Backhoe Loaders Buyer's Guide
Choosing a backhoe dealer
Table of Contents
Buying a backhoe loader involves more than just choosing a model: you'll have to evaluate several backhoe dealers to find one you can work with for the long term. Like any piece of heavy-duty construction equipment, your backhoe loader will wear and eventually break, making your relationship with the dealer important for preventative maintenance and repairs.
Ask potential dealers about their service policies. Find out how they'll handle breakdowns: do they offer on-site service? If your loader needs to go into the shop for more extensive work, will they pick it up and return it, or do you need to transport it yourself? Can they provide a loaner vehicle while yours is being repaired? Check on their parts inventory, too. You won't want to wait for parts to be delivered.
Because of the inevitable service needs, you'll want to choose a backhoe dealer that is reasonably close to you. Don't feel like you have to choose the absolute closest dealer, but try to find one no further than 100 or 150 miles, keeping a round trip to around half a day.
Some dealers only carry one line of backhoe loaders, while others carry several manufacturers' models. Working with a backhoe dealer who carries multiple lines gives the advantage of being able to choose the right brand for your needs, while dealers dedicated to one brand may have more in-depth expertise with those models. Either option is fine, as long as you take the time to compare several brands.
Don't underestimate personal reactions, as well. Choose a dealer you feel is honest with you and who is easy to work with: those impressions are often accurate. Saving a thousand dollars on your initial purchase is insignificant compared to the ongoing costs you'll incur over the years. Focus on the dealer relationship instead of the price tag.
Talking to other businesses in your area can be a great source of insight into a backhoe dealer's strengths and weaknesses. You should also ask the dealer for customer references, preferably from clients in industries similar to yours.
When checking references, you can ask questions like:
- How long have you been a customer of theirs? How many loaders have you purchased?
- Did you get the right backhoe loader for your application?
- Has the dealer done a good job with maintenance and repairs?
- Would you buy from this dealer again?
- What could the dealer improve about their operation?