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Questions to ask your renewable energy equipment supplier before any investment

Embarking on a new project can be daunting, especially when it comes to acquiring heavy equipment. Even though renewable energy is fast becoming a well-established industry – it’s often hard to know where to turn when it comes to the equipment needed to make your plans a reality.

Here, we’ll take a look at what questions you should be asking your renewable energy equipment supplier before signing off on any deal.

Are they reputable?

Before you ask a potential equipment supplier anything – ask yourself this: are they reputable?

The answer to this question can be determined by several factors – some are easy to understand, others take some interaction with their sales representatives or a meeting with the boss to find out more. Here are some ways to get a feeling of whether a company is reputable or not:

  • Read reviews – often this is the best way to get insights into how they’ve handled past projects and how those customers rated the experience.
  • Scroll through their website. Even a good scroll through their homepage will give you an idea as to whether this particular supplier is well-established, fledgling or straight up dodgy.
  • If you can, speak to people in the industry. Having a chat with someone who knows their way around the industry – they’re likely to have heard whether a supplier is up to scratch or not.
  • Find out how long they’ve been in the business. This is often a good indicator of how successful they are in keeping their customers around.

Tell me about your warranty options?

One of the most important things you’ll need to know from your supplier is the warranty contracts for the equipment pieces you’re acquiring. It’s good to know the terms of the agreements and whether there is any wiggle room. If you’re not clear on how the warranty works – it’s best to ask the sales representative to explain it thoroughly before investing. As a gauge, reputable suppliers like Vermeer typically offer a 1 Year / 1000 Hour Warranty – subject to the kind of equipment being used.

Do you offer after-hours services?

It’s a useful thing to know – whether your equipment supplier is willing and able to service your machinery after hours – as this can greatly improve your daytime efficiency and push projects along faster and smoother. If they say yes – press them about what times they can be available and whether it’s going to cost any extra. This will save you a headache down the track when you’re too busy to get involved.

Can I rent to buy?

If your project looks like it may drag on, and you’ve got more similar work in the pipeline, it’s helpful to know whether your supplier will enter into a rent to buy contract with you. Rent to buy allows you to invest in machinery today that you’ll know you’re going to need down the line, but without having to front up the down payment straight away. This can also be a great way to test out new machinery that you know will be useful for future jobs.

What support do you offer?

Support from an equipment supplier can come in many different shapes and forms. If you’re going into business with them – it’s good to have a clear picture of what you can expect from their side. Reputable renewable energy suppliers will often have an after-sales support system in place to assist you – either on the phone or in-person with issues you may be having with your equipment or in carrying out a job.

You can also ask about equipment training and workshops that can help you and your team to up-skill on certain operating systems and machinery that you may not be familiar with. A well-established supplier will offer you a range of such events that you can participate in.

Can you elaborate on your financing options?

Financing options can be complex and multifaceted. If you’re not entirely sure what the supplier is offering you – always be sure to double-check with a representative. Some companies will offer you flexible terms – others will require strict conditions to be met before you can enter into any agreement. It’s good to make sure you’re across every detail before signing off.

Final thoughts

When it comes to investing in your project – the equipment supplier you choose to go with will have a profound impact on the success of the project.

And yes, making the decision may not be easy, but by answering the questions above, you can hone in on the supplier that fits the bill. Much of your final decision might come down to gut feel, or whether they have a friendly team ready to help you out. So, whether you’re chasing solar pile drivers or HDD equipment, make sure you understand all the implications of your contract before diving in.

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