So you’re ready to buy a tractor, but you don’t know where to go. Like most people, you’ll probably check the web to find local dealers. Or maybe there’s a local tractor store near you, a John Deere, New Holland, or Kubota dealer.

Tractors are a big investment, and buying the wrong one can be costly in many ways. You could not only lose money, you could lose time at work, and someone could be seriously injured.

That’s why you need a dealer you can trust. Before you’re lured in by a low-priced ad, do some homework.In most cases, your neighbors will have tractors. They may happily recommend a local dealer. If not, the website offers a lot of information.

Here are some things you can check to help you decide what tractor dealer to buy from:

1. Reputation

Does the website have testimonials or reviews? Satisfied customers are usually happy to recommend dealers they know and trust.

How long have they been in business? New businesses aren’t necessarily bad, you just can’t get a lot of information about them unless there are other stores in the chain you can look into.

2. Knowledge

Are they knowledgeable? You want to buy a tractor from people who know something about tractors, right? Then if you have a question, you know who to ask.

You can usually tell how much they know by reading the information they post. If every page is nothing but sales pitch, that tells you something, too. You want a dealer that spends more time giving you the information you need than in trying to sell you things you don’t.

3. After-Market

Do they have service and parts departments? With any vehicle, there will be maintenance, repairs, and add-ons. If you need to add lights to your tractor or get the oil changed, will your dealer be able to help you?

4. Clean Store

Once you decide on a dealer, visit and see if the reality lives up to the claims. Are the store and lot clean and orderly? We aren’t the Good Housekeeping police, but a messy workplace usually indicates disorganization. Around here, we take pride in our business, and it shows. Your paperwork isn’t going to mysteriously disappear, because it’s exactly where it’s supposed to be.

5. Good Attitude

How you’re treated is an important thing to consider before you part with your hard-earned cash. A good dealer will be far more interested in finding out what you really need than in getting their grubby hands on your wallet.

Good customer service should be a feature, not a perk. You don’t have to earn respect. When you walk in our door, you already have ours. That’s the way it should be.

When you buy a tractor or compact tractor, you can expect to have a long relationship with your dealer. You might drop by for oil change supplies, call in when a light comes on the dash you don’t recognize, need service, or want to buy a better bucket for heavier loads.

So don’t make your decision based on price or proximity alone. Do your research and find a dealer you like and respect, who likes and respects you back. Someone you can trust to steer you in the right direction and talk you out of bad decisions before you make a big mistake.

6. Is the Lot Organized

How does the display lot look?  Is equipment lined up according to size and function or is the equipment just scattered about.  Is the grass mowed, bushes trimmed? Is the area free from clutter and debris?  Is any equipment displayed with obvious service issues such as flat tires,  broken lights or major leaks?  A good dealer will take pride is how his lot and building looks inside and out!

This isn’t a one-and-done. So you need a dealer you can trust, who has the answers you need, offers the parts and services you’re likely to need in the future, and treats you like the valued customer you are, even if you’re only in the market for a mower or an accessory.