One consequence of the weak pound is that second hand values are riding high, comments Kim Dudley of Doosan.
“A lot of used equipment is going abroad because of the strength of the Euro so picking up a second hand bargain could be difficult ,” he explains. “This is very much a global business –during the Asian crisis of ten years ago, a lot of equipment came from the far east to the UK.”
Rob Gamble of Red Plant Sales agrees that export enquiries have grown substantially. “Normally 85 per cent of my business would be for export, now it is almost all of it. Demand for mini excavators is particularly strong because they are used for so many applications, while dumpers are less sought-after as they are mainly used in the depressed housebuilding trade.”
Rod advises that potential purchasers think carefully about their requirements, and if they need to transport the machine, check out its weight to see if it can legally be pulled by their towing vehicle. He comments that few second hand machines come with any attachments, most just with a single bucket, but that is not necessarily a drawback.
“Items such as post hole borers are not really worth buying second hand, and they are so cheap new, it is better to get the mini-excavator and then add new attachments as required,” he explains.
Ian Wood of Parkway Plant Sales comments that there is increased interest in used machines across the board, from cheap diggers in the £3000 bracket to nearly new equipment.
“Contractors who have traditionally hired kit are purchasing their own machines so save hire costs so are looking for a cheap deal, while those who would normally buy new are interested in machines that are 12 months old and in good condition.”
He notes that there is a shortage of second hand equipment as much of it has gone abroad, with buyers from Germany looking to serve the still active east European market.
“We have tried to increase stocks of used machines by offering a ‘cashback’ part exchange whereby a customer can trade in an old excavator and we give him a cheque for its value less the deposit on a new machine, with the balance covered by the low cost finance which is currently available,” Ian explains. “This sort of deal could reduce monthly payments considerably and helps with cashflow.”
He recommends careful inspection of a used machine to look for faults which could be costly to rectify.
“As well as a visual inspection, purchasers need to check the engine and hydraulics by starting up the machine and checking for faults. Blue or black smoke when placing the engine under load or a whine from the hydraulic pump are warning signs. Also track the machine back and forth to see if the drive motors are in good order – they are expensive to replace, as are worn tracks. Any of these could make a cheap machine a pricey mistake.”
Ex-hire machines could be a good bet for a second hand purchase while machines may well have high utility on hours used the fleets will have been well maintained and serviced throughout the lifespan of the machine.
Marubeni-Komatsu’s Dealer Qualified Used Equipment scheme offers peace of mind to purchasers of second hand machines, as their spokesperson Lisa Flattery explains:. All machines are assessed and rigorously tested by Komatsu-trained technicians – using only genuine Komatsu parts to bring these units up to the highest standards.
These tests cover undercarriage, engine, electric system, hydraulics and working attachments. An oil sample is also taken to determine any abnormal wear on the final drives, swing equipment and hydraulics.”
“All of our machines are sold with a three month warranty and 500 hours power-train warranty giving complete peace of mind for anybody who purchases our used equipment.”