The decision of whether to buy a new piece of equipment hinges on a host of factors that will vary from contractor to contractor: How strong is your market? Can you keep the equipment busy? How does new equipment impact payroll? What’s your cash flow like? What’s your current debt load? Answers to these questions often form the basis for buying decisions, but one factor business owners often overlook is the productivity gains – and the somewhat-related enthusiasm and job satisfaction – good equipment tends to bring to your crews.
This was apparent a few years ago when many pavement marking contractors experimented with Fine Line Industry’s Lazy Liner, which converts a walk-behind striping machine to a ride-on unit. Many contractors bought one to try – and it worked out so well that workers were clamoring for owners to buy one for each crew member. Nowadays there are still contractors out there who don’t use a Lazy Liner (or LineDriver, PowrDriver or Ride & Stripe), but for those crews that have experienced striping with one of these units – just go ahead and try to take theirs away. Them’s fightin’ words!
Contractors who have integrated such a device into their fleet will attest that productivity is up, workers are less tired by the end of the day (which can mean improved end-of-day job quality), and they’re less likely to take shortcuts on the job (unless it’s zipping across the lot on a LineDriver to pick up more paint).
The point is that equipment that makes your employees’ job easier, that produces better-quality work, and that operates easily and at peak efficiency can pay huge dividends in employee attitude, productivity and job satisfaction.
So when you’re evaluating your fleet this offseason, debating whether to upgrade your sealcoating buggy or to try the Little Engine That Could approach to equipment management (I think it can, I think it can) as you try to stretch it through another season, make sure to consider the on-the-job benefits that new equipment and state-of-the-art models can provide your business. Because while you’ve got to be able to pay for whatever you buy – it just might be that whatever you buy can make paying for it a lot easier.