ArborTimes Winter 2023

USED PROS: • Buying used is generally less ex- pensive. “If you or a crew member are mechanically savvy, you can get a good deal on a used machine and fix it yourself,” suggests Labriola. • There is zero break-in period, just regular maintenance. • Some dealers offer a pre-owned war- ranty for purchase for up to a year. • “When you buy used, you have the opportunity to purchase machines that are pre-Tier 4,” says Hicks. USED CONS: • The used market is more expensive than normal currently due to high demand. • “It can be hard to know if a machine has been maintained well if you’re buying from a private party,” says Morey. There’s no way to truly know which problems will be inherited. Purchasing used requires close scrutiny of the machine for defects, including checking the main frame and disc or drum for cracks. • “Financing used equipment can re- sult in higher interest rates because of the unknowns about the quality of the equipment,” says Labriola. In an ideal world, the market wouldn’t be dealing with labor struggles or supply chain issues for new machines and high demand for used. “When our sales consultants sit with customers, they urge them to forecast out for the next year to proactively manage their business costs,” says Labriola. While experts have observed improvements with supply chain, continued labor is- sues and heightened demand are lin- gering complications. However, these should not deter a business owner from taking the step into ownership. “Some components used in chippers aren’t as high in demand in other industries, so the supply lines are improving,” ob- serves Gross. “However, there is little improvement on the demand side, so people who want a machine will find one wherever they can, new or used.”

NEW PROS: • Chippers are designed to start working right away. Aside from following the manufacturer’s guidelines for changing filters, tightening belts and checking the clutch in the first few operating hours, the entire maintenance schedule is very straightforward. • “If you follow the maintenance schedule, these machines will work for you as long as you need them to and will resell for you at a much higher price than a machine that’s not maintained as well,” recom- mends Hicks. • “Whether you stick with the original warranty or invest in an extended warranty, you can relax with the ex- pectation that your chipper will be less likely to have failures for several years. But if failures do arise, those warranties are in place for help from the manufacturers,” says Hicks. • “When buying new, you can be as- sured the machines will have all the latest safety features and most recent updates to help make a busi- ness more profitable,” says Morey.

• Financing rates and terms are gen- erally better for new equipment. “For a new chipper we’ll offer longer terms tied to the useful life of the as- set. This could run up to 84 months or seven years,” says Schuman. • From a marketing perspective, a new machine could influence the decision a prospect makes to be- come a customer. “New machines look nicer, and that can mean something to the client and their neighbors when you’re working in their neighborhood,” says Labriola. NEW CONS: • Delivery times are extended and prices have increased as a result of lingering supply chain issues. • New machines with diesel engines must meet the EPA’s Tier-4 emis- sion standards for off-highway machines, making it difficult to service the engine in-house due to the advanced electronic emis- sion-control technologies. In the event the engine requires service, it must go to the engine dealer.

Buying a chipper, whether new or used, is a big purchase for anyone, especially when just starting out, which is why many rent. Photo courtesy of Vermeer.

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