Buying & Selling at Auction Like a Professional PART #2

Buying & Selling at Auction Like a Professional
Buying & Selling at Auction Like a Professional

Selling at Auction

With the world markets for new and used construction equipment, earthmoving and mining machinery being extremely buoyant, demand is ever changing globally, and large infrastructure projects can dictate where equipment is required and at what price around the globe.

For both buyers and sellers, machinery and equipment auctions are excellent destinations to both dispose of redundant machinery, as well as acquire equipment for specific projects. But for those who have little experience of both buying and selling at auction, what tips are available to help ensure you get a good deal?

Cathal Doherty, Euro Auctions Territory Manager for Ireland, explains how to buy and sell like a professional in the Two-Part guide on Buying & Selling at Auction.

Part #2

Selling at Auction – Preparing your Machinery for Sale

Selling at auction
Selling at auction

Selling plant and machinery at auction? Want to fetch the best price possible as your machinery goes under the hammer? The value a piece of equipment will fetch at auction will depend upon several factors on the day: the mood of the market, the choice of lots available, international demand from overseas projects and buyers, and finally the quality or condition of the item on offer!

By preparing your plant or machinery for sale, you will attract more buyers both pre-sale, and, during the auction. By ensuring your kit looks fit for work and wanting to be owned, it will attract interest. You will get the best price, and you will make more money!

If a machine is in rough order, filthy, oily, and greasy with a cab floor full of grime and rubbish, then prospective buyers are going to avoid you and pass on by. It is generally accepted that even by cleaning the cab windows, you can typically add £500 plus to the sale price of a vehicle. Hello! Have we got your attention now?

Consignors can add many extra pounds, dollars or euros to the final sale price by paying attention to detail and preparing a piece of machinery for sale by following a simple check list. Here are ‘Top Tips’ for preparing your machine and selling for the best price at auction from Cathal Doherty, Euro Auctions’ Territory Manager for Ireland.

Which Sale?

Consider where to sell to gain the best possible price. Many markets attract particular types of buyers who will have interest in particular makes, models or types of machinery. Speak to a Euro Auctions Country or Sales Manager to gain a better idea of where to send the equipment and machinery. Certain brands of machinery and equipment fare better at certain auctions. For example, canopy mini excavators sell extremely well at its auction site in Spain, whilst ‘zero tail swing’ excavators sell well at Dormagen in Germany. Researching the market before selling your plant can prove invaluable and Euro Auctions can assist with shipping overseas.


Think like a Buyer

Low hours machines are best and make the most money! But if that low hours machine has had a tough life, it may not be pretty. Presenting your machine for sale as you would wish to buy it is the key. It has been proven from the sales record of Euro Auctions that a well-presented machine will always make the best price. There are many simple things that one can do, but the important tip here is “DO IT!”. A couple of simple things can make a whole lot of difference to a buyer, which will generate a better profit.

Selling at auction
Selling at auction


Having the service history of a machine will mean you get best price, and if the servicing has been carried out by a main dealer, that information will be on record and can be included in the sale catalogue of the auction.

Producing the CE documentation will also make a significant difference, adding between five and ten per cent to the sale value. Also, make sure the machine has proper ID, ensuring the Serial Plate is visible and true. Lastly, if selling commercial vehicles, vans, cars and 4×4’s, please always ensure the vehicle is sent to auction with the registration document, overseas buyers will not buy your vehicle without it.

Keep It Clean

If a machine looks tidy, the chances are it has been treated well. With many similar machines going over the auctioneer’s ramp, what is going to entice bidders to pay the best money is a tidy machine that looks right!

Always clean out the cab, wash the floor, jet wash floor mats and clean the windows. A clean machine is a piece of plant a buyer would be proud to own and operate.

Muck and dirt may also be a way of hiding something. This may make a buyer suspicious. If your machine is in good order and there is nothing to hide, clean off the muck. This simple action will increase the price.

Mirrors, Bulbs & Windscreens

Sometimes the little things can make the biggest difference. Broken or missing mirrors can be seen as an irritation or a nuisance, as will broken light casings or lenses. Make sure all light bulbs work and fuses are complete. Missing windscreen wiper blades shows a lack of love for the machine, as does cracked or damaged cab glass.

Fuel, Filters & Battery

Make sure the battery is fully charged and the fuel tank is half full. This gives the prospective buyer a chance to ‘turn’ the machine over on his pre-auction inspection.  If a machine starts on the button first time, the prospective buyer feels good about bidding. It is also worth renewing fuel filters, as a blocked filter may hamper the starting of the engine.

Touch Up

Ensuring a machine is tidy will grab the eye of the buyer. Repairing or covering knocks, bumps and scratches is fast, simple and effective and can make a great difference to the overall look of the machine.

Dry & Drip Free

No one likes to see a machine dripping in oil and fluid. Alarm bells sound immediately that rams and hoses may be damaged, pumps may be shot, and seals may be worn. A cursory inspection of your piece of equipment and carrying out the necessary repairs before the sale will ensure it doesn’t sit in a puddle of oil spelling TROUBLE in capital letters. Buyers will not just mark the machine down by the estimated cost of the repairs but will add in the ‘hassle’ factor as well.

Tyres & Wheels

Selling at auction
Selling at auction

Like buying a car, a good set of tyres’ can clinch the deal.  Tractors, dump trucks, telehandlers, rubber ducks and wheeled loaders can be heavy on tyres.

Make sure tyres on each axle match. Better still; if possible, make sure tyres match all round. Don’t be tempted to put a mismatched set on just to make up the numbers. Try to fit a good branded set, such as Goodyear or Bridgestone. Don’t be tempted to fit cheap tyres, as this does not bode well.

One common mistake is to take off a set that has over 50% life left in them, replacing them with a fully worn set. Don’t, as this will reduce the sale price of the machine by the cost of a set of tyres and potential by the cost of a new set of tyres. Lastly, look out for punctures. A machine will sit badly with a puncture, which will make for a bad photograph in the catalogue and on the internet.

Take care of wheels. Heavy work may damage the rims. Ensure wheels are clean and true. Painting wheels is an option, but a good clean set is acceptable and preferable.


The lack of good attachments can let a good machine down. This could make the difference between one or two last bids, which could amount to a couple of thousand pounds for the sake of a little bit of thought.

Ensure all machines have good attachments.  Ensure buckets are good and have good teeth and where possible, present the machine with a full set of buckets. This will draw the eye of the bidder that is looking for a machine for their own use.


This guide ‘Bag Yourself a Bargain’ on buying used equipment is written by Cathal Doherty, Euro Auctions’ Territory Manager for Ireland
This guide ‘Bag Yourself a Bargain’ on buying used equipment is written by Cathal Doherty, Euro Auctions’ Territory Manager for Ireland

This guide ‘Preparing your Machinery for Sale‘ is written by Cathal Doherty, Euro Auctions’ Territory Manager for Ireland

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