In today’s construction industry, increased competition, unstable fuel prices and regulatory challenges are all realities that affect the profitability of smaller operators. In order to stay competitive, keeping overhead and operating costs low is essential. Buying used equipment is one way of managing expenditures, but are the risks worth it? Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly cited benefits of buying used:
- Cost savings: Obviously, the most significant benefit of buying used construction equipment is the substantially cheaper cost. As with most products, heavy equipment begins to depreciate almost as soon as it leaves the dealership — even a low-hour used machine will save you money compared to the cost of buying new.
- More purchasing power: Buying used doesn’t mean choosing the cheapest machine available — it means getting the most value for your purchasing dollar. Often, a quality used machine by a trusted manufacturer will provide better fuel efficiency, lower maintenance costs, and improved productivity when compared to a comparably-priced new unit. When you purchase used, you’re effectively getting more machine for your budget.
- Training and maintenance: Another often overlooked benefit of buying used is the ease of training — if you’re replacing an aging member of your fleet, a used model may be more familiar to your team and easier to train on. Likewise, used construction equipment is frequently easier to source economical replacement parts for. It can lower your maintenance costs.
Shop Smart for Used Construction Equipment
No major purchase is without its risks — when it comes to buying used construction equipment, it’s important to be diligent and choose a unit that will deliver performance and reliability for years to come. Here are some important tips everyone should consider when shopping for or bidding on an item:
- The number of hours on a unit is not always the best indicator of wear. A well-used machine that has been serviced according to the manufacturer’s specifications may be a better buy than one with an unknown service history.
- Look for obvious signs of mechanical trouble or abuse. Seized engines, leaky hydraulics, loose bushings and strange noises are all major red flags, even if the dealer promises they’re an easy fix.
- Who you buy from is almost as important as what you buy. Don’t patronize a dealer that doesn’t back up their products with extended warranty coverage or customer support agreements.
- Many used equipment vendors also offer a rent-to-own or try-before-you-buy program. This is an excellent chance to test a potential purchase out before making a decision.
Ultimately, you’ll only see the benefits of buying used construction equipment if you find the right unit for your needs. Be persistent, work with a dealer you trust and don’t settle for a machine that doesn’t meet all your requirements.