Almost 20 years ago, Ruben Encinas traveled from Mexico to buy a crane at an unreserved Ritchie Bros. auction in Arizona.
That first Ritchie Bros. auction purchase gave Ruben the idea for a new business venture – and gave his family a chance for a new life.
Ritchie Bros. has been very important to me and my family… Ritchie Bros. has changed our lives.
Every year, Ritchie Bros. mails more than ten million auction brochures to hundreds of thousands of customers around the world – including Ruben Encinas. What sets Ruben apart from most of those customers is the fact that, after poring over the brochures, he keeps them. All of them.
"Starting from the first Ritchie Bros. auction I attended in 1988, I collected brochures, pens, catalogs, hats: everything that had the Ritchie Bros. logo on it," says Ruben. "Why? Because Ritchie Bros. has been very important to me and my family. It has changed my business, my financial state, my lifestyle."
Ruben first heard about Ritchie Bros. in the late 1980s when he was operating an air conditioning business in Mexicali, Mexico. He needed a crane to move a large unit and – given that none were available locally – a friend suggested he attend a Ritchie Bros. auction just over the border in Phoenix, Arizona.
The auction was "an incredible experience," recalls Ruben. "I had never been to a place like that. There was so much equipment, and the prices were very fair."
Ruben purchased the crane he needed, later selling it to a fellow contractor in Mexicali. "I realized that buying and selling heavy equipment would be a good business pursuit," says Ruben. He became a regular at Ritchie Bros. auctions in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, buying cranes and other equipment that he could then re-sell locally.
Ruben has now bid at hundreds of Ritchie Bros. auctions – and built a successful business in the process. When he can't make it to the auction site, he bids online using rbauctionBid-Live.
"It has helped me participate in auctions that I'm not able to attend," he says, "but I like attending the auctions in person better."
Despite having access to many different sources of equipment, Ruben buys almost exclusively through Ritchie Bros. "I trust the people at Ritchie Bros.," he says. "I have 100 percent confidence in them. I know that the price I'm paying is the fair price, because the auction is unreserved and there are no buy backs. I have never had a problem with Ritchie Bros."
Over the years, Ruben's relationship with Ritchie Bros. deepened along with the growth of his collection of Ritchie Bros. memorabilia. One of his most treasured pieces: a Ritchie Bros. 35th anniversary hat that he was given by company founder Dave Ritchie. Ruben later gave the hat to his Ritchie Bros. representative. "Richard's a very, very good friend," he explains. "He's like my family." Ruben's three sons have joined him in business and can often be seen bidding by his side at the auctions. One even works part time at a Ritchie Bros. auction site. "Ritchie Bros. has changed our lives," says Ruben, "but I hope Ritchie Bros. never changes. I hope they will always be the same kind of people: honest, trustworthy, good."
Written and published: 2008