If you’re in the market for a snow groomer (or snowcat), there are probably a lot of questions you are asking yourself.
- Who are the best manufacturers?
- How much is this going to cost me?
- What are my financing options?
- What is the payment structure like?
- What kind of rates am I looking at?
This blog is going to answer those questions for you.
Who are the best snow groomer manufacturers?
Prinoth and PistenBully are the two premier manufacturers of snow groomers. They are the most reliable brands, use the best materials, and have the best warranties. They are also very competitive in pricing for the quality and service they provide. These are the two brands we work with most of the time at IFSC and highly recommend both.
How much does a snow groomer cost?
In general, a snow groomer is usually going to start around $320,000 to $350,000 for a standard fleet groomer, also known as a trail groomer.
Obviously, the real answer is– it depends as there are many models and types. These types of purchases are usually determined by a variety of factors, which the manufacturer will generally want to talk to you about and discover before they sell you a machine.
What are the most popular models?
PistenBully’s standard fleet offering is the PB 400 groomer or PistenBully 400 groomer, while Prinoth’s fleet groomer is the Prinoth Bison S. The Bison S (“S” is for standard) is sometimes simply referred to as the Prinoth Bison. Prinoth also offers the Bison X park model while PistenBully’s park model is called the ParkPro.
What are my financing options?
The vast majority of the time, you’ll finance a snow groomer with seasonal payments.
Because most ski resorts want the option to only make payments seasonally during times of positive cash flow. Some resorts do choose to go with a more traditional 12-month lease, but that is very rare and not very ideal for a seasonal business.
Most banks don’t offer seasonal payments, but if they do, it will be with a “touch-payment” in the summer of a smaller amount. We don’t ever require that of our customers because you’ll never know what type of cash you have in the summer, and you usually want to reserve all of the cash you can for other important prep items.
There are typically two types of financing associated with seasonal payment leases or loans:
- $1 Buyout Lease
- Operating Lease with a Fair Market Value purchase option
What is the payment structure like?
There are a few different ways resorts can structure seasonal payments like this at IFSC:
- December-April monthly payments
- Payments starting on January 1st, after the holiday rush of revenue
- 3, 4, or 5 payments per season (the most typical is 5 payments per season)
- Most FMV leases are for 3-5 years (if you are putting about 1500 hours per season on your machine). However, IFSC will frequently provide 6-7 year FMV leases for resorts that are putting significantly less hours on their machines (500-1000)
IFSC doesn’t charge a premium for a seasonal lease as opposed to a monthly 12-month lease. The rates are the same. About 90-95% percent of our snow groomer customers do these seasonal payments.
Many resorts choose to go with our “no money down” option as well. If you’d like to hear more about that, please feel free to give us a call at: (847) 370-3460.
What kind of rates am I looking at?
Depending on the credit quality of the potential lessee, rates for these types of leases are between 4.5-5.95% (as of Spring 2020) for lessees with good credit. Lessees with lower credit may be subject to a higher rate. Net losses and negative net worth may cause rates to be higher, but IFSC will still fund these types of projects – Our pricing is always extremely competitive relative to the credit quality.
We hope this answered many of the questions you have about financing a snow groomer (or snowcat). Obviously, there are probably other questions you may have. If that’s the case, please call Bob Seeds, the Ski Industry Lead at (847) 370-3460!