A look at this highly popular – and easy – method of buying.
When it comes to shopping for used heavy equipment, trucks and other industrial assets, many buyers limit themselves to buying channels that they're comfortable and/or familiar with: private sellers or dealers and brokers.
But there are other popular channels buyers can take advantage of – live onsite auctions, online auctions, equipment listing websites, and online marketplaces – that offer a huge breadth of equipment and ways to communicate with sellers & transact safely. Ultimately though, which buying method you choose should be based on your buying needs: price, selection, speed, services and more.
Auctions often answer all those needs, and it's why tens of thousands of people around the world purchase heavy equipment via this channel each year. Here's a look at ten reasons to consider auctions when buying used equipment.
1. Huge selection of equipment from all the major brands.
Unlike dealers, auction companies are not limited to one brand or manufacturer. They offer a neutral ground where there is no bias towards any one maker, so buyers can truly compare and weigh the pros and cons of each machine.
2. Convenient locations.
To ensure you can compare different brands, auction sites have equipment yards with machines well-organized by category for inspection. Where possible, their yards are located near major highways, airports, and shipping ports to make access and transport as easy as possible. If there isn't an auction site close to you, the online auction route will help buyers zero in on equipment selling closer to home.
3. No pressure – test, inspect, and "kick the tires".
Reputable auction companies let buyers compare, test, and inspect equipment in person (or have a mechanic or expert do it for them) at their convenience, with no obligations or pressure, so you can buy with confidence.
If equipment is being sold online and isn't located at a physical auction site, reputable auction companies offer industry-recognized equipment condition certification by professional inspectors, allowing you to buy "sight unseen" knowing that what you see in the inspection report is what you get when you receive the equipment. They will also manage any dispute resolutions if a buyer isn't satisfied.
4. Maintenance records available.
Auction companies know transparency and honesty are good for business, and will also make equipment service records and maintenance logs available to prospective buyers. If they're unable to provide these, they can put buyers in touch with sellers to access this information and find out more about a machine's history.
5. Choice of pricing models.
One of the biggest advantages of auctions – whether live onsite or online (or both) – is the variety of pricing models available to buyers: unreserved, reserved, make offers (negotiate a price). This offers more flexibility and transparency when it comes to price, and buyers aren't restricted to the sticker price set by a business. Many online equipment marketplaces also offer a ‘buy now' option (a fixed price set by a seller).
6. Convenient bidding options.
Many buyers assume that they have to be physically present at an auction in order to bid, but that's no longer the case. Live onsite auctions are still a highly popular event with crowds of people bidding onsite, but auction companies know full well that buyers are busy and can't always attend in person. So they offer a variety of other bidding options including live online bidding, online pre-bidding (where bidders set a max bid and let the system bid for them), proxy bidding, and bidding via mobile apps.
7. Financing and leasing.
If you're working with a fixed budget and want to give yourself some breathing room, most auction companies offer flexible financing and leasing options. And unlike banks, which likely don't understand the value of equipment, may not offer financing, or require full details of items you haven't bought yet, equipment auction companies can pre-approve you for 100% financing and tailor plans based on your business needs.
8. Other convenient buyer services.
Auction companies have evolved way beyond just a place to efficiently buy and sell. Most now offer a whole suite of other services to help buyers get the equipment they need including transport & logistics services, warranties, insurance, refurbishing, and more.
9. Clear title.
To make sure you're able to put your purchases to work, reputable auction companies also do the homework for you to ensure clear title. They'll identify and arrange for the release of any liens or encumbrances on the equipment, ensuring your ownership cannot be contested. If they can't deliver clear title, they will offer the buyer a full refund of the purchase price.
10. A one-stop shop.
Another advantage of buying at an auction – variety of equipment types. Chances are your business employs more than just one kind of machine, and requires not just heavy equipment but support and ancillary equipment like trailers, pickup trucks, attachments, and more. You'll also find these in plentiful supply at auctions.
Looking for used heavy equipment and trucks? Find out how easy it is to buy at Ritchie Bros. and IronPlanet.