Online Equipment Auctions Growing In Popularity

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | August 2008 Vol. 63 No. 8
A ‘ringman’ monitors an IronPlanet online auction.

By taking advantage of the global marketplace, on line auctions consistently deliver higher prices while being less susceptible to domestic economic conditions. Equipment owners that sell equipment through on line auctions have immediate access to thousands of interested buyers from around the world. By maximizing demand for used equipment on a worldwide level, on line auctions create a more competitive bidding environment and have become the true standard by which to measure equipment value. With many developing countries rapidly building infrastructure and a depressed demand for equipment in the U.S., international buyers continue to make up a larger percentage of the buying pool. In addition, these buyers are often able to take advantage of a favorable exchange rate against a weakened U.S. dollar.

For owners selling equipment at a non peak production time, on line auctions provide access to potential buyers all over the world looking to immediately employ that machine in a revenue generating capacity. In many cases, international buyers will pay more for equipment than local or regional buyers because they need it immediately.

What are the most frequently listed types of underground construction equipment offered on your on line auctions?

Branch: We sell thousands of these types of machines each year at our unreserved auctions. For example, in 2007 alone, we sold more than 10,500 excavators worth over $400 million with close to 1,700 of those selling to purchasers on line. We sold more than 1,500 trenchers and over 200 directional drills last year, with 25 and 37 percent selling to on line buyers, respectively.

We always have a wide variety of equipment at each of the more than 350 auctions we conduct each year around the world. Not only do we list types of equipment that are used cross industry, like thousands of excavators, loader backhoes and wheel loaders, we also sell very specialized equipment at our auctions. We sell thousands of trenchers, plows, directional drills and other specialized underground equipment each year.