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Buying Equipment Online

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by ReligiouslyCAT, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. ReligiouslyCAT

    ReligiouslyCAT Active Member

    Joined:
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    Hello,

    I am just wondering if it is safe or within reason to buy equipment via online without seeing it in person.

    For example, if I am in Oregon and I see a good deal online for a loader in New York and I did not want to fly out there I could just do the transaction online.

    What do you think about buying online? Is it even heard of?

    Thanks in advance,
    Regards
     
  2. Hobbytime

    Hobbytime Senior Member

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    its not a good idea unless you have someone check it out..the old saying..buyer beware...maybe if its from a reputable place, but im sure its all sold as is and if you get a lemon , your stuck with it...if your gona make a big $$ purchase like that, then the time and effort to check it out would be in your best interest..
     
  3. lantraxco

    lantraxco Senior Member

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    Yeah, NO. Pictures make every machine look better than it really is, and inspections are subjective at best. Freight on anything of size is usually a deal-breaker also. Either make the trip or pay a dealer to send a mechanic for an evaluation or both.
     
  4. Junkyard

    Junkyard Senior Member

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    Not only no. But hell no. My former boss got bit by the online auction bug lol. Several times. If you have money to burn I suppose that's one thing. However if that's the case burn it on something new! Haha.

    Like they said before me, freight, inspections, unknowns etc make it tough unless it's a one off thing you're gonna rebuild anyway or something from a reputable place that's low hours and priced at market. The super cheap "steals" are the ones that really worry me.

    Junkyard
     
  5. check

    check Senior Member

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    Like any kind of gambling the odds are against you. Sometimes you can win. I've bought a few items, an Ingersol Rand air compressor, skid steer attachments and grizzly screens without looking at them and came out ahead. If the seller is a government agency, they generally don't lie and cover up problems. Sometimes a large company goes bankrupt and sells everything regardless of age or condition and sometimes a company finds metal particles in an expensive component and puts only that machine on the auction line. There's a lot of corruption, kinda like playing the stock market.
     
  6. John Shipp

    John Shipp Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    forestry contracting
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    You either got to be prepared to "waste" the time and cost of several trips to find a well maintained machine, or wait on it a while until it shows up a little nearer. I use "waste" as walking away from a machine that has a bad feel about it is a good investment in long run. As said, photos don't show any of the problems that operating it and inspecting it does.
     
  7. johnpieter

    johnpieter Member

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    Occupation:
    Inspection Manager
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    It is a great idea and easiest way. But, you should look out their reputation of the website before checkout your payment. Aware of scammers.!
     
  8. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Senior Member

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    Just NO.
     
  9. moriboy

    moriboy Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Location:
    Oregon
    Same as everyone else, no. That's just our opinion however. Pictures only let you see what the outside of the machine looks like. Checking fluids, starting, driving, etc can somewhat give you an idea of the insides.
     
  10. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    I will only buy small support type equipment online without looking at it. Even then it has to be a steal, basically I assume it will need a new engine or other work on it. The price that I will pay reflects what I expect to spend on it.

    Compact equipment and up, I want to put my hands on it before even considering buying it.
     
  11. thierrys

    thierrys Member

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    You can certainly use online to research and search for equipment you want to buy locally so you would have a chance to see it in person. If for used equipment http://craiglist.com or http://machinerymarketplace.net would be best online site to buy local
     
  12. Smokin Joe67

    Smokin Joe67 Member

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    I bought about 50 units at auctions over the years and i spend about 20 minutes operating it, checking oil, looking for leaks, dead heading the hydraulics, checking pin wear and i still find things i missed that cost me money. Every time i don't test a machine and just raise my hand because it looks good I always get burned. Bought a non running cat skid steer that had fresh paint, had to install a new engine. Bought a Case 321 loader and install a new hydraulic pump. I can rent it out and make my loss back but i'd never buy on the net. I do sell equipment on the net and do the best that i can describing the machine and tell them they should inspect the machine themselves because a little leak to me may mean a big leak to you so you never know what you get.
     
