Used equipment is often available at prices that are a fraction of the retail cost. The question is whether this equipment is worth the investment. The answer depends on what equipment you are talking about, the condition and the price. Used, worn out equipment will be more of a headache than it is worth even to someone who knows how to work on equipment. However, well maintained, quality, rugged equipment may be a valuable asset to your company. Simple machines like roll around blowers, sealcoating tanks and trailers are fine to buy used. They can be repaired and refurbished and will last a lifetime in many cases. More complicated machines like stripers are important to your company and you cannot afford for them not to work. Equipment like this may need to be purchased new or refurbished.
The more mechanically inclined you are the more you can rely on used equipment provided it is priced right. If you are not mechanically oriented then used equipment may not be for you. Especially if the equipment is key to the operation of your company. If a blower stops working, that is easily remedied with a backup blower but if your striper stops working and needs to be rebuilt then you are out of business for a week or so. This can mean thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Some companies will have a nice primary striper and then as a backup they may purchase a used simpler striper for times when the main unit is down. The Trusco Manufacturing machines are nice for this purpose. They are simple and very easy to work on and make a great primary or backup machine. The same applies to sealcoating machines. Since this equipment is so important, a backup method of application is often a good investment. Used equipment is fine for this purpose.
Lastly, before you buy a lot of equipment, make sure you have a place to safely store it. Stripers need to be stored out of the weather and sealcoating equipment needs to be maintained and protected during hard freezes. Take care of your equipment and it will take care of you. NOTE – a good place to find used equipment is www.pavermarket.com
Steven Cole (Economics, MBA – University of West Florida, Business & Innovation – Stanford University) 30 years experience in the parking lot striping business. Expert in reflective visibility solutions.