7 Tips From An Auctioneer To Get The Most Money From Farm Equipment

Aug 28, 2017 | Farmland Prices, Land Auctions, Land Seller Resources

Written by Jason Smith

Written by Jason Smith

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I cut my teeth in auctioneering selling farm equipment and over the years I’ve sold thousands of pieces of farm equipment in every imaginable shape and condition.  I’ve sold brand new tractors and I’ve sold 80 year old tractors.  I know what brings the money and what doesn’t and sometimes its easier to make a piece of equipment worth a little more money.

Clean Farm Equipment Sells:  Just the little bit of time and expense it takes to clean a piece of equipment can be one of the best investments you can make in this piece.  Paying attention to details will pay off.  Clean accumulations of grease and oils, weeds, and debris before brining it in.  I’m not saying it has to be parade ready but the condition of the machine on the lot will say something about how well it was taken care of, how well it was maintained and can instill confidence in a bidder.  It won’t take long to hose things off or hit the car wash on the way to town and if you want to make dull paint shine again stop and buy a can of WD-40 and a roll of paper towels, that stuff does more than just free stuck bolts, its can really shine up and restore a used piece of equipment and make old paint and plastic shine again.   Learn more how to use WD40 for all kinds of cleaning chores

Running Condition:  We get equipment on the lot in all conditions but some small things are really easy to fix.  I am always amazed that a buyer can look at a trailer and discount it $500 because it has a broken taillamp lens.  Don’t give buyers something to dislike, don’t give them a reason to discount your item.  Spark plugs, lights, tires and the likes can be really simple fixes and can make a big difference.

Documentation:  From owners manuals to repair receipts and other written statements that pertain to your machinery.  This always makes an impression with buyers and shows how meticulous of an owner you have been.  Providing these to a buyer at the auction will make a good impression and gets everything out in the open.  Most machines have been repaired here and there, thats normal and never needs to be hidden.  It does help to choose a reputable provider for repairs as well.  Auctions are final and we sell everything AS IS WHERE IS and buyers don’t have any recourse when they buy something and get a problem they didn’t know about.  Helping put buyers minds at ease by showing you have don’t everything in your power to maintain the equipment is a good start to convincing them to pay top dollar.

Price: First, be realistic. We want to get you as much money as we can, but we don’t want to waste our time and money chasing a new world record price.  Thats not fair to our other customers or to our staff.  We know your tractor is the nicest tractor that ever existed… to you and we will treat it that way.  The fact is, when it comes up for sale every buyer will judge it for what it is and they will be fair about it.   We know you are proud of it but that doesn’t always transfer to buyers.  Sometimes sellers will tell us that an item has “Sentimental Value” but that value only exists to you, I’ve yet to see a buyer pay anything extra for sentimental value.  You should NEVER discuss price with anybody ahead of the auction.  Remember “bad news can get around the globe before good news can get its pants on”.   Discussing price with anybody will only hurt you and not help.  Keep all price expectations to yourself and the auctioneer and let the auction do what its designed to do.

Photos: Online bidding is prevalent today, we use it in all of our auctions and we get a lot of bidders participating that way.  In fact most lots on our auctions will get 500 to 2000 online views and very typically in the in the 1200 views range.  Thats people that actually went to the page that has only your piece of equipment.  When its time to have your equipment photographed it should be clean, in good light and preferably have a clean background.  Our preference is to photograph equipment sitting on white rock in front of a white machine shed.  If the world was perfect we would photograph every piece of equipment like that but sometimes we arrive and there are 10 pieces of equipment tucked neatly inside a dimly lit machine shed or barn.  Even mowed grass with a natural background can make a very appealing photo.  In a barn there is never enough room to get full shots of them because they are parked close together and you can only photograph 2 angles.  We know it takes some work to get it all out only to put it away until he auction but it makes a great impression on buyers when they can see it best.  We also love to have video of machines operating where its appropriate and we can use those on your lot page to ensure people see the machine for what it is.

Method:  Every seller gets the choice of selling with or without a reserve on our auctions.  One of the most common things people say to us is “I don’t want to give it away”.   We fully understand that and the same goes for us, we don’t want to give away anything.  Remember our reputation is based on our ability to do a good job for you.  For those that sell at auction often they are pretty good with setting a reserve, but for some they know that time is money and the cost or value of the money time is more important than a few hundred dollars.   We turn away some machinery where the reserves are not appropriate or beyond the actual value of a machine.   Reserves make sense when they are properly used but a reserve is not an asking price and we say that for your own benefit.  Buyers will respond much better when they know something is selling versus not knowing.  Remember an auction is sort of a crowd appraisal, all buyers are paying attention to what everybody else is doing and that back and forth will result in the market value of the machinery.  Selling absolute with no reserve is how must retirement and estate auctions work and while multi-seller consignment auctions have fewer absolute items we’ve started noting the absolute items on our auctions because we think that it provides a great benefit to sellers that sell without a reserve and those items get the most aggressive bidding.  Its important to consider what your time is worth.  What if you don’t sell it?  How will you sell it and how much time will it take?  Would it be better to put that money to work for you now or keep it tied up in the tractor looking for a result you may never achieve?

Choosing The Right Auction:  Exposure makes a difference in the final price of your equipment.  Multi-seller auctions are essentially a co-op of farmers and equipment owners.  The event benefits everybody marketing equipment by brining everybody together at one location.  Every auctioneer has different marketing and different options.  At DreamDirt we offer an excellent opportunity for exposure of your machinery to a targeted audience and we help buyers participate by giving them the option of bidding onsite at the auction or by bidding offsite using our smartphone app which broadcasts our auctions in real time!  We are providing a much wider buying pool and that means more competition for your equipment.  We also ensure that our auctions are staffed with highly trained auction professionals that are more than a warm body yelling “Yep”.  Every one of our auctioneers are auction school graduates and PRI certified and some with CAI designations.  Every ringman and our online auctioneers are fully PRI certified so you are in the hands of the most skilled auction team available to sell your equipment and we have the marketing system to drive engagement.

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NEVER ENDING marketing solution and buying platform for farm equipment. Lots close every Thursday with the first lot beginning to close at 2:00PM. Equipment can be added at anytime. Email Consignments, call 515-202-7687, or upload yourself here! Each item has bidding open for 7-21 days, the seller chooses. 5% Buyer Premium on all items. 4% fee only if you pay with Credit CardBuyer must retrieve items from sellers location. You can inspect equipment in person by contacting the seller that is listed on the lot description.

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Jason is an Auctioneer and Land Broker and the founder of DreamDirt, He is a lead farm real estate professional in the Midwest and nearly 2 decades of experience assisting family farms in the successful sale of farmland.  Email: jason@dreamdirt.com | Phone: (515)...

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