Machinery Pete: The New Way to Sell

Machinery Pete: The New Way to Sell

It’s time to think outside the box and be creative when it comes to selling your farm machinery. A simple black and white classified ad in the local newspaper or posting an auction sale bill around town won’t cut it anymore. Like it or not, it’s an Internet, social media and cell phone world we live in. 

Whether you’re a farmer selling one tractor privately or your entire fleet, the new ways to sell are reaping stronger prices. This goes for implement dealers and auction firms too. 

Personalize what you’re selling. Check out the table below that highlights combines and tractors sold at auction in the past few years that received video promotion on the Machinery Pete YouTube channel. Personalization equals more money. 

The first combine listed, a 2004 Case IH 2366 with 1,213 engine hours, sold in March 2012 at a retirement sale in Minnesota. The $140,000 sale price still holds the record. 

A week before the auction, I shot video of Ken Sherwin standing by his Case IH 2366 talking to me about the combine. The video conveys to potential buyers that they aren’t just buying a nice Case IH 2366. They are also buying Ken Sherwin and the combine’s history. 

The next combine in the table, a 2007 Case IH 2588 with 2,072 engine hours sold at a December 2014 farm 
retirement auction. A couple weeks before the sale, the retiring farmer, Dale Keyser of Maple Hill, Kan., reached out to me. I asked Keyser and auctioneer Mark Younger if they could shoot a cell phone video. The simple video consisted of them visiting in front of the Case IH 2588 combine and Dale’s shiny Magnum tractor. I posted the auction preview video on YouTube. A couple days later, they sent me a cool video of the combine and tractor shot from a drone. I posted the drone video to our YouTube channel and our Machinery Pete Facebook page (about 40,000 followers) and Twitter feed (more than 5,000 followers).

Dale’s Case IH 2588 combine sold for $117,000, which is more than a similar 2007 model with 355 fewer engine hours sold for at a consignment auction in northeast Illinois eight days prior ($95,000).

Even if you don’t plan to sell a tractor or combine anytime soon, go ahead and shoot a video of the tractor and planter rolling in the field or the combine harvesting on a beautiful autumn day. It’s OK to include your new machine shed in the background. Two, three or five years down the road, the video will come in handy when you want to trade that tractor, planter or combine or sell privately.

If you’re not comfortable with video technology, track down a teenager or young adult. I had my older daughter, then 18, teach me how to edit video back in 2009. I was apprehensive. She was patient, and in 10 minutes, I had it. That was 550 YouTube videos ago. In 2014, folks watched more than 6 million minutes of our Machinery Pete YouTube videos. That’s a whopping 275 hours per day.

Recording short videos about your equipment, as Ken Sherwin, a retiring Minnesota farmer, did, can add real dollars to the sale price.

The world is changing—and changing fast. Seize the opportunity to make your used farm equipment worth more money when it’s time to sell or trade.  

Shooting a video along with the additional selling tips on page 68 will put more money in your pocket. Pay special attention to the third, fourth and 12th points. If you are selling privately, or if you’re a dealer, list an asking price. Based on our research, farmers simply gloss over ads with no prices. Also, price items according to current hard cash values, not dealer internet listed prices. For $17.95, you can buy a one-week subscription to more than 427,000 actual auction prices on all types of equipment at

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Tips To Sell Used Equipment for More Money

1. Invest in a good machine shed to park your equipment. It’s the best investment you’ll ever make.

2. Keep meticulous maintenance records and store them in a safe place. 

3. Always list an asking price if selling privately.

4. If selling privately, price your equipment right. Don’t base it on dealer asking prices; base it on current hard cash values.

5. List your equipment on the Internet. 

6. If you’re the first or second owner, make that known.

7. The more pictures you can show, the better.

8. Get video of your equipment in action in the field, sitting in your shed or around your farmstead.

9. Record short, simple video(s) of you talking about your equipment.

10. If selling at auction, make it an absolute sale. That really draws in buyers.

11. If selling at auction, offer live internet bidding.

12. Based on our auction price data, November to February is the best time to sell for higher prices. 

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