In today’s marketplace, there is an ever-growing number of places to source equipment. Type a product into Google, and you’ll get dozens, if not hundreds, of hits for individuals, third parties, rental yards and businesses looking to sell you a machine. But what might seem like a bargain deal could rack up unexpected costs down the road. Undisclosed issues can lead to downtime and costly repairs that put your crew behind schedule.

By working with a licensed dealership, you’ll have peace of mind that trained professionals have inspected and guaranteed the equipment you’re purchasing — and can offer ongoing support before, during and after the sale. Consider these four benefits of working with a licensed equipment dealership for your next machine purchase.

Getting the Right Fit

Dealers have years of expertise and specialized manufacturer training to draw upon when helping you select equipment suited to your specific jobsite and unique application. Dealers will ask you a thorough set of questions before recommending the best model and size of machine for you. Many other equipment suppliers fail to ask these questions because it’s assumed the customer knows what they need. However, it’s common to ask for a certain machine size and model simply because it’s what has been used before, regardless if that machine is right for the work being performed.

A knowledgeable dealer can further customize a machine to combat the harsh conditions of the drilling industry with factory-installed options and upgrades. Options such as cold-start packages that prevent gelling issues and remote fuel options that help extend refueling intervals can improve drill site productivity and, therefore, profit.

A dealer is also likely to have machines equipped with options specific to the region and application already in the rental yard or equipment inventory — saving time on options that would otherwise require factory installation.

Other equipment sellers may not be as familiar with a machine’s capabilities and how to properly fit a machine to a drilling application or specific conditions. A machine that’s too small won’t be able to keep up with jobsite demands, causing frustration and inefficiencies. On the flip side, larger machines can be overkill. They burn higher amounts of fuel, come with more expensive maintenance costs and run the risk of forced downtime.

For example, generators that are too large for an application are forced to operate below capacity and may experience engine problems as a result. Unburned fuel and soot floods into the exhaust system forming a thick, wet substance on the exhaust pipes or “stacks,” and the engine is said to be “wet-stacking.” Signs of a wet-stacking engine are black smoke from the exhaust, excessive oil consumption and poor performance. A generator that experiences wet-stacking will require maintenance away from the jobsite, causing downtime and increased maintenance costs.

You can avoid these potential headaches by working with a dealer to get the right equipment fit before purchasing.

After-Sale Support

The right piece of equipment can hold a prominent spot in your fleet for years. To keep it running strong, reliable service and support are essential. Licensed dealerships invest countless resources into supporting the equipment of their specific manufacturers, including stocking OEM parts and training technicians on the ins and outs of the products.

Dealerships keep an inventory of brand parts on hand to minimize machine downtime should an equipment owner have maintenance needs or an unexpected part failure. Parts purchased from a dealership are designed by the original equipment manufacturer for their machine’s optimum performance and functionality. If a dealer doesn’t have a component on hand or if the customer is working in another part of the country and needs service, the dealer can tap into a manufacturer’s dealership network for supplementary support.

Drilling work can take you far and wide. Authorized dealerships often employ experienced field technicians to perform service and deliver parts wherever your work takes you; no need to waste valuable time bringing a machine into the shop.

Regular preventive maintenance is the number one way to avoid equipment breakdowns, but if you do run into trouble, authorized dealers, unlike third-party sellers, have a direct line of contact to the original equipment manufacturer. If a dealership ever needs advanced support to resolve a product issue, they’re able to make a quick phone call to the engineers who designed and manufactured the equipment. Dealers can work with the manufacturer to replicate any problems in the field, as well as look up the serial number of a machine to review records of when it was built and the testing it went through.

Manufacturer-Trained Service Staff

When choosing a dealership, gauge the after-sale support you’ll receive by asking how many techs it has on staff, what training and certification they’ve received, and how long they’ve been working there.

Equipment manufacturers host multiple trainings at licensed dealerships throughout the year so dealership service techs can stay up-to-date on the products, applications, and methods of diagnosing and resolving problems. Trained service techs have the expertise to identify minor issues before they become major headaches, and can educate machine owners and operators on how to properly care for and diagnose equipment problems.

Ongoing advancements in electronic systems and industry requirements like Tier 4 engines require regular training and manufacturer knowledge that a third-party seller likely won’t be able to provide — especially if the seller carries dozens of equipment brands. It’s impossible for techs to be experts on everything when they’re handling equipment from a wide array of manufacturers. If a third party’s techs don’t have the training or resources needed to effectively service your equipment, relying on them for maintenance may lead to more breakdowns in the future or even severe damage to a machine’s systems. Dealership service techs, in contrast, often specialize in only one brand of equipment.

Customized Purchase Plans

After finding the correct size and type of machine, you’ll need to settle on a method of payment that works best for your business. A licensed dealership can offer a variety of structured purchase plans that other sellers don’t always make available. If an immediate purchase isn’t in the budget, a dealer can draft rent-to-purchase options as well as leasing and financing plans that can be tailored to fit your specific needs, freeing up cash flow for other business objectives. Dealerships can also tap into manufacturers’ sales programs, including rebates and financing offers, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.

A dealership is a smart business partner for machine owners who recognize equipment support goes beyond the sale. From helping customers initially select and size a machine to providing ongoing assistance once the machine is out in the field, dealerships have the expertise necessary to support the entire lifecycle of a machine.