Everything You Need to Know About Purchasing and Hauling Heavy Equipment from Auction

auction for construction equipment

Written by Trusted Dispatch

March 22, 2023

Auctions are a great venue from which to purchase used heavy machinery. They offer a wide range of equipment across several industries, including construction, agriculture, mining, and forestry. 

Purchasing Heavy Equipment at an Auction

When you are looking to buy used equipment from an auction, it is important to understand your options. 

Online or In-Person Auctions

When you attend an in-person auction, you have the advantage of being able to assess the condition of the machinery yourself. While this is ideal when an auction is held close to your local area, remote locations will incur travel and accommodation costs. 

With so many online auctions taking place across North America, there are probably several equipment options you can research at any given time. Online auctions are convenient as you can bid on equipment from your office, on the job at a job site, or even from home.

Auction Companies

Some of the more popular auction companies where you can bid for heavy equipment include Team Auctions, Weaver Auctions, Michener Allen, Municibid, and Ritchie Bros. They all sell a variety of heavy machinery and hold online auctions for convenient bidding. 

Bidding Techniques

Live Bidding

Most people are familiar with the live bidding process that involves offering a higher price than the one previously offered to win the bid. When you attend an in-person event, this process is exciting and very fast-paced. It is easy to get carried away and find yourself caught up in a bidding frenzy. Under these circumstances, you may bid more than you anticipated, so keep your budgetary limit in mind and stick to it. 

Timed Auction 

With a timed auction, bids are collected for a specified period of time. You may have a one or two-week window to place your bid, and whoever places the highest bid wins. 

Do Your Research

Most auction companies post their auction items several weeks before the bidding date so you can research the online market to find the best deal. 

Auction sites will typically offer basic information about the machine, including its specs, serial number, age, odometer reading, and information about damage, repairs, and alterations. They also provide multiple photographs of the outside of the vehicle, the inside of the cab, the engine, and other features. 

Some sellers pay for a machine inspection report to present to prospective buyers. Alternatively, you may be able to hire a professional to inspect the machine so you can better determine its value. You should also check the National Equipment Register to ensure that the machine you are bidding on has no outstanding ownership claims.

When researching your equipment, it is best to find a few options at different auction sites and compare their value. While a newer machine may be more expensive, it might be a worthwhile investment as it is less likely to need repairs in the short term. 

Set Your Budget

Include any transport costs for your machine. Use the Trusted Dispatch free quote tool to determine the costs of transporting your equipment from the auction site to its destination.

  1. Enter the pick-up location
  2. Enter the drop-off destination
  3. Enter your machine specs

The specs are not always available in the machine listing, so use our powerful Specs Tool to find the information you need. Simply enter the make and model to access the weight and size dimensions of your machine. 

Once you get your shipping quote, factor this into the machine costs to set your overall budget.

Pre-Register For Your Auctions

Once you have selected the items you would like to bid on, you must pre-register to participate in the bidding process. The various auction houses conduct their auctions differently, so find out the rules before you bid. 

Auction Site Equipment Rules

If all goes well and you win your bid, you will need to arrange transportation for your equipment. Most auction houses offer a grace period of several days where they will hold your equipment after you win your bid. 

Also, bear in mind that some auction houses will only release the equipment if your heavy haul driver can provide adequate documentation about the insurance coverage they have. 

Used Equipment Marketplaces

While online auctions are a great way to secure a good deal on used equipment, they have a few drawbacks:

Auction Drawback #1

You can’t secure your equipment immediately. This could be a problem if your equipment breaks down and you need to replace it quickly. Many auctions are set several weeks in advance, so you have to wait for the auction date. 

Auction Drawback #2

Winning your bid is not guaranteed. You will be expected to raise your bid several times to outbid an opponent. However, this is not advised if you’re at risk of going over budget and overpaying for your machine. 

In situations where your budget is fixed, limited, or you can’t plan ahead of time, it might be better to buy your equipment from a used equipment marketplace rather than bid for it. 

AgDealer, Autotrader, and Farmzilla offer an array of used farming and agricultural machinery sold by private sellers. If you are looking for used construction and mining equipment, look at Wajax for machinery within Canada and MachineFinder for an assortment of used heavy equipment in the United States. 

How to Transport Your Heavy Equipment 

When arranging transport for your new equipment purchase, you’ll want to look for an experienced professional heavy haul driver. Heavy haul drivers regularly deal with heavy-duty loads and have the knowledge and experience to deliver your machinery safely to you. 

Things to Consider When Transporting Your Heavy Load

With loads that exceed legal limits, you may need to secure oversized load transportation. Your professional driver is equipped with the knowledge to transport your equipment safely to its destination and will follow the appropriate rules and regulations.

Permits for Travel

Oversized transportation requirements include obtaining permits from the province or state your equipment may be transported through. Rules vary from one jurisdiction to the next, so drivers must adhere to the rules to avoid heavy fines and penalties. 

