The right equipment is essential for surveying, engineering, construction, and related fields professionals. However, brand-new gear can be costly, putting a strain on budgets. Many pros turn to used and refurbished survey equipment as an intelligent way to get the necessary tools without breaking the bank.
The Benefits of Used Survey Equipment
Purchasing used survey equipment offers a variety of advantages over brand-new gear:
Significant Cost Savings
The most obvious benefit is the lower price tag. Used survey equipment can cost 30% to 50% less than brand-new models. Those savings can add up for smaller businesses or independent contractors watching their budgets. Access to quality equipment without the original sticker shock enables pros to bid on more jobs competitively.
Another plus is that used survey equipment is often immediately available. Rather than placing an order and waiting weeks or months for brand-new gear to be delivered, pros can quickly acquire used models and get to work. The ability to promptly secure the necessary tools is vital for taking advantage of business opportunities when they arise.
Contrary to popular belief, used survey equipment is separate from worn-out. Items like total stations, GPS receivers, laser levels and more are built to withstand years of regular use in the field. As long as the equipment has been properly maintained and cared for, used models can deliver the same reliable performance as new versions. The peace of mind that comes from field-tested durability is invaluable.
What to Look For
Of course, not all used survey equipment is created equal. Disreputable dealers may try to pass off defective products at inflated prices. That’s why working with a reputable supplier and inspecting any used gear thoroughly is essential. Here’s what to look for:
Limited Wear and Tear
Naturally, used equipment will show some signs of use. But items with excessive scratches, dents, cracked screens, missing knobs, water damage or other significant flaws should raise red flags. Opt for used gear that is well-maintained and in good working order.
Recent Calibration Records
Most survey tools need periodic calibration to ensure accuracy. When considering used equipment, ask to see the latest calibration records. Gear that’s gone more than a year or two without calibration may have reliability issues.
All Original Accessories
Used survey equipment retains the highest value and functionality while including all accessories like batteries, chargers, cases, reflector rods and more. Ensure any used gear comes with all the necessary components.
Even when buying used, some type of warranty is essential. Ideally, look for equipment that comes with a 6-12 month warranty from the supplier. This protects against any premature failures or undiscovered damage.
Where to Buy Used Survey Equipment
Pros should purchase used survey gear from a reputable supplier with expertise in used and refurbished equipment to get the most value. Here are some top sources to consider:
Websites like SurplusEquipment.com provide a one-stop shop to compare and purchase used survey equipment from various brands. Equipment is thoroughly inspected and includes warranties.
Direct From Manufacturers
Significant brands like Trimble, Topcon and Leica offer refurbished versions of their products at reduced prices, with warranties. Purchasing directly from the manufacturer ensures quality and support.
Government agencies and utility companies routinely auction off used survey equipment. Sites like PublicSurplus.com enable convenient bidding on these items. Just be aware of any functionality or calibration issues.
Sometimes, the used gear with the most value comes directly from other working surveyors upgrading their equipment. Professional forums or networking can help uncover these opportunities.
Get Savvy and Save
The bottom line is that used and refurbished survey equipment delivers tremendous value for professionals seeking to reduce costs without sacrificing performance and reliability. Purchasing pre-owned gear is one of the most intelligent financial decisions a surveying pro can make. The significant cost savings allow small businesses and independent contractors to get fully equipped without breaking their budgets. Contrary to some assumptions, used survey equipment that has been adequately maintained can deliver equivalent accuracy and durability as brand-new versions.
As long as due diligence is exercised during purchasing, acquiring used gear can be an extremely wise investment that pays dividends for years. Inspecting equipment thoroughly, reviewing calibration records, ensuring all accessories are included, and securing some form of warranty from reputable suppliers is essential. But pros who get savvy about the used market will discover that purchasing pre-owned total stations, GPS receivers, laser levels, and other gear is a proven way to equip themselves while staying within budget constraints effectively. The small upfront investment in used equipment will continue generating positive returns over time.