Buying used construction equipment can act as a springboard for faster business growth, but it’s a slightly murky pool that requires the buyer be vigilant. There are times when a construction firm can benefit from investing in used equipment over brand new, which depends on a variety of factors including available revenue, projected growth forecasts and the quality of the machinery available. Adhering to a few common sense tips can help facilitate a smooth transaction and get you one step closer to some excellent construction equipment.
#1) RUN COMPARISONS
It’s unwise to walk into a car dealership with no formulated plan, and the same holds true for buying used construction equipment. Take the time to identify the specific equipment your construction firm requires, and then weigh it against the alternatives. Check for differences in features, as well as price. You may find another piece of equipment better suited to your business for only slightly more, or even less money. Resist the urge to gravitate towards popular brand names. While they may indeed offer the best equipment, it pays to see what their competitors are offering. Make sure to check internet forums for real stories from businesses who have unbiased opinions about their purchases. Weed out fake reviews from true ones by analyzing the content of each. Honest reviews tend to speak very candidly on details, as well as pros and cons.
#2) INSPECT THE DECK
You wouldn’t buy a used car without doing your due diligence – neither should you purchase used construction equipment without taking the time to inspect it. Construction is a rigorous job that puts wear and tear on even the toughest equipment, and that’s bound to show up on the exterior and underbody most of all. Existing damage and wear may be light or even cosmetic in nature, but more ominous looking damage should be inspected more closely. If you’re not mechanically inclined, try to find someone who is to accompany you to the inspection, and who can check things such as oil, hydraulic fluid and any potential parts that need replacement. Don’t rule out bodymen, either. Their eyes are well-trained to find spots where damage has been cleverly concealed in an attempt to mislead you. Finally, check the interior gauges to make sure that what’s written on paper matches what’s actually there.
#3) CHECK THE HISTORY
Make certain that the seller has the original sale papers, applicable documentation, appropriate bank statements and of course, a service history to back up the sale. It’s crucial to know what’s been done to the equipment over the course of its lifespan to be sure that everything is running tip top. While it can sometimes be difficult to judge if the story is 100% true or not, a verbose history of a for-sale item speaks volumes about the nature of the seller and whether that person is trustworthy or not. The same goes for its current status. Be sure that the equipment in question hasn’t been stricken with a bank lien, or (heaven forbid) illegally obtained. This can create a plethora of unnecessary and undesired headaches once you sign the papers. Thankfully, an equipment finance company will usually check up on this for you before you sign any paperwork, not only for your sake, but theirs as well.
#4) DON’T SKIMP ON POST-SALE MAINTENANCE
Once the paperwork has been signed and you’ve purchased your used equipment, take the time to do any necessary repairs before deploying it in the field. It can be all-too tempting to run a few construction jobs with the noble intention of performing maintenance later on, but it could have disastrous consequences. All it takes is for one part to go prematurely in order for your schedule to be thrown in disarray. Plan ahead and be sure to take care of any mechanical issues before adding your equipment to the job site. This can be done proactively during the sale process, as well. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a lower sale price if it’s justified by factoring in out of pocket repairs. Remember that it’s the seller’s job to highball, the buyer’s job to lowball, and the responsibility of both to arrive at a happy medium and leave satisfied.
Buying used construction equipment doesn’t have to be messy or unpleasant. With a little forethought and some basic street smarts, you can obtain excellent quality equipment, save money and reinvest it back into your business for the purpose of long-term growth. When you’re ready to take the plunge, it pays to have the right equipment financing company on your side, which is why we’re here to help. Contact us to learn more about our construction equipment financing experience, and how we can assist! Let our industry experts help you find the right equipment for your business.