When you’re a business owner, you have to save money where you can. One great way to do this is to buy used equipment. When doing so, there are a few things to keep in mind. Keep reading for a few quick tips on how to buy, finance, and maintain your pre-utilized acquisitions.


First things first: You have to get your money in order. Chances are, you’ll have to finance your equipment, meaning you’ll need to borrow money. Before you even try, you’ll want to make sure to check your credit score. Your lenders will also want to know how long you’ve been in business and what type of revenue they can expect to come in during the duration of the loan.

If your business is just getting started, you might be able to obtain a loan via the Small Business Administration. The SBA’s 504 Program can help you obtain equipment if your tangible assets are $15 million or less, which most small businesses are. Spend some time looking over your personal finances before you try to obtain a loan.

Where to Buy

Next up is knowing where to purchase equipment. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to find everything you want right in your own proverbial backyard. This means that you will likely have to turn to the internet. This opens up the possibility of coming across an unsavory seller.

When looking for industrial equipment marketplaces, stick with trusted names. eBay, Amazon, and Aucto are three of the most popular, and each of these platforms offers some form of protection for buyers. Should you choose to go with a lesser-known seller, do your research. Check their website to make sure they have a physical address, and don’t be shy about contacting their local Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau.

Now What?

So, you’ve got your finances in order, confirmed your seller was legitimate, and now you are ready to buy. Your next step is to inspect the equipment. Unless you are an industrial machine mechanic yourself, you’re probably going to need to contract with one to take a look with you.

Your machinery expert will look for everything from the condition of the motor to whether the equipment has been registered; some equipment must have a title just like a vehicle, whereas other pieces do not. Listen to their advice. If they say it’s not a good purchase, move on, no matter how much you need the equipment.

If the machinery is missing anything, look for replacement parts and have these swapped out and the machine serviced before putting it into production. You’ll also want to ensure to download any instruction manuals necessary to safely operate the equipment. Ideally, your machine mechanic can also provide hands-on training to your entire team.

Importantly, replace any missing nameplates. While it might seem like a small thing, having heavy-duty (think anodized aluminum) tags, labels, and stickers on your equipment can quickly, safely, and effectively relay health and safety information to its users. This is critical in helping to avoid accidents and equipment misuse.

Buying used equipment is an excellent way to save money, but it’s not like running out to the grocery store to pick up a box of coffee. You have to do your research, and you want to be fully aware of who you’re buying from before you write a check. Once you do have your equipment in your building, keep it up and running by partnering with an expert, and make sure it’s clearly labeled to ensure the safety of everyone within your building.

Curtis Fisher created Tradesbright to highlight the stories of tradesmen and women who have raised the bar by going above and beyond to help a fellow neighbor, community member, or someone they happened across while on the job. Big or small, the acts of kindness deserve to be recognized!

Equipment stock photo by SvedOliver/Shutterstock