Type of Trailer

There is an assortment of trailers that can be used to ship heavy machinery. A step deck trailer may be appropriate for larger loads, and removable gooseneck trailers with additional axles are ideal for transporting heavier weights.

Chains and Straps for Securement

Heavy machinery must be secured to the trailer following specific guidelines: 

  • Tie-down points are usually located at the four corners of the machine, with additional securement required for larger, heavier machines. 
  • Chains come in different grades, which are designed to hold variable weights. 
  • Adjustable straps are often compulsory because they allow a driver to secure the cargo during transit, as chains can stretch. Drivers must also stop and check the load securement after travelling a certain distance. 


Red flags attached to the truck warn surrounding drivers of an oversized load. In addition, some jurisdictions may require oversized load signage to be displayed on the front of the cab and the back of the load. 

Escort vehicles 

Escort vehicles are commonly used for wide loads and exceptionally long loads, such as steel beams. Depending on the size of the load and the hazard it poses to surrounding vehicles, the load may require an escort in front and behind the load. The truck driver stays in close contact with the pilot car drivers for the duration of the journey; they can advise the heavy haul driver of any oncoming hazards or other problems that may impede travel. 

Rules of the Road

When travelling on provincial and state roads, drivers must conform to local regulations. Rules vary from state to state, so a driver must know the expectations or face harsh penalties and fines.

  • Bridges and certain roads may have weight limits.
  • There may be restrictions on travel at certain times of the day.
  • Drivers must be aware of narrow tunnels and overpasses that may be damaged when travelling with an oversized load. 

Is Your Equipment Travelling Across the Border?

If your equipment needs to be transported from an auction across international borders, you must provide several documents at the customs office. These include: 

  • Bill of Exchange (BOE)
  • Bill of Lading (BOL)   
  • Proof of Delivery (POD)
  • Commercial Invoice (shipping from Canada to the USA)
  • Canada Customs Invoice (Shipping between the USA to Canada)
  • Certificate of Origin

In these situations, it is recommended to hire a customs broker. They have in-depth knowledge of customs requirements, so they can streamline the process to make passage easier for the driver and your shipment. This also helps to ensure that you can avoid unnecessary delays due to incomplete or missing paperwork. 

Benefits of Hiring a Heavy Haul Driver

Skill and experience count a lot when hauling heavy machinery. A professional heavy haul driver: 

  • Has the skill to handle heavy machinery
  • Knows how to load and unload heavy machinery safely 
  • Understands how to secure the shipment to the trailer properly
  • Has experience driving in different weather conditions
  • Understands procedures for crossing international borders 

These abilities are important to safeguard your machine and protect the driver and the public who share the road.

Use A Load Board to Secure a Professional Driver

Load boards provide a quick and convenient way to secure a professional heavy haul driver;

they are more economical than hiring a freight broker or approaching a heavy haul owner-operator directly. 

To get started, use our Trusted Dispatch app. Enter the pick-up location, the drop-off destination, and the vehicle specs. You’ll need the weight and size dimensions, so use our Specs Tool if you are unsure of the specs. 

Once you receive your instant free quote, post your load to the load board to connect with a driver. Most loads are picked up within 24 to 48 hours, so check your email or the Trusted Dispatch app for a response.   

Tips to Prepare Your Equipment For Shipping

Communicate With Your Driver

When a driver accepts your load, you will receive their contact information and can connect with them directly. It is essential to communicate and confirm their arrival before the pick-up date. You should also stay in contact during transit so that the driver can advise you of any potential delays along the way. Your driver will give you an estimated arrival date but traffic congestion, inclement weather, or border delays may affect the shipment.

Prepare the Equipment

While equipment purchased at an auction is usually already clean and ready for transport, it is important that the machine is inspected for damage before delivery. Photos of the machine available on the auction site are usually a good indicator of its condition. Make a note of any dents and scrapes you were aware of before shipping to better assess the machine and any new damage that may have occurred during transit. 

Loading and Unloading Requirements

Your driver will need an even surface to load the equipment onto the trailer safely. Ensure the space is wide enough to accommodate the truck, the trailer, and the equipment. The same conditions must be provided when dropping off the machine. 

Contact Trusted Dispatch for All Your Large Load Trucking Needs

At Trusted Dispatch, we have all of your heavy haul shipping needs covered. Our drivers are vetted for professionalism, and they are fully cargo-insured, so you can rest assured that your equipment is protected at all times. 

Our network of drivers is located across Canada and the U.S., so there are no limits on where you can purchase your equipment. Simply check out the online auctions, do your research, and find the best equipment to suit your needs. We will deliver it safely to your door. 

Have Questions? We Can Answer Them

If you have any questions, contact our customer service representatives during regular business hours. You can talk directly to an agent on the phone or use our chat app for an immediate response. Outside regular business hours, email us. 
We look forward to helping you arrange your next shipment. Get started with your instant free quote.

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