5 Top Tips for Buying Used Plant

Since the pandemic, customers’ buying habits have changed. With construction companies investing in their fleet, machinery delays due to material shortages, and of course the pandemic itself, we have seen an increase in the desire for used plant equipment.

Buying used plant, however, can come with its pitfalls and isn’t always as straightforward as buying a new machine.

So what should you consider when buying used machines? What should you look out for? And what are the red flags when buying used?

We have put together our top 5 tips when buying second-hand that should give you more confidence.


Tip 1: If it looks too good to be true then it usually is!

Second-hand machines are a vital market in the UK and have become even more important when new machine supply slows down. When the demand for used machines ramps up, it is inevitable for scammers to try and make quick money from unsuspecting clients by advertising very popular machines at very cheap prices. The last thing you want is to part with your money and realise that a machine is never turning up!

If you find a one-off machine from an unverified supplier that looks too good to be true, we at BTE are always willing to help. Not only can we highlight if we have come across the supplier you’re intending to deal with but we can also give you a guide as to where we would expect this machine to be priced so you can gauge it with some confidence and have a bit more peace of mind

Additionally, ask for more photos or videos of specific elements. Whilst this is not foolproof, it may give you a better indication as to whether there is a scammer at the other end of the email or phone!


Tip 2: Red Keys and other anti-theft systems

If you are looking at any second-hand Kubota diggers, one of our top tips would be to make sure the seller has ownership of the RED Key. This is the master key for the Kubota Anti-Theft system that is installed on Kubota excavators. The system is a great deterrent for any would-be plant thieves and is very intuitive to use. However, it is completely void if the red key is lost. Additionally, it is required to program any additional black keys.

To replace one would require a completely new anti-theft system which is expensive and time-consuming. To avoid this headache, I would always check the red key is with the machine.

If you are looking at other brands which have their own anti-theft system in place then also make sure you have the correct information about how it is operated. Whether it is a keypad or an extra key, it is paramount you have access or ownership.


Tip 3: Outstanding Finance

Reputable dealers such as ourselves will always be willing to provide proof of no outstanding finance on any used equipment we are looking to sell. HPI checks can be carried out by yourself as the buyer, and we would recommend double-checking for complete peace of mind. If no proof can be provided or the seller is unwilling to provide it, this should raise red flags.


Tip 4: Check the warranty

For some brands, such as Kubota, the warranty is transferable, but this isn’t always the case for other brands. If the machine is fairly new, be sure to find out what the deal is with the warranty and ensure if it is transferable, that you have all of the relevant documents.

If the machine is out of warranty or it cannot be transferred, it could be worth considering a service contract with a reputable dealer to ensure your machine is well looked after whilst in your possession. Not only will this benefit you day to day whilst it is working, but if you wanted to sell on you may be able to hold a good price.


Tip 5: Use a credible dealer

It is always advisable to use a plant equipment dealer that has a good reputation. This protects you in more ways than one. Not only should you get the machine as advertised but you also get dealer backup in terms of parts and servicing.

You can check review sites such as Google Reviews or Trust Pilot, check a dealer’s social media pages, or use sites such as Companies House to check registration information. Any trustworthy dealer should have a combination of these which can help you make that final decision.

Have any questions or want some advice? We at BTE are always happy to help so feel free to get in touch!


What else would you recommend?

As buying used equipment becomes more popular, what is your experience and what other tips would you recommend?

Feel free to drop a comment below!

Posted by Josh Elliott
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