8 Questions to Ask Sellers When Shopping for Used Heavy Machinery
In today’s technology-driven world, contractors can search for used construction equipment with a few clicks. And while locating the exact machine you want may not be a time-consuming process anymore, you still need to spend some time vetting the company you’re buying from. Asking the right questions will make sure you’re doing business with a used equipment dealer that you can trust.
Here’s a list of the questions you should be asking when you’re shopping for used construction equipment:
1. Can you tell me about your company (make sure to get into specifics)? You want to find out:
• How long the dealer has been in business
• How long they have been operating at their current location
• What makes them qualified to represent the current condition of a piece of machinery
• Have they ever done business under another name (there are several “less than honest” equipment brokers out there that will change names regularly)
These questions will help you get a sense of the company’s qualifications and help to begin to build trust. If you don’t like the answer, it may be time to look elsewhere.
2. What kind of inspection have you done on the machine? And, who performed it? You want to make sure that the piece of heavy machinery you’re interested in purchasing has been properly inspected by a qualified person before you spend your time and money to conduct your own inspection. No matter what answer you receive, it’s still a good idea to do your own inspection, especially if this is the first time you’ve done business with a dealer.
3. Who owns the machine? Sometimes a dealer will broker an agreement between the buyer and seller. If the dealer is playing that role, you need to make sure they are transparent about it. Find out if there are any additional fees they have for their services and who’s liable if there is an issue during the buying process.
4. Has the machine been checked for liens or has it been reported stolen? You want to make sure you get, in writing, proof that once you’ve completed your purchase that your equipment truly belongs to you. If you find out later, the machine has a bank lien, or has been reported stolen, it doesn’t matter how much you paid for it, someone else owns that machine.
5. Can you provide me with a list of references for other contractors who have worked with you? Unless the dealer you’re buying from has been around a long time and is well known, getting a list of references that you can call is always a good idea. If the dealer is a good one, they will be more than happy to connect you with other happy customers.
6. Do you have service records and maintenance logs for the machine? If not, could I talk to the person who owned the machine previously? Service records and maintenance logs will tell about how the machine was cared for and what kind of repairs have been made on a machine. Of course, the only way the dealer would have those records is if the previous owner kept good records and then passed them along, and that doesn’t happen on a regular basis. However, talking to the previous owner or asking the dealer about the previous owner will give you some insight as to how the machine has previously been used.
7. What kind of guarantees or warranties do you offer if there is an issue after the sale? Most used construction equipment will be sold “as is.” However, some dealers will provide service warranties on certain machines. If that’s important to you, ask.
8. Are you a member of the Independent Equipment Dealers Association (IEDA)? Think of an IEDA membership as a Better Business Bureau “A Rating” or a glowing company review on Google or Yelp. IEDA members have been thoroughly vetted by a group of their peers before being granted membership. They committed to providing the best used equipment buying experience for customers. And, if any buyer ever does have an issue with a purchase, IEDA members have committed to a swift arbitration process that ensures a fair resolution.
Making the decision to buy used equipment is the great way to maximize your investment. And, asking these questions will give you piece-of-mind that you are working with a dealer you can trust.