Before You Attend an Auction, Follow These 5 Simple Rules


A great way to slash costs when looking for heavy equipment for agriculture, forestry, construction or other purposes is by purchasing used equipment at auction. If you’ve never bid on heavy equipment at an auction, though, it can be a little intimidating. While the process is fairly straightforward, this isn’t a situation you want to walk into without at least some advanced preparation. By taking care of a few things before the day arrives, you will be in a much better position to bid on and purchase the equipment you need while saving considerable amounts of money.

Keep These Tips in Mind Before Attending a Heavy Equipment Auction

There are great deals to be had at a heavy equipment auction. The people who walk out with the best deals are the ones who do a little advance planning and research. To that end, keep these tips in mind before attending your first auction:

1. Secure Financing – All too often, first-time auction buyers give little or no thought to how they will pay for their purchases. Sometimes, people attend without being sure they’re going to buy anything in the first place. Regardless of how likely you think it is that you’ll want something, do yourself a favor by lining up financing ahead of time. You don’t have to use it if you decide not to buy, but it will save you a lot of hassle if you do.

2. Learn the Rules – Auctions come in many styles, and each one has its own set of rules. Contact the company that’s holding the auction and ask for information about the event in question. For instance, will it be an unreserved auction with no minimum bids or reserve prices, or will reserve prices be set for certain pieces of machinery? Depending on how the auction will be conducted, you may decide that it’s not what you’re after, or you may learn something that makes you all the more interested in attending.

3. Register – It’s generally best to register to attend an auction. In fact, it’s often required. Even if it’s optional, registering is a great way to gain insight into the types of equipment that will be available. You usually register two or three days prior to the event. When you do, you may have to put down a refundable deposit. In most cases, you’ll be given a listing catalog and a unique bidding ID number as well.

4. Inspect the Equipment – Fortunately, you don’t have to take the auctioneer’s word for it that the equipment that’s up for auction is in good shape. However, the auctioneer is expected to test each item before the event begins. The question, though, is how will it be tested? Try to find that out. Regardless of what you learn or the kinds of assurances you receive, go out and take a look at it yourself. The keys should be available so you can start it up and see how it runs too. With any luck, maintenance records will be available. Make sure to take a look at them too.

5. Consider the Price Differential – As you will be bidding on used equipment, it’s going to have a reduced lifespan. Be sure to weigh this against the savings you’ll enjoy. Will it really be worth it? Don’t get blinded by what appears to be an incredible deal. If the equipment has very little life left, that great deal could go sour quickly.

Armed with the information you gather ahead of time, your first heavy equipment auction experience is sure to be a great one!

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