1. Get the right size for your application.
Manufacturers continue to provide options that precisely match application requirements. That’s why you need to define the needs of your typical application, particularly as it relates to machine size. Larger machines need larger trailers and trucks for transport and may require additional permits. To get the quickest return on investment, you need high utilization, so assess your production requirements precisely.
On the other hand, size dictates your power, dig capacity and breakout forces, so purchasing a machine that’s too small could limit your ability to grow.
2. Take a close look at the available options.
If you’re comparing excavators, what attachments can each handle? The key to versatility is to make sure the machine’s hydraulic flow is matched to the attachment and that it’s easy for operators to change out and operate the attachment. If you demo the machine, be sure to demo tool changes and confirm how machine hydraulics are configured.
Demos are also a great time to try out new technologies. If you’re interested in grade control or payload measurement systems, ask to see them in action.
3. Confirm that “ease of maintenance” really is easy.
You or your operators will spend a lot of time greasing joints, changing filters and checking fluids throughout the life of a machine. Look for simplified maintenance points that are easy to access—that will help you minimize downtime.
4. Get a clear picture on total cost of ownership.
The purchase price is the baseline, but each dealer and manufacturer has different incentives and programs aimed at removing as much variability in equipment ownership costs as possible. Warranties or dealer service contracts may allow you to secure fixed costs for a certain amount of time.
Telematics subscriptions, which can be bundled with these programs, also can help you keep equipment costs down, monitor equipment productivity and provide a better understanding of equipment health.
5. Don’t underestimate the value of dealer support.
If you don’t have a “go-to” dealer, explore your options. OEM and dealer support should outweigh price in your purchasing decision when you factor in resale value, parts availability, reliability, technical expertise, service and repair options. A little more invested at the time of purchase is minimal compared to the cost of renting a machine while yours is down and waiting for parts.