It's Not Used. It's Not New. It's Certified Used.

See what contractors in the Midwest and Northeast had to say about their experiences with John Deere Certified Used machines.

Featured in The Construction Review, September 2010

“Don’t go used—you’re just buying someone else’s problems,” Mother said. And back then, she was right. Enter the John Deere Certified Used equipment program for machines under five years old with less than 5,000 hours on their clocks, and a 100-point tech inspection. Add to that an ironclad unlimited-hour/90-day powertrain warranty—with up to one-year warranty coverage available—and it’s easy to see how times have changed since Mom was buying used backhoes.

Spotting a wide gap in the used-equipment marketplace, John Deere started working on the Certified Used program a few years back. The concept? Replace doubt with faith and a great warranty. We hit the highways and logging roads of the Midwest and the Northeast to see just what a fine value a contractor will find in a John Deere Certified Used machine.

On, Wisconsin

“We usually buy new,” says Mark Larson of BerMark Excavating, “but with the shaky economy, I was receptive to a good value, so I gave the Certified Used 310SG a try. It was such a great deal, I went Certified Used again with a 544J. The way Deere goes through these machines and stands behind them with an unlimited-hour warranty, I just don’t see how you can go wrong.”

In what would turn out to be a pattern with these customers, Mark could tell us little about what makes a used machine a Certified Used machine. Most customers can only tell us how: a) It’s a great machine; b) It’s a nice deal; and c) Deere is standing foursquare behind it.

To find out more about the behind-the-scenes skinny, we stopped by a Nortrax dealership in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

Before it can be certified…

Todd Gustafson knows the certification process and what it takes for a machine to even be considered for the program. “This isn’t about making a silk purse from a sow’s ear. A Certified Used piece of equipment has to be under five years old and have low hours on the meter. This program offers value to our customers because their machine has been thoroughly inspected by us. They know the John Deere name is on it. What’s more, they know my name is on it.”

Upstate New York

Winding through Adirondack Mountain roads past Lake Champlain, we head to the hamlet of Charlton, New York, where Kory Loukes of Odorless Sanitary Cleaners is digging up a septic tank with his Certified Used 80C Excavator. “We picked this up in June of 2009,” Loukes tells us, “and it’s worked out well for us. The fact that we got a warranty is just exceptional. It really made it a very sweet deal for us.”

Down the road and right on Lake Champlain is Todd Pigeon of Pigeon Brothers Excavating clearing a lot for an upscale home in his Certified Used 650J Crawler Dozer. “There’s only two of us, so we don’t really have time for downtime. We tried out other manufacturers but, with the Deere backing and warranty, it was the best deal for the buck. I’d buy another one in a heartbeat.”

Woodland creatures

Certified Used construction equipment proved so popular, the program was expanded deep into the forest. Judging from the loggers we spoke with, these Deere-pedigreed used machines are a hit in the woods. Or as Lyle Brundige of Monadnock Land Clearing in Greenville, New Hampshire, would say, “We bought a John Deere Certified Used 748H Skidder a little over a year ago. We work five days a week, 10 hours a day, and it’s always there for us.”

Then, before you can say “lobster bib,” we’re in Rogers, Maine, chatting with local logging legend and equipment manager for Gardner Companies Terry Davis. “We’re in road construction, wood harvesting, logging, and wood chipping. About a year and a half ago we demo’d an 848H John Deere Certified Used Skidder. The operator fell in love with it, so we tend to buy what the operator is happy with.”

After a long drive on a road our GPS claimed didn’t exist, we meet cheerful Northeasterner Troy McLeod and his 848H. “I feel like they bought me a present when they got that skidder for me. I’m happy to run it. New, used, certified—doesn’t matter to me. She’s a fine machine, that John Deere 848H.”

BerMark Excavating, Odorless Sanitary Cleaners, Pigeon Brothers Excavating, Monadnock Land Clearing, and Gardner Companies are serviced by Nortrax Midwest and Nortrax Northeast.

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