Sabtu, 15 Agustus 2020

How to Evaluate Used Equipment Online oleh -

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Some of you may be apprehensive about buying construction equipment during COVID-19 — and that's understandable. The desire to avoid face-to-face contact, plus varying state travel restrictions, can make it tricky. It's one reason why online purchases, which have been on the rise for years, have boomed in 2020. Pair that with contractors increasingly looking for more affordable options, like you can see the opportunity that's there for online used equipment purchases.

The automobile industry is already seeing an uptick. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, "used [car] sales actually exceed pre-pandemic levels by approximately 20%" — used machine sales are likely to rise as well.

Volvo Certified Used Equipment
Used Equipment listed on

Even before the current pandemic took hold, more and more contractors were buying used equipment online — and in our fast-paced world, I believe online equipment transactions will increasingly become the norm, with customer preference given to those who provide the most convenient and streamlined process.

In fact, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 has completely changed how we interact with customers. While they used to travel to inspect machines, travel restrictions and health concerns now make this less common. Companies can take advantage of this shift by adapting how they offer their products. At Volvo, we do this with our Certified Used and Inspected Used machines. Both are advertised online with a guaranteed inspection report, eliminating the need for customers to travel onsite to inspect machines.


To help you feel more confident with inspecting and purchasing used construction equipment online, I've provided some tips to help you properly evaluate used construction equipment when you can't evaluate machines in person — these tips apply no matter where you intend to buy.

  • Always know your construction equipment seller. Large dealers and OEMs usually have inventory in different states, so the right machine may not always be close by. When evaluating machines that aren't nearby, know the seller and do business with companies that can knowledgably speak about the machine and its condition, plus provide you any other requested information in a timely manner. My advice is you should restrict your online purchases to sellers that can be verified and who have a solid reputation.
  • Start with an inspection report. You should always understand the quality of the machine within your budget. While there are nice, clean, high-hour machines, lower budgets require older machines with more hours, and the likelihood of major component failure and other issues naturally increases. Inspection reports can give you real insight, and whether there are several items on the report or just one, find out why they weren't repaired.
  • Ask for a repair quote. There are two reasons a seller hasn't repaired something: 1) either the cost was too expensive or 2) the seller didn't want to invest more into the machine than they had to. Both are understandable, but you have to make sure the price of the machine is consistent with its present condition.
  • Request all service records and oil samples. If service records can't be provided by the seller, give the serial number to an OEM dealer and request they give you the records. I've found most OEM dealer service departments are more than willing to assist. Oil samples are critical because they give you the internal vitals of the powertrain.
  • Excavator Wear ComponentAssess the wear components on the machine. Anything that moves has the potential to fail. Major components cost the most to replace or rebuild, but there are times when the smaller repairs can eat up the budget faster. For example, having to replace a seat belt, wiring harness, a set of steps or fenders usually isn't a big issue. However, if all four need to be replaced, you can easily spend close to $10,000.
  • Look at the sheet metal, the paint and the undercarriage — and request a video of the machine operating. Look at the age and hours of the machine. Machines that are hammered usually give themselves away through the cosmetics (dents, scrapes, etc.). Pay close attention to the paint as well. It isn't uncommon to see used machines repainted. You just need to know the difference between painting to clean up and painting to hide. There are certain signs of the paint job that can give you clues. If you can't tell the condition of the paint job with the online photos and video, ask the seller to send you close-ups of areas you think look questionable.
    • Quality paint jobs meant to clean up a machine give an honest presentation that shows someone took pride in their machine or that they simply wanted to further represent that the machine is in good shape for its age/hours.
    • Example of a poor paint job.
      Example of a poor paint job.

      Paint jobs with runs, flakes, the wrong color or incorrectly painted items indicate a rush job, the desire to hide something or simply that the owner didn't know what he was doing. Either way, if a bad paint job is detected, proceed with extreme caution.

  • Get a guaranteed condition report. If a company doesn't offer a guaranteed condition report, I still recommend traveling onsite and inspecting the machines when possible.


Virtual walkarounds are becoming more popular — and if done right, can actually provide the visual information you need to make a well-informed decision about a piece of used equipment.

Most virtual machine walkarounds I've seen use recorded video. Many dealers offer this service to customers. The process starts with a specific visual request by the customer. Some use video calling or prerecorded video and physically walk around the machine and address each specific item. For me personally, I use software that allows me to connect a potential buyer with one of our Volvo Certified Used facility techs to conduct the workaround. This process involves me sending a connection link via text to both parties and then I can physically record the walkaround (if requested) while they watch via their cell phones. The software we use is robust, providing several advanced features like two-way screen annotation for real-time collaboration, remote access and control for simpler troubleshooting, and content/media sharing to provide specific information in the form of video, documents, and photos.


