User #1: Brute power that comes on quick, yet with some finesse in tractor balance and feel. Good view with minimum blockage. Creature comforts in a fully enclosed and tight cab, easy to use controls with good feeling. Minimum instruments and dashboard size. Easy to enter and exit cab. Easy to check vital fluids. Quiet.
User #2: Is the machine built to efficiently do the job for which it is intended? Can it be easily maintained? Parts availability. I don't consider price to be a criteria. If you need a machine for a specific purpose, you will pay the price for the machine that will most efficiently serve that purpose.
User #3: It has to be reliable more than pretty. It has to be efficient and accomplish its task using the least amount of fuel possible. It has to accomplish its task at a speed that will allow a profit. If there are electronics on the machine, the diagnostics should be available, "on the machine."
I am far more concerned about the safety of all personnel than I am about how comfortable they are.
User #4: Price versus condition if it is used. I don't want to spend big bucks for something that will need all major drive train and hydraulic components rebuilt in the first month you buy it. For a new machine, I'd want good dealer support and the best deal.
User #5: Sized for the project at hand. Let the machine work all day, not the operator. Serviceability, just being able to get at filters and such easily is very nice. When they break down (and they will), your dealer does what it needs to to get you back runnning in a timely fashion.
User #6: Ownership/operating costs: What are the costs of the parts you will eventually need and what is the reliability of the machine? I have found that the price for filters and wear items can vary tremendously between manufacturers. What I like to do when I am considering purchasing a machine is to pick a few parts/components that could need to be replaced during the operating life and go to the parts counter and price them out.
Resale value: What is your hunk of yellow scrap iron going to be worth when you decide to dispose/trade in? Everyone is different on how long they will run a machine and whether to buy new or used. Regardless, you are purchasing an asset that you not only want to make a return on, but also get the most residual value for at disposal time.
HeavyEquipmentForums.com is a user forum where professionals in the equipment industry can exchange ideas and post questions or comments. Users include owner/operators, operators, company owners, repair technicians, safety officers and others. Posts have been edited for clarity and content.