Top tips for Buying Used Plant Machinery

top tips for buying used plant machinery

Buying used plant machinery can be daunting when doing it for the first time. Even experienced purchasers of plant machinery can find doing so a challenging task. 

It doesn’t have to be though and at International Plant Sales, we have listed some of our top tips for buying used plant machinery.


Sounds great in principle doesn’t it? But how do you know whether you’re choosing a good dealer or not? Of course word of mouth and recommendations are great. Knowing someone who has had a fantastic experience buying a digger helps to build confidence. If you don’t have a recommendation from someone, there are a few things you can look into when it comes to selecting a dealer.


Does the company have a Trustpilot page? The great thing about Trustpilot is that next to the review, you may see the words ‘verified order’. This means a legitimate customer has actually left that review and it has been checked and authorised by Trustpilot. In the day and age where reviews could be “made up”, you will know that Trustpilot verified reviews are more than likely legitimate. 

If the company your buying used plant machinery from has plenty of great reviews, then you can be pretty certain you’re making a good purchase.



If buying used plant machinery from a dealer in the UK, you will always be able to check the company information via Companies House. Have your Finance Manager or Accountant look over the dealers accounts. Is the company still trading? Are the company accounts overdue? Check out the company directors, do they open businesses and then close them within a couple of years, only to open a new company? If so, this could be a scam. If however, everything looks good, you’re probably okay to continue with your purchase.


Doing a simple Google search and clicking on the ‘news’ tab will help to tell you more about whether this company is legitimate for buying your used plant machinery. If you see ample negative press coverage, then you should probably stay clear. 

Google search for the directors names under ‘news’ also. There may not be much about the company, however there may be something about the directors. 

If all you can see is good press coverage, then you’ll have a better understanding of the company and your trust will begin to grow. 


Most people go and see a car when purchasing one. You want to test drive the car, make sure it runs smoothly, as well as check the body work and interior is of a satisfactory condition. 

This should be no different when buying used plant machinery. Ask the dealer if you can operate the digger. If it’s a reputable dealer, there should be no problem with this at all. If there is, then you know it’s time to walk away. 

Plant machinery is expensive and you definitely don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that is simply no good. It’s best to spend a fraction of the cost visiting the dealer and really ensuring the machinery is in the condition you would expect for the price.


It’s not always possible to visit the dealer, especially if you’re buying from another country. If this is the case, ask the dealer for lots of photos and a video of the machine. You’ll want to see the inside of the machine, such as the cab and the engine. As well as the outside of the machine including the tyres or tracks, the boom, digger arm and outside of the cab. 

The video of the machine should include a full walk around with the machine running. You will want to ensure you can hear the engine and see it running in the video. You’ll also want to see the hydraulics, the machines mileage and any electrics. 


When looking at used diggers for sale, you want to know where they have been before. When was the heavy machinery originally purchased and for whom? Ask for the service history too. 

Make sure you ask for proof of ownership too, as you definitely don’t want a machine that is stolen! 

You can check the authenticity of a machine by asking for the serial number. Most reputable dealers will take pictures of the machine showing the serial number. You can then do online checks yourself or liaise with your bank to check whether the second hand plant machinery has any possession or debt issues against it.


Checking the machine hours against the price of the machine will help determine whether you’re getting a good deal. You’ll also be able to determine whether it’s best to buy a new machine as opposed to used plant machinery. 

Machines that have been well looked after, serviced and well maintained will hold their value. 

If the machine has low hours for its age, check whether the machine has been in for repair a lot. A machine with unexplained low hours may have issues. However if you see a machine with low hours and it is only two or three years old, it will obviously make sense. 


A strong advisory is to make your purchase in a way that is trackable and traceable. Doing a bank transfer or making payment via PayPal will give you added protection. 

You should also carry out the proper legal work. Just like buying a house, ensure you have a lawyer look over the contract and paperwork in relation to the purchase of the used plant machinery. 


International Plant Sales offers used plant machinery for sale to both the UK and international market. You can see where we have sold diggers worldwide by clicking here

Our company number can be found at the bottom of our website, however for ease we have included it here – 2079614. IPS is a division of the H.E. Group Ltd, which has been in operation since 1999 and includes well-known companies such as H.E. Services (Plant Hire) Ltd, Diggerland and Masterhitch Europe Ltd

International Plant Sales have various used diggers for sale from major brands including JCB, Komatsu, Thwaites, Manitou and Terrex to name a few. 

All machines have one previous owner only, which is either H.E. Services or Diggerland. Machines come with a manufacturer’s service history, and have been maintained throughout their life.

When buying used plant machinery from IPS, the team are more than happy to arrange a visit, as well as send various pictures and videos beforehand. The team are also on WhatsApp, making it easier and cheaper to converse. Via WhatsApp, the team are happy to carry out live video calls, fully showing all aspects of the machine.

All information correct as of: 9th January 2020.

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