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Posted on 11/19/2018 in Guide & Tips

How to Prepare for Heavy Equipment Auctions

Heavy equipment auctions are the perfect place to find great deals on heavy machinery like compactors, drills, cranes, excavators and lifts among a wide array of large construction equipment available in the market. Depending on your requirement, there is no need of buying brand new machinery if there are available used models that can still do the job and at a much lower price. Used construction equipment that is up for auction is the key to growing your business. Apart from bargain deals, there is always the opportunity of finding additional equipment for your business without having to pay a hefty price.



Even with the considerable selections of used heavy equipment for sale, and the economic benefits of buying second hand machinery, some people still back off from this money-saving alternative. They are afraid that the risk may prevail over the reward. However, with a bit of extra effort on your part, you can avoid the common pitfalls often associated with buying second hand machinery from heavy equipment auctions.


How To Succeed In Heavy Equipment Auctions

Buy used heavy equipment from a reliable seller – when you are looking at auctions for used heavy equipment for sale, you may want to spend a few minutes of your time reading reviews and testimonials about different online or land-based auction houses. This will give you a perspective on whether you are buying from a reliable seller because heavy equipment does not come cheap. You have to be sure of your investment. To do this, you can check the following:


  • Company Records – a company record will show you the history of the business and its customer base. If a particular auction house is publicly traded, you should be able to furnish a copy of their financial reports because they are required to publish it. This will allow you to determine the company’s stability and their ethics in doing business.


  • Customer Reviews and Testimonials – these often show if other buyers are willing to recommend the seller. Because there are lots of heavy equipment on sale in the market, it is a lot easier to buy heavy machinery with a lot of issues than finding a good one.


Do a little research – doing a little background check before purchasing is a wise move. Buying heavy construction equipment is complicated in its own way because of a lot of factors that are often involved in the selling process. This is why it is important to make sure that the seller is legitimate and has the authority to handle the sale of the equipment. Because you are buying from an auction, there are a lot of things you do not know about the equipment - whether it is stolen or has outstanding liens.


Even if you are buying from heavy equipment auctions, you still reserve the right to ask questions such as whether the seller is the owner of the equipment. If the auctioneer is not able to confirm this, you can do your own check just to make sure. If the auction is a private sale, you can still ask the seller to give all the equipment’s original pertinent papers and check if the information matches. If you want to check on the ownership, you can use the serial number or the vehicle’s VIN. This step is to ensure that you are not buying stolen equipment with standing legal disputes.


Confirm the equipment has clear title - if you erroneously bought heavy equipment from an auction that has no clear title or has an applied lien such as when the seller failed to pay in full the money borrowed from a bank to purchase the machinery, you may be legally required to surrender ownership to the lending company.


Do a detailed inspection – the heavy equipment you are planning to buy will be your investment so make sure that you have a valuable investment. Before deciding to bid, make sure you have inspected the equipment and determined that it will be a good buy if you win the bid. Majority of heavy equipment listed at auctions are sold as they are. If the auction house does not allow testing of the machinery, make certain that you do a detailed inspection. If your knowledge about heavy machinery is limited, you can bring a qualified mechanic to do the inspection for you. They can expertly establish the physical and functional condition of the equipment.


If you are bidding on online-based live auctions, make sure that the auction site provides you with detailed information and photos of the equipment being auctioned.


Examine all the details carefully and do not be afraid to ask your questions via email so that the seller can provide you with additional information. You can also ask the seller for additional photos from different perspectives so you can have a clear visual grasp of what you are buying. Do not forget to ask for maintenance records and repair documentation because this will help you to better understand the history of the machine.


Tips for Bidding At Heavy Equipment Auctions

Bidding at heavy equipment auctions is often done with a simple nod or wave or catalog. When the auctioneer sees it, they instantly refer to it as a bid. That is why it is very important to be careful with your personal expressions because it can jeopardize your bidding particularly when you are at a public auction. So before you start your bidding, consider these tips about successfully bidding on a heavy construction equipment auction.


How to Bid in an Auction


  • Make your presence known - when you are already deep in the bidding process, do not forget to maintain eye contact and establish your identity with the auctioneer. Whether the person is standing or walking from place to place, make sure you know how to catch the auctioneer’s attention so that when you need to place your bid on a particular lot, the auctioneer is already aware of your presence and your desire to join the bidding. This in turn will make the auctioneer to easily recognize your bid.


  • Maintain your connection – even if the bidding is already halfway but you still want to continue, make sure you stay connected with either the auctioneer or the ringman that helps accept the bids from participants that cannot be seen by the auctioneer. Maintain your connection either by making a gesture that indicates a bid or just by raising your bidding catalog.


  • Timing is the key – there is no definite strategy on when exactly to enter a bid. This is because there are lots of factors involved that can narrow your chances of winning like making an offer too late or bidding too early. When heavy equipment auctions are teeming with potential bidders, the best time to make a bid is about midway. This gives you enough time to follow the process and be familiar with the exchanges before deciding whether to pursue your bidding or quit early for the next lot. In some instances, where you are not sure about the unit, it is practical not to join from the start particularly if a huge number of potential bidders have shown their interest on the same used construction equipment.


  • Quitting at the right time – more often than not, participants of heavy equipment auctions are usually pressured to continue bidding every time the auctioneer looks at them even when the maximum budget has been reached. If you can no longer sustain your bidding, a simple head shake that indicates you are quitting can signal the auctioneer that you are dropping out and no longer want to participate in the bidding. When you have reached your bidding limit, quit.


  • Be quick, be clever – almost every case of heavy equipment auctions requires you to be sharp and make a quick decision. Bidding at auction houses can move at a very fast pace and there is only a small amount of time for making spontaneous decisions. Knowing in advance the level of interest of participants in a particular piece of heavy equipment including the allowed budget to spend will help make spontaneous bidding a lot easier and precise. It is unlikely for an auctioneer to halt the bidding process just so you can make a decision on whether to continue or to drop out.


  • Be familiar with the trends on heavy equipment – even before you join an auction for heavy equipment, it will greatly help you if you take some time getting yourself familiar with the current trends in heavy equipment. For example, when it comes to developments in the utility construction market, there has been a change in partiality between mini excavators and conventional rubber tired backhoes. Because of this trend, there are more mini excavators being produced and more of the same equipment are coming to auction.


With business owners, particularly contractors, acquiring more projects in different sectors while others are experiencing sluggish growth, the auction market for heavy equipment is anticipated to remain busy and fully occupied. Used construction equipment definitely has its benefits and buyers are starting to take notice of this opportunity. As the internet continues to evolve, online heavy equipment auctions will also continue to gain popularity. Surplus of supplies at auctions should trend up as potential buyers look to improve their existing fleets. This makes auction sites a great source, regardless of the size of the company, to upgrade their inventory and purchase additional heavy equipment at affordable prices. And while there are a lot of things to consider when buying heavy equipment from these auctions, planning ahead and getting familiar with the processes and techniques can definitely help you with a winning bid. 


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