After you decide what specific piece of equipment you want to purchase, you must ask the following questions. Once you have the satisfactory answers that you want, the rest is easy!
Do your research and make sure that the bulldozer has the features and options that you want. If not, you must find out if those parts are available, and if the parts are compatible with the bulldozer that you are considering. You should also know what the machine was used for by the present owner; if it was used for very heavy duty work the life span of the bulldozer may be shortened.
Find out what year the vehicle was manufactured. Find out how much of a workout it got. If it was only used part-time that will make a difference in its life span.
Find out the overall general condition of the machine. Did it have any repairs? How often did it require maintenance? What type of maintenance is necessary? What are those costs? How easy will it be to get normal replacement parts (such as blades), and what will those cost? If any accessories are broken or need replacing be sure to find out where to get them and how much they will cost (if you don’t already know). Ask the seller any question you need an answer for!
Are there any warranties that still cover the machine, and are they transferable to a new owner?
Although you will probably be buying the bulldozer ‘as is’ or ‘as seen’, you will be more interested in purchasing the equipment if it is in good shape. Nobody wants to buy something used that needs a lot of work to run properly.
Make sure that you get all of the receipts and documentation showing major repairs or improvements to the equipment, if possible. Don’t forget to ask for any manuals that came with the machine!
Where you find the advertisement for your bulldozer may make a difference to your purchase. The seller mat be doing the advertising, or it may be done through a consignment broker. A broker may list the vehicle at a higher price, to cover the fee (or part of it). You should not have to pay any fee, but some brokers may ask for a fee to ‘join’ their sites.
As far as the actual advertisement, whether listed by the seller or by a broker, make sure that the ad is done well. Make sure it is short and to the point. Make sure all key information is stated: year, make, model, condition, major improvements, mileage (if applicable), VIN number, etc. Honesty is imperative. You must have thorough information as to the general condition of the bulldozer. All key information should be disclosed.
There should be photographs of the vehicle in the ad. They should be high quality digital pictures. The photos must be clear, focused, and include up close shots as well as distance shots. If there is something unique or special about the bulldozer it should also be clearly shown. Make sure the equipment is visible from all angles so there is no question about undisclosed flaws or problems. This will also give you a good overall perspective of it. The vehicle should be clean – nobody wants to buy a piece of equipment that looks as if it has not been taken care of!
The seller (either individually or by the broker) should provide contact information so that you can have any questions answered.
You may want to see the bulldozer in person before deciding to buy it. This may be dependent on location; if the vehicle is too far away you may want to have someone whose evaluation you trust to check out the equipment for you. If the bulldozer is close enough for you to see in person, arrange an appointment with the seller during a time when there will be adequate lighting (especially if it is stored outside), and when there will be as few other people present as possible. Ask for a demonstration of the vehicle so that you know that it is operational (unless you know from the advertisement that it is not). If you need any explanations for operating the machine be sure to ask for them.
Once you and the seller agree on the purchase, make sure you get a bill of sale to memorialize the transaction. A bill of sale is a legal document that you can do yourself. It should reflect the date of the sale, the sale price (or other value received, if there was a swap or barter agreed upon), the names of the parties, and any other key information, such as registration numbers, make, year, model, color, etc. The bill of sale should be signed by both (or all) parties.
You may want a purchase and sale agreement (agreement to buy) before providing any funds to the seller, if the exchange of funds for the bulldozer does not happen at the same time as the physical exchange of the equipment. If you are purchasing the vehicle through a consignment company, know that they should have clear practices and methods for safely collecting your funds for transfer to the seller at the final stage of the sale. After all, they want their percentage!
If the bulldozer is titled, you must be prepared to comply with the regulations of your state regarding title transfer and any necessary documentation. Reputable consignment companies will be able to do this for you. The seller may also have to discharge any existing liens on the vehicle before conveying a clear, clean title to you. Never purchase any vehicle unless you are sure that the title is clear and clean, and that any existing liens are properly discharged! If you are financing the machine, there will be a new lien on the bulldozer, which will be your responsibility.
Photo credit to hcmlopes at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/791299