How to Successfully Invest in Used Material Handling Equipment

There is a right way and a wrong way to invest in used material handling equipment. A recent article in Supply & Demand Chain Executive exposed the potential hazards of buying used pallet racks—or, the wrong way to purchase used equipment.

A cold storage provider in Wisconsin chose to purchase a large rack system to reduce cost and speed installation in its new facility. This tactic seemed wise until issues started popping up; the rack quality was low; it had few usable rails and much of the rest of their order left out key pieces along with rack in twisted pieces.

Unfortunately, the business purchased rack from a dealer making big promises. There is no mention whether the company actually saw or inspected the equipment prior to the sale. However, by what is stated, it seems unlikely. Executives of the cold storage company attempted to negotiate and get from the dealer what they thought was purchased. Regrettably, the dealer went out of business shortly afterward leaving the company to fix the dealer’s problem.

Sadly, the cold storage provider had a bad experience with a less-than-reputable dealer. However, it is wrong to paint all used equipment dealers with that brush.

As the old saying goes, let the buyer beware. With the purchase of any equipment, new or used, we all have a responsibility to perform due diligence on both the product(s) being considered AND the company from whom we purchase. If we fail to do so, bad things happen. The cold storage provider, unfortunately, apparently did neither.

A better way to invest in used material handling equipment

The most important step companies must take when purchasing used equipment is knowing with whom they are dealing. At East Coast Storage Equipment, our owners have more than 30 years of experience in the industry, delivering superior results for the past 21 years. Our team personally inspects every piece of equipment before we make an offer, so we know if any problems exist.

It is important potential buyers inspect the equipment prior to any sale and we encourage our buyers to perform their own inspection. This is why East Coast Storage Equipment provides a detailed description of the equipment on our website with the location listed. There is also contact information so buyers can easily schedule an appointment.

Occasionally on some smaller equipment, the products simply do not merit a trip to view in person. This is why we provide multiple photos showing different angles and aspects of the equipment, making it easy to inspect online. It isn’t our preferred way to inspect, but we realize it offers some benefits in certain situations.

Most used equipment dealers offer the products “as is,” meaning any equipment having issues are sold with those issues. Much of the equipment we sell also is sold “as is” where the equipment is located. However, unlike many dealers, East Coast Storage Equipment offers a service to bring any potential problems to like-new condition, should the buyer choose to make this request. This eliminates any problems a prospect might find during inspection they consider critical to safety or efficiency. It is also another example of the benefits that come from working with a reputable company.

The article implied set up of the used rack system was the responsibility of the purchasing company. Many used equipment dealers place the responsibility for set up of the used rack on the customer. On the other hand, good used equipment dealers offer the option of installing equipment for the customer. East Coast Storage Equipment not only has trained installers to perform the set up of your new used equipment, we offer other services to ensure the equipment works as you intended. Our staff of engineers will work with customers to improve the design of the installation, allowing customers to get the most from the investment.

No company deserves the headache of buying a product only to discover it was not the product promised like the company in Supply & Demand Chain Executive. It casts a negative light on everyone.

Used material handling equipment offers added savings, faster turnaround and years of durable service without the high price of new. The biggest difference in getting what you want versus something one buys is one of relationship. Take time to invest in such a relationship with your used equipment dealer and you likely will have success with the rest.

Find a reputable used dealer and invest in a relationship.


Charles Kemp
May 18, 2016

I haven’t ever thought about investing in used material handling equipment but it would be nice for some companies that want to try and save money. I have heard that you can find some really good deals on the equipment. The only question would be if the equipment was good enough to use for a long time and save you money.

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