On the phone with Dealers

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: coalstoves On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:31 am

Sorry folks if this ruffled feathers it was done out of curiosity founded by some recent posts inquiring about purchasing a stove and I wanted to know what these folks where hearing and to see if price might be a factor .

So Let me please address some question asked about this post

Coalstoves you start out saying that you were going to call and get PRICES but nowhere in your post is there a price mentioned... Because the prices were drastically inconsistent between the dealers and in one case completely inaccurate based on knowledge of the stove . I did not want to post inaccurate prices


Did you leave a message with a price request to see if you would get a call back?? What time did you call, was it even during their business hours?? No I did not leave a message and I am not the only one who doesn't like voicemail, a return call would have came at a time less opportune when I was no longer researching prices . I did specifically note that it was during the posted hours to call which made V.mail a little more frustrating


If you want a price quote on a product, why use a derogatory term for it [fancy thermostat] when you know the real name for the product...[Coal Trol] So maybe the dealer could look up the product by it's real name on his price list for you.?? The reference to the thermostat was not posed in a derogatory fashion but rather from a consumer who new absolutely nothing about it other than the fact it was special and heard this brand stove had it . I did not call to inform the dealer or debate what they told me


Did you call any Keystoker dealers?? How about Harman?? Or Bakerstoves?? How about Alaska? Hitzer?? No the list of stoves I plan to price check was broken down into categories to try and keep a type of order .The first round of calls included Reading and Leisure Line based on the fact that they are the 2 newest entries into the stoker market they both use a similar feed type ( The Carpet ) and they both offer the Coal Trol one as a standard feature the other as an optional upgrade . My next call would include Alaska & Keystoker based on the fact they are old timers in the biz and use pusher feeds . Harman would be my last call because I know it will be the highest priced and usually the last considered because of it . The other companies mentioned do not offer stoker stoves so were not included


Coalstoves,
My name is Karen. You probably heard my name on the voicemail message that you did not respond to by leaving your name and number. I return all messages ASAP.
If you are looking for prices and information we have them listed on our web site at http://valleystoveandfireplace.com/. I can also give you any information you want about the (fancy) thermostat.
My hours are also listed on the web site and on the phone message.
Hello Karen
I regret not getting a chance to speak with you as I already knew that you would be able to provide not just the price but also leave no detail about the product to the imagination, I have had the opportunity to meet you in person at the store about a year and a half ago it was informative and very very pleasant. I did not message you because the time of a return call may have been inconvenient or awkward for me . I did visit the website linked to and I must commend you on the fact that so far you are the only factory direct dealer that is straight forward enough to post the no BS price right up front, I was more than just a bit put off by the fact Reading wanted to know where I was from before giving a price . My research is based on a customer not doing any web related searches though .



Rendering any opinion on an industry based on a sample of 4 calls isn't something I'd consider wise.
Please don’t mistake this as trying to develop an opinion about a brand of stove or the industry as a whole, it was a price request that’s all, how it unfolded was a bit of a surprise to me also


Well there, I hope I have been able to shed some light on how I approached this and what its intent was . I found it to be a little more frustrating than I thought it would be and spent more time on 2 stoves than I thought I would have invested in the whole list . The research and what happened was not at all what I expected and it was not well received by some folks so my desire to finish this little project is fading fast . But we'll see
coalstoves
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: stoker-man On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:01 am

Since efm sells more oil equipment than coal equipment, many of our dealers do not want to get involved with any coal sales or maintenance of the stoker. Calling one of these dealers will get you no response or an outrageous price.

We have dealers who are very enthusiastic about coal sales and maintenance and will give you the best value for your money. They will sell and install your system and maintain it.

We get calls from homeowners daily who want to install their own system where there is no dealer at all. We will sell direct to them and provide them with support after the sale.

We get calls from homeowners who want to install their own stoker where there is an efm dealer in the area, but want to do the job themselves. We have a list of select dealers in each area of the state who are willing to work with us and the homeowner to accomplish this goal with a very fair deal.

You will always be able to contact us. Our number is 610 965 9041
stoker-man
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: 1981 efm wcb-24 in use 365 days a year
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite/Chestnut
Other Heating: Hearthstone wood stove

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: coalkirk On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:02 am

I've never had a problem dealing with Harman or the dealer. They just have a bad reputation for not being very customer service savvy. I went there and was given the factory tour and was treated very well. They just won't sell you anything. All through dealers.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal


Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: WNY On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:32 am

My local dealer was very helpful at time of purchasing our Keystoker, he also handles Alaska. I have called him with numerous questions when I first got it going (before hanging out on the forum) and was more than willing to answer them.
He has 4-5 stoves on display, but normally has to order them, but gets them within a week or so (non peak season).
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:49 am

There is obviously a huge difference among the various dealers, but that's the case with any business. The dealers who are the best will be successful, the others will fade away.
A satisfied customer will tell 2 or 3 people, a dissatisfied customer will tell 10+ people.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: Ed.A On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:07 pm

Wood'nCoal wrote:A satisfied customer will tell 2 or 3 people, a dissatisfied customer will tell 10+ people.

Right on.
I found that checking various stores worked best for me, not being from Coal Country was enlightening to say the least. One was a Vermont casting dealer in RI, ( and pellet and corn etc.) and had never heard of "stokers" or other brands of coal stoves sold in New England but assured me a Vigilant was the best Coal stove on the market.

The next was a Harmon dealer in Ct. but the woman really pushed the fact that BIO-Bricks were the wave of the future and you didn't have to deal with all the yucky SOOT and ruining your walls and ceilings.
After that a Coal dealer in RI, who sells only LL, almost bought one on the spot but decided to to check one more place.

That led me to a store in Munson Mass. who sells Keystokers, LL and Alaska, after side by side comparisons and prices I left with a Channing III.

All and all it can be trying to shop around, but in the long run to me it was worth it. I find it strange that it seems hard to comparison shop in the middle of Coal Country.
Ed.A
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing III/ '94 Stoker II
Coal Size/Type: Rice

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: Richard S. On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:24 pm

Wood'nCoal wrote:A satisfied customer will tell 2 or 3 people, a dissatisfied customer will tell 10+ people.


Which is one reason you should take online reviews where users are creating the ratings or comments with a grain of salt. The only time I'll pay attention is if there is a disproportionate rating one way or the other, especially if it's positive.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: Matthaus On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:55 pm

Ed.A wrote:......I find it strange that it seems hard to comparison shop in the middle of Coal Country.


I think this thread has mostly been a good discussion, but I have to say that IMO the original post that started this thread was a little premature. Pricing of an item (coal stoker stoves) that sells less than 5,000 units per year nationwide for all brands and uses a fuel produced in a relatively small area is not going to be readily available just by a phone call. It is a cottage industry with varying quality and content of websites, varying size and inventory of dealerships. Most dealers are one or two people running the entire operation on their own. These are good people with an interest in their respective community, not large chains with price guarantees and a nationwide pricing schedule.

I know your comment may have been somewhat tongue in cheek, but it's not hard to comparison shop here in coal country, but you have to be willing to keep an open mind and able to go and look in person. Most retailers are not willing to put much effort into pursuing a buyer that won't even leave a name and number. IMO the fact that LL posted a response on here is testament to their excellent customer service and willingness to serve the customer. :)

One way to find your best price and a stove that meets your requirements is to actually know them. Sitting down and jotting down what the stove needs to do (sq ft, location, available chimney, available fuel, etc) is the first step to price comparison shopping IMO. Then you find the dealers that carry stoves that meet those requirements, then you can call around and also go visit in person.

I by most of my items on line, but most are used not new. If I were looking for a new item I would most certainly leave the comfort of my chair and take a little drive. :)
Matthaus
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110 Dual Fuel
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Lil' Heater (rental house)
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Buckwheat Anthracite

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: Ed.A On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:21 pm

Matthaus wrote: I would most certainly leave the comfort of my chair and take a little drive. :)


Exactly why I checked out stores in 3 different states to find my stove.
Ed.A
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing III/ '94 Stoker II
Coal Size/Type: Rice

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: coal berner On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:26 pm

Did you call any Keystoker dealers?? How about Harman?? Or Bakerstoves?? How about Alaska? Hitzer?? No the list of stoves I plan to price check was broken down into categories to try and keep a type of order .The first round of calls included Reading and Leisure Line based on the fact that they are the 2 newest entries into the stoker market they both use a similar feed type ( The Carpet ) and they both offer the Coal Trol one as a standard feature the other as an optional upgrade . My next call would include Alaska & Keystoker based on the fact they are old timers in the biz and use pusher feeds . Harman would be my last call because I know it will be the highest priced and usually the last considered because of it . The other companies mentioned do not offer stoker stoves so were not included -

Well coalstove You should of looked on Bakerstoves site or called Them http://www.bakerstoves.com/stoves4.htm They do make a stoker stove and They have been making stove since 1977 As long as Alaska stove and Two years longer Then Harman as far as Hitzer stove you are Right about Them not making stoker stoves but as for as how long They have been Making coal stoves They are the oldies out of all of The company you mention above 1975 So I think you should of Tried a little more Research or made some more calls before posting your Results Also about Leisure Line They are one of the Best Companies if not The best One to deal with Not only will They back There Products up But they will help you with other Manufacture's as well Jerry has over 25 years Experience In The Industy So once Again I think next time you should try a little more Research on the Companies or At lease leave a Message and wait for a Callback From Them before you come to any Conclusion about The Manufacture's
coal berner
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: coalstoves On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:10 pm

coal berner wrote:You should of looked on Bakerstoves site or called Them http://www.bakerstoves.com/stoves4.htm They do make a stoker stove and They have been making stove since 1977 As long as Alaska stove and Two years longer Then Harman


Thats a great post this is the very first time I seen a reference to a Baker Stoker I went right over to the websight to take a look nice colors offered . Now I'm gona hafta find out how they feed it and control it . Do you know more about it ?
coalstoves
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: coalstoves On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:57 pm

Matthaus wrote: Pricing of an item (coal stoker stoves) that sells less than 5,000 units per year nationwide for all brands and uses a fuel produced in a relatively small area is not going to be readily available just by a phone call. It is a cottage industry with varying quality and content of websites, varying size and inventory of dealerships. Most dealers are one or two people running the entire operation on their own. These are good people with an interest in their respective community, not large chains with price guarantees and a nationwide pricing schedule.

One way to find your best price and a stove that meets your requirements is to actually know them.

I by most of my items on line, but most are used not new. If I were looking for a new item I would most certainly leave the comfort of my chair and take a little drive.


As Mats post indicates getting to know as much as possible about the brands offered is in my opinion the single most important step of heading out the door to look , I must stress again how fantastic this forum is for a person shopping for a stove . Most readers here are more knowledgeable about every aspect of the products on the market because of the combined experience of all who participate than the average salesman on the floor when you happen to walk in to a dealer, folks like Karen at Valley Stove who represent Leisure Line are not common partly because of the reasons Mat states the relatively small size of the industry . In our area a lot of the brand dealers have it as a sideline and seldom have a dedicated stove salesman waiting in the wings ready to step up with the latest information about the product .

One conclusion I came to is that it may be better to shop at a retailer that is dedicated to stove sales or better yet a factory direct store. Once well educated and knowing all that is necessary to make an informed decision I might be able to haggle a bit of a better price at Bobs Hardware but my chances of running into someone like Karen who can actually advise you on a purchase and knows the product up one side and down the other including the different configurations is slim, while the smaller sideline dealers may actually be owned or have a person like that working there, there is no guarantee that’s who your going to meet when you just pop in off the street and the same amount of information that could come from one visit with a sales rep like Karen may take several visits to Bobs Hardware .

I am however even more firm in my belief that this forum is still the best innovation in Coal Heating that I have seen so far .
coalstoves
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: Yanche On: Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:46 pm

My local Harman dealer is new to selling stoves. It's one of three stores owned by the local John Deere tractor agency. They sell all sizes of tractors, the big ones to real farmers and toy ones to happy home owners. When I asked questions about the stoves the "expert" was summoned. Same guy that has sold me tractor implements. He didn't know a thing about the product line and when I asked about pricing he fumbled around, found the price schedule and removed the shrink wrap from it. His comment was, "I don't know about selling these things". I felt sorry for him and told him about this forum and where to buy coal. He thanked me profusely. He's actually a nice guy and will dig and get the product information for you. But no in depth knowledge about any of the products he sells.

Contrast that with my real tractor dealer where I spend big bucks. He can tell you the size of wrench you need to turn any nut on the tractor from memory! When he gives me advise I take it. It's where I bought my 5 ton dump trailer. Love what he sold me.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: Jerry & Karen On: Thu Jan 24, 2008 6:52 pm

Coal Stoves,
Baker buys their feeder (burner) off of Leisure Line w/o the thermostat.
Jerry
Jerry & Karen
 

Re: On the phone with Dealers

PostBy: coalstoves On: Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:16 am

Leisure Line wrote:Coal Stoves,
Baker buys their feeder (burner) off of Leisure Line w/o the thermostat.
Jerry


Thanks Jerry
I was thinking about this tonight at work to pass some time, I was real curious because I can't figure too many more different ways to configure a practical burner than are already on the market . It was a real surprise to me when coal berner pointed them out I always thought of Baker as a wood stove .
coalstoves
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700