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How to Purchase Used Machinery for Small Metal Working Shops


Despite stunning new machine technologies and computer-driven developments that are said to be reshaping the metal fabrication and tooling industry, some of the old rules apply for small or even tiny metalworking shops. According to the experts, managing a small metal workshop in the digital age still comes with the same old trials and tribulations that you would find a century ago. That is, finding the right machining equipment to fulfill your client orders on time, and within their budget  

Naturally, you can realize significant savings if you purchase second-hand equipment and used machine tools as opposed to new stuff. However, it’s said that newcomers to the industry tend to shy away from this route in fear of producing an inferior product. But purchasing used tools from a certified dealer can be a terrific financial investment and can assist you in creating a very good product at a lower cost than using brand new equipment.  

With that said, here are several tips to assist you in the purchase of used machinery for small metal workshops

Reputable Resellers

The marketplace for selling used machinery is said to be an emerging global industry. It’s your job to sniff out the ones that are both reputable and reliable when it comes to the service and the goods they offer.  

If you decide to go the money-saving route and purchase used machinery and tools privately, keep in mind there are unknown risks associated with this move. On the other hand, the security you will get from purchasing with a certified mainstream seller just might be worth the additional costs. Think of it as buying a used car off some stranger’s front lawn, as opposed to purchasing a certified used car from a reputable dealer. You might get a cheaper deal, but the car might cease to operate before you even get it home. 

Make a Check On Equipment Condition

Should you happen to purchase used equipment for your small metal workshop and it turns out not to be in the condition as advertised, it will become a significant financial burden on your business. It will also give you headaches and sleepless nights. 

A defective or even non-operating unit or tool will cost you precious cash to repair and store. It will result in downtown expenses since you’re not making money when your machines aren’t operating. You might even have no choice but to junk the machine and/or tools which will be heartbreaking. 

With this important lesson in mind, it’s crucial that you make a thorough, in-person check on the working condition of the second-hand equipment you’re thinking about purchasing prior to shelling out a big wad of cash. If necessary, take along another machine shop owner who can offer his or her opinion on the second-hand equipment condition. 

Taking these necessary steps will help you avoid and unpleasant surprises once you’ve taken delivery of the used equipment. It will also assist you in deciding if the asking price is fair or exorbitant, or if there is room to negotiate. This is where your business acumen will come in handy. 

Size and Functionality

Says Charlottestories.com, two factors will determine the suitability of a metalworking machine and its tools for your small business: what the machine can do, and how quickly/efficiently it can be done. While this might be obvious to most business owners, you should always keep in mind just what your anticipated workload is going to be. This means you should have a little problem narrowing your options when it comes to purchasing the used equipment that will meet all your needs.   

One, all too often overlooked issue, is that of equipment size. While big units are more powerful and perhaps even more functional, you just might not have the room available to house them. As a small metalworking shop owner, you will also need to determine other factors such as the machine’s energy consumption, which can impede your business’s short-term profitability.  

Check the Specs

Purchasing used machinery and tools means you might be working with equipment that was manufactured in one part of the globe but has somehow made its way to your region. What this translates into, is that there could be crucial differences in the manner in which its capabilities are expressed. For instance, if its size and overall capacity are articulated in centimeters and meters, but you naturally think in terms of feet and inches, choosing to buy this particular machine just might be a big mistake. 

There might also be differences in the way weights and volumes are measured when it comes to purchasing used equipment that was manufactured overseas. In the end, it’s always a good idea to check the specs of the particular machine you’re interested in. It must be entirely compatible with your metal workshop needs and wants, or else you will be wasting your money.  

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