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  • Direct Capital

Be Aware of the Drawbacks of Used Equipment Auctions

Onsite and online auctions provide you additional ways to buy and sell used equipment. They’re an alternative to working with an individual buyer or seller, or with a used equipment dealer.

But at what cost to you?

Consider these potential downsides to going the onsite or online auction route when managing your fleet.

Limitations and negatives

Let’s start with costs, which affect your bottom line result from any transaction.

Onsite auctions may be held infrequently and hundreds of miles away.

That can both limit how quickly you can buy or sell and increase your huge investment of time and money transporting equipment to or from the auction location. Auction service commissions and other fees will also raise your costs.

If you’re selling equipment via an auction, that can also delay (vs. working with a dealer) how soon you see your money. It’s important to know each auction’s policies regarding payment.

Also, onsite auctions are on specific days — which can be subject to bad weather and low turnouts. And if you’re selling, you’ll already have the major cost of transporting your equipment to the site. No one’s going to refund that. And if your equipment isn’t purchased, you’re left with the choice of transporting it back home or spending money to store it until the next auction.

Your equipment inspection options may be limited — or nonexistent.

In a perfect world for your peace of mind, you (or a trusted operator or technician) would have all the time you want to thoroughly inspect a piece of equipment you’re interested in buying and put it through its paces. While you may have some time to check out a piece of equipment at an onsite auction, it may not be the full amount of time you need. And you don’t get to kick the tires at all with an online auction. Ultimately, you’ll probably have to lean on the inspection report and word of someone you don’t even know — and important information maintenance history may be missing.

You may be dealing with invisible people.

There’s a lot to be said for looking a trusted used equipment dealer in the eye and shaking his hand. If you’re buying and you have a question or problem after the fact, it’s reassuring to know you can call (and easily reach) “Bob” or “Jim” or “Ted” … who probably even have their name on the front door. You won’t get passed around from department to department at a big corporation — or wonder if your message will be returned.

A Better Option

Your IEDA member used equipment dealer operates by a written code of ethics. They’ll provide you with a straightforward, honest assessment of each piece of equipment they have for sale — or that you want to sell — and will negotiate its price fairly with you.

Just like a realtor helping you find the perfect house, your IEDA dealer also offers expert advice and service to find equipment that’s not on their lot. They have many resources, including fellow IEDA members, to locate exactly what you want.

For a list of IEDA members in your area, click here.

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