How to Buy a Used Concrete Pump Best Practices

Jan 27, 2019

Intended Audience: This article is for those who are considering the purchase of a used concrete pump who have little or no industry experience. Or, for the seasoned industry professional who would just like to reinforce his/her knowledge. Hopefully these 10 steps will help you to determine a go-no-go decision or help you to decide what kind of pump to get.


Step 1. Determining Your Budget

A good used trailer concrete pump can be purchased for between $25,000 - $60,000 USD. Whereas a good used concrete boom pump can be purchased for between $75,000 to $250,000 USD. Keeping everything in perspective, a new 70 yards-per-hour concrete trailer pump (also known as a line pump) is now approaching $100,000 USD. AND a new 58M boom pump is hovering around 1 Million USD. Comparing a used concrete pump to a new concrete pump’s cost, makes the used pump look more affordable. This is probably why you are now reading this article. Here are some other budgeting factors to consider:


concrete pump trailer pump sample

A trailer concrete pump will need to be outfitted with gear. What is gear? This is the concrete pumping system. What is this system? Well, this is pipe, hoses, clamps, reducers, elbows and other accessories associated with your concrete pumping application. If your used concrete trailer pump does not include this with the purchase, you will probably end up buying all your system new. I’m not going to cover every conceivable system package scenario, so let’s go with this sample illustration:


200 feet of new 3-inch HD pipe mixed with 100 feet of new 3-inch hose, 31 ea HD snap couplings, and a few reducers that will end up costing you about $8 to $10,000 USD. If this package is all 4-inch, plan on $12-15,000 USD. Again, if you can purchase a good used concrete trailer pump with the gear already included, then you will be ahead on the purchase.


concrete pump gear sample

Along with the trailer concrete pump you will need to budget a tow vehicle. Some trailer concrete pumps are either single or double axel and come in various sizes and are usually determined by cubic yards or meters per hour. As an example, a Ford F350 would make a good tow truck for a 70 cubic yard per hour concrete trailer pump weighing approximately 8,200 lbs. Unless you already own this vehicle, you will need to budget a new or used one here as well. It is important to note that this truck needs to be a flat bed with an air compressor, an 80-gallon water tank, and a few tool boxes.


Here is a rough estimate on a good used concrete trailer pump with everything we have mentioned:


- 2010 70 YPH concrete trailer pump in good condition$ 55,000 USD
- 2010 used F350 w/ flatbed$ 35,000 USD
- New gear- system package ( 3”)$ 9,000 USD
- Air compressor, tool boxes, water tank, and tools$ 3,000 USD
Total: Estimated cost to rig out a good used trailer concrete pump$102,000 USD

A concrete boom pump is a whole different animal. Boom sizes range for 17M all the way up to the 60 plus meter range. For the sake of discussion let’s use a 38M for this article. A new 38M concrete boom pump will cost around $450,000 USD and a good used 2007 38M will cost about $160,000 USD. This boom length is ideal for most residential markets and some commercial markets. A used concrete boom pump may or may not be the ideal purchase for first time buyer. The most important question you need to ask is why do I think I need this machine? If you plan to start a concrete pumping service, then this is a good concrete pump to start with. If you are buying to pump your own concrete then you need to consider the following:


concrete pump boom pump sample
- Truck insurance will cost $7-10,000 USD per year for this 38M
- Do you have an experienced operator? (budget non-union at $90-100K USD/ year)
- Who is going to perform maintenance and repairs? For a certified mechanic ( budget-$100K USD/ year)
- What is your back up plan if this pump breaks down during a pour?
- Most find out that one boom pump is not enough and end up with a few more units because of the previous question. Budget for another boom pump!
- Factor about .80 cents per cubic yard for wear parts and pump upkeep. This is just an educated estimate. Your results may vary

Step 2 Determining the Type of Concrete Pump You May Need

Only you can answer this question. With a good used concrete trailer line pump costing around $100K USD fully rigged out, you can spend a few thousand dollars or more on a good used concrete boom pump. Concrete trailer pumps are ideal for residential pours and hard to reach areas that a boom pump is not suited for. Other uses for concrete trailer pumps are: shotcrete, masonry grouting, void fills, cellular concrete, and mud jacking. Properly marketed, a concrete trailer pump can represent multiple forms of revenue, whereas a concrete boom pump is designed to deliver a large volume of concrete in minimal time. If you plan to start a concrete pumping service, you should canvas your potential clients and see what they prefer 60% of the time. I say 60% because; one length boom will not cover all the jobs. This is why a concrete pump service has multiple boom lengths.


