How to Sell Heavy Equipment

by John VanCott

Selling heavy equipment can be challenging, given the limited number of buyers. But it can also be a profitable business niche. Farmers, contractors and corporations all buy and sell heavy equipment. A good broker becomes the go-to person when others need to buy or sell heavy equipment. The heavy-equipment market is more segmented and specialized than the automobile market. While there is no specific license required, heavy-equipment dealers are usually regulated like an automotive dealer in most states. Knowledge of the machinery and industries they serve is vital.

Contact the state, county, and municipality in which you will conduct business. Most states will treat a heavy-equipment seller as a automotive vehicle reseller. The same licensing and bonding will generally be required. Sales staffers who work for you must also obtain state sales licenses. Your sales office will have to meet local zoning requirements. Often, you will need to sell from an area zoned a light-industrial area instead of simply a business zone.

Follow market trends in heavy equipment. When the economy is down in an industry, companies sell lots of equipment. Prices can be drastically affected by the time of year and local construction trends. If your business is buying used equipment and reselling, price fluctuations and demand will mean the difference between being profitable or losing all your savings buying inventory that is hard to sell. The resale market for heavy equipment is more volatile than the used-car market.

Learn the ways that different businesses use heavy equipment. For example, farm machinery and construction equipment have different market cycles. Get to know local companies that use equipment you will carry so that you know which types of machines to offer for sale and which ones to rent out.

Hire a sales staff of people familiar with the equipment, who have been heavy-equipment operators in the past. They will know common problems with certain models and makers and can help a buyer identify intangible benefits of one brand over another. Buyers for heavy equipment are often purchasing agents who don't personally operate the machines and need advice.

Raise capital or develop lines of credit. Large fleets of vehicles are sometimes available from distressed companies at huge discounts. Your business will flourish if you have the financial ability to act fast and you have a reputation for having funds available to take advantage of liquidations and bargain-fleet sales.

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About the Author

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