Here’s 7 tips for buying used equipment

used equipment
Tom Horner, Cooper Equipment Rentals’ remarketing manager and used equipment expert

Buying used construction equipment can be a daunting task at times. 

By implementing a few simple steps, however, you can ensure a seamless process that goes off without a hitch. 

Cooper Equipment Rentals’ remarketing manager and used equipment expert, Tom Horner, shares a few tips that have helped him throughout the years.  

With 13 years of experience in the construction and transportation industries, Horner has extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of the best practices to take when looking to buy equipment. Here’s seven tips for buying used construction equipment: 

Purchase from a reputable company

When purchasing used equipment, Horner recommends buying it from a company that is knowledgeable in that area. It’s typically best to look for equipment from companies that specialize in the buying and renting of construction equipment. This will help guarantee the item you are purchasing has been maintained by professionals and is in the best condition. 

Do a background check

Before finalizing the purchase, Horner emphasizes the importance of conducting a background check. 

The company you are purchasing from should be able to provide service records and answer detailed questions regarding what maintenance has been performed on the machine. He also suggests asking for a serial number, which would allow you to contact the OEM directly to run a historical search. Running a historical search enables you to see if the piece of equipment has received any service from the vendor and if it is eligible for warranty. 

 Do your market research

When looking for used equipment, it’s essential that you first conduct market research on the product you are thinking of buying. 

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Horner recommends browsing used equipment websites to find comparable costs for the piece of equipment you are interested in. He is a firm believer that “equipment should sell for what it’s actually valued at. It’s important to be an informed buyer, this allows you to navigate the negotiation process effectively and have informed conversations between buyer and seller.” 

Get a second opinion

One tip that Horner feels strongly about is bringing someone with you to view the equipment you are looking to buy. When contemplating a purchase, it’s best to first consult with someone who has a mechanical skillset. 

Having a second set of eyes look at the machine is a good way to ensure you’ve covered all areas of inspection and are making a purchase you won’t regret.

Set a spending limit

To make sure you stay within your budget, it’s crucial to set a strict spending limit. Although it is easy to get carried away sometimes, especially in an equipment auction situation, it is extremely important that you stick to your preset spending limit to avoid overspending on a machine. Whenever Horner is making an equipment purchase, he brings someone along with him so that he is held accountable. 

Buying construction equipment is a very exciting process and it can be easy to get carried away. Bringing someone who knows your spending limit will help keep you in check. 

Be honest with your equipment dealer

To ensure you get a piece of equipment that meets your needs, it’s essential to form an honest relationship with your equipment dealer. 

Although you may think you know what machine would work best for your project, there may be another piece of equipment that is more suited to your requirements. If you communicate exactly what you’re looking to achieve, your equipment dealer will be able to assess whether the piece of equipment you’re looking to buy is a good fit for you. 

Don’t rush 

When it comes to buying a machine, the worst thing you can do is give in to the pressure of time constraints. 

You do not want to settle and rush into making a purchase that you’ll end up regretting. It’s best to take your time and explore all your options so you are confident in your decision. 

What Horner loves about working at Cooper Equipment Rentals is that he can also provide his customers the option of renting out the machine first before committing to the purchase. 

“Being able to have access to the rental channel as a used equipment salesman is so important,” Horner said. 

“I leverage equipment rentals just as much as I sell my own equipment.” 

Horner’s passion for construction equipment is what has helped him become successful over the years. 

His love for construction and familiarity within the industry make him an expert when it comes to the art of buying used construction equipment.