    bam1968 likes this.
  13. DIYDAVE

    DIYDAVE Senior Member

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    The way to do it, is to ask here for a volunteer, to go look at it. I did one of these quick inspections, on a tree chipper that was about 5 miles from me, one winter. Man wanted to know wether the address was real, and the machine was real, and what did it look like. I told him what I saw, (Guy started it up, ran a few limbs through it). Being a local, I was able to tell him the company was real, the chipper was real, and it starts and runs. Problems that I see could be the guy who volunteers, could be connected in some way to the seller, or could buy it out from under you. But whadd're ya gonna do? I'd trust someone from this forum, to verify the basics. If i were buying something for my business, though, I'd fly out and check before buying, or be prepared to drive the transport truck home empty. I wouldn't hold it against the guy if there was something unforeseen, or hidden wrong with the machine, in question. If the volunteer were in the same business, it would certainly be a plus, because he would know what to look for. The guy I did the inspection for didn't pay me anything, and I didn't ask for any pay, because I wanted no liability problems. But if I were asking for a volunteer, and he spent his time and fuel to go take a look, I certainly would send him a gift certificate for a steak out, though, but that's just my way. I never heard whether the fellow in question bought the unit, or not. I wasn't really looking for a reward, though, I was on my way to town, that day, and it was only about a mile out of my way. I would have liked to hear the rest of the story, though...:D
     
  14. xr4ticlone

    xr4ticlone Well-Known Member

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    Trusted Adviser to the Construction World
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    TEXAS
    I've sold for dealerships for 10+ years before recently going out on my own equipment brokering with a buddy. He had sold and bought some things prior, many times with me consulting him. My first sales manager, and still good buddy, worked for a Deere dealer for 15yrs, did his own thing for 14yrs, and then was sales manager for the Case dealer we worked at for 12+ yrs. He's the most skeptical person in the world at this point. : ) Between my experiences and his I can keep you from ever buying anything. : )

    Here are some of my thoughts...take them for what it's worth. I know that contractors know their equipment and you know how to use it. But just like I understand the basics of construction I'm not about to go bid a pipeline job or a dirt job tomorrow because I don't know all the problems that only working in that world every day teaches you.

    A. Gov agencies are just as big of liars and nothing is guaranteed as far them taking any better or worse care of things than any other contractor.
    - My WORST tractor was a Gov agency Cat mini that was a 900 hour POS. It had never in 8 yrs had oil or air filter changed.
    - Recent skid loader had blow by & 2 flat tires when it showed up despite a call to the fleet mgr assuring the machine was nice, clean & ready to work with 40% tires.
    - A crack sealer we bought was 'missing' the hose & gun...$2500 worth the parts as they're heated & not readily available from outside sources. : (
    - Worst of all most get suckered into over paying for Gov machines with this false idea they are premium machines.

    B. There are a lot of not so good folks working in the equipment market. Due to lack of title and high values the market is ripe for fraud.
    - Even if you get the machine & it's ok....without doing a lien check you may be buying it twice. Making sure the machine is free & clear isn't something most buyers do...but should do every time. http://www.ner.net/ironcheck.html My old boss' wholesale buddy bought a D8 from a guy in person after inspection. When they went to pick it up owner stopped them & asked what the hell they were doing. He had 'bought' the D8 from the owners deadbeat, drug addict nephew who lived in the shack next to his biz.
    - We've gotten stolen cashiers checks...as in real cashiers checks that were stolen from a bank & made out for purchase.
    - We've had a 'buyer' that went through all the right motions on a 5 yard loader for over 30 days...wanting more pics and video...trucking cost...and then invoice for his bank. ONLY to have him take the logo off the invoice and use the wire routing # to make his own checks. Lucky for us we had a 'catch account' with another number that only had a $1 in it to catch wires. I know a Deere dealer that lost hundreds of thousands in this same deal.
    - My old boss bought 3 stolen backhoes out of CA. He was suspicious of the deal and called every agency out there to check. None were stolen. The guy took the pics on the job and stole them AFTER he bought them.
    - I've got 20 more stories too....

