Advice for buying used construction machinery

top tips for buying used plant machinery

Finding a specific product on the internet sounds straight forward right? Type the name of what you are looking for into a search engine, click go and it is all right there… Well not quite. The problem is the modern world of online search engines is everyone is competing to be in your results list, regardless of whether what appears is in fact what you are looking to purchase.


Use the internet to research what is currently available from a range of reputable plant machinery dealers. By using an online marketplace such as, where you will be able to compare what’s on offer from hundreds of dealers. Research the market and compare prices so you know the price you’re paying is a fair one. But be aware! It is common for criminals to advertise machinery at “just below market value” to make it sound attractive to buyers, but not so low as to arouse suspicion.


It is always advisable to ensure that the person from whom you are buying, is a genuine and reputable seller. Simple research either from acquaintances, other plant dealers or online searches will give you a good idea as to their business dealings.


Prior to contacting the seller, have a list of questions ready to ask, this will help you to determine the suitability of the plant machinery on offer and avoid time wasting later on. In particular, know your budget and the market price.


If possible, always make an appointment to view the plant machinery before making an offer to purchase or more importantly before parting with your money. Meeting the dealer and checking the mechanical soundness of the plant machinery is the most crucial part of the transaction.
If you are not knowledgeable of the mechanics of plant and construction equipment then take someone with you who is. Any reputable dealer would expect you to investigate the mechanical soundness of the machinery in question and should not have any objections – if they do then you need to ask yourself why.
If you cannot make it to the dealer, perhaps the plant machinery is in a different country, ask them to send you video footage of the vehicle with sound so that you can hear the machine running. Ask for photographs as well.


You should consider how you will transport the machinery before making an offer – costs for transporting heavy machinery can be high especially if there is some distance involved. There are numerous companies providing transportation for plant machinery who will be happy to provide a quotation. It may be that the seller can provide transportation and the price being offered may already include this, if not then perhaps it can be negotiated into the price – an important question which needs to be considered prior to sealing the deal!


Ensure that there is no outstanding finance on the machinery – if there is the seller will need to ensure this is repaid.


Don’t be afraid to haggle to get a good price, the Seller will obviously be looking for the best price possible for their plant equipment but there is usually a little room for negotiation, just remember to be realistic.


Always be cautious with heavy plant and construction equipment that is priced well below its market value, if something looks too good to be true it generally is!
Check that the stamped in serial/chassis number and VIN plate is intact and complete, and make certain that it has not been tampered or interfered with?


Be suspicious if the seller is claiming to be in your country but the machinery is in another.
Be careful if the seller has given an incorrect landline or contact number, they could be trying to hide their contact details.

Be careful when receiving/dealing with delivery or transfer certificates, if you have been provided a copy, then phone the company on the documentation to confirm the authenticity. If they have not provided a copy, ask for one. If you are unable to make confirmations then chances are there is no machinery.

These notes are not exhaustive, there are many methods that criminals will use to extort money from innocent parties. Conducting thorough research and using good business acumen should assist in you in making the right decision. Remember if you have any doubts then don’t take any risks!

All information correct as of: 20th February 2019.

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