Buy Long-Distance Machinery

November 23, 2016 02:13 AM
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How to price and acquire equipment out of state

In the old days, say three or four years ago, producers would have jumped at the chance to buy a new machine locally. Today, equipment supplies are high, meaning farmers can buy machinery from farther afield to get the best deal. 

“There are more choices out there, you can take a little bit more time, ask more questions and do more research,” says Ben Bair, used equipment manager at 21st Century Equipment, a John Deere dealer with locations in Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado.

That means producers must prioritize due diligence to ensure the machine they spot in an online marketplace is really as good as the seller claims. A seller’s unwillingness to answer questions is a red flag.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for more videos, pictures, build codes, warranty information, that type of thing,” Bair says. “It can eliminate a lot of the risk in buying used equipment from a distance.”

Don’t skimp on getting enough information, and also don’t skimp on hiring safe transportation, adds Jeff Schultz, independent salesman with Blue Line Logistics, a Saint Paul, Minn.-based company specializing in farm machinery transportation. Drive equipment home at your own peril. If you get a flat, “we can’t just fly out there and rescue you on the side of the road,” Schultz says.

To adequately ground truth and acquire an out-of-state machine, Bair and Schultz recommend taking time and doing your homework. 

Top Tips for Purchasing Iron Online


The internet has many resources, including, for seeking and finding used equipment out of state. Apply these guidelines to protect your budget, as shared by Ben Bair of 21st Century Equipment and Jeff Schultz of Blue Line Logistics.

Ask For Information. Seek as many specific details as possible and don’t be afraid to request additional oil scans or inspections. Be prepared to pony up some cash if a dealer asks you to pay for some of these extras, Bair says. Another option is to hire an independent equipment appraiser to assess the machine and send you a report about its strengths and weaknesses. Keep a copy of serial numbers, total hours on the machine and other unique details in case the wrong machine is shipped to you.

Book A Flight. Literally kicking the tires can tell you a lot more about a machine’s fitness than any photo. “If you spend $100,000 on a machine, then a $400 plane ticket to go see it is money well spent,” Schultz says.

Factor In Freight. Dealers often factor freight costs into the final purchase price of a machine, Bair says. Schultz says it’s also critical to think through disassembly and reassembly costs for any implements over 13' or wider. State rules vary, but machines wider than that size must be broken down to a road-worthy width, which adds labor costs, and receive a licensed escort with appropriate insurance. Add the new machinery to your general farm policy before it is loaded onto the trailer for maximum financial protection.

Budget The Unexpected. Invariably, your equipment will arrive with a ding or an issue you didn’t predict, Bair says. Have some cash set aside to get the machine in peak condition for use on your operation.


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