    C. You know brands, you don't always know tractors. You know your tractors, people who do what I do know what you know about your tractors and everyone else they deal with's tractors. Give me a mfg and I'll tell you tractors you should NEVER own that they made. I can probably tell you many of the issues with those models and what to look for...and if I don't know I've got 50 people that do what I do I can call to ask.

    D. You know who to call for diesel, pipe, materials, and everything else to do a job. I know enough people in the equipment world to know if I trust them or not...and if I don't know them personally I know enough people in this world to call to see if a guy is a lying scumbag. I'll be honest, I've got a few guys I thought were ok only to find out they've done some shitty deals. I check EVERYONE & I'll still ask about people I know if I don't know them all that well.

    E. Auctions. IMHO they're all suspect, the smaller they are typically the shadier. Keep in mind, even large 'reputable' auctions like RB aren't looking out of buyers. They'll sell anything regardless of condition. So never assume it's not a POS just because it's at auction.
    - In my world auctions only serve one purpose....to ensure that you never have to meet the buyer. As my old boss said 'if you bought a tractor from me at an auction...you got f'd'. His other saying was 'auctions are a great way to learn the value of a dealership'. Keep that in mind.

    Final thoughts...
    - Without doing background checks hour meters are suspect. I've got contacts with every manufacturer or one of their dealers that let me find out what warranty / work was done to a machine and what hours were on it at those dates. Just did it for a customer on a large Cat loader for a customer. Hours seemed low for the year, but my cat contact showed work done on it 6 moths ago and the #'s match. I was able to find out a Deere 544J had 6k hours...not the 18k that the machine was showing. I could also
    find ownership history. Honestly, even a lot of the people in my world don't have those contacts. The 544J is owned by another wholesaler who couldn't get answers from Deere...and he's been doing this for 30 years.
    - It's what you don't know that'll kill you. Don't assume what things will cost to fix. Don't assume that something is a good deal without checking first. "One of those must cost way more than that! I should buy this one!" WRONG. : )
    - Please don't try to be equipment flippers. I'm so tiered of seeing customers over pay for stupid **** then calling me 'You've got to help get me out of this tractor'. There is a reason it was so cheap. No...no one wants a Terex. No, even I can't get decent money for a 2wd backhoe. Yea, that's because a transmission is $45k. No, you can't get a rebuilt motor for $6k anymore. No, you don't want to know what it's really worth.


    - You have accountants, lawyers, engineers, and other professionals that help you with your business. FIND A TRUSTED BUYER / AGENT to help you buy equipment. Even new stuff...right now there are some major price differences out there. Depending on your sales rep and dealership you could be talking tens of thousands of dollars. There are also new tractors that you don't want to own.
     
    RTSmith, Silveroddo, Junkyard and 3 others like this.
  15. xr4ticlone

    xr4ticlone Well-Known Member

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    BTW...don't take this and run off to call other dealers looking for prices. They typically have good working relationships, so calling their other location, or even the dealership group next to them isn't going to typically help much. They're not going to give you best prices over the phone, they're also not going to help once they figure out what you're doing.

    When customers did this to the dealerships I worked with it typically meant they got poorer service and got labeled.

    Oh...and finding a equipment pro...ask successful contractors in your area. They've probably got one. If they own one brand their guy is that dealer rep...which doesn't mean much. : ) My guess is you'll find commonality if you ask enough. They may not have just one.

