Why Buy Online?

Rental industry embraces the concept of online shopping for used equipment.

By now, most of us have made some type of purchase online, whether it was airline tickets, books, CDs, clothing, etc. There are few people who can deny the ease and convenience that shopping via the Internet can provide. There are no long lines, no parking hassles and no traffic to deal with as you look into your computer screen, analyzing your choices without ever leaving the comfort of your home or office. And what's not to like about it? A purchase that might have required lots of time and legwork in the past can now often be accomplished in minutes with a few clicks of your mouse.

But do these benefits apply when shopping for used equipment for your inventory? Can you really buy a skid steer or a backhoe-loader sight unseen, without even kicking the tires? Could it really be that easy?

According to an informal survey taken from our June e-newsletter, the answer seems to be "yes." Of the rental businesses who responded, 45 percent say they have purchased used equipment online. Another 32 percent say they regularly shop for equipment online, but do so mainly to get a feel for prices. A total of 14 percent of respondents say they've seriously considered a purchase, but have yet to make one, while only 9 percent say they would never purchase used equipment online. Overall, it seems there is a general willingness among those in the industry to utilize this relatively new tool for acquiring equipment.

And it's getting even easier to shop online. eBay, for example, announced last February it has entered a partnership with Direct Capital and will begin offering instant financing for equipment purchased on its site. Several financing options are available to buyers who complete an online application and are approved. According to reports, buyers can apply before they bid or after the item has been won, but eBay advises seeking financing before placing a bid. If a bidder receives pre-approved financing but does not win a specific piece of equipment, he or she can still use the financing line toward other equipment purchases on eBay. If the item is won, financing is applied toward the equipment and Direct Capital will remit to the seller, via PayPal, the purchase price of the item.

But let's not forget that websites such as eBay are not just for buying used equipment. They are also for selling it. In today's market, many of you are finally finding yourselves with money to invest in capital equipment. As such, older units need to be sold off and the Internet can provide the perfect avenue for doing so.

We'd like to hear about your experiences with online equipment buying and selling. If you've had success or even if you've got a horror story to tell, please let us know by e-mailing jenny.lescohier@cygnusb2b.com. We'd love to hear from you.