Drilling Deeper: Beyond the Purchase Price

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Drilling Deeper: Beyond the Purchase Price

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Among the most important factors that influence decisions to purchase one product over another is cost. Yet all too often buyers neglect to look past purchase price and dig deeper to uncover the not-so-obvious expenses. Such is the case for many trenchless contractors as they navigate their way through the process of acquiring a new horizontal directional drill.

Solely looking at purchase price isn’t always a true reflection of what you’re actually paying. Buyers need to take into account the cost of operation as a more accurate representation of what the investment will be long-term. Even though you may buy a less expensive rig up-front, the day-to-day operation could cost you more over the course of the drill’s lifespan than a more expensive drill with better efficiencies.

Cost of ownership vs. cost of operation

Cost of ownership includes dollars spent to purchase the drill, minus trade-in allowances or proceeds from private sale of used equipment.

Cost of operation, on the other hand, may include day-to-day operational expenses including maintenance, repairs and even tooling to some degree. At the time you’re buying a new drill, specifics like drill rod durability and wear part pricing may not be foremost in your purchase decision. However, these things — such as wear items — can add up and be a major factor in your daily cost equation.

Also, considering how drilling environments will impact the condition of a drill over time will allow contractors to get a more accurate handle on service and maintenance costs over the drill’s lifetime.

Once the primary operational components of the drill — those most prone to wear — have been identified, owners can more accurately estimate what will be necessary to maintain the drill.

Securing a service agreement that covers most maintenance and repair costs can be an important expense management tool that allows contractors to more accurately estimate project expenses.

Enhancing productivity while maximizing residual value

Just like anything, there’s a point where equipment gets to the age that technology bypasses it, or the hard components of the drill will wear out. As time goes by, a time will probably come when the resale value becomes diminished by cost of operation; when repair costs outpace productivity and efficiency. It is important to know when the life cycle of a drill is at its premium point — and when you should consider replacing it. The owner also needs to understand that after the drill peaks within its life cycle, the cost of operation may start to increase simply due to hours of use.

The longer service and maintenance issues are delayed, the greater the likelihood the drill will experience more serious, long-term problems. An effective way to avoid neglecting recommended service intervals is to secure a service or maintenance package with your local dealer.

In addition, many drills are now equipped with onboard diagnostic systems, such as Vermeer Fleet and Vermeer Fleet Edge, that monitor primary operating functions and help keep equipment operating at peak efficiency. Onboard diagnostics systems provide data for the owner to help protect their equipment investments, while also playing an integral role in maximizing drill performance. The ability to monitor operating functions also helps owners and operators extend the useful lifespan of the InSite Fleet-equipped equipment. 

These diagnostics and monitoring tools have the potential to improve and reduce cost of operation while protecting major drill components.


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