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Five Tips for Choosing the Most Efficient Machine for Your Operation

You can research online, talk to other contractors and head to the latest trade show…but even then, it can be hard to know which machine will be best for your operation. Here are some tips to help bring more efficiency to your decision-making process.

Get the right size for your application.
As manufacturers continue to provide more options that precisely match application requirements, it is critically important to define the needs of your typical application, particularly as it relates to the size of the machine. For example, if you’re going “big,” larger machines will require larger trailers and trucks for transport and may require additional permits.

To get the quickest return on investment, you need high utilization. Assess your production requirements—precisely. On the other hand, size will dictate your power, dig capacity and breakout forces, so purchasing too small a machine could limit your ability to grow.

Take a close look at the available options.
For example, if you’re comparing excavators, what attachments can each handle? Excavators can increase productivity on any project requiring overhead or burying underground, digging, compacting, and backfilling trenches, breaking up concrete, and digging postholes with the appropriate attachment. The key to versatility is to make sure the machine’s hydraulic flow is matched to the attachment and that it is easy for operators to change out and operate the attachment. If you demo the machine, be sure to demo tool changes and confirm how machine hydraulics are configured.

Demos are also a great time to try out new technologies. If you’re interested in grade control or payload measurement systems, ask to see them in action.

Confirm that “ease of maintenance” is really easy.
Understanding what it takes to do routine maintenance is important because you and/or your operators will spend a lot of time greasing joints, changing filters and checking fluids throughout the life of that machine. Look for simplified maintenance points that are easy to access. Ultimately, this will help you minimize downtime.

Get the facts on total cost of ownership.
It’s important to have a clear picture of the total cost of ownership. The purchase price is the baseline, but each dealer and manufacturer has different incentives and programs aimed at removing as much of that variability in equipment ownership costs as possible. This might include warranties or dealer service contracts aimed at allowing you to secure fixed costs for a certain amount of time. Telematics subscriptions can also be bundled with these programs to provide you with yet another tool to help keep equipment costs down, monitor equipment productivity and provide a better overall understanding of equipment health.

Don’t underestimate the value of dealer support.
If you don’t have a “go-to” dealer, explore your options. Talk to their customers. OEM and dealer support really should outweigh price in your purchasing decision when you factor in resale value, parts availability, reliability, technical expertise, service and repair options. A little more invested at the time of purchase is minimal compared to the cost of renting a machine while yours is down and waiting for parts.

Get machine selection insights from your Cat® dealer.