Before You Sell Equipment Online

If you’re looking to dispose of under-utilized or under-performing equipment, there are a lot of options available. In addition to various local and national on-site auction services, a plethora of online heavy equipment auction sites have emerged in recent years, offering you the chance to reach a much broader base of potential buyers.

One of the most common types of online equipment auctions takes the “eBay”-style approach, where the item is listed on the website, typically with a description and image(s), and potential buyers can bid on the item at any point during a specified time frame. A big advantage to this approach is you’re able to sell the item without incurring the cost to transport it to a live auction site.

An increasingly popular online auction format combines a traditional live auction with live web streaming. In this case, the auction is set up at a physical location and is broadcast simultaneously online. Registered buyers are able to view the auction as it’s taking place and submit bids from their computer. These auctions provide the excitement and impulse bidding of traditional on-site auctions, while expanding your prospective buyer base.

Before you jump in and consign your used equipment to an online auction, it’s important to understand how these auctions work and how to approach the sale. Tom Landmesser, national sales manager, Big Iron Auction Service, offers the following tips:

Research the sale. Prior to listing, it’s important to research not only the equipment being sold, but also the market trends. Researching past sales will give you a good ballpark prediction of the expected sale price. It can also help you gauge the best timing to sell a particular machine.

No reserves. The no-reserve online auction is growing in popularity, but it operates on a risk/reward scenario. It can be an effective method for achieving fair market value for equipment, but sellers need to recognize that sales prices can vary dramatically from day to day. With no minimum price set, you must be prepared for the possibility that a machine may sell for less than expected.

Presentation is key. A picture is worth a thousand words, so be sure it’s sending the right message. Prepare equipment for best showing by giving it a thorough cleaning and detailing, and fix the small things. For non-live auctions, take plenty of photos and make sure to show the piece of equipment in its entirety. Don’t try to hide flaws or you may damage your credibility for future sales.

Do your homework. A critical element to a successful online sale is to find the right online auction service. First, find a company that offers a platform that suits your comfort level, then make sure the company understands the equipment and the auction business. Check its record, reputation and experience in the auction arena before consigning any equipment.

Check out additional tips in Landmesser’s article “Online Auction Selling Tips”, as well as related articles at