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There’s not much margin for error when building a fleet of construction equipment. In fact, the construction equipment market is expected to skyrocket from $146 billion in 2018 to nearly $200 billion in 2025—making it a critical time to understand the value of such an investment. 

Fleet managers hoping to get the best bang for their buck should consider a wide range of factors, including how much a piece of equipment typically sells for along with what type of weather equipment will operate in. Paying attention to these factors, along with exploring the cost savings from used or rented equipment, can position managers to reap the rewards of telematics when purchasing equipment. 

Consider jobsite conditions

It’s tough to gauge the value of equipment without considering what it has been sold for in the past. Purchasers should look online to ensure they’re not over- or under-spending on equipment. While it’s important to secure a good deal, a piece of equipment that’s priced well below the rest of the market may be cause for concern. Always check to see that equipment offers all of the features needed before making a purchase. 

If, for example, heavy rains are common across a jobsite, rust-resistant paint might be necessary. This extra precaution is also poised to come in handy throughout the winter when plummeting temperatures and snow can reduce equipment speed and strength.

In the same way the weather can influence which piece of equipment may work best, terrain plays an equally important role in purchase decisions. Keep an eye on how easy or difficult it is to navigate a jobsite. Although wheeled machinery works well on dry dirt or pavement, tracked equipment is better suited for muddy surfaces. Fleet managers who take these types of variables into account stand to secure equipment that fully meets their needs. 

Be open to buying used

A piece of equipment doesn’t have to be brand new to get the job done. Cut costs by picking up used equipment at an auction or online marketplace. From going out of business to making room for new machinery, there are plenty of reasons why people are willing to part with well-kept equipment. If there doesn’t seem to be much equipment available, tap into your network for additional purchasing opportunity. Sellers who need to get rid of equipment sooner rather than later may turn toward their peers before trying the secondary market. 

One of the most important factors to consider regarding used equipment is durability. Ask to take a test drive well before pulling out the checkbook. The more time that’s spent evaluating the piece of equipment, the easier it will be to identify potential issues. For example, if a part appears to be on its last legs, then it’s best to take a few minutes to check for a replacement. Brands that manufactured parts may no longer be in business, making it difficult to complete necessary repairs moving forward.

Invest in telematics

While putting together a fleet is a good start, there’s more work to be done beyond choosing the right features for your jobsite or picking up a used piece of equipment. Ensure the fleet is firing on all cylinders by investing in telematics. The telematics market for heavy equipment is set to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 11.5 percent until 2025. Given the benefits telematics brings to the table, such growth isn’t all that surprising. 

Beyond the convenience of tracking an entire fleet in one location, telematics offers insight into upcoming repairs. Real-time data—including engine temperature and fuel burn rates—provides a more accurate idea of how hard each machine is being pushed. If a heavy workload persists, a little extra maintenance may be needed. Rather than waiting until something goes wrong, leverage telematics data to tackle issues before they become costly.

In addition to lowering maintenance expenses, telematics may also open the door for greater safety and efficiency. In the past, fleet managers weren’t always clued into driver performance. With telematics, however, data points like average speed can shed some light on which drivers abide by the rules of the road—and which don’t.

Construction equipment doesn’t come cheap. And if fleet managers are hoping to stay under budget, they should start by shopping for the right equipment. A quick overview of what each machine will be used for can reduce the need for additional purchases later on. Opting for used equipment is yet another way to keep costs down and ultimately save enough to bring aboard telematics technology. From preventative maintenance to improving driver performance, investing in the right equipment and telematics delivers benefits contractors can’t afford to pass up.


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