Buying used tools on Craigslist can be a good idea, but only if you do it right…
- Start the equipment and test the power and responsiveness.
- Next, let it run at idle for about 7-15 minutes allowing it to get hot.
- Next, let it sit for about 3-5 minutes.
- Then start it up again and test the power. This will give you a good indication of whether the equipment will work after it is hot.
Before you put the equipment in your trailer be satisfied with its power. Negotiate on site but be fair. Never negotiate through emails. That can potentially start things off on a bad note. Be unusually polite and don’t insult the seller. You never know if they have clients they can refer to your company or they may come across other equipment in the future.
As a rule I don’t ask for higher than a 20% discount of the asking price, unless there are serious defects during testing. Also, the throw in is highly effective if they have something else you want.Avoid people looking to defer their costs on to you. They got in the business for a season or two, ran their equipment into the ground all summer, and now they want to charge 70-90% for their used and probably poorly maintained equipment. Many warranties are not transferable on power equipment so you might end up with like new equipment but no warranty and a higher used price. Would you buy last year’s used car at the same price as a new one if the used car came without a warranty in the event of problems?
Be specific and verify the item before you meet them. When you call to schedule a meeting with the seller make sure the item listed is accurate, the right brand, condition, and price. Not everyone on Craigslist is trying to be deceptive, but some are.Buy in the off season! It’s all about supply and demand.
If it is hot and the grass is growing, then people selling want more for their equipment. The cost of lawn equipment peaks in the summer and bottoms out during the winter. This goes for new equipment as well. So during the winter months you may find some ridiculous deals for lawn equipment online as even the local power shops are trying to dump old inventory.
Be safe, take a friend, and meet in public. There have been issues of late in the media with people going to view things on Craigslist.org and walking into a robbery situation. The easiest way to diffuse this is by meeting in a busy public location and bringing a friend.
Buying used equipment is a really good idea for start-ups. I bought my first 48” inch Scag walk-behind mower on Craigslist.org for just $250. I still use that mower today so it was a pretty good investment don’t you think. If you’re careful and follow these tips you can have similar success on Craigslist.