An excavator is one of the most versatile and reliable pieces of heavy equipment. Available in a range of sizes and with a variety of features, excavators can play a role in construction, excavation, and landscaping.
If you run a construction company or an equipment rental business, you’ll want access to the best-performing excavators on the market. Here are some tips on how to select the right excavator for your needs.
Where to Buy an Excavator: 7 Places to Look
You can buy excavators from a heavy equipment dealer. Some equipment rental companies will sell their used excavators, but to buy a new machine you’ll have to shop at a heavy equipment dealership.
The websites of major brands will often allow you to search for licensed dealers in your area. This can be ideal if you’re looking for an excavator from a particular manufacturer.
Here are some of the best ways to buy excavators for your rental business.
Ask around in your network
Use Google to search online
Google searches can be a great way to get a feel for the market landscape. You’re likely to come up with a variety of brands, dealers, and auction services.
It’s also a good idea to look for real, firsthand customer reviews of excavators you’re considering.
Check out Construction Equipment Guide
Construction Equipment Guide is an online directory that aggregates auction listings for heavy construction equipment like excavators. While you can’t bid directly through their website, it’s a great way to find auctions near you.
Search on Ebay
Believe it or not, Ebay is actually a prime destination for heavy equipment sales and auctions. Most listings are restricted to “‘Buy it Now,” meaning you usually don’t have to worry about someone outbidding you at the eleventh hour.
Search on Equipment Trader
Equipment Trader offers both new and used construction equipment for sale. You can also use them as a platform for selling off old equipment.
Look on IronPlanet
IronPlanet is an online marketplace that bills itself as the “Netflix of construction equipment.”
Sellers cosign the equipment they want to sell, then IronPlanet inspects it and lists it on their website. You’ll find a great selection of excavators here.
Look on Machinery Trader
Machinery Trader is a site for selling new and used construction equipment. They also have great discounts on accessories and replacement parts.
What to Consider When You’re Buying an Excavator
Excavators come in a variety of sizes and styles. Before you commit to a purchase, you’ll need to find an excavator that matches your needs or the needs of your rental customers. Consider these three questions before making your purchase.
How Will the Excavator Be Used?
The size and type of excavator can make it uniquely suited for specific applications. For example, a caterpillar excavator can be ideal for uneven surfaces, while a wheeled excavator offers speed and maneuverability when working around asphalt.
Since size usually translates into power, it’s also important to ensure you purchase a machine with enough horsepower and hydraulic flow for the job site. However, you don’t want to buy an overpowered machine that’s not right for the job.
Look for machines that offer specialized features (such as a longer boom arm) that can be used for specific projects.
What Size Excavator Do You Need?
Excavators can be as small as a mini-excavator, which weighs roughly six tons. But you can also purchase excavators in very large sizes. Again, you’ll need to select an excavator that is appropriate for your needs without being too weak or too much for the job.
How Are You Transporting the Equipment?
Larger excavators naturally require specialized care during transport, so it’s important to ensure you have the means to transport the machine from place to place. If you need to purchase additional equipment for transportation, factor that into your overall heavy equipment budget.
Buying New vs. Buying Used: Which Is Best for Excavators?
The price of a new excavator can range from $75,000 to $600,000, depending on its size, brand, and features. Some users opt for a new excavator for the following benefits:
- The full manufacturer’s warranty
- Better condition
- Less chance of requiring maintenance
But despite these benefits, the price break of a used excavator can be very persuasive. And because the average operating lifespan of an excavator is 8,000 to 10,000 hours, it’s easy to find used machinery in good condition.
If you’re on a budget, you might consider buying an excavator that’s two to three years old with fewer than 5,000 hours of total operation. You can generally expect to pay 25% less than a new model.
To go even lower, you can find an excavator that’s more than three years old for as little as 50% of the cost of a new machine. Just make sure to inspect each machine thoroughly to ensure you’re getting an excavator of sufficient quality and value.
Tips for Inspecting Used Excavators Before Buying
If you choose to buy an excavator that has some years on it, you’ll need to make sure the machine is still in good operating condition. Here’s how you can inspect an excavator to ensure top quality.
Check for Slew Ring Damage
The slew ring is found between the excavator’s housing and undercarriage. Metal particles or flakes in the lubricant indicate that wear is taking place. Grinding or clicking noises coming from the bearing can likewise indicate wear or a lack of proper lubrication.
Check for Loose Connections in the Excavator’s Boom, Stick, and Bucket
Excavator sticks and connection points should be secure and tight. Check for any looseness or play in these points, as this can affect the machine’s performance and accuracy.
Inspect the Undercarriage for Damage
Dents, dings, or other damage to the machine’s undercarriage can indicate that the excavator was not used as the manufacturer indicated or the machine was involved in an accident. These signs can also point to further internal damage that can’t be seen from the outside but could require repair in the near future.
Check for Hydraulic Pump Leaks
Check the hydraulic pump, hoses, cylinders, and lines for any leaks. Fluid leaks could affect the efficiency of the machine and even lead to structural damage if the excavator has insufficient fluid levels.
Check the Bucket Teeth
One of the most common signs of wear is scalloping to the excavator’s bucket teeth. This happens naturally over time but can reduce the cutting force of the machine. Wear on the teeth can affect the quality and value of the machine, so take note of this before you buy.
Still not sold? Check out more excavators buying tips with our what to look for when buying an excavator guide.
Making Rentals Easier
Excavators have long been a staple for the equipment rental industry. If you’re interested in augmenting your equipment rental business through state-of-the-art software, contact Quipli today. We can streamline your business and help you deliver a higher degree of customer satisfaction.
Looking for additional equipment rental ideas? Explore our how to start a trailer rental business guide or our top rental business ideas guide.