Functioning equipment is the backbone of any landscaping company, regardless of the kind of work you’re doing. If your gear is starting to get old or is breaking down more often, it might be time to consider investing in new tools. When should you invest in new landscaping equipment? Here are some tips to help you make that decision a little bit easier.
Your equipment is breaking down regularly
Even if the equipment you have is regularly maintained, eventually it will reach the end of its functional lifespan and break down. If maintenance is no longer capable of keeping your equipment running, it’s time to trade up for something newer.
You can’t work on your customers’ yards or landscaping if your equipment is broken. After all, there’s only so much you can do with hand tools. If the amount of time your machine is spending in the shop exceeds the amount of time it’s being used on a jobsite, you’re putting your livelihood at risk by not replacing it.
Ideally, you don’t want to wait that long to replace your equipment, which brings us to our next point.
Your equipment is getting older
How long have you had your landscaping equipment? The longer you keep the tools of your trade without upgrading, the lower the trade-in value will become. Many professional landscapers will trade in their current equipment for a newer model every three to five years. This maximizes the amount of use they can get out of the hardware while also maintaining the equipment’s value.
This can reduce maintenance costs as well, especially if the machine is traded in before it requires any significant repairs or maintenance. Trading in a mower before its warranty ends, for example, ensures any major problems that occur don’t cost you anything and enables you to get a new piece of equipment.
You’re constantly renting specialty equipment
If you don’t have a piece of specialty equipment on hand, then you might find yourself renting one to complete your job. While this isn’t a bad thing for one-off jobs that you probably won’t repeat, if you find yourself at the rental office more often than not, it might be time to invest in a piece of equipment for your business.
This includes large equipment that might be expensive. A backhoe, for example, can be equipped with numerous attachments to increase its versatility, but buying one can cost you anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on the size of the backhoe if you purchase a new one. Used equipment is cheaper, but you run the risk of inheriting more problems.
The bottom line is if you’re paying more than $1,500 a week to rent a backhoe regularly, it’s worth it to invest in your equipment. A well-maintained piece of heavy equipment can last 10 years or more, so even if you’re paying $100,000 for a new large backhoe, it will still pay for itself. Ten years of weekly $1,500 payments equal roughly $780,000, so you’d be saving more than half a million dollars.
You have specialty equipment you don’t use
This is the other side of the coin. If you have a piece of specialty equipment you don’t use more than once or twice a year, why should you be eating the maintenance and storage costs? At that point, the machine becomes a money sink. This isn’t a case where you’re going to trade it in for a new one, though. Instead, consider selling it and using the funds to maintain your existing equipment or purchase something new that you will use on a more regular basis.
Some small landscaping businesses might hang on to their equipment until it breaks beyond repair, but this isn’t the most cost-effective way to run a company. Instead, pay attention to your machine and replace it when it’s outlived its usefulness. Consider trading in your equipment on a regular basis. Not only will this give you the newest hardware to work with, but it will also help keep your costs down. Just be sure you don’t buy a piece of specialty equipment unless the money you’ll save on rentals will make it pay for itself.
Invest in your company
It’s not easy to know when you’re ready to invest in new equipment for your landscaping business. In summary, the best approach is to keep track of your usage and maintenance costs. Between buying the most necessary pieces and renting more specialty items, a landscaping company can make strategic decisions about some of the biggest investments in the business.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by Holly Welles. Welles is a freelance writer with an emphasis on home improvement, business and commercial real estate. She regularly contributes to sites like Homes.com and Porch as well as publishing weekly updates on her own home improvement blog, The Estate Update.