Buying a Digger

Digger sales represent a major capital expenditure and should be weighed up against the relative cost of hiring a digger.

Perhaps the biggest decision to make is whether to buy a new or a used digger. Further considerations include digger insurance, licencing and driver requirements and storage. Transportation between sites may also be a factor and will affect the size of the machine purchased.

If you are looking to buy a new digger you will have to decide on the make and model as well as the size of the digger required.

The size of diggers and excavators is classified in terms of their relative weights as measured in tonnes. For example a fairly typical mini digger might weigh 1.5 tonnes. A heavier machine will have a heavier counterweight or cab weight to support a boom and stick with greater reach.

Several companies specialise in the repair and rebuilding of used diggers. It is perfectly feasible to buy a digger specifically with this aim in mind. Many dealerships and small plant specialists will offer completely or part refurbished diggers and excavators for sale. Look out for any warranties offered along with the sale, though always read the small print to be certain of what is and covered and, more importantly what is excluded.

Of course, its important not to lose sight of what the digger will actually be required to do. Is it an all-purpose relatively compact, general digger such as a JCB backhoe loader that is required, or a more specialised micro digger or giant excavator? The type of terrain on which the vehicle will be used is also important to consider. Tracked excavators can work on a greater range of terrains but do not have the road speed and capability of thier wheeled counterparts.

Before you buy a digger consider the maximum height you will be loading to and the greatest depth you will be digging to. Consider the height of the machine and its diameter; will it be able to access and effectively work in smaller jobs and, if the intention is to store the digger inside, does it fit into its storage location?

Theres little point in buying a digger you cannot transport efficiently and cost effectively. Ask yourself, if you require a trailer, do you have a suitable vehicle to tow it? Will the digger require a low loader to travel meaningful distances in a realistic time or could it be driven on the public highway?

There are a tremendous number of jcb diggers for sale through a network of official JCB dealers. JCB sales have the greatest market share in the UK. Other possible makes to consider include Caterpillar, Kubota, Volvo, Bobcat and Hitachi.

Digger plant sales are handled by a variety of heavy plant dealers throughout the UK, most of which offer for sale both new and second hand diggers. Some specialize in particular makes, others are general plant dealerships that will also offer digger buckets and attachments for sale. It is adviseable to take good note of any special aftersales service contracts offered.

Before you buy a digger consider the cost of servicing, maintenance and spare parts. If buying a new digger, you may also wish to compare the relative resale values of different makes of digger.

When buying a digger it may or may not have licence plates depending on whether it has been used on the public highway. In either case its important to check that the serial number of the vehicle, located on the chasis, ties in with the make, model and year of manufacture. Check the engine number against the serial plate. Check the details on the serial plate with the digger’s decals; is it what it claims to be? The theft and ‘ringing’ of stolen diggers is a fact of life; as usual, caveat emptor. There are specialist organisations who can perform a data check on the digger to see if it has been reported stolen, written off, or has outstanding finance on it. These organisations will also provide a useful estimate of the value of the vehicle.

Be wary of grey market imports from outside the EU. The digger’s specifications may be hard to ascertain and unsuitable and there will be potentially complex registration and insurance issues to resolve.

Unlike most other vehicles whose relative wear can be ascertained with reference to the number of miles travelled, digger ‘mileage’ can be measured in hours of operation. In general, the lower the hours the better, depending on the type of use the vehicle has been subjected to. Very hard use over a short number of hours may cause more wear than light use over a longer number of hours.

If you decide to buy a used digger, an easy way to search for used diggers for sale is on ebay. Used digger sales can easily be reviewed by price and location.