    Interview several. Then listen to them and their advice. Run all your purchases by that person, same with sales. Go through your fleet on regular basis and your equipment needs. Then plan your purchases / sales accordingly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  16. DIYDAVE

    DIYDAVE Senior Member

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    XR, I hear what you are saying, I, too have had the various versions of the Crag's list scams, tried on me. Stolen cashiers checks, shipped via stolen fedex accounts, made out for too much $, added to cover your "time and trouble". Every day there's at least 10 CL adds I flag as the price is too low, they steal pictures of equipment, and rewrite the ad, etc, etc, etc. So far they haven't gotten me, because my grandfather instilled in me the old axiom, never buy a pig in a poke. I seldom look at equipment more than about an hour and a half away, because that's my limit, for taking a look at something. I always try to look at the worst possible scenario, when I am considering a purchase. Don't forget to consult a local Sheriff, if you have any doubts as to claims of ownership, PRIOR to purchase. Also the government auctions, I tend to bid low, and expect the WORST. We have quite a few around here...

    There are also several auctioneers around here, who I know are absolute thieves, bid rigging, meter tampering, covering up known flaws, but when it's time to sell it, its "ride and drive, boys, clean unit, no known problems" The issue of liens and ownership you bring up is also important, since heavy equipment rarely has any sort of title or provenance. So the bottom line is still inspect detect reflect, and CAVEAT EMPTOR!!!
     
  17. Raildudes dad

    Raildudes dad Senior Member

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    Location:
    Grand Rapids MI
    A. Gov agencies are just as big of liars and nothing is guaranteed as far them taking any better or worse care of things than any other contractor.
    - Worst of all most get suckered into over paying for Gov machines with this false idea they are premium machines.

    I take offense to those statements. I work for a county highway dept. We put our excess / replaced equipment at auction. It's all available for inspection as well as all the maintenance records are available for inspection. If parts are missing or the piece has issues, it's all disclosed.
     
  18. xr4ticlone

    xr4ticlone Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate that and by all means, shoot me a PM when your county disposes of equipment. My point was more to the fact that everyone assumes that Gov agencies hold to this lofty standard of full disclosure and that they do maintenance. I've found that clearly not to be the case. Are there good Gov agencies to purchase from? Sure, just as there are good private contractors to buy from.

    But, if you watch the online Gov auctions you will see that most of the equipment there sells at a premium to most other auctions. Right now I'm batting 80% plus in Gov items being problems.

    I may just be having bad luck...but I think it's fair to warn people that not all Gov equipment is well maintained or fully disclosed. So don't assume that to be the case.
     
  19. xr4ticlone

    xr4ticlone Well-Known Member

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    Oh, one other thing I was going to share that I've just learned or been reminded of myself (I don't remember knowing this before). Having dealt with manufacturer financing 98% of the time and having the dealership back any used trades I guess I wasn't aware of a little problem of 'Blanket Liens'.

    Some lower quality and 2nd chance lenders use blanket liens in their regular finance docs. Meaning until they pay off ALL their outstanding notes to that lender, the lender may have a lien on ALL their equipment, regardless of if the note for that piece is paid off.

    So you buy a Cat backhoe that's free and clear from a guy. He shows you the Cat financial letter of payoff. BUT the seller had poor credit. So the 2nd chance lenders he's got his dump truck and skid loader with might still have legal claim to the backhoe as well...even though he paid Cat financial off. That's NOT only a problem if he defaults on those pieces, but keep in mind that they may never relinquish that blanket lien if he continues to buy and trade with them. Most of those types of lenders are not good folks that will pass on the opportunity to roll you for money. Also, keep in mind you may want to sell the tractor as well at some point. That blanket lien is tied to the SERIAL # not the owner (you).

    That's why its' good to run the website I shared up there. Just because he's got a payoff letter for THAT tractor doesn't mean it's clear.
     
  20. d9gdon

    d9gdon Senior Member

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    How does an auction like Ritchie Bros. work then where they sell 1500 pieces of equipment every 3 months in Ft Worth...do they have to research the background of every piece of equipment that comes in for sale? Do sellers sign a lien release with a hold harmless clause with RB?

    This is very interesting stuff that you've brought up.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017