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Tractor Buying Tips- ABI Dirt

Buying a new (or new to you) tractor is a thrill! So many options. So many specifications to compare. So many friends giving you their opinions.

With all the fun things to think through when shopping for a compact tractor for your property, ranch, or business, it’s easy to skip over two not-so-fun topics: constraints and unknowns.

In today’s episode of the ABI Dirt, Matt tackles these slippery subjects and helps you think through some things you should consider when buying a new or used compact tractor.

Transcript:

Hi everyone, Matt here with ABI Attachments. Welcome back to another episode of the “ABI Dirt.” Typically here in the Dirt, we talk about attachments. We talk about what attachments can do on your property, and the problems you’ve got on your property, and the attachments that could potentially solve them. Today however, I’m gonna talk about tractors. So a lot of you, when you reach out to us, and you’re looking at this attachment and you’re saying, “Hey, this is great. But ah, man, do I need a different tractor? Do I have the right tractor? Is my tractor strong enough, big enough, fancy enough looking, the right color?” Whatever it is, and that’s a great question.

And there are a lot of different factors that go into having the right tractor for the right job, but I’m actually gonna spend the next couple of episodes talking about those factors. But for today, I wanna talk about it’s like the unfun stuff of buying a tractor. ‘Cause then just a lot of fun about like, oh how big a tractor and how strong a tractor and how fast a tractor and mean-looking one I can get. But there’s two things that nobody likes talking about, and that’s what we’re gonna tackle today.

Constraints to Your Tractor Options

Of all the really fun things to talk about when it comes to buying a tractor, and there are a lot of fun things to look at and especially if you’re getting something that’s either new or new to you, something that’s not very fun to talk about is constraints. And no one likes to talk about the things that are kind of holding them back or blocking them. But that’s actually really important thing to consider when you are looking at a new tractor or new tow vehicle.

So when I mean constraints, what are some of the limitations that you are facing? Do you have any gates that you have to drive through? Do you have any doorways that you have to go into? Do you have vertical constraints? Are you pulling into a barn? Are you pulling into a garage? Do you have doorways that are narrow enough that you have to be mindful of how big of a tractor you are looking at.

In that same vein, do you ever take your tractor off-site or do you ever plan to? Well now you’re talking about how big of a trailer do you have? How big of truck do you have to pull that trailer? What are weight constraints that you’ve got on both truck and trailer? And you gotta be mindful of that when you’re taking a look at your next tractor or your next tow vehicle. Another constraint that you might not consider immediately is your operator constraints. Who’s driving this tractor? Because I mean, there’s a lot of you out there that have no problem jumping on like a 1960s model Ford. Some others of you maybe have never done that before. So depending on what kind of tractor you’ve got and what kind of operators you have on your property, who do you want to be able to run this thing?

Either plan on spending some time in training or maybe just knuckle under that that’s a constraint you’re facing.

The last constraint to consider is what attachments do you already have? So when you’re thinking about the work that you’re doing on the property, the attachments that you’ve got on the property, the things you use either day in day out, or week in week out, can you use those things with your new tractor? And unfortunately, we get this call often and it’s a painful one to get, that somebody’s calling up and they’re saying, “I was so excited to get my new tractor. I was excited about this upgrade, and somebody down the road was selling it and I picked it up at a sale. And I brought it home and it doesn’t fit my,” fill in the blank. Well, that’s a nasty pain in the rear. So just make sure to be thinking about what attachments do you use all the time? What attachments do you want to use in the future? And make sure that the tractor you’re looking at or upgrading to or new to you will fit that.

Tractor Use Unknowns to Consider and Anticipate

The second not fun thing to think about when thinking about a tractor or a tow vehicle, is the unknown. What I mean is what do you want to be doing in the future that you don’t know about yet? But you should take into consideration when looking at your tractor or tow vehicle, because if you’ve got property, if you’ve got animals, if you’ve got a business and you’re using your tractor or tow vehicles for contractor purposes, whatever you’ve got going on, it’s probably not gonna stay the way it is forever, right? Maybe you’re looking to downgrade. Maybe you’re looking for somebody in the family to step up and take on more of the operations. I know I’d always love my son to do more work around the property.

Maybe you’re looking to expand. Maybe you’ve got additional property in mind. Maybe you’re looking for additional operations or more cattle or more horses or whatever it is. What is coming up in the future that you should take into consideration now when looking at your tow vehicle purchase? And that’s what some folks get caught in, actually, is the trap of, “right now, the issue is potholes in my driveway. Right now the issue is my arena is just not the way I want it to be. Right now I need this thing.” And then you stop by a dealership and I love dealerships, they’re very exciting, but they also are so exciting that you want to like buy the thing that’s right there, and there’s a discount on it today. But that causes you sometimes to forget about this whole list of other things that you could be doing in the future. If you had a tow vehicle that was fit for not just the right now urgent problem and solution, but for future operations as well.

So here’s a tip to tackle that unknown. And this is not something to do at the end of the day when you’re worn out. It’s probably also not ideal at the very beginning of the day when all you’re thinking about is the to-do list. Take a time when you’re chilled a little bit. Take a Saturday morning or a Sunday afternoon. Walk the property, think through your operation, think through what you’ve got going on, and allow yourself the time and space to just dream a little bit.

Yeah, this is the way it is now, but what could it be? Write it down. Write down not just the projects and the problems you’ve got on hand for the moment, but also the things that you maybe could someday like to accomplish. Put that list together. And now when you go to look at that next tractor, that next tow vehicle you can consider both the constraints you’re currently facing as well as the unknowns that you’re hoping to tackle someday.

That’s all I’ve got for today, everyone. I hope that was helpful. I know, like I said, they’re not like fun things to think about when it comes to looking at a next tractor or next tow vehicle. There are a lot of really fun exciting things to think about. Those, not so much. But they’re super important when it comes to actually getting something that is beneficial to you and helpful to have around the property. And remember, like I said, in the next coming weeks we’re gonna spend some time looking at specific components on tractors and giving you more things to think about of actual technical specifications of what you may need or what you may not need on your property to get the work done that you’ve got to get done. So if you haven’t yet, subscribe to the channel and we’ll see you next time.

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