Euro Auctions' Top Tips for Buying & Selling Machinery at Auction

In today’s current climate, the markets for both new and used construction equipment, earthmoving and mining machinery shows no signs of resting around the globe. Demand is constantly changing and the type of project will dictate what equipment is needed and at what price.

As both a buyer and seller of machinery and equipment, auctions are a good place to start. Why? Because consignors need to clear stock holdings, manufacturers need to make way for new ranges and the rental market needs to refresh their fleet regularly, meaning any and all redundant equipment heads to auction.

Buying machinery at auction

Whether you’re a seasoned auction goer or are new to the world of auctions, what are the things you need to be aware of before placing a bid? Here are our top tips on exactly how to buy at auction.

Prior to bidding on anything at auction you need to register online or in-person at the physical auction, you will need to provide contact details, photographic ID, bank details and possibly a deposit or a guarantee letter from a bank or other financial institution. Your personal bidding number is then issued to registered buyers along with a catalogue with all the items currently for sale.

Do your research

Before heading to the auction, you need to do your research. This will help you decide what exactly it is you’re looking for. The best way to do this is by making a list of your requirements and checking them off against online reviews and the specification of the equipment you’re hoping to purