Smith Brothers - Meyer Plow Specialists - 2022 UPDATE
Meyer Super V 2 plow Smith Brothers Services, LLC



Added 2-6-22

July 2021-

Well things are certainly different since Covid. Although we are on our way back to "normal", things are not normal. Since Covid the number of walk in customers dropped to almost 0. Today is the 19th of the month, and not one came through the door (but one called and made an appointment to rewire a boat trailer). Now granted, I have been all over the place with my hours and when I am here. I have other obligations that come first right now. I am not going to just sit here hoping someone comes in. What I am saying is last March, I had no usual projects come in, and none during Covid. I usually reskin a plow, or two, or three. Rewire and repair a trailer or two, none. Same in 2021, no projects. The 2020 – 2021 season I sold ONE NEW PLOW. Read it again, ONE. Well this certainly changes things. My first year in business I was Meyer Dealer, and I sold two plows. Two remained the lowest number up until this past season. I think a high year was 26 plows. So I am by no means a big player when it comes to installs. Every install kills me because I take too much time doing them. I do every one like it is my own, and SAE is going to send a team here to judge my work. I always do the job as if I am going to be the one to open the hood and find all the flaws and half-assery. I have NEVER had a customer come back for wiring problem with an install. I only had one customer come back for a loose mount bolt, but that was back when I had an employee and he left it loose (I know it falls back on me). I tell every customer “I don’t want to see you again unless you WANT to come back, not because you HAVE to”. So far so good, in fact too good. I sell a and install a plow, 4 years later I am moving it. 2, 3, 4 more years I am moving it again. The plows are lasting longer than the vehicles. NO problems moving them. The point here is they buy 3 new vehicles in a given time span, and only one plow. While I only sold one plow 20-21, I moved 4. I usually move one or two a year. I should add, before I sold some of these customers a new plow, they were here constantly with little problems. When there is a storm, my parking lot is empty. Great, I don’t want to have to plow around parked cars anyway. WHY is it empty? My local regular customers have no problems that require them leaving a vehicle here. I’ve got just under 200 plows out there that I sold. Peanuts compared to most Distributors who sell 5X that in ONE year, or even a few months. Which brings me to my next HUGE change.

After 13 years as a Meyer Distributor, I am dropping down to a Dealer. I never thought I would say that. Meyer has requirements to be a Distributor, and I no longer can meet those requirements. The main one being I need to buy 25 complete plows this year. In the past, it has been as high as 45 plows. Now if you recall above, I could not sell 45 plows in 5 years! My first year as Meyer Distributor, I had to buy two plows, and a ridiculously low $ value of parts. They kept the spreaders a separate line, and I did not order any. Then it went to 20 plows, and I bought them. I stored them, and I sold them. I also got stuck with 14 plows (which had to be paid for, to sit on the shelf for another year) out of that 20, but sold over 20 plows. Because when I have to place an order in the spring, for the fall, how can I be accurate in guessing what will sell? We all wish we had a crystal ball. So those 14 plows I got stuck with, I paid for. So I tied up capital on the shelf. I also carried that inventory as an asset that year. So lose/lose. Having the plows here does me no good. I have a very small window to install plows. I wish people would come in July (some years they did) instead of November looking for a plow. So with the small window, and the number of plows I hope to sell, I turn away more profitable work. I also turn away good customers, because I am stuck installing new plows. I have to cut off pumps coming in for rebuild, because lets face it, if there are 20 plows on the shelf, I will do all I can to sell them. Obviously that is what the manufacturer wants. Me too, but I can only do so many. It is like having a safe hanging over your head all season. Then life happens, and a customer needs to reschedule, and it puts a ripple in the rest of the season installs. The stress involved I can’t even put into words. Now I have to make clear, that although Meyer had minimum requirements, year after year I did not meet them, and it was fine with them. They would always try to get me to take more. Sometimes I would add a little more, but most times not. I mean for 8 years they ignored the requirements. I bought millions of dollars in plows and parts from them, far more parts than plows, and that was always my argument. I used to say it to customers who complained about how much a particular plowing job was going to cost. They would ask for a breakdown. So I would say it is $100, but would it make you feel better if I said $30 for the walks and $70 for the driveway? It’s still $100, or how about $90 for the driveway and $10 for the walks? Same $100. So I would tell Meyer, let me buy what I know I can sell, not what YOU want me to sell, and they did. Until now. I was primed when I met with my rep that corporate is not going to be lenient on requirements this year, but “put together an order and we can go from there, but it does not look good”.

This is where my mouth got me what I deserved, and I know it, fine. I just could not handle the stress of the whole thing, the whole sales game, I am not a sales person and I really don’t get along with sales people in general. I tried it, we are too far apart to get along usually. I am civil (usually) but in 13 years, my Meyer rep has changed 5 times, as well as management, yet here I am. The story never changed, because sales is sales, they want you to buy, I get it. I can’t buy what I can’t sell. Pretty simple. All of my reps understood, but they did not have final say. As I always told them, I sell Meyer plows, NO other brand, so ANY plow I sell you can be sure will be a Meyer. How many other Distributors can say that? I know local they all push people to Boss. You go and ask for a Meyer and they take you out to show you Boss… My shop is a Meyer shrine, I have a personal license plate, MRMEYER, my hobby is collecting Meyer memorabilia and sales literature. I was helping people fix their Meyer plows on back in 1999, 8 years before I became a Meyer Dealer. Right now, on all my sites, I have more technical information pertaining to Meyer plows than Meyer has on their site! I made wiring diagrams and shared them when even still Meyer has not released any. None of this matters anymore. Dedication and loyalty is only worth a “thanks for your support in the past…”... I also made the mistake of telling them (because I am honest) that I did not go into business to sell a million plows and get rich, or to have the biggest shop, I wanted to help people with their Meyer plows, and plows in general, and be the best at what I do. I think I reached that goal. See back there I said Meyer plows? Well year one I was set up as a Fisher Dealer, and an Arctic Dealer along with Meyer by my Distributor at the time. Never sold either one, never even tried. So sales people must see me as a fool not selling products available to me. Why not expand the product offering? So I can be like every other place that knows some about all, but does not know everything about any single one? They fake it. Sure we can fix it (don’t let a customer get away) even though we are not sure how. My goal was not to be like everyone else. Now I have to figure out how to keep it going. It was mentioned that if I just want to fix plows to drop down to a dealer at our in person meeting with Meyer reps, so that with the not being flexible, I knew where it was going so I guess I went out with a bang somewhat. The nearest Distributor to me is 37 miles in one direction, 37 in another and 41 in another. Nothing but dealers in between. The only way I stayed in business from day one is online sales. During Covid, we kept shipping. Sales were way down, but still there. So we will continue with online sales, which have dropped 50% in the past 5 years, yes, 50%. Most customers are new, so I am not sure why we are not retaining customers, like I said, I have loyalty. I can only assume people are getting the free tech help from me, then buying parts elsewhere. Contemplating making all my sites into one subscription only resource. It feels like I am starting a new business, very odd. I guess maybe “reinventing” would be a better term but I hate change. I am loyal to a fault.

So going forward is new territory for me. The whole downsizing is tough, I still have more to do to complete it. I fell on ice and was hurting for 10 weeks+ I actually bought and wore a wrist brace for the first time in my life. Did very little for over a month to help it heal, which was also new territory for me. For the first time ever, I will not be accepting any pumps for rebuilding. When you have a space for 10 years, you accumulate A LOT. I have about 20 E-60 and E-47 cores here to rebuild for sale, but never have time to rebuild them. I have to make time, I have been storing some for far too long and now they are clutter. They are good cores, so no, I am not selling them as is. So while it is strange going backwards, I guess it is for the best, and I just have to adapt, improvise, and overcome. I am sure I will screw up along the way, but no one is perfect.

The above was back in July 2021. Here’s a new update to add. I don’t know how, I can’t pick an exact moment, but in November 2021 I found out I have Hernias. The doctor pointed out two and sent me for a CT scan. It was weeks out, and the day of, they canceled. So another week or so I got in. Still need to follow up. So this winter, since I opened my doors, the shop IS CLOSED. We are PARTS ONLY. Going forward, at this point, shop work will be pick and choose for me, by appointment only. It will be VERY limited. I also will not be rebuilding pumps for customers anymore. It is like punishment for me to do them. As I said above, I guess it is time to reinvent what it is I do.

Extended hours “before, during, and after storms”. That sounds great doesn’t it? You would want that in your local dealer, no? Well I sit here for hours with not one walk in. Storm after storm, not one. Not just now, the last 10 years or so. I may be exaggerating a little, but really, most storms, they come during regular hours. A couple here and there during a storm, but 0 customer storms far outweigh being busy. Why? Who knows. So about 4 years ago, I said no more, parts only during storms, no repairs unless it is really simple. I just did one last month, it was “really simple” and 0° with howling wind. I was out there 20 minutes, could not wear gloves to do the job, and got frostbite on my knuckles. I made $20. NOT worth it.

Phone? Oh boy. EVERYONE wants to talk to me, or they call and ask to speak to a tech… Nobody researches anymore, they all want an instant answer. They are looking for the plow repair Alexa or Siri… Throw parts at it until it is fixed. I read the social media posts from people who need help, and 90% of the replies, they should just sit back and read staying silent, because they are giving clueless advice. Even some so called experts. They don’t pay attention either. I guess I am just tired, cranky, a curmudgeon, I finally achieved that status I guess. I just don’t have the patience anymore. Even now, I will reply to a help me e mail, and the person will write back asking about doing something I did not say, or only do half of what I suggested. Now we are both wasting time….

Time. It is what I have always had the least of. Work comes first, I lived to work. My last more than 2 days off, my last vacation, was 2009. NO MORE. November 2021, my lot was filled with trucks put away broken in March. November 2022 is going to be an eye opener for some of them when I say “sorry, can’t help you”.

I do all the repairs, installs, etc., as I have said. I made the company name, but my brother never joined me. I had an employee over 10 years ago, for almost 2 years, otherwise that’s it. I am tired. My back is good, amazingly, but my shoulders and elbows are shot. I have arthritis in both hands. Installs are all painful. They have been for years, but I kept doing them.

One more thing, I find it amazing that I have been helping people fix their plows on the internet since 1999, YES, 1999. From, to, to, to to I have answered hundreds, ok, thousands of “help me” e mails over the years, not including posts on all those sites. The lack of reviews on Google I can’t believe. I will sit here for 40 minutes typing a response to your plow problem, you have a gmail address, the link to Goggle review is in my signature, on my site, and nobody can take 2 minutes to give a review? WOW, just WOW. I say nobody, because 16 years in business, and only 17 reviews? One of them even left a bad review, as if my business was actually Meyer!

Well I just wanted to give an update. I doubt many will read this to the end anyway.


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Author: Chuck Smith

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