We would all like to buy a new car – the latest model with sexy looks, serious gizmos and enough room for the whole family including dogs, ponies and the occasional kitchen sink. Sometimes, however, the budget doesn’t quite stretch that far and we need to cut our coat according to our cloth.
It’s the same with the decision to buy a powered access platform. Perhaps initially your workload has only demanded you renting a MEWP when necessary. Then your workload increases and rental costs start to bite into your profits and that old question “to buy or not to buy” raises its head again.
A shiny new machine is tempting – look at all the catalogues, visit the showrooms, compare the costs. It’s a big investment. Perfect if you have the money available. But sometimes cash flow and budget enter the scenario. But at least you can get an idea of what you need for your business. Research the right type of budget MEWP for your specific needs, one that will do the majority of the work that you currently hire a machine for. Then start to shop around.
Fortunately, there is a thriving market for quality, pre-owned access equipment which is available at a reduced price.
Buying used access equipment can be an affordable solution for a business that has regular and multiple jobs at height. It is an investment that over time will pay for itself by saving on rental costs and any time lost by using traditional climbing methods such as ladders or scaffolding.
If you are buying second hand then it’s important to make sure to know the history of a powered access platform. Used budget MEWPS are sold by many rental and retail firms and there are a few things to look out for:
• Age – Find out how old the powered access platform is to make sure it is still possible to get parts and servicing.
• History – Ask who the previous owners were and what the equipment has previously been used for as this could affect wear and tear.
• Model – Spend time researching the right platform for specific tasks. For example, vehicle mounted access platforms offer ease of mobility, or a spider lift is suitable for work in tight spaces.
• Servicing and maintenance – It is important to find out when and who has inspected equipment over its lifetime and that there is proof that it complies with current safety legislation. Also ask about the credentials of whoever has done the work to make sure they are fully trained and experienced.
• LOLER Certified – Ensure it has been thoroughly examined and a new certificate issued
• Storage and insurance – Always consider the additional costs of owning an expensive piece of equipment. Find out what the legal requirements are with regard to servicing and make sure there is a secure place to store the platform when it is not in use.
Even after these considerations, it may still be the case that renting powered access platforms offers the best value for money and flexibility for a smaller business. However, pre-owned access platforms offer value for money and can be more cost-effective in the long term if the number of jobs at height increases.
Reputable suppliers will ensure they are acquired from reputable sources, fully serviced and inspected so they provide maximum efficiency at a more affordable price. Ask the right questions and make an informed decision.