Inquiry Tips Before Buying Used Equipment For Construction

Economy has been a driving factor influencing construction equipment ownership, over the past few years. Contractors have to be very careful before purchasing machinery equipment. There are several factors to consider to make sure money isn’t spent unnecessarily. For example, unlike the purchase of new equipment, there is no assurance that the used equipment is in good working condition. 

Additional inquiry of the equipment, warranty, quality, price, etc is the several factors that you need to consider. When old equipment fails, most businesses prefer bringing in new equipment, but there may be times when you would prefer buying used equipment.



Here are points to remember if you are looking forward to buy used equipment – :

Equipment inspection – Avoid purchasing the equipment, if you inspect the equipment or find that there are discrepancies in the seller’s description, by an expert. Do not purchase the machinery if the discrepancies are significant features or issues. Any signs of dishonesty or lack of thoroughness can put you on the losing end of a deal. If you are familiar with how excavators or other machinery look in the different stages of their lifespan, then inspect the equipment yourself. 

Examine the parts of the equipment that are replaced most often to judge if the equipment has received new parts recently or will need immediate replacements. Despite minimal wear and details that may be too minor to mention, the seller’s description should come out as accurate in comparison to your inspection. 

However, if you are not confident in your ability to inspect, bring an expert to assess the state of the machinery. Examine places that receive the most abrasion during use, like the undercarriage. If the seller’s description and your assessment do not match, it’s your call on whether this purchase is worth making.

Seller’s reputation - The next step is to buy from a reputed and ethical seller. If you research on the firm, you look forward to getting your equipment from, then it will help you a lot in the ongoing process. 

Look at public company records to check how long the company has been in business and what their financials look like. Check the company’s reviews for complaints, and to check if they are in any trouble. Look for a strong number of customer testimonials that offer specific information about the buying experience and quality of the equipment. Inquire about guarantees. Find out how the company responds to problems that arise, and how they deal with them.

Buyer and seller history - They will inform you on how to buy used heavy equipment. The machinery’s past changes in ownership will partially show the frequency of use and the amount of time it has been circulating. Also, the reputation of previous owners may show how well the equipment was maintained. While researching the machinery’s past ownership, also check with the authorities to ensure that the machinery is not stolen. 

Take the product identification number and serial number to the police department to avoid purchasing stolen equipment. Certain online services can check whether or not your equipment has been involved in theft or damages. If the equipment has liens associated with it or has been seized, then ownership of the equipment may be more complicated than you want. 

Do a lien search because an issued statement from the owner considering liens will not give you maximum legal protection. Check if the equipment has liens against it by finding the financing statement from the Uniform Commercial Code. There may be a history of liens against the equipment, but this will notify you of existing liens in particular.

Previous worksite conditions - Ask how the machine was used, where, and in what kind of working environment. In sandy places, undercarriages may last less than half of what they do in more inland states due to the wear of the sand. In coastal areas, if used machinery is worn out by a city or county to manage salt for icy roads, it’ll be exposed to more corrosion.  

On the tracks and tires, waste and demolition applications put more wear. It will help you better inspect specific parts and components with more anticipated wear, knowing how and where the machine was used.

Listing cost - Judging an appropriate listing cost when buying and selling used heavy equipment includes many considerations. Listing costs should not be at the same level as a new piece of equipment. Based on its operating time, age and past maintenance, the worth of a machine is estimated. 

On the other hand, it should not be too low either, because it’s suspicious. The seller that you are purchasing must sell the equipment in a limited period to get the best value, so consider the depreciation and salvage value. Salvage value and depreciation are two critical factors in calculating the potential cost of used heavy equipment. 

For instance, most used machinery only retains about 50 percent of the value of the machine when it was placed on the market after the first fourth of its lifespan. As time goes on, the value of a machine declines, although many still consider well-maintained machinery to be advantageous despite the age.

Examine the fluids - Some fluids that you should check include transmission fluid, engine oil, hydraulic fluid, coolant, etc. Analyzing the fluids will give an insight into the present condition of the equipment as well as how well it was maintained over time. If you find dirty or low fluids, it indicates that the previous owner hasn’t kept up with a standard maintenance agenda. Other clues and signs of a critical issue could be water in the engine oil.

Documentation - When preparing to make the transaction, ask the seller to provide documentation of the sale. For legal reasons, retain the proof of purchase. Confirm the purchase with a verifying document and pay with a check or alternate method that can be tracked. Once you have obtained a receipt and the machinery, the transaction is now acknowledged and kept by both parties. 

You will have the machinery’s title transferred; if you are paying the full amount of the equipment upfront. If you are paying the price over time, you will eventually receive the title and can expect that document once you’ve paid off any loan. 

Double-check the documentation that states the absence of liens against the equipment. This means you should line up the seller’s information on the invoice for the initial purchase. Verifying your purchase from a seller or company will also assist you if you decide to sell your used machinery at a future time and need documents to show other buyers.


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