Most online auction companies have a searchable catalog of present and future machines to be auctioned. In most instances, you're allowed to go to the sale to inspect the machine, but all bidding is 100% online.

There are two formats: timed and live. Here's how they work:

  • Equipment listed for auction on IronPlanet.comTimed auction formats usually start between a few days up to a month before a preset closing time. The bidding increments are usually between $100 and $1,000 per bid, and incrementally increase as bids are placed. Bids are accepted until the preset closing time has lapsed. Timed formats are notorious for weak activity until the last few minutes.
  • Live online auctions aren't timed. Lots are sold individually and bidding ends when the auctioneer perceives no more buying activity.

The most common item to be aware of for both timed and live online auctions is the terms. Almost every auction's terms and conditions include the statement "buyer beware" or "sold as is, whereas" with no reserve price. Always understand you're responsible for verifying all information, terms and conditions. Also, pay close attention to buyer fees and transportation costs.

For dealer purchases, virtual walkarounds work well — but before participating in an online auction, I recommend you go and inspect the machine onsite. Every item at an auction is there for a reason — you need to determine why. Some companies offer inspection services, but if you read their terms and conditions, they indemnify themselves from a majority of the responsibility. That's why when it comes to auctions, I say to always go inspect.

If you're a winning bidder, you'll receive an invoice that usually requires payment between 24 and 48 hours after confirmation.


Purchasing Construction Equipment OnlineCurrently, I use software to assist in diagnosing and reviewing machine conditions using my computer and a technician's cell phone — it's all done remotely. I can guide the person as they conduct a walkaround. I can also upload information, or take pictures and video as we do inspections. This same technology can be used with retail customers to virtually conduct a walkaround with any of our Volvo Certified used machines at one of our four centers.

Down the road, I believe technology will change how we interact and represent equipment to customers. The current pandemic has created an opportunity for us to further build on and create trust in used equipment, even with travel restriction barriers. For Volvo, we had already implemented the Certified Used and Inspected program, which guarantees the condition report and eliminates the need for onsite inspections.

This program has been in full operation for the last two and a half years. We add value for customers because we fully assess the condition of the machine and remove the risk of the unknown. Our process takes place at the dealer level, but is backed by the manufacturer. Under the program, we provide the information, guarantee the accuracy, and then the machine can be transferred to the customer with the assurance of our guarantee. Now more than ever, you have to be adaptive and offer products with easily assessable information. Customers have to be able to trust the process and the product. That's what we do here at Volvo.


With our program, inspection reports are guaranteed, so we eliminate 100% of the need for you to travel to look at our machines. You can browse our full inventory of Volvo Certified and Volvo Inspected used equipment online, then feel free to request a virtual walkaround to see even more of the machine. You can contact us or send us a message using the Contact Seller information in the right-hand column of each individual product page.

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Minggu, 09 Agustus 2020

Operator Tips: How Improving Your Company’s Operating Costs Impacts You oleh -

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If you’re an operator, you may think your day-to-day performance is what really matters when it comes to your job â€" how many yards of dirt you moved or how many loads you carried. But most owners and fleet managers love to see an operator who’s not only productive, but also works hard to be efficient and takes good care of the machines.

When you work efficiently and reduce wear and tear, it lowers your company’s operating costs. Operating costs include things like fuel consumption, wear parts, preventive maintenance and repairs. Think about the money your company spends on fuel, replacing worn tires, repairing undercarriages and so on. Month after month, these costs add up and cut out of your company’s profitability.

But there are things you can do as an operator to cut down on these types of expenses. In this post, I’ve provided some tips on lowering operating costs, plus I’ve laid out a few reasons why this should be a primary focus in your daily work. If you’re reading this and you’re not an operator, sharing these tips with your crew could be a way to get them thinking about your company’s bottom line.

Learn how to increase your productivity today with our uptime efficiency services and productivity services.

