Heavy equipment is used in a number of industries, from home building to commercial construction to major public works projects such as highways and bridges. The global construction equipment market is estimated at close to $150 billion a year, with the North American market the second-largest in the world. That creates a lot of business opportunities for companies that choose to sell, lease or service heavy equipment.
Companies that sell construction equipment can make a lot of money. Many of the pieces that construction companies need are six-figure items that generate a lot of profit. So new dealers of heavy equipment can make a lot of money. However, it takes a lot of money to start such a business. You need a huge section of land on which to display the equipment and also a large showroom. That can make it difficult to start such a business or to buy an existing business. Also, because the average piece of construction equipment lasts 15 years, it can be difficult to sustain profits from new equipment sales, especially when there is an economic downturn.
For that reason, dealerships can supplement their sales operations with repair operations. Heavy equipment parts and heavy equipment components can wear out and break, and because new equipment is so expensive, companies usually will repair equipment as often as needed and delay replacing it as long as possible. Offering heavy equipment servicing and repair as well as parts can diversify your business and offer you a revenue stream that can help offset things when sales of new equipment drop off.
In recent years, it has become more and more lucrative for used heavy equipment dealers. After the housing downturn and recession in the mid 2000s, many construction companies either downsized or went out of business altogether, which flooded the market with used equipment. Auction companies suddenly had a lot of business, and used equipment dealers were able to get good deals on heavy equipment items. The price of new equipment also makes used equipment popular. Companies that sell used equipment also can offer used parts for equipment such as used caterpillar parts.
There are many areas of the heavy equipment business in which someone can start a business and do well.