Step 3 Shopping for a Good Used Concrete Pump Requires Time and Patience

Once you’ve determined your budget and the type of pump you need, then it’s time to start shopping. I suggest you consider the following:


- Contact the manufacturer of your preferred brand and ask for a dealers list near you and the surrounding states. Many will take-in trades and can offer you this pump “as -is” or as fully reconditioned
- Contact concrete pumping services in your area and see if they are getting ready to sell a pump out of their inventory. Ask them to price it with all new wear parts and the hydraulic system serviced. This is a good idea if the wear-life on these components is below 50%.
- Brokerage websites offer a vast inventory of good used concrete pumps. Many brokers are knowledgeable of their inventory and some don’t have a clue about the condition or history of the pump you are interested in. Brokers typically do not own the pump they are representing but are merely acting as a sales agent for the seller. This is similar to a realtor selling a home or commercial building. It’s not uncommon for the broker out of Texas to represent a concrete pump out of Seattle, WA. In which he has never seen before, so it’s a good time to dig deeper into the condition and history off the concrete pump. It’s highly recommended that the broker will allow you to converse with the current owner to get more details on the condition and history of the equipment. If the broker will not allow you to talk to the current owner, then you need to move on and take your business elsewhere.
- Auctions are another source for shopping and getting familiar with resale value of various makes and models of used concrete pumps. Auction results can sometimes be misleading on the actual value of a used concrete pump as some units sell way below market value and some sell for much more then what they are worth. More than anything it is a great educational experience in the study of human nature as what one perceives as a good deal. Many auction houses will paint a concrete pump, so it shows well to the online bidders. Be careful to make sure you’re not buying paint.

Step 4 Choosing Your Brand Wisely

Selecting your brand carefully is very important. For a trailer concrete line pump we suggest you stay with the following brands for the quality of parts, service and resale value: Putzmeister, Reed, Schwing, Transcrete, and Reinert. This list represents brands with a strong USA presence for the past 20 plus years and brands that have a better than average resale value. For concrete boom pumps we suggest you stay with the following brands for the same before mentioned reasons: Putzmeister, Schwing, Alliance, KCP, Liebherr, and Everdigm. There are several other quality brands that are establishing themselves in the US market, but remember we are here to help the first time buyer who may need to bail out of this purchase if things don’t work out according to plans. Most important! Do not buy a brand that has gone out of business or is no longer supported by the manufacturer!


Step 5 Research the Concrete Pump’s History

As mentioned before it’s better to be able to talk to the concrete pumps previous owner or owners to get maintenance records and inspection history. This is almost impossible to get from an auction house and sometimes you are not able to get from a broker. Trailer concrete pumps do not require mandated inspections so all you can expect to see is maintenance records. I highly recommend you purchase a good used trailer concrete pump from a previous owner with good recorded maintenance history. On the other hand, a concrete boom pump is required by the industry to have an annual boom inspection and DOT inspection on the tractor (truck) each and every year. Some owners comply with this industry standard and some do not. It is easier to buy from someone who does. Boom inspections will show you the history of repairs and this is usually a good indicator of how the rest of the rig was maintained. With regards to boom pumps, we recommend you contact the manufacturer with the concrete pumps serial number and boom serial number and see if the two are still a match. If the boom serial does not match the number of the MFG, then you may have an older boom that replaced the original boom and there is a story behind all this. If this was not disclosed to you up front, you probably need to walk away from this pump.


