8 Quick Tips for Buying Used Equipment

At Equipment Trader, we always want to help our customers find the very best equipment for their lives and work! Our website carries a huge inventory of new and used equipment. While new is the right choice for some, we’ve previously identified 4 Big-As-F Reasons to Buy Used Equipment. To help out with your used purchases, today we’ve assembled 8 Quick Tips for Buying Used Equipment!!

1. Understand your options. Online marketplaces, like EquipmentTrader.com, give you the widest selection of equipment to choose from. Although you cannot personally inspect a machine through an online purchase, our dealers provide comprehensive descriptions and great photos of their for-sale equipment. To look over a machine in-person, you’ll be limited to dealers within travel distance. For those buyers who’d rather close a deal with a handshake instead of a mouse-click, our “Dealer Search” feature will help you find the dealers closest to you! Finally, you may consider a live auction. Bidding can be fun, but high-energy competition can drive prices well above what a machine is worth – don’t get too caught up in the action.

2. Do your research. The most important step in buying any used equipment is to find out as much as you can in order to determine if it’s the right purchase for you. This is so important that we’ll soon post a full article that details how to conduct a thorough used equipment analysis. As a sneak peak of that post, the three main aspects of inquiry are to (1) inspect the machine, from the structural and mechanical pieces to the oil and the exhaust smoke, (2) learn the history, including equipment use, repairs, and telematics, and (3) research the owner/dealer through background checks and word-of-mouth reputation.

3. Consider technology. If a machine is at a higher Tier or more advanced than you’re used to, operational learning curves could slow down productivity. On the other hand, some features will help you work smarter and faster, so you’ll want to strike a balance between innovation and familiarity.

4. Care about appearances. It can be easy to dismiss the look of a machine as long as it works, but equipment seen by the public can be your company’s best (or worst) advertisement to potential clients. If a machine doesn’t look appealing, can it be refurbished to give your business a more professional image?

5. Evaluate the TOC. Total Ownership Cost can be found with a simple equation: add Purchase Cost and Ownership Costs (delivery, maintenance/repairs, insurance), then subtract Resale Value. Researching a machine’s condition and history (as described above) will help you forecast when and where problems may arise, the average cost of repairs, and the availability of replacement parts. Doing the math and establishing an acceptable TOC that fits your financial situation will give you specific criteria for evaluating equipment.

6. Know when to buy. The 1st and 4th quarter of the year will have the highest prices, because everyone is looking to buy and demand is high. The 2nd quarter tends to have the lowest prices.

7. Get the paperwork. Ask for proof of ownership to be sure you are buying from the registered owner. You don’t want to purchase stolen equipment, and the original invoice will quickly provide the assurance you need. You should also obtain a receipt, invoice, or other documented proof of purchase. If the machine shows up with undisclosed problems – or doesn’t show up at all – you have evidence to pursue refunds or legal recourse.

8. Seek a warranty. Especially if you have lingering questions about a piece of used machinery, strongly consider getting an official warranty or equipment guarantee. Most dealers will offer some kind of warranty. Individuals, while often cheaper than a franchise dealer, likely will not provide guarantees.

Well there you have it! There are many benefits to buying used equipment, but also many factors to consider when making a used equipment purchase.

What do you consider when buying used equipment?? Leave us a comment below!!


Ethan Smith HeadshotAbout the Author

Ethan Smith

Ethan is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the commercial brands Commercial Truck Trader, Commercial Web Services, and Equipment Trader. Ethan believes in using accessible language to elevate conversations about industry topics relevant to commercial dealers and their buyers.

11 thoughts on “8 Quick Tips for Buying Used Equipment

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