If you are wondering how to buy heavy equipment at auctions, whether it’s for agriculture or if it’s a construction machinery, you’ll find useful this guide.
Buying heavy equipment at auctions can be a great way to get needed equipment at fair value.
However, don’t bid at an auction without doing the proper research first. Here are tips for heavy equipment buyers at auctions.
First, you need to find a heavy equipment auction scheduled to take place in the near future. Start with searching auctions that are close to you, since it will cost less to ship the equipment to you. Get a free instant quote for your load, here.
You also need to make sure that the timing of the auction is compatible with your preferred equipment acquisition timeline. Heavy equipment auctions from a single auction company take place months apart.
If you need equipment in a relatively short timeline, some auction companies won’t be an option. For the shortest auction sale turnaround, consider digital auctions.
Digital auctions can function in the same manner as physical auctions but in a digital space; an item gets posted at an online auction for weeks, so people can peruse and research them. Bids are collected live on a scheduled date, so you must be present (online) at that specific time to bid on that machine.
Other digital auctions use less traditional sales methods, such as posting a machine for short time, such as a two-week period. Bids are collected during the entire period the equipment is posted and the sale goes to the highest bidder at the end of the period.
Once you have found an auction, look up or ask for the auction company’s equipment list / catalogue. Weeks ahead of a physical auction, auction companies publish a list or catalogue of equipment that will go up for auction. Read the list / catalogue to find heavy equipment of interest to you.
Have a machine head
Once you’ve identified heavy equipment of interest to you, research as much about them. You want to learn as much as possible about that specific machine, as well as that model machine and its manufacturer.
Finding out machine-specific information is often more important than finding out general model and manufacturer information but is often more difficult to do when purchasing equipment at an auction.
Auction companies publish limited data about the machine’s condition and history. Unlike purchasing direct from the seller, you can’t ask for more information about the machine than is provided by the auction company.
Oftentimes any remaining warranty information will be published. This can be an important factor when you buy heavy equipment at auctions, whether it’s new or used.
The most important information you want to glean from the machine’s description is its age, odometer reading, an oil sample analysis, any mention of major damages or repairs, and any customizations or alterations. In photos of the machine, you will need to look for signs of excess wear, bends, dents and alterations.
In North America, you can also verify that the machine isn’t stolen and that there are no outstanding ownership claims on that machine at the National Equipment Register.
Unless you are considering a machine from an obscure and foreign manufacturer, you can, however, do a lot of research on the model and the manufacturer. Several reputable websites provide information about farm equipment manufacturers and construction equipment manufacturers. You can also read reviews of equipment by end-users.
Also considering asking relevant people in your network what they know about the equipment you are considering.
The more you can find out before the auction, the more information you’ll have to when it comes time to bid. Remember, buying heavy equipment at auctions is a great way to get the equipment you need at a far price.
Price it out
You have to know what a machine is worth before you make any bids. This is a very important step in your way to understanding how to buy heavy equipment at auctions.
Defining how much a machine is worth can be a lot of work. There are a lot of variables.
Same model machines from the same year can vary widely on price based on the features on each machine and how each machine was operated and maintained. Even the application in which the machine was employed can have a big effect on price.
When considering heavy equipment at an auction, ask yourself: “Has this auction company, or another auction company, sold the same model or a similar machine in the recent past? If so, for how much?”
Auction companies often publicize sales prices of equipment from previous auctions. Compare similar machines to the machine you’re interested in purchasing.
Also consider when and where these comparative models were sold. Both the time of year and the location of the auction influence price.
Knowing the sales price of the machine when sold new is also a useful marker for determining whether the price being asked at the auction is fair price.
Set a maximum budget and be firm in it.
The psychology of auctions can make your head spin and you may later end up regretting a purchase decision if you let your emotions get the better of you when it comes to bidding.
Get your hands dirty
It’s best to not rely on just the machine description and photos, because there’s a lot that can be ascertained about a machine by performing an in-person machine walkaround.
No matter what type of machine you want to buy, you should have a machine inspection checklist. This will help you organize your findings and compare the different machines you are considering.
If you’re not a trained mechanic, you should bring a trained mechanic with you. Mechanics have an eye for identifying what is wrong with a machine and what is required to repair it.
Equipment that needs repair isn’t necessarily a bad purchase. A used tractor or excavator that needs a new undercarriage, can be a good purchase if the cost accurately discounts the cost and trouble of replacing the undercarriage.
If you find equipment you wish to purchase, register for the auction. You can’t bid at the auction unless you pre-register.
When you’re ready to buy heavy equipment at an auction, find out from the auction company the rules for that auction.
Don’t assume the rules just because you’ve been to a few auctions.
Different auction companies run their auctions a little differently from one another, and you don’t want to miss out on a bidding opportunity or be asked to pay for equipment you didn’t mean to bid on.
Set up financing ahead of time, so there are no financial issues when paying for the equipment you just bought. Financing can sometimes be done directly through the auction company. Or, you can ask your financial institution.
Bring it home
When you buy farm equipment or construction equipment at an auction, ask the auction company what their rules are for equipment pickup.
Some auction companies will only release the equipment if you (or the hauler you hired) are insured to handle and transport equipment for a minimum (and large) amount of money.
Many auction companies start charging a fee for equipment not claimed from the auction site after so many days after the completion of the auction.
Remember to consider all the factors we just explained prior to booking a shipping company.
Learning how to buy heavy equipment at auctions can be tricky. And unless you have your own truck and trailer capable of hauling the equipment you just purchased, you will need to hire someone to haul your equipment.
If you don’t have a regular hauler—or, if you want to look for lower-priced hauls—go to TrustedDispatch.com (or download their app) and post your load there.
Getting quotes is quick and easy with their patented software, which calculates quotes instantly, once the details are entered.
Combined with the company’s Machine Spec tool, which automatically fills in a machine’s specifications, the entire process is very user-friendly.
The platform’s truck driver user rating system boosts great drivers and discourages mediocre drivers. Plus, the company’s strategy of reaching haulers on their return trip provides significant savings to the shipper. Learn more at Trusted Dispatch’s website.