As a decision-maker for a construction company, one of the most important decisions you can make is purchasing heavy equipment. Selecting the best construction equipment for your organization requires an in-depth look at a variety of factors, including the operator’s wages, maintenance costs, and predicted breakdown costs.
No matter how big or how small your equipment is, you need to be thorough in your approach to finding the best construction equipment for your job site. Here is a step-by-step guide to assist you with making the best heavy equipment purchase possible:
1. Research Types of Heavy Equipment
Research the different types of heavy equipment available for construction sites. Consider the size and scope of the job, the terrain on your job site, and the functionality of the equipment.
There are many types of heavy equipment, and you don’t need to research them all. Narrow the topic by considering the type of construction your company does, such as residential, commercial, industrial, or infrastructure, and research equipment designed for that type of work.
2. Define Your Budget
Defining your budget could be one of the biggest challenges you’ll face in purchasing heavy equipment. You need to understand your financing options and determine operating costs. Projecting your income is another important part of defining your equipment budget.
The amount of money your company spends on heavy equipment needs to be a reflection of its size and the scope of its projects. Otherwise, you won’t be successful at getting your purchase financed.
3. Define Criteria for Purchasing
Use this list of criteria to use when considering the purchase of heavy equipment. Some criteria will be more important for your specific use, but you should weigh all of these criteria when making your decision.
- Cost of ownership
- Operational costs
- Safety features
- Skilled operator availability
- Training requirements
- Spare parts availability
- Repair and maintenance factors
- Fuel consumption and efficiency
- Noise levels and control
4. Determine Important Features
You may not be able to find a piece of heavy equipment that checks all of the boxes in your list of criteria. Some features are going to be more critical for your company’s specific needs than others, so decide which features are most important to you and which can be sacrificed.
5. Contact Equipment Dealers
By this time, you should have a short list of the type of equipment you are looking for and the amount of money you can spend. Now it’s time to contact industry experts and equipment dealers to compare prices and features of your heavy equipment options.
6. Purchase Attachments Separately
Attachments can make your equipment much more versatile, and one of the best ways to save money is by purchasing a machine that can accomplish a variety of tasks. After talking to equipment dealers, look online to see if you can purchase attachments from a reputable attachment supplier. For example, if you’re purchasing a forklift, try to find a forklift trailer hitch for sale so you can move your trailers around easily.
7. Test Drive
Chances are pretty good that you aren’t going to be the one operating the equipment, and it’s important to get the perspective of an operator. If you are skilled as an operator, you can test drive the equipment yourself, but if not, take an operator with you for the day and go test drive a few machines.
Test-driving equipment will give you more confidence in your purchase, and perhaps more importantly, operators have a personal investment in equipment when they get to be part of the decision-making process.
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When you’re test-driving machines, don’t forget to inspect each piece of equipment. This is especially important when you are looking at used machines. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as rust, broken or missing safety features, and structural damage and cracks. If you have a mechanic on your team, it’s a good idea to bring them along for the test drives.
It’s never an easy decision to make when you’re spending a lot of money on heavy equipment, but if you’ve taken all of the steps outlined above, you can be confident that you’re making the best decision you can possibly make. It’s time to seal the deal and go ahead with the purchase.
Even if your operator is skilled, extra training might be required on a new machine. Don’t neglect this critical step, as it can mean the difference between long-term success and failure. Make sure that anyone who is going to operate the equipment is fully trained on operation and safety protocols before letting them use it. This step is important no matter what size or type of machine you are purchasing.
The final step is to create a maintenance schedule and ensure the equipment is properly cared for. With expensive equipment, it’s a good idea to have more than one person responsible for maintenance tasks and inspections. You can’t always rely on employees to do what they are asked, and having more than one person involved creates the accountability you need for a job like this.
Congratulate yourself and your team on an excellent purchase, and start using the equipment to complete projects that make your company profitable.