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A Winning Combination - Cat Certified Used Machines Plus Foley Equipment Support

07/07/2021 12:00:00

Division equipment manager Bill Collins knows his stuff.

After years working for the local Cat dealer, Collins signed on as equipment superintendent to apply his years of hard-earned expertise to one of the largest paving and construction firms in the state of Kansas. He is now responsible for managing the entire fleet of more than 400 units at Topeka-based Bettis Asphalt and Construction.

Since its founding in 1979, Bettis has spun off several other companies from the parent company. They now operate a trucking division, a core and aggregates company, a crane company, plus fabrication and millwright divisions. 

Bidding jobs throughout a 100-mile radius from nearby Kansas City, Bettis runs 15 to 18 major highway-related jobs and several hundred commercial, municipal and residential jobs each year.

Managing such a large fleet of machines with so many jobs running concurrently, it pays to know when and what to buy, when to trade or upgrade and the type of machines to buy to ensure reliable performance and achieve maximum uptime day in and day out on their jobsites.

With his years of experience, Collins has become a skilled and shrewd equipment buyer.

His primary objective in procuring new equipment is providing safe, reliable machines for the many Bettis crews working on multiple jobsites in various applications.

“Typically, our machine acquisitions are new purchases,” says Collins. “However, when circumstances dictate the need for additional machines, such as new projects or backup machines, we try to find something that’s low-hour and late model—something that might have a little bit of the new-price edge taken off of it. But something that’s new enough to be dependable so we don’t have uptime issues on the job.”

That’s when he considers used equipment. Importantly, Collins prefers a certain type of used equipment—Cat Certified Used.

“With Cat Certified Used you have faith that it’s a piece that has been through a thorough inspection process,” Collins says. “It has to meet certain criteria as far as age and hours and that provides a comfort level regarding uptime and dependability—versus buying something at an auction where you have no idea how it was cared for, serviced or what conditions it worked in—all things that create doubt in your mind about its potential performance.”

When you purchase a Cat Certified Used machine, you can be confident that it meets the following criteria. This includes:

Comprehensive Inspection

Every used machine must pass a comprehensive 140-point inspection. If any issues are identified, a team of highly-trained technicians will service it using only genuine Cat parts. Plus, they’ll complete the most recent maintenance, so you don’t need to worry about changing oil or filters until the next interval.

Service History

Many machines come directly from protected rental fleets, so you’ll know exactly how your machine was maintained with a documented service history, enabling you to make an informed decision before you buy. Having the complete service record in hand can even help you earn a higher resale value when you’re ready to sell.

Up to 5 Years Old

Late-model machines deliver high-quality and reliability with many of the same technologies and features as today’s models. Even though you’re buying used, you can still take advantage of new machine benefits like higher productivity, better fuel efficiency, and greater comfort.

Extended Protection

The Cat Certified Used standard includes a Caterpillar Equipment Protection Plan (EPP) that covers more than 70 powertrain and hydraulics components to extend your protection beyond the original factory warranty and help you reduce repair costs.

Good-as-New Certification

For a used machine to earn the Cat Certified Used brand, all systems and components must be rated “Good” by a trained inspector on a Caterpillar standard used inspection form. This means the machine has no leaks, no visual damage, no mechanical or system issues, no excessive wear, and no safety issues.

 “In my experience, purchasing a Cat Certified Used machine at the Cat dealer is preferable to buying from an auction since I can usually find something right in their inventory that’s close in price to what I could find on the open market where you don’t really know what you’re buying,” Collins says. “And the Cat Certified Used program with its inspection process and warranty and the dealer support behind it has been a win-win for us.”

To further maximize his machine investment and lower his ownership costs, Collins also purchases a Cat Value Agreement (CVA) with almost all of Bettis’ Cat Certified Used machines. 

In the paving industry, the entire paving train must work as one. That includes milling machines, the paver and the roller, Machine reliability is especially critical on the paving side, according to Collins.

“Obviously if one piece of the equation goes down, it can stop the whole operation,” he says. “

Ensuring that all the support equipment within the paving operation stays up and running is crucial so Bettis crews can achieve their production goals.

Collins recommends others consider the value of Cat Certified Used.

“If someone asks me about buying Cat Certified Used, I’d say that our experience has definitely been good. It’s been an avenue for us to probably save some money on fresh, low-hour equipment versus just an outright new purchase—especially when it comes to something that we didn’t really plan for, but another need arose during the season or we needed to back something up for more support on different jobs.

“You’re assured a full inspection, and the process is very transparent,” Collins says. “Anything that may not meet inspection requirements is fixed, repaired, and taken care of before you purchase that piece of equipment. So, you can have peace of mind that when you take delivery of that machine out on the job it has been thoroughly inspected and everything is operating the way it should be so you can go right to work and be profitable.

Dealer support critical

About 95 percent of Bettis’ equipment fleet is comprised of Cat machines.

In his role at Bettis, Collins has worked with Cat dealer Foley Equipment for just over nine years. 

“I have some history with Caterpillar, in general, and just the ease of the transactions with the sales and service folks behind the scenes and the relationships that I’ve built over the years with Foley Cat has been good,” he says. “They ensure that we get support pretty much anywhere we’re working, no matter where we are.”

Collins cites a recent example of service from Foley that goes above and beyond the norm. Earlier this season, a roller with a malfunctioning DEF injector caused the machine to shut down on a job.

“I picked up the phone, and they were able to get a part out to us right away,” Collins says. “We had our machine up and running within about two and one-half hours. I don’t know many people that could make that happen at that rate of speed. Working with Foley Equipment we have all the support behind our fleet that I feel we need.” 

When it comes to financing equipment, Collins says Caterpillar has been very aggressive and has some good programs for Cat Certified Used or new purchases.

“They usually have some programs that a lot of times are more competitive than the local banks,” he says.

In general, price isn’t always the deciding factor when it comes to purchasing a piece of equipment. 

“Obviously the support behind it is probably a bigger piece of the equation than the price most times, and just the availability and the after sales support that comes along with it,” Collins says.

“In my experience, anybody can sell the first piece of equipment. Service will sell the second one and the subsequent machines thereafter.”