Sure, everybody likes a shiny new vehicle. And sometimes, buying new heavy machinery makes sense. Worldwide, the construction industry generates approximately $192 billion annually, and is showing no signs of slowing down. But oftentimes, when you crunch the numbers, it’s usually a smarter choice to buy used. Hard depreciation means that new heavy industry vehicles lose between 25% and 40% of their value in the first few years – not a cost you really want to be swallowing. And, there are plenty of other factors to consider too.
So before you invest in your next heavy machinery item, make sure you’ve weighed up all the pros and cons, and are making a purchase that feels like a smart choice rather than a compromise. Here are some of the things to think about when deciding whether to buy new or used.
Upfront costs of buying construction machinery
Buying used construction machinery is a sure-fire way to save a lot of money upfront, without compromising your work revenue. Due to hard depreciation on new items, you could get a two-year-old excavator with 1,400 hours of use for 25% less than the original price. And with the money saved by buying used, you could expand your construction fleet faster and bring in even more work. You’ll also get lower insurance premiums because the value of your used heavy equipment will be less than a new machine.
There’s no getting around it: new construction vehicles are major investment items calling for a massive financial outlay. If you can’t pay the full cost up front, you’ll need to arrange financing, resulting in even more in interest and fees. Other things you might not have thought about yet are sales tax and higher insurance. But the good news is that new equipment should come with a warranty, so if anything breaks down or goes wrong in the first few years, you usually won’t have to pay to have it fixed.
Verdict: Buying used costs far less upfront. And if expanding your fleet is a priority, you might be able to get two or more used heavy machinery items for the same price as one new piece. Browse used vehicles on Tradus.
Depreciation and return on investment
There’s no escaping depreciation, but if you buy a used machine, someone else has already suffered the expensive initial hit. Used equipment holds its value pretty well, especially if you stick to a regular maintenance schedule. Document all service and repairs for future buyers to see, and when it’s time to upgrade again, you have a better chance of selling used equipment for close to what you paid for it, giving you an excellent return on your investment.
It’s a hard truth that new construction equipment depreciates far faster than used machinery, with resale values crashing in the first few years and stabilizing in middle and later life. When combined with the top-end capital outlay for a new vehicle, that hard depreciation is quite a sting in the backhoe – and might be too much of a compromise on your overall return on investment.
Verdict: It’s down to your own judgment whether your need for new machinery justifies the hit of hard depreciation, but a used vehicle, as long as you keep it well maintained, will always give you a better return on investment.
The vehicle’s condition and safety
The best assurance that your machine is in good condition is buying it through an authorized, reliable dealer via Tradus. Every seller account is approved by our professional sales team to ensure only honest listings get posted, and with the Tradus Market Value Tool, you can always be sure you’re getting a fair deal. Always ensure you ask for a thorough maintenance record and product history, and perform a vehicle inspection.
Your repair expenses should be a lot lower, for longer, if you buy new heavy equipment. You can also depend on a warranty backup should something go wrong. Bear in mind that not all heavy equipment manufacturers offer the same level of cover, so always carefully check your policy. And remember that certain warranties are non-transferable from one owner to the next, should you wish to sell your machinery on.
Verdict: New machines are far less likely to give you problems, and you can rest assured that you know their full history. But so long as you get your used vehicle through an approved dealer, and don’t make a purchase without seeing the full maintenance record and vehicle history, there’s no reason why buying used should offer any less peace of mind.
Availability and selection
If you shop for used heavy equipment, you have an excellent chance of finding exactly what you need, when you need it. Across Europe and the world, there are thousands of used machines immediately available, with more choice of equipment and parts than any single brand could ever offer. Whether you’re looking for a new stacker or loader, dozer or excavator, tractor or transport vehicle, you can get what you want within days – and put your used machine to work right away.
Buying new allows you to get exactly the model you want, tailored to the needs of your own business. But while shopping catalogs of new construction machinery is exciting, waiting for them to be ordered and built is not. Delays of months from the time you decide to buy new equipment until its delivery date are not uncommon – and may be unacceptable when you have work to do.
Verdict: Buying new allows you to choose your specification, but long wait times for equipment may be damaging to business. Shopping for used offers far more selection with immediate availability.
Other factors to consider
These are some of the biggest head-scratchers to consider when shopping for your next piece of heavy machinery. But there are other things you might want to think about too. Advances in technology mean that heavy equipment design and manufacturing techniques are improving all the time. If your tasks call for the latest technology, a new vehicle could out-perform older machines. Another thing to really think about is how much you plan to use the machine, and for how long. If you only need it for 30-40% of the time, then heavy equipment rental may be a better option.
So, is it better to buy new or used construction equipment?
All things considered, buying used heavy machinery makes more financial sense, offers a greater return on investment, immediate availability and greater selection. It’s important to only buy used machinery through an authorized and regulated marketplace like Tradus, and always check the vehicle’s full maintenance history.