Step 6 Deposit To Hold Best Practice

With all the shopping, phone calls, emails back and forth, internet searches, possible travel expenses, you are in fact looking to purchase a machine that may have several other suitors. This may be a good time to negotiate a deposit to hold. A deposit to hold should include a 100% refund clause, pending a pre-buy inspection. 10 days is usually the time frame you should ask for to tie-up this unit in order to make travel plans, research pump’s history and condition. This needs to be on a one page legal document provided to the seller by you. We suggest you spend a few dollars with your attorney or try one of the many legal websites. Do not just send someone you don’t know a large deposit without this agreement that spells out the terms and conditions of the refund. Never send a deposit outside the country! We suggest that once you receive the signed document back that you wire the funds to the seller and per the agreement this is how you get your refund returned if you choose not to purchase their pump. Another option is ty to locate an escrow agent that will handle this for you. Some major credit card companies may provide this service. We suggest the amount you send is either 10% of the asking price or a $5,000 maximum. Never send more than this amount, it’s just not necessary as all the deposit is for, is to show serious intent of purchase. Once the deposit has been made you can now plan your pre-buy inspection without worrying about the unit being bought out from under you while you are at 36,000 feet in a plane in route to the destination.


Step 7 Pre Buy Inspection

Assuming you are a first-time buyer, are you really qualified to perform a pre-buy inspection? This may be a good time to consider hiring a professional. Concrete Pump inspectors are not as plentiful as an automobile inspector, but they can be found. We suggest reaching out to the concrete pump manufacturers for someone near the pump you may want to buy. Depending on distance and travel expenses, the inspector can charge anywhere from $500 USD to $3000 USD. Also, this is a pre-buy inspection and not a certified boom inspection. This brings up another important point if you plan to buy a used concrete boom pump; as a point of negotiating, you need to ask the seller if they would consider providing a fresh boom inspection as part of the sales price


Download ConcreteIron.com Sample Pre-Buy Inspection Worksheet (.pdf)


Step 8 Negotiating The Deal

After you located the concrete pump you want to buy its time to establish a fair price. After researching the market for comparable options, researching the pump’s history, and getting a pre-buy inspection, here are some deductions you should use to get a better deal.


- Wear parts below 40% remaining
- High equipment hours above 5,000
- Hi tractor mileage with no sign of major overhauls ( 500,000 plus)
- No current boom inspection or has never been inspected
- Multiple owners with no recorded maintenance history
- Concrete pump and boom are not a factory match
- Accident history
- Pump serial ( data) plate missing
- No current title or MSO (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin)

Step 9 Get the Paperwork Done

Once you have decided to purchase a used concrete pump, it’s time to paper it up. If a bank or finance company is involved they will want things done their way and prefer to go through a dealer. Because this is not always possible, make sure they are ok with a private sale transaction before you send off your deposit. In most cases the seller has the right to keep your deposit if his equipment checks out good but your financing falls through. A concrete trailer pump usually has an MSO (Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin which is similar to a title) that is transferred from owner to owner. This is similar to a boat or trailer title. In some cases this document does not exist and you are simply buying on a bill of sale, again this makes a bank nervous so be prepared to pay cash if the bank bails on you. If you are buying a titled truck as you would with the purchase of a concrete boom pump, you need to see a copy of the title (front and back) before sending a deposit. Ask the seller to email you a scanned copy and if there is a lien it will be indicated on the title as LIEN HOLDER. Once you confirm the lien amount owed, you will need to convince the seller that you plan to send the lien amount directly to lien holder and the balance will be sent to them. Never send the seller the entire amount. The seller’s invoice should include the following information:


- Who they are (company name, address, phone, email and business license number if they have one)
- A description of what they are selling you: Year model, make, model serial-number of the pump, serial-number on boom and VIN number of the tractor (it should be 17 characters) and verified to match the title or MSO
- Dollar amount you are paying less your deposit which is now converted to a down payment.
- Sales tax is a state by state issue. In most cases you pay this in the state you plan to register the equipment.

If title is free and clear, make sure you pick it up when you pay for the pump or have it sent fed-ex to you. Never allow the seller to send a title regular snail mail. Pay for this extra expense if needed as it’s worth the peace of mind.


Step 10 Ongoing Support

Now that you are the proud owner of a good used concrete pump it’s time to make yourself available to multiple years of industry experience. The ACPA is an industry organization who has been around for over 40 years. This organization is invaluable in helping you train safe operators and promoting a positive image for you company and the concrete pumping industry. Please avail yourself of these resources by contacting the ACPA via their website:

www.concretepumpers.com



Download ConcreteIron.com How To Buy a Concrete Pump Article (.pdf)


Download ConcreteIron.com Sample Pre-Buy Inspection Worksheet (.pdf)

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