Construction Equipment Auctions: 4 Trends You Need to Know

construction equipment auctionAttend the education session “Online Auctions Vs. Traditional Auctions: How to Buy and Sell” on Wednesday, March 11, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. REGISTER NOW

Knowing how to maximize equipment values when buying and selling can make a big difference your bottom line. In today’s market there are more options than ever, due to the growth in online auctions, as well as the use of online bidding for physical auctions. Mitch Helman, sales manager for Sandhills Global, offers insight to help buyers and sellers decide what is the best option for them. Sandhills publishes detailed listings of used machinery in its weekly publication, Machinery Trader and on It also facilitates online auctions through and online bidding at physical auctions through

1) Technology has transformed equipment buying and selling

“Technology is transforming this whole industry and how companies are buying and selling equipment,” says Helman. “Amazon has changed the way we all think and buy. Information is so accessible. Buyers know they can get what they want when they need it, whether that is through an online auction, a physical auction or retail transaction.”

2) More end-users are exploring the idea of retailing equipment   

According to Helman, retail sales are generally 30 percent higher than auction values. “We’ve seen a big shift with end-users. More of them that used to take equipment straight to auction are now exploring the idea of retailing equipment first to maximize return.”

Timing is a factor when choosing whether to sell through a physical auction or online auction. Online auctions enable sellers to get the equipment to market quickly, while may have to wait several months for a physical auction. Because physical auctions are more expensive to produce, the commission paid on the sale is generally higher than it is for online auctions.

According to Helman, both physical and online auctions are relevant. “Each consigner needs to evaluate which one makes the most sense for them.” Helman says physical auctions are best when they can be marketed as an “event,” such as when all of the equipment being sold is from one seller. “Where there is a story behind the sale, a physical auction can sometimes result in higher equipment values,” says Helman.

Machinery Trader3) Confidence in buying “sight unseen” continues to grow

Buyer confidence in purchasing online continues to grow, aided by quality photos, video and telematic data that make for more complete listing information. Videos help validate the listing information. “There are fewer question marks about machines being sold today, and that has increased buyer confidence,” says Helman. “Clean pictures and video determine the strength of the sale.”

4) The difference between retail and auction pricing is diminishing

With so much information about equipment values and specs available, Helman sees the gap between retail and auction pricing narrowing. “Ten years ago, people weren’t always shopping online. Dealers could command higher retail prices, because information was not as accessible.” Instead, dealers today are more focused on increasing their inventory turnover. “They are taking smaller margins to get equipment sold and off their lot quickly in hopes to increase inventory turn,” says Helman. 

Whether buying or selling, going to market with the right information is invaluable. To learn more about how to maximize your equipment value from traditional or online auctions, register for Online Auctions Vs. Traditional Auctions: How to Buy and Sell​ on March 11 from 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020.  Helman and his colleagues Evan Welch and Elli Murray, will offer tips on how to evaluate your equipment; guidelines for effective marketing of equipment; and insights on bidding strategies.       

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