Tips For Construction Operator Efficiency

Let’s start with four quick ways you can help lower your company’s operating costs to improve profits:

  • Keep up with basic maintenance of your machine. For example, a low-cost gasket could be a quick fix to repair an engine oil leak. But if you don’t make it a priority, it could cost your company thousands of dollars for a new engine, which will depend on the machine and model. If you notice a leak, you should always say something to have it fixed before it becomes a bigger issue. Seasonal maintenance is also critical â€" read our blog about summer maintenance checks to learn more.
  • Excavator Undercarriage Inspection ProgramPerform prestart checks every morning. Catching issues when they’re small saves your company lot of money in the long run by preventing unnecessary breakdowns. Greasing machines daily or at the appropriate intervals laid out in the operator’s manual go a long way. A $2 tube of grease can save thousands of dollars in pin and bushing repairs alone. We’ve provided an articulated hauler prestart checklist and excavator prestart checklist if you want some tips on what to look for.
  • If you’re a road builder, keep your pavers clean. If asphalt is still stuck to the extensions, hopper, end gates and augers at the end of the day, you run the risk of that material hardening and causing component failure â€" it’ll also affect mat quality. Fifteen minutes spent scraping off the asphalt and applying a release agent at the end of each day can save thousands in unnecessary down time.
  • Limit idle time. If you won’t be operating your machine for a while, don’t let it sit there and idle â€" shut it down. This can save your company a lot of money in fuel costs over time. We’ve seen scenarios where even a 10% reduction in idle time over 12 months equates to over $8,000 in diesel savings and over $6,000 saved in preventive maintenance. Up this scenario it to a 25% reduction in idle time, and the numbers are over $43,000 and $32,000, respectively. That’s roughly $75,000 you could save each year simply by reducing idle times by a quarter.

Optional Cab Heat TimerHere’s a quick tip to help you limit idle time: Check to see if your machine is equipped with an optional cab heat timer. At Volvo, this feature is optional for wheel loaders and haulers. It recirculates the coolant to keep the cab warm in the winter. You can also keep the cab cooler in the summertime by turning on the automatic fan on the A/C unit in the back of the cab (it blows cool air over the top of the condenser). In any event, idling isn’t good for your diesel engine. What’s more, you’re not only burning fuel, but the service intervals, the warranty on the machine, etc. The bottom line is excessive idling has a negative impact on your company’s profitability.

If you have them available, you can always turn to in-cab assist programs designed to help you become a better operator while you’re working. Our Volvo Load Assist program, for example, features an app called Operator Coaching that helps you understand when and how to use the different smart functions of your wheel loader to achieve optimal results onsite. You can also set targets and objectives to continually develop and improve your operating practices to get the most out of yourself and your machine. Programs like these improve your accuracy â€" and the goal is to turn that accuracy into higher profits.

Benefits Of Productivity Improvements

You should know that higher profits don’t just benefit the owners â€" you benefit, too. Here are a few reasons why you should make lowering the operating costs of your company a big priority:

  • I’ve heard of several companies that have operator competitions to see who can work the most efficiently with their machine, while also being the most productive. The objective here is to keep their operating costs as low as possible. The operator who wins each week receives a bonus or award of some sort. Some companies are willing to pay you back if you can help grow the bottom line. Talk to your owner of fleet manager and see if an efficiency/productivity challenge is right for your operation.
  • Show pride in the equipment you run. A lot of companies reward their operators when they take care of their machine. If you make a machine last, you’re more likely to be first on the list to get a new one when machine replacements come up. An owner or fleet manager isn’t likely to give a newer machine to an operator who’s been abusing their machine (even inadvertently). If you think you could benefit from training, always ask.
  • If you help keep your company’s profitability up and improve cash flow, your company will have more opportunity to bid jobs faster and move on to bigger jobs. Staying productive and efficient keeps work coming in without excessive lag times. Getting jobs done efficiently also helps your company build a more solid reputation in your area.
  • Be a dependable employee. Any year can bring uncertainty (as we’ve all learned in 2020). If there is an unexpected slow down, you want to be known as the operator who maintains his machine. Showing pride in your equipment shows you care about your company â€" and employees who care are more valuable.
  • Attitude is everything. I know some really good operators, but with poor attitudes â€" and a poor attitude usually equates to an operator who doesn’t take good care of his machine. He can operate it, but he doesn’t take extra steps to care for his machine as well as other operators. While they may not be as proficient or productive, a positive attitude shows that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to become a better operator. Operators with positive, go-get-it attitudes tend to drive profitability much more.

Operator Training Services - EcoOperatorAt Volvo, we’re big believers in ongoing operator training, even if you’re a seasoned operator. You can save your company money by becoming more familiar with your machine and all the emerging technologies. Imagine how much easier and more efficient your daily job could be if you dig down and really understand what every switch and button does in the cab. And more importantly, better training helps prevent injuries and accidents, which not only costs your employer, but you as well.

Learn How To Improve Operator Efficiency From Volvo

To help, we offer a few training options from Operator Familiarization training for general earthmoving and construction equipment to our renowned Road Institute for road machinery. If you’re looking for more specific operating tips to consider, check out the posts in the Operator Tips & Training section of our blog.

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