One of the biggest differences between being a construction supervisor and a construction worker is that supervisors have to pay close attention to the bottom line. This means saving money wherever possible such as by buying used construction equipment instead of shelling out big bucks for a new machine or vehicle.
Advantages of Buying Used Construction Equipment
Like passenger vehicles, new construction equipment depreciates sharply once it is put into use. In fact, its value may plunge between 20 and 40 percent during the first year of ownership; but after that, the rate of depreciation is much more gradual. Therefore, if you decide to sell the equipment a few years down the line, you’re much more likely to recoup a higher percentage of what you paid for it than you would if you sold something you bought new.
Other than the lower price tag, there are other advantages to purchasing pre-owned construction equipment. For example, the odds are good that the controls and mechanisms in a used vehicle will be very similar to those found in the latest model since construction technology changes very slowly. As a result, you may not have to spend much (or any) time training workers on how to operate the machinery.
Tips for Getting the Best Value
If you are considering the purchase of a used piece of construction equipment, here are some suggestions to keep in mind:
- Try to find something as “new” as possible. If you can locate a low service-mileage machine that’s between three and five years old, you can maximize the bang for your buck.
- Don’t forget about maintenance issues. If you can obtain actual maintenance records, that’s ideal. Otherwise, try to get the owner’s and maintenance manuals that came with the equipment you’re buying.
- Check for telematics. Inquire about subscribing to a telematics program so you can collect the valuable data that will help you optimize uptime and performance.
- Study the cab controls. You can tell a lot about the operability of a machine by the condition of its pedals, sticks, control knobs, steering functions, dashboard features, and even the seat upholstery.
- Inspect the chassis. While minor wear and tear can be expected, signs of welding around the metal frame or leakage from the hoses or hydraulic pumps should raise some red flags about its hardiness.
- Check the engine and transmission. Switch gears and rev the engine to listen for unusual noises, look for evidence of smoke or leaking fluids, and ensure that no warning signals are displayed on the dashboard.
- Examine the tires and/or tracks. Get out your tire tread gauge to check for wear and look for missing or loose bolts and tracks. Also, if you see bubbles or cracks on the tires, the equipment was likely left outdoors.
- Explore financing options. If you look around, you may be able to find favorable financing terms even though the equipment is pre-owned.
- Get the warranty information. There’s a good chance the used equipment still has some warranty left on it. Just be sure to find out what is required to file a warranty claim.
- Don’t forget about spare parts and service agreements. Entering into a service agreement with the dealer (preferably one that uses OEM parts to replace worn out ones) might be a cost-effective way to maintain the equipment.
Other than payroll, equipment costs often comprise the biggest chunk of a company’s budget for any project. If you can net savings of five or six figures when buying construction equipment, that additional money can be used to mitigate cost overruns or hire extra labor to meet a deadline. And any construction supervisor who has a reputation for minimizing costs without sacrificing quality is worth their weight in gold.
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