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6 Tips for Talking to Equipment Dealers

heavy equipment dealer

Talking to equipment dealers is part of the in-person buying experience, but it may be overwhelming for some shoppers. When speaking with a dealer, you should feel comfortable, informed, and not pressured to make a purchase. The last thing you want is to walk away with a piece of heavy machinery you don’t love, or spend more than your budget allows. To help you out, Equipment Trader has come up with six tips for talking to equipment dealers.

1. Do Your Homework

Before you even step foot in a dealership, do some research. When you speak with a dealer, it’s important to have a good understanding of what you’re shopping for and how much it will cost. Begin your research by reading product reviews online then comparing inventory and prices at local dealerships.

While you don’t need every detail, you should know the following:

  • Type of equipment you’re looking for
  • Potential makes and models you’re interested in
  • If you want to buy new or used
  • Price range for the new or used equipment you’re shopping for

Doing your homework ahead of time helps you sound confident and knowledgeable when speaking with a dealership salesperson. If you know what you want, a good dealer will be able to sell you the equipment that fits your needs and budget.

This information is incredibly important, especially if you’re a first-time equipment buyer, to keep you from making a bad deal. For more tips, read our previous article on what to know before shopping for heavy equipment.

2. Stick to Your Budget

Once you’ve done your research on the type of equipment you’re looking for, determine a budget. If you’re comfortable, let the dealer know that you’re prepared to buy that day if the for-sale unit is within your price range.

If the dealer you’re meeting with can’t meet your budget and wants you to spend more than you want, walk away and reach out to other dealerships. This is not the only dealership with the piece of heavy machinery you’re looking for, so don’t settle outside of your price point.

3. Ask to See the For-Sale Equipment

If you’re thinking about buying used, ask to see the exact for-sale equipment to inspect its condition. If you’re familiar with how heavy machines look after regular use, then you’ll be able to determine if any of its parts are newer or if they’ll need to be replaced soon.

If this is your first time owning heavy equipment, or you’re not confident in your inspection ability, bring a friend or expert who can assess the condition of the for-sale machine.

As long as the parts are in good working condition, and don’t reflect a serious issue, you might be able to use what you find to help you negotiate a lower price.

4. Negotiate the Price

As a buyer, your goal is to receive the lowest price possible, while a salesperson wants to get the most money for their dealership. If you can’t get the price you want, a good compromise would be making a deal for a value in the middle. This is where your earlier research can come in handy. By knowing the market value of the equipment, as well as prices from other dealerships, you give yourself some negotiating power.

Before meeting with a dealership, learn what your credit score is. If a dealer runs a credit report on you, it can affect negotiations. It’s better to not be surprised with your credit score when you’re in a dealership’s financing office. Many credit card companies, along with sites like CreditKarma.com, will provide your credit score for free.

If you plan on financing your new piece of equipment, focus on the overall price instead of just your potential monthly payment. Some dealers will play with the other numbers in the transaction to get you the monthly payment you mention, but you’ll end up paying more long term. You want to keep your sights set on receiving the best deal on the bottom-line price, including financing, fees, and taxes. 

5. Speed Up the Deal-Making Process

Meeting and speaking with dealers can feel like a time-consuming process, but it doesn’t have to be. When you initially contact the dealership and speak with a salesperson, let them know how quickly you’d like to purchase heavy equipment. By saying “I plan to buy a skid steer this weekend,” you let the dealer know that you are a hot prospect. This can lead to faster, more eager service and better deal offers.

While you might be looking to buy quickly, you don’t want to come off desperate. Let the salesperson know that you’re also comparison shopping with other dealers. This shows that you’re serious and looking for the most competitive offer.

If you plan on trading in your used equipment for a unit that is new or new-to-you, get an appraisal done before meeting with a dealer. This can get you a deal faster and let the salesperson know that you’re serious about getting the most of your machine’s trade-in value.

6. Be Prepared to Walk Away

While it might seem like dealers are in control of the negotiation and buying process, you do have power as the shopper. You have the ability to walk away from a deal that doesn’t work for you—something that many consumers don’t take advantage of.

After chatting with a salesperson, you might feel bad about walking away. Or, feel like you’ve wasted your time when you leave without making a deal. Remember, buying equipment is a business transaction. Investing your time is part of the process, and often an educational one. You’ll learn more about how dealers work and can better prepare for when you meet with the next one.

If you do have to walk away from a dealership without making a purchase, let the salesperson know that you’re not interested but they can still contact you if anything changes. This leaves the door open for a potential purchase if time goes by and a dealer is able to make a better offer to meet their monthly sales quota.

Getting the best offer from a dealer on a piece of heavy equipment that fits your budget and meets your needs might take a bit of work, but it is possible. Doing some research beforehand then walking in as a confident and knowledgeable buyer can give you the upper hand and prevent a salesperson from giving you a bad deal.

Before meeting with a dealer, start your shopping on the nationwide online marketplace at EquipmentTrader.com.

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Arielle Patterson
Arielle Patterson

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