In the last article, Reesink Turfcare discussed how to control spending and avoid surprise costs, allocating maintenance budget in an uncertain economy and how to manage this cost component over time. In this article, Alastair Rowell, UK sales manager - turfcare equipment at Reesink Turfcare, takes a closer look at buying used machinery, the benefits of doing so and what to look out for when purchasing a pre-owned machine.
When buying used machinery it's important to ensure you look to a reputable and trusted source
Buying used machinery for turfcare maintenance has always been prevalent in the industry but, with the impact of Coronavirus this year and its effect on the economy, it's a subject that will likely gain more interest in the coming months.
Whilst the golf industry has seen increases in membership and has fared incredibly well, sports venues have suffered with the loss of in-person supporters. For public grounds maintenance, changes to local government budgets in the near-future could be significant as policies change to help stimulate the economic recovery, and private grounds maintenance companies could see a change in customers priorities and spending. At the very least, the sudden change in circumstances this year has led many to take a closer look at their finances and re-evaluate spending. Now, more than ever, value for money is the name of the game - which is why used machinery has seen increased interest.
Buying used is already entrenched in our culture, with sites like eBay and Gumtree growing ever more popular as consumers continue to strive for a bargain, as well as take an eco-friendly approach to reusing/recycling rather than always buying new.
Buying used is probably most popular when it comes to cars. According to research released last year by the AA, consumers are three times more likely to buy used rather than new. Plus, AutoTrader reports that the average car on the road is 11.4 years old, whilst drivers keep a car for around six years. By this, it is clear to see that most people buy a used car and keep it for a significant length of time.
A reputable dealer will ensure the machinery they sell is in top notch condition by completing a number of service checks
The benefits of buying used
With consumers trusting the pre-owned market for buying a car - one of the largest purchases many will make in their lives - it seems there is a lot to be gained from buying used. And the same can be said for used turfcare machinery.
There are many benefits to buying used machinery; the biggest and most obvious is cost. Without paying the premium of having a brand-new machine, the upfront cost can be significantly lower. Buying used could also mean that higher-quality brands become affordable, negating the need to buy lower quality new machinery that can be unreliable and costlier in the long term.
However, whilst the obvious benefits are certainly enticing, there is always some doubt as to what exactly you're buying. For many, there is certainly a question over what they should look for in a used machine:
• How do they know it's good quality?
• How many hours usage is too much?
• How can they be sure they're making a good investment?
What to look out for when buying used
So, what should you look out for when you're buying used machinery?
1. A trusted source
With turfcare machinery, it's not just a question of getting seemingly good value for money upfront; you need to know that the machinery you buy is fit for purpose. A machine that costs significantly less used means nothing if it can't do the job properly. And, with turfcare machinery often needing to be used regularly for tough work, it's paramount to know the machine's history, and trust it has been through a multipoint check by a trained technician.
A range of good quality used Toro machines are available for purchase through the new Ree.Own network
Added to that, when buying new, you will likely have the guarantee of a manufacturer warranty to give you peace of mind. But buying used doesn't mean you have to miss out! Trusted dealers will offer their own warranty to provide that extra reassurance.
2. Quality of brand
If you're buying machinery that has already been used, it's important you invest in a reliable and trustworthy brand. If a brand is already well-known in the industry for producing durable, robust machinery that maintains its longevity, you know you're onto a winner.
3. Machinery use
Just as you'd avoid a car that has clocked up a substantial number of miles, you wouldn't want to invest in machinery that's been used for a huge number of hours. Make sure you know the age, specification and hours used on a machine, as this will give you an early indication of the condition you can expect the machine to be in.
Whilst this can be a good way to sense the quality of a machine, don't rely completely on the numbers. What may look good on paper, doesn't necessarily translate to reality. If a machine has a low number of hours, but in reality looks damaged, this could be a sign that it has an underlying problem or hasn't been used with care and is worn out already. So, whilst it's a good place to start, make sure you can always back up what's on paper, either by seeing the machine or going to a trusted dealer.
All Ree.Own certified machines will have gone through a multipoint check by trained technicians
4. Service checks
This goes hand in hand with purchasing from a trusted source. A reputable dealer will ensure the machinery they sell is in top notch condition by completing a number of service checks to find and resolve any issues. Much the same as you would find when purchasing a used car, you'll get additional value for money when the dealer carries out an MOT before selling the machine on to you.
For a turfcare machine's equivalent MOT, the following things should be checked as a minimum:
- Engine and cooling system
- Hydraulic and electrical system
- Steering and brakes
- Fuel system
- Transmission and final drives
- Wheels and tyres
- Cutting units and decks
- Operator platform and controls
5. What to avoid
While it's fairly clear what to avoid based on the above, it's always worth reiterating the key things to avoid. Avoid machines that haven't had any service checks carried out, especially if they don't have any service history either and, when you go to view a machine, stay clear of anything with visible signs of damage or excessive wear. If a seller isn't legitimate or trustworthy, trust your gut and steer clear.
The new home of used Toro machinery
Here at Reesink, we understand the cost savings benefits of buying used machinery, but we also understand the need to have assurance that by buying pre-owned, you're not losing out on quality. Which is why we've created an online nationwide network, Ree.Own, providing access to the best used Toro machinery available in the UK.
The platform, reeown.co.uk, has an 'Autotrader' style, where the machines listed have been certified for sale through a network of authorised Toro dealers and Reesink branch locations. The site gives customers the ability to browse and compare prices on a range of machines that are guaranteed to represent quality and value for money.
All Ree.Own certified machines are no more than seven years since first use, with less than 3000 hours use. Plus, all machines will have gone through a multipoint check by trained technicians. Machines are fully serviced when history is unavailable, or where there are over 50 hours use since the last service and, to top it all off, machines will come with a minimum 90 day warranty, with some even having an extended warranty of up to 270 days.
Having an online platform providing a range of preowned machines meets the needs of the market. Now, more customers can benefit from the quality of cut, precision engineering and innovation that comes with a Toro machine, whilst making huge cost savings, which is incredibly important in these uncertain times.