It is possible to complete every task in a construction project by hand, but the sheer scale of these projects makes that method inefficient at best. Heavy equipment is the backbone of any company, but purchasing new machinery can represent a significant investment. It’s not a purchase to be taken lightly.
Buyers should review this heavy equipment checklist before purchasing their next item so they can get the most out of it. Spending a lot of money is not something to be taken lightly. Here are the most important things to consider.
1. What Condition Is the Equipment In?
The first and perhaps most important question to ask a seller is about the condition of the equipment. Buyers may be able to ignore this question if they’re buying new, but this is essential for anyone purchasing used equipment. Try to spot apparent signs that the item isn’t in the best shape, such as visible rust or repairs held together with duct tape and baling wire. Other symptoms might not be as apparent but should be easy to observe during a routine inspection or test drive.
2. Is the Seller Offering a Warranty?
New equipment almost always comes with an included warranty. Still, some sellers — especially certified resellers that work directly with manufacturers — may also offer a limited warranty that can provide some protection after purchase. This can be a valuable tool for small businesses that must carefully budget for new heavy equipment.
3. Does the Equipment Have a Clear Title?
Construction equipment doesn’t have a title like a car might, but the cost of this machinery means it is a popular choice for liens and encumbrances if the previous owner ran into financial troubles. The buyer has no recourse if the lienholder decides to make a claim on the equipment, even after someone else buys it. Conduct a lien search before completing the purchase to ensure it won’t cause a problem.
4. Can the Seller Provide Proof of Ownership?
Private sales aren’t inherently negative or dangerous, but the seller must show proof of ownership. The last thing a construction company needs is the trouble that follows a piece of stolen equipment. Avoid the kind of cash-only Craigslist sales that feel too good to be true. If it feels that way, it probably is, and no one needs that kind of trouble in their lives.
5. Has The Equipment Undergone Significant Repairs?
Buyers can usually expect to see a maintenance history for any piece of used heavy equipment, but there is a massive difference between maintenance and significant repairs. The latter usually occurs after a breakdown and could indicate the item was either poorly maintained or misused during its lifespan.
6. Is There a Detailed Maintenance or Service History?
Any used equipment should have a detailed service and inspection history that the seller can provide on request. Keeping up with the machinery’s scheduled maintenance can help extend the device’s operational lifespan and help prevent future breakdowns. Sellers that are reluctant to provide this history could be hiding something and should be avoided.
7. Is Maintenance Scheduled in the Future?
Buying a piece of heavy equipment still in operation means maintenance could be scheduled shortly. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it is essential to know if there are any appointments the buyer needs to keep, significantly if they could potentially impact the vehicle’s warranty.
8. Is the Manufacturer Still in Business?
Buying used equipment can be a great way to save money, but only if the manufacturer is still in business. That makes it easy to get replacement parts. Buying an antique might tickle someone’s fancy, but the maintenance crew might have to fabricate replacement parts instead of ordering them from the manufacturer’s warehouse. This will drive up costs significantly.
9. Can I Take It for a Test Drive?
Having a clear idea of what a piece of equipment is capable of doesn’t compare to getting behind the wheel and taking it for a test drive. This step is just as crucial for a piece of heavy construction equipment as it is for a new car. Sellers that are reluctant or refuse to allow a test drive should be avoided. It might be an entirely honest reluctance, but it’s just as likely that they’re trying to hide an issue, which could become costly in the long run.
10. Is the Price Negotiable?
It never hurts to ask for a lower price. The worst the seller can say is no, and if they say yes, it’s an opportunity to save some money and still get the company’s equipment. Buyers need to do plenty of research before heading into a negotiation. Bringing proof of any lower prices can provide a bit of leverage to secure the best price and warranty for the equipment needed.
11. What Is the Seller’s Reputation?
Equipment sellers are not all created equal. It’s essential to research their reputation and look for reviews or testimonials from previous customers. If possible, opt for used items from a licensed reseller. These sellers provide better warranties and often have a higher standard for what they are willing to sell.
12. How Fuel-Efficient Is the Equipment?
The construction industry is one of many looking for ways to make their sector more sustainable and eco-friendly. Examining the fuel efficiency of a new piece of equipment is one option to help reduce the project’s carbon footprint. Other options include green energy, such as solar power for job sites. Electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel-cell-powered equipment can complete the same job with no emissions.
Shop Smart by Using This Heavy Equipment Checklist
Shopping for new heavy equipment is not to be done quickly or taken lightly. This checklist can help ensure all the T’s are crossed and all the I’s are dotted before the buyer proceeds with the purchase. The last thing anyone wants is to end up with faulty machinery and no recourse to make things better. There are many things to consider, and being prepared for anything will simplify the process.