plant was formed as a company four years ago with this concept in mind but the website to enable it to work didn’t come to fruition until the start of this year. I wanted to make sure that the website was completely correct and fit for purpose but now it is set, it is evolving and moving and people are beginning to subscribe to it.”
The business model does work on a subscription basis. If a dealer has a number of machines to sell he will be given a flat rate for them to be advertised on the site and the dealer can put whatever they like onto the site and remove or refresh at will.
“The end user then can see what is available and have a choice of what machine they are looking for. There might be a three old version of the machine with a lot of hours on the clock they want of a five year old version with fewer, so the potential customer can see what is their best fit,” explained Martin, adding that 99% of his current clients are main machinery dealers.
“They are selling new and buying it back and need an outlet for what comes back in. It’s not uncommon for a mainline dealer to be sitting on £1 million worth of used stock.”
With the current uncertainty in the economy well maintained used machinery is particularly attractive while the concept of machinery packages being leased to clubs ensures that there is a ready supply of machines, well maintained, after three or five years which the dealer then has to move on.
Martin, through Martin Guy Developments, currently maintains six golf courses, 23 football pitches and five cricket grounds so the company is also a first hand end user of an array of machinery.
“As Grass Plant develops we are going to start reviewing equipment as well. We will be giving full warts and all trials so potential purchasers can see what us, an a contractor, feels about the machine,” revealed Martin.
With everything now in place and the website tried and tested, Saltex will be the opportunity for Grass Plant to raise general awareness within the industry.
“Our on-line digital figures are going up and up, doubling and trebling month on month and our social media profile is growing to. Saltex will be important to us, as will BTME while January, February and March are the key months for machinery purchase.”
Our industry may well be traditional but thanks to Grass Plant it does not stop us from enjoying the benefits of the 21st century!