2011 - Volume #35, Issue #5, Page #07[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Get Old Farm Manuals ASAP From "Farm Manuals Fast"
“I have around 600 now, most of the popular models, scanned in and available for download,” says Finchum. “About 75 percent are operator manuals with the rest parts and service manuals. If there’s a lot of demand, I try to purchase a service manual to go with the operator manual.”
Visitors to Finchum’s website pay a fee to download them immediately. If internet service is slow, manuals can also be ordered on CD’s or flash drives.
Most manuals are priced at less than $20; however, larger manuals are more expensive. For example, the complete 1,900-page, technical manual for Deere’s 6620, Sidehill 6620, 7720 and 8820 combines is priced at $99.99.
Paper versions are not available. Eventually he hopes to be able to add that option. At this time, printing copies of manuals would be too time consuming and costly for his one-man company. Anyone who wants a hard copy manual can print their own after buying the electronic version.
“The majority of our customers just download to their computers,” says Finchum. “Usually they need it as soon as possible.”
Finchum got the idea for his website listening to his father and uncle describe the need for a manual for an older tractor. When he found one online, it cost $87. Then a high school junior, he figured there had to be a better way to get a manual.
After buying a used book scanning system, he got busy collecting and scanning older farm equipment manuals. Initially he focused on IH and Deere and not that much on Massey Ferguson or Allis Chalmers.
“Most manuals can be scanned and converted to the right format in about an hour,” says Finchum. “Service manuals take longer, as ones for larger equipment like combines can run 1,200 pages. Implement manuals are more popular than tractor manuals. Baler manuals are really popular, and I’m always looking for them.”
Finchum has sold manuals to customers in 25 countries and every state in the U.S.
He recently set up a foundation to provide manuals free to farmers in Third World countries. While that effort hasn’t been as successful as he had hoped, he is still building awareness. He encourages FARM SHOW readers with manuals they would like to donate for use by his foundation to contact him directly via his website.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, (firstname.lastname@example.org; www.farmmanualsfast.com).
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