Most everyone is familiar with the old adage when selling real estate that it’s “Location, location, location” that helps you get the most money out of your property when you are ready to sell. It’s similar when selling your farm, construction or trucking equipment except we would suggest it’s “Presentation, presentation, presentation”.
Many of us that are in the auction industry have gone to auctions where the auctioneer tells everyone “That’s a clean little tractor”.. or truck, or baler, or whatever. When that’s true, the equipment always seems to sell for a premium. It’s not hard to figure out why as the presentation of the equipment, or how the equipment looks on auction day, is a representation of how it was cared for and maintained. If there are oil leaks everywhere or the seat is torn or the glass is broken, it gives the appearance that the owner may have been remiss in not properly maintaining their equipment. As such, buyers are somewhat leery of bidding because, as we all know, deferred maintenance in one aspect, such as a broken window, implies deferred maintenance in another aspect, like keeping the oil changed or bearings greased. And while replacing a window is easy and it’s typically a one-time expense, deferred maintenance of an engine or a drivetrain can be a never-ending series of constant repairs. Nobody wants that!
Now, we want to be clear on this point, cleaning up your equipment and making it look its best for auction day is one thing. Being dishonest and misrepresenting equipment is another. We are all in favor of the first and we want all of our clients as well as ourselves to avoid the latter.
As such, my advice to any seller, whether they choose to utilize our professional, nationwide auction service or choose to go another route with selling their equipment, is to get your equipment looking as good as possible. Power-washing the exterior and taking an hour or two to clean out the interior of your trucks, tractors and construction equipment can go miles in getting just a few more bids at auction. And those few bids can typically amount to significant dollars in the seller’s pocket!
Maximize Your Revenue
Below we have prepared a list of suggestions that we offer to all of our customers on how to help us get the most for their equipment with our auction services:
- Clean the equipment – inside and out. As we mentioned earlier, clean up oil and grease leaks with a power washer or steam cleaner. Take an hour or two and wipe down the inside of the cab, paying special attention to cleaning up the gauges so that potential buyers can see the engine temperature or the oil pressure when the unit is running. Clean oil and grease off of the steering wheel or any other operator functions to give it the best appearance possible. Sweep out cab floors so that dirt and mud are not present at the time of pictures.
- Fix the small things that look big. A torn seat or broken window typically can be an easy and inexpensive fix and can add significant value to a potential buyer. Many times we find ourselves too busy to worry with these types of issues when we are using the equipment ourselves but potential buyers notice these things. Cab kits on tractors are often times a good investment. If time is short, sometimes hiring a professional detailing service to clean out the equipment before pictures are taken at the time of listing is a good investment. If we have a $70,000 tractor or combine or truck, spending $250 for a professional cleaning of the cab often returns much more money to the seller on auction day.
- Let’s be clear. We’re talking about the setting for the pictures. Move the equipment to an open and unobstructed area, preferably either in a gravel or grassy area with no weeds or trees. Keep in mind that when we prepare online listings for equipment, we are not only performing the listing service for the seller, but we are also doing our best to complete a thorough inspection of the equipment for the buyer since most online buyers are a long distance away and it isn’t feasible for them to physically inspect the equipment themselves. The less obstructions we have in the pictures (weeds, trees, other equipment), the better the online buyers can see what they are buying. Plus, it just looks better! If you see an item that was parked over by the fence row and has weeds taller than the equipment, that’s a telltale sign that the equipment hasn't been moved or used in years. While that may be the case, there’s no need to put that on display for the entire auction world to see! As we pointed out above and in our final point below, we absolutely do not promote or encourage dishonesty, we want to get the most money for our seller in the most honest way possible which leads us to…..
- Be honest! Nothing is more frustrating than going to an auction and buying an item that was represented as being “field-ready” and finding out that it was anything but that. When we list our equipment, we ask each consignor if there are any known issues with the equipment. Does the air conditioner work, what areas of the unit may a potential buyer want to focus on for repairs, have there been any persistent or nagging issues that they have been unable to fix? Integrity is the most important part of the auction business – if we represent an item as “good” we want to make sure it is! And if we know there is any issue with an item, we want to point it out to any potential buyers, even though the disclosure of such a defect may cost the seller money in the form of fewer bids. We would rather turn down potential business than list equipment in a dishonest manner.
These are our suggestions for any seller to maximize their revenue from their equipment sales. There may be additional tips and this list is always a “work in progress” that we may add to from time to time but it is a great checklist for any seller to utilize. We believe our auction process offers maximum exposure to the most qualified buyers to get you the most money for your equipment. Give Flowers Auction Service, LLC a call today and let us work for you!