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Advice for When Buying Used Construction and Earthmoving Equipment

7/30/2013 5:57:49 PM | by Stacey Thompson

Construction Equipment

Not all companies can afford new equipment. This is especially apparent for new businesses that have very limited capital and need to get into the game with the barest of financial commitments. This is very apparent in the construction industry, and even more commonplace in developing countries where such companies have to work with more limited funds.


Fortunately, there is no shortage of pre-owned or surplus heavy equipment. These come from bigger multinational firms that are more capable of acquiring newer vehicles, thus they are more likely to sell off their old gear in favor of maintaining them. They are often from first world countries of the West, or some of the petroleum-rich countries in the Middle East.


Used equipment, while cheap, can be a bit of a gamble, as a careless purchase of equipment could lead to purchasing hardware that can be troublesome to maintain, or worse, irreversibly break down and waste company resources. The following are some simple and rudimentary guidelines for the fledgling construction industry entrepreneur on how to properly and efficiently evaluate surplus heavy equipment, aiding them in the decision on which units to buy.


Scope Out Sources

Nowadays, the Internet has made it extremely easy for buyers of surplus equipment to find what they are looking for. With specialized heavy equipment auction and sales sites like Rock&Dirt, searching for the right equipment with the right specifications and price has become quite efficient. Given that this particular industry isn't always on the cutting edge when it comes to information technology, browsing through traditional media sources will also be helpful. Print media is probably the best venue for this. Larger construction firms may also have some surplus units available for purchase, so it pays to get in touch with them as well.


Pricing and Negotiation

With the great availability of heavy construction equipment, there is simply no need to rely on just one source or seller. With the many sources of equipment gathered, always look for the best deals that will make your limited budget more well-spent. Obviously, the inexact science of pricing based on age, model, degree of usage, and other factors will play into this, and it helps to get a feel of the market value of the equipment being purchased by browsing through other sources for the same gear. When in doubt, don't jump the gun and make an impulse purchase; this is not something you want to be gambling on.


Inspection and Testing

Before jumping in and making any purchase, due diligence must be practiced and the inspection, testing, and evaluation of the equipment in question must be done. It is best to do these inspections with a skilled and experienced mechanic that is on your side of the transaction. Test-driving the equipment is part of this evaluation, so make sure you also have a licensed operator/driver of the proper variety when doing this. Determine the history of the construction equipment as well; this will give you an idea as to what kind of work it has been used on and for how long.


Ensure Servicing and Parts Sources

Operating these machines without a source of replacement parts and skilled technical professionals that can maintain and repair the aforementioned equipment is one sure way to lead your company into financial disaster. Secure the necessary contacts for the aforementioned needs, and as with smart shopping for the equipment, do shop around for the best deals for spare parts and professional services. Even with the most careful operation and scrupulous maintenance can't totally negate the chances of equipment malfunction or failure, but it is better to be on the side of caution than operating the equipment recklessly and with shoddy  habits.

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