Take Charge When Negotiating Your Best Deal on Used Construction Equipment
Whether you’re buying a new car, used car or working with a professional who sells used construction or mining equipment, you’re dealing with someone who sells all the time. They want to treat you well, but, of course, they also have an agenda — making money for their dealership. It’s their job. Fair enough.
Your job, of course, is to secure the best used equipment possible for your investment — equipment that will be reliable and contribute to your profitability. Fair enough.
Let’s rumble … with valuable tips that can up your negotiating game.
Do Your Homework
Knowledge is power, so learn the specifications and capabilities of the equipment you want backward and forward, and avoid machines that don’t meet your needs. Search out all options regarding used equipment dealers who have the equipment you want. Plus, check used heavy equipment websites — and talk with peers in person or in online forums — to build a range of current prices for your desired piece of equipment and its age.
Also, talk with industry friends or a specific dealer’s customers to help determine the trustworthiness of a dealership you’re considering negotiating with.
Be a Detective
You don’t have to nitpick every little scratch or sign of wear on a unit, but a thorough inspection will arm you with valuable information for establishing what you’re willing to pay. A respected dealership will provide a head start, in writing, on used equipment’s current condition per their own inspection. But also do your own (by yourself or with the help of a trusted mechanic or operator), including running the machine to put it through its paces and asking lots of questions.
Free, downloadable IEDA inspection report forms for many types of equipment are a great place to start. The inspection reports are an easy way to track and organize your observations about a machine.
Keep Your Cool and Know the Landscape
If you drive five miles to go fishing and catch nothing, no big deal, right? But get skunked after traveling 200 miles to fish and your frustration and disappointment increase exponentially, right?
The moral of that story: Don’t let your investment in time and travel make you too willing to accept a piece of used equipment or a price you don’t really want. And whether a dealership is five miles down the road or hundreds of miles away, don’t seem too eager in your negotiations. That will immediately limit the price flexibility a salesperson will give you.
So, what’s the landscape? Both you and the salesperson have roles to play. If he’s part of a trustworthy dealership, he’ll want you to feel good about the deal you make and the used equipment you purchase. But — he’s going to start with a higher (negotiable) price than you need to pay. You’ll likely start with an offer that’s lower than a fair price.
The salesperson may tell you about “all the other people” who are considering buying the same machine you want. You might show the salesperson printouts of the same used equipment you’re considering elsewhere.
It’s, of course, a game of give and take. Just take your time and consider all your options. One of the best negotiation tools you will ever have is at least a willingness to walk away from the table if you’re not comfortable with any detail — from the equipment itself to a price or terms.
It really is a lot like buying a car. A really big and expensive car your livelihood depends on.
As always, a used equipment dealer you can trust is the best place to begin.
Your IEDA member used equipment dealer operates by a written code of ethics. They’ll provide you with a straightforward, honest assessment of each piece of equipment they have for sale — and will negotiate its price fairly with you.
For a list of IEDA members in your area, click here.