Like Basketball Coaches, Contractors Make Winning Decisions

Mon April 07, 2014 - National Edition
Giles Lambertson


NCAA basketball coaches want strategic options so they can mix nimble point guards and leaping jammers into a winning formula. Construction equipment buyers want options, too, and today’s marketplace gives them plenty.
NCAA basketball coaches want strategic options so they can mix nimble point guards and leaping jammers into a winning formula. Construction equipment buyers want options, too, and today’s marketplace gives them plenty.

NCAA basketball coaches want strategic options so they can mix nimble point guards and leaping jammers into a winning formula. Construction equipment buyers want options, too, and today’s marketplace gives them plenty.

There was a time when manufacturers of heavy tracked equipment numbered just three or four, with one of them named Caterpillar. Today the machines are manufactured on more continents than that, and a good many of the world’s brands are competing in the U.S. market.

What this means is that a coach… uh, make that a contractor has choices, and can fashion a starting lineup of machinery to suit a particular game plan. If he is just starting out in business, he could elect to buy a used wheel loader—or he might opt to buy a new SDLG unit or similar machine that carries a warranty minus a pricey name.

An established contractor could choose to run with All-American John Deere earthmovers, hoping to influence the guys down at the state transportation office to give him a top seed in the next round of bidding. Or he could fashion a lineup from Kobelco, a proven producer that transferred out of a previous arrangement and wants to get back in the game.

Every equipment choice looks good on paper, but each poses risks for a buyer. Some equipment has a reputation of being affordable but unreliable; a contractor buys with the hope of getting at least one injury-free season out of it. The flip side is, if he fills his roster with trophy brands, he must worry about being disappointed in his ROI at the end of the season.

Equipment choices—a successful contractor makes more good ones than bad ones. He wins more than he loses, and gets the most out of his machines. It’s never a slam dunk, of course, but there’s always next year.