9 Tips for Choosing a Heavy Equipment Dealer

9 Tips for Choosing a Heavy Equipment Dealer
9 Tips for Choosing a Heavy Equipment Dealer
Author: Small Business Expert | November 30, 2021 | Topic: Used Equipment

9 Tips for Choosing a Heavy Equipment Dealer

Purchasing heavy equipment is a significant investment that lasts beyond the dealership lot — it's a business relationship that concerns your business and machinery. Whether you're switching dealers or looking to make your first heavy equipment purchase, your Cat® dealer is here for you. That's why we've compiled a list of tips to help you find the perfect fit for your business.

Read on to learn exactly what to look for in a heavy equipment dealer.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Heavy Equipment Dealer

It's important to feel comfortable going into a sale. A professional, reputable dealer who's excited to tell you about their equipment is the ideal choice. This way, you can build a strong relationship that will serve you both well for years to come.

In general, you want to pay attention to how much information the dealer is willing to share with you. Do you feel like you're getting a complete picture of what it means to purchase from them? Are they welcoming and professional when showing you around the lot? While the equipment is the reason you're at the dealership, the way you're treated is also an important part of the sales experience.

Additionally, you'll want to see whether the dealer offers you the option to test-drive equipment. If you can, bring your operators with you so they can give you their opinions on each machine. After all, they'll be using it, so they can provide the best feedback on the models you're interested in.

Another factor to consider is location. Transporting heavy machinery for long distances is difficult without the proper tools, so you'll likely want to find a dealer as close to your worksite as possible. If you hear great things about a supplier but they're located too far away, see whether they have a branch in your area. If your business has several sites, make sure each one will be able to access a branch of your chosen dealer.

With a few points in mind, you can move ahead with deciding which heavy equipment dealer deserves your business.

9 Steps to Take When Choosing a Construction Equipment Supplier

Keep the following nine tips in mind for choosing a construction equipment dealer.


1. Do Your Homework

Before you roll up to the dealership lot, make sure you've done your research. Ask your trusted colleagues which dealerships they recommend. If anyone is currently working or has worked with a specific supplier, you can inquire about their experience and advice.

Online customer reviews are your friend, too. Websites like Google, Yelp and The Better Business Bureau (BBB) provide platforms for customers to leave unbiased reviews of their experiences with local companies. So long as the dealer you're researching has a website, you should be able to read what people think of them.

By the time you're ready to visit, you should have a complete idea of the dealer's reputation and sales practices.


2. Learn About Coverage

There's a lot of risk wrapped up in running a business that relies on heavy equipment. You can't eliminate that risk, but you can manage it. With Extended Protection, you can have peace of mind knowing you and your business are protected from the unexpected.

The following types of protection plans may come up in your search:

  • Standard manufacturer warranties: Guarantees from your seller that you'll be able to repair and replace parts when they break down for a predetermined period of time.
  • Extended protection plans: Provides you with coverage beyond standard machine warranty for parts and labor and protects you from unplanned repair costs from covered defects in material and manufacturer workmanship.
  • Specialized parts warranties: Warranties that protect specific parts within your machine.

Typically, most dealers offer multiple options which allow you to choose the level of coverage that fits the unique needs and budget of your business. Coverage details and terms usually vary by product, application, and geographic region.  Always discuss the coverage details with the selling dealership to obtain more information.

Learn About Warranties


3. Inquire About Post-Sale Services

A dealer's after-sale services include servicing and regular maintenance appointments and extra perks from the company. For example, Cat dealers offer ongoing training for our operators and technicians.

While maintenance services are the most important, other perks like training and routine fluid analysis are helpful, too. Find out what the dealer offers and determine whether it's enough for you. If the dealership doesn't offer services beyond the initial sale, you'll have to find a nearby technician who can service your machines later on or find another supplier entirely.


4. Examine the Dealership

Look around during your visit. Are the premises clean and well-maintained? An unkempt, disorganized operation can be a giveaway that a dealer may not be as thorough as you need them to be.

Similarly, pay attention to how the dealer cares for their machines. Make sure the supplier follows best storage practices and has the right documentation for each machine in their fleet.

Safety protocol is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a construction equipment supplier. Watch to see whether employees approach the machine with the same care you'd expect from your operators. If they don't seem to know what they're doing during a demonstration, you'll likely want to bring your business to someone more knowledgeable.


5. Interact With Dealership Staff

When you go to buy groceries, you don't normally remember the process of picking them out — you get what you need from your list and head home. However, you might remember the friendly cashier who rang you up or the kind employee who directed you to the milk aisle. In other words, personal interaction is always the most memorable part of a sale. When you're visiting a dealership, pay attention to how the staff treats you.

Additionally, make sure the dealership has technicians on its staff. If technicians are present, you'll be able to return to get your equipment serviced and maintained in the future. That's incredibly important to guarantee the strength of your equipment fleet.

Interact With Dealership Staff


6. Research Product Availability

Naturally, you want to find a dealer that carries the machines you need. Whether you're looking for new or used equipment, you want to make sure the dealer you choose keeps your preferred brand and models in stock. This point is usually the most important factor for construction companies.

Additionally, you should consider the timing of your purchase. If you need the equipment soon, your dealer should have options that allow for a quick turnaround. For example, some Cat dealers allow you to buy a used vehicle and bring it to your site that same day. If you're looking for a new machine that needs customizations, you could rent out a used machine through your dealer until your new one is ready.

