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When 'Used' Makes Economic Sense

(July 2008) posted on Tue Jul 01, 2008

The upsides and downsides of the used-equipment market.

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By Jonathan Zinsmeyer

Proof of performance: No matter who is purchasing the machine, you will need to show that it works. Head test are generally adequate for most buyers, or at least it is enough to justify a flight out to look at your unit. The new buyer may also decide to send out a technician as well to look over the equipment. This is typical and similar to taking a used car to a mechanic for an inspection.

In prep for a visit by a buyer or a technician, I suggest cleaning the machine up a little and making sure the heads are all firing; you may want to change out some filters, but the head test is the deciding factor. Color can be an issue but most buyers understand they can re-profile the unit upon arrival at their facility.

Prepping the machine: Most units that I have moved required a technician to prep the unit for transfer. Choose an OEM-certified tech or a freelance tech (generally they have worked for the manufacturer and are less expensive than OEM techs) for the prep, which should only take one or two days. Additionally, gather together any spare parts and purchase products to prep your unit for transport, such as solvents and head flushing solution.

Keep in mind that not all machines can be prepped and sit idle until the sale is complete. Our units were running up until the time the tech came in to decommission it; the rigging and packing company came the next day. This was an ideal scenario but a stressful one. I suggest you give yourself time to make the most money out of the unit. And if you have a big job coming up, let your broker know that there may be a delay in the sale-the buyer may be willing to wait up to a month to take possession.

Out the door: If you hired a broker, you don't have to worry about anything-just make sure the machine is decommissioned and the electrician is there to remove the electrical from the wall. If you didn't hire a broker, however, you will need to find a rigging company as well as a crating company (sometimes one company does both). Generally, it's the buyer's responsibility to find a freight company (during negotiations, specify that who pays for packing and transport costs).