If you want to get a good deal buying heavy equipment at auction, doing your homework – hours of homework – is essential. Things happen fast at these auctions and you can miss out on great opportunities or overplay your hand if you’re not ready. Here are some tips:
- Identify your needs. Make a list or spreadsheet of specific machines you want to add to your fleet. If they’re essential machines, you’ll want low-hour, good-condition machines. For a backup or lightly used machine, you might find value in an older, less expensive model.
- Determine a good price range for these machines. You can use pricing guides like Randall-Reilly’s TopBid product and some auction companies keep their own databases you can research. (Note: Equipment World is produced by Randall-Reilly.)
- If possible, inspect the machine beforehand to determine its condition.
- Get your ducks in a row. Register with the auction company. Have financing available or credit with the auction company. Have your insurance company phone number handy so your purchases will be covered immediately. Develop a plan for transportation so you can ship the machine to your place of business.
- If you’re at a live auction, keep your phone handy so if something unexpected shows up you can do some quick research.
- Investigate online opportunities. Many of the major auction houses now have some sort of online bidding process. You can save a lot of time and see a lot more equipment this way, especially if the auctioneers offer alerts and other useful online services.
- Whether attending a live or online auction, stick to your plan. Don’t be drawn into a bidding war. There is more used equipment being sold at auction today than ever before, so additional opportunities will arise.
More Maintenance/Management tips from “How to Do Everything Better”