By Brian Hall
Well, we blinked and it’s June. Now that we are finally adjusting to live as we used to know it, many contractors are breathing easier and looking at adding to their fleet. With all the good news concerning infrastructure and building, the demand for new equipment is high. While scouring social media, I always seem to come across contractors warning others of the pitfalls of buying machines and what to watch out for. With this in mind, I thought I would give you a look behind the curtain at what we are really doing at the manufacturing and dealer level when it comes to new machines and present 5 myths about the equipment buying process. Ok, they are more like misconceptions than myths, but it sounds more intriguing, right?
1) I can always get a better price by going straight to the factory. Most manufacturers these days see the added value of going to market through an authorized dealer. With all the technology that goes into machines these days, having a trained local service center at your fingertips will save you time and money. The local dealer is in tune with your local market and is trained to assist you in succeeding.
2) If I try to trade my machine, the dealer will always under-value its worth. In most cases, the local dealer knows exactly what your machine is worth because he attends auctions and studies used machine sales. The dealer will typically go through steps to make sure that the next owner will receive a job-ready tool, which is an investment. Furthermore, he is assuming all the risk by inventorying the unit until a suitable buyer is found. It’s very important to remember the dealer is a for-profit business as well. You will almost always be able to sell your machine to another user outright for more money, but keep in mind, it may take time and money to find the right buyer.
3) The sales person is not looking out for my best interests. In the equipment business, loyalty is at an all-time high. When the salesman is talking you through the process, he is not only trying to provide you with a solution today, but tomorrow and next year as well. Our livelihoods depend on repeat business, so any attempts to be less than professional will do nothing but hurt the salesman in his attempts for future business. The paving industry is a tight knit group and word of a raw deal gets around fast.
4) Manufacturers just put extras on machines to drive the cost up. In today’s world of ready information via the internet, social media and email, the contractor is more informed than ever before, making competition between manufacturers very fierce. At the company I work for, we have an unwritten policy that basically says that we don’t add anything to a machine unless it brings more value than cost. My challenge to you is that when you see something on a machine that you don’t believe adds value to your operation, ask about it. If your representative can’t give you a value based answer, then do not hesitate to question its worth. It’s that kind of input that helps manufacturers bring the machines to market that make the contractor’s job easier.
5) Preventative maintenance packages aren’t worth the money and only designed to generate un-needed work for the shop. I recently read a study that stated that businesses spend 80% of their maintenance time reacting to issues rather than preventing them. This is especially important in the asphalt business where uptime is crucial. The PM package sold by your qualified dealer could save you money not only in lost time, but lost asphalt as well, by detecting issues that you may not readily notice. Remember, the decision to fix or not is yours, so be diligent in discussing the matters with the service department. The same study reports that any business can save between 12% and 18% by investing in a logical preventative maintenance program.
No matter the manufacturer, big or small, their top priority is establishing a partnership with their customer. It is important to note, however, that an asphalt equipment dealer must have a different skill set than your regular equipment dealer. The asphalt equipment dealer realizes that when a part of the paving operation goes down, the clock is ticking, and if you don’t react, someone else will. Do some educated shopping and you will see which relationship is worth your time.
Brian Hall, LeeBoy Territory Manager. He can be reached via email at Brian.Hall@Leeboy.com