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Building a construction equipment fleet is an integral part of establishing a construction business, but there are a number of things that you need to consider when you’re building your fleet. What things can you not afford to ignore during this undertaking?

  1. Purchasing

The first step toward the creation of any equipment fleet is purchasing the equipment you’re going to use. You need to figure out what you want from a particular piece of equipment, as well as the brands you’re willing to purchase and how much you’re willing to spend. There are lots of other variables to consider, but these variables are the core of this step.

It is entirely possible that purchasing all of the equipment you need, all at once, is out of your price range. We’ll discuss this more in a moment.

  1. Training

Any time you buy new equipment, you have to make sure all of your employees are trained in its use. This improves job site efficiency and employee safety, but it also takes time you might not have if you’re on a tight deadline.

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If you’re going to introduce a new piece of equipment to your fleet, it’s essential to spend time on training. Untrained employees could damage new equipment, leading to downtime or even injuries on the jobsite.

  1. Preventative Maintenance Technologies

Preventative maintenance can be time-consuming and expensive, but it can save you quite a bit of money in the long run. Taking pieces of your fleet offline to keep up with preventative maintenance can help keep you on schedule and can help prevent unexpected downtime.

This is also one of the three big expenses related to fleet building, after the initial purchase. Just owning a work truck can cost you upwards of $8,500 in fuel, repairs and maintenance every year. If you do not believe you can keep up with these costs, renting the equipment you need for each project may be more cost-effective in the long run.

  1. Scheduled Maintenance

While preventative maintenance can prevent small problems from becoming big ones, every piece of equipment in your fleet will require regularly scheduled maintenance to keep it running at peak efficiency. Skipping your scheduled maintenance can result in equipment breakdown and unscheduled downtime that could potentially cost you a lot of money.

If you decide to rent your equipment instead of buying it, the rental company will be responsible for the costs of regular maintenance instead of you.

  1. Repairs

If your equipment breaks down — especially if that breakdown is due to a lack of maintenance — it can cost you a lot. Not only will you end up behind schedule because of your broken equipment, but you will also be responsible for the cost of the repairs and any replacement parts.

This can be one of the biggest costs of owning equipment, but it can be mitigated if you keep up with your regular maintenance. Maintaining your equipment is the most important thing you can do to prevent breakdown and the need for costly repairs.

  1. Consumables

This is one cost that many people overlook when they’re building their fleet. Fuel, oil, grease, tires, belts and any other item that has to be refilled or replaced on a regular basis all falls under the category of consumables. Even insurance — and, yes, you’ll need to insure each piece of heavy equipment will need to be insured — can count as a consumable cost.

Even if the initial estimate doesn’t match the actual costs, make sure you include the cost of consumables in your budget before purchasing a new piece of equipment for your fleet.

  1. Fleet Sizing

How big does your fleet need to be? Do you have somewhere to store your fleet securely between jobs?

Don’t buy more equipment than you need. There’s no need to invest in equipment that you’re only going to use once in a blue moon. These pieces can be easily rented, saving you money on purchasing costs, maintenance, repairs and consumables.

At the same time, though, if you have one piece of equipment that you absolutely cannot function without, it might be more cost-effective to have two of them in your fleet. That way, if one is down for maintenance or repair, you have a backup and can keep moving forward.

  1. Equipment Disposal

What do you do with a piece of equipment that will cost more to repair than it’s worth? Equipment disposal is another expense that you need to keep in mind when building your fleet. Sure, you can sell a crippled piece of equipment for parts or scrap, but then you need to absorb the cost of purchasing a new one. Disposing of equipment might also be costly, depending on local laws and regulations.

One thing is certain: you will need a fleet of equipment to run a successful construction business. Keep these things in mind to ensure you will always have enough room in your budget to keep your construction equipment fleet running smoothly.