Having flexible options to allow you to meet deadlines is just as important as keeping adequate stock, so make sure you know what choices each supplier will provide you.


7. Inquire About Financing Packages

Buying heavy equipment is a huge investment — physically and financially. A good dealer will offer a variety of options so you'll be able to pay for your machine without breaking the bank.

Common financing plans include loans, leasing and rentals. Here's how each one typically works:

  • Loans will get you ownership of the equipment you need right away, but instead of paying for it upfront, you'll be able to spread out your payments in regular installments over several months.
  • Leases operate on monthly or yearly payments and end with the option to buy or return your equipment.
  • Rentals are great for equipment you don't plan to keep because you'll only pay for it as long as you're using it.

Talk to the sales representatives at each dealership you visit to figure out which one will offer you the best deal overall.


8. Shop Around

Don't just stop at one dealership — explore all of your options. What can each dealer tell you about their equipment? Who would offer the best upfront deal? Which dealer has the best financing plans available for you?

One helpful way to weigh out your options is to create a list where you can visually compare the pros and cons of each dealership. Once you've ruled out an option, remove it from the list to narrow down your choices.


9. Trust Your Intuition

Buying a piece of heavy machinery is more than just making a purchase. Because your machinery will need servicing and replacement parts throughout its life, you want to make sure you choose a dealer who does more than just sell equipment. Does it feel like the dealer sees you as a one-off sale or as a potential business partner? If you feel like you aren't on the same page as a dealer, you may want to look somewhere else.

Why Choose a Cat® Dealer?

When you buy from Caterpillar, you gain access to that dealer network and all of the advantages that come with it.


Lasting Quality

Cat dealers provide continuous support through a Customer Value Agreement (CVA). With multiple CVAs available, you can pick one best fitting your company's needs, but you can expect the following from all CVAs:

  • Access to servicing with genuine Cat parts through your dealership
  • Flexible payment options to suit your needs
  • Security of lasting dealer support
  • Easy access to monitoring tools to track your fleet's status

These ownership plans are available for a range of products across multiple industries, so check our website to see which one makes sense for your operation.


Extended Protection for Machines

Even the best-built machines eventually need repairs, which always seem to happen at the worst time - right in the middle of a big job, when cash is tight or just after the warranty expires.

An Equipment Protection Plan for a new, used or rebuilt machine:

  • Provides coverage beyond standard machine warranty for parts and labor, and protects you from unplanned repair costs from covered defects in Cat material and manufacturer workmanship.
  • Offers multiple coverage options to fit your needs and budget.
  • Includes genuine Cat parts and service performed by factory-trained dealer technicians.
  • Transfers with the machine when you sell it in the same region the EPP was purchased.

Additionally, we offer insurance protection for your equipment. Fires. Floods. Vandalism. Theft. Collision. A lot can happen to your equipment that's outside your control. But preparing for the possibility is within your power. Talk to your local Cat dealer for more information.


Flexible Financing

If your operation needs to make changes that are more expensive than you anticipated, Caterpillar has financial options for you. Easily purchase equipment through regular payments that work for you with one of our finance packages.

The Cat Card is another fast and easy way to pay for what your job needs. It comes with benefits like rewards, special offers for cardholders and personalized support. Simply use your card at participating dealers and get back to work with the machinery you need.


Peace of Mind

When you buy Certified Cat Used, you can count on your dealer to ensure your machine is in top condition. The certainty that comes with choosing a Cat product will grant you reassurance and the ability to get right to work without worrying about potential equipment issues.

Why Buy Used Equipment From a Cat Dealer?

At Caterpillar, we understand that business leaders like you want to get the best bang for your buck. That's why we're so committed to providing quality used equipment as an affordable alternative to buying new.


Serviced to a Higher Standard

Cat Certified Used equipment is held to a higher standard than most used heavy equipment — our technicians select well-maintained, lightly-used, low-hour machines for testing. After a series of rigorous inspections, our technicians service the equipment with genuine Cat parts to ensure it's up to par with Cat expectations.

Serviced to a Higher Standard


When you buy Cat Certified Used, you're choosing Cat quality at an affordable price. Plus, Cat Certified Used machines come with at least 6 to 12 months of coverage to help manage risk. Coverage details and terms vary by product, application, and geographic region. Contact your Cat dealer for more information.


Convenient Online Shopping Experience

On our website, we compile listings of available used equipment straight from our dealer network. Use the different categories to browse listings from nearby dealers or look for machines that catch your eye.

Do you already know what you need? Search for it using our straightforward search and filter function. Through our website, you can also:

  • Send direct messages to sellers about specific product listings and hear back from sales representatives.
  • Call dealerships to discuss listing details and learn more about what coverage and financing options are available to you.
  • Opt-in to email notifications so we can let you know when a model matching your needs becomes available near you.

Shopping for heavy machinery from a trusted construction equipment supplier has never been easier or more accessible than on Cat Used.

Choose Cat Used for Your Next Heavy Equipment Purchase

If you're looking for a cost-effective source for reliable, trustworthy used equipment, look no further than your local Cat dealer. Many dealerships are family businesses, and the average tenure of a Cat dealer is around 50 years. That means you can rely on them to help you find the best deal for your operation.

Get started by browsing available equipment, or you can click here to find your local Cat dealer!

Choose Cat Used for Your Next Heavy Equipment Purchase

Browse Used Equipment

Choose Cat Used for Your Next Heavy Equipment Purchase
Choose Cat Used for Your Next Heavy Equipment Purchase