A novel valeting service that has been used by machinery dealers to spruce up incoming part-exchange tractors for many years is now available to farmers.
Colin Forster started his clean-up service – called Agri-Valet – nine years ago near Carlisle, helping local dealers transform frequently grotty-looking tractors into saleable pieces of machinery.
“The tractors coming in were often in a very poor state, with bashed mudguards, broken mirrors, non-working lights and lots of mud,” he says. “but we found that the state of the tractor could mean the difference between it being bought or not bought.”
“One dealer had six tractors in their yard that had sat there for four months without being bought,” he adds. “We cleaned them up and four of them were sold within the following three weeks.”
How much or how little is done to the tractor obviously depends on what state it’s in. Mr Forster and his team start gently with a wash and cab valet. Then they clean up the plastics, cut back and polish the paintwork and replace sad-looking decals.
If necessary, they’ll shotblast and paint the wheels, replace broken lights and mirrors and even fit new mudguards. The cost of all this? It starts at £150 for a basic valet, says Mr Forster. But he reckons that in almost all cases, the extra cost is more than paid for by the dealer selling it quicker and getting a better price.
So successful has the business become that he’s now extended it to farmers, covering an area that stretches from Inverness to Oxford. He reckons that improving the look of the tractor should boost its value by anything from £800-£2000.
Not content with cleaning up the image of older tractors. Mr Forster has now moved into the chrome ‘n’ LED world of tractor accessorising. His new Agri-Accessories business gives younger drivers the chance to personalise their tractors with things like stainless steel heat shields on vertical exhaust pipes, chromed wheelnut covers, air-horns, personalised stickers and even LED-lit number-plate surrounds.
There’s also a range of full-size cabmats that can be embroidered with a manufacturer’s logo or a farm name.