6 Things to Look Out For When Buying Used Items

A city worker operates a vacuum truck

When it comes to purchasing used equipment, many are looking to save a dollar here and there and cut back on costs. For example, this might be an option if you are just starting out in the business and can’t afford a huge investment right out of the gate, or if you are looking for a piece of equipment to last until you can afford to buy a new product

While you might be able to save some money by going for this option, there are certain things you should be aware of before finalizing your purchase and signing along the dotted line. Just like when buying a used car for you or your family, keep some of these tips at the forefront of your mind.



1.) Get the Report

When you go with a reputable dealer, they can pull a report for you on any equipment they sell. And if they say that they can’t, it’s time to run for the hills. For example, if you are buying a used septic pump truck, and you want to know just how many miles the truck has or how many hours it’s been used, the dealer can provide that information. Also, be sure to review service history and if it has been involved in any accidents of any kind. This will certainly help with making a decision.



2.) Watch Out for Signs of Poor Upkeep

If you are at a dealership and you are looking over a machine, watch out for signs that the equipment has gone neglected or has been poorly maintained. Some red flags may jump out at you right away, such as rust in vital spots or mismatched components. There might be a thing or two that can be overlooked, such as faded paint or a hail dent, but you will know the difference between a little wear and tear and some real fundamental issues.

If you are buying online, don’t finalize the sale until you’ve had a chance to review the equipment in person. Unfortunately, people can be dishonest and use outdated photos or even flat out lie about the condition of the truck.



3.) Ensure That the Machine Can Reach Top Speed

If you’re hopping into the septic tank truck that you saw for sale, and it doesn’t get up to full speed, you undoubtedly have a big issue. Going out for a test drive is vital. Any machine can work for about 15 or so minutes. However, taking it for a true spin will determine how everything actually works and will give you a better picture of how the machine will perform when used all day.

Also, be sure to test any other components, not just your typical steering or braking system. 

Ensure that vital pieces, such that the vacuum hose or various nozzles are all performing as they should. If not, point them out to the dealer so that they are aware. If it is something that can be easily remedied on your end, drive for a deal and use that part as a bargaining chip. 



4.) Have the Machine Inspected

An equipment inspection can be done by just about anyone, with limitations, of course. First and foremost, you need to ensure that it is someone that you trust and is qualified to provide input on the machine. This could be someone like a licensed inspector, or it could be your equipment manager at your business. Either way, ensure that you can count on them to provide you with an honest and dependable report.

If they have a formal checklist they go off of, have them review that with you prior to inspecting any equipment. This way, if there is something additional that you would like to include, you can mention that up front so you don’t forget. 

Thanks to the pandemic, it can be harder to see products in person or go for a test drive. However, just check up front before entering the dealership to see what their precautions are and what you need to do to see the equipment in person.


An employee with a clipboard inspects a septic service truck

5.) If It’s Too Good to Be True…

We are all familiar with this old adage, the tale as old as time: if something is too good to be true, it probably is. If you are looking at a vacuum truck being sold at bottom dollar despite the promise that it is in peak condition and with low miles, it’s time to do a little investigating. Lofty promises like these can present as a huge red flag. Don’t get so excited about a deal that you forget to do your homework!



6.) Research the Seller

If you have never used a certain seller in particular before, you need to stop and do a little research before you even pick up the phone to contact them. Read reviews online about the seller to see what others have stated. Do they offer fair deals? Are they honest? Do they get back with their customers in a timely manner? Asking these questions up front and doing a little leg work can save you a lot of headache in the long run!



Turn to Flowmark

If you aren’t having much luck in the used equipment market, and you think you’re ready to invest in a new piece of machinery, be sure to turn to us here at Flowmark. If there is one thing that you can be sure of with us, it’s that we are going to sell you a high quality vacuum truck that is not only American made right here in the heart of Kansas City, but it will also be an investment worth making.

We guarantee that we make the buying process simple and easy. Plus, you walk away with all the support you need, as we back up all the equipment we sell. If you think you can’t afford a new septic tank trunk, it may be time to think again. Contact us today to see what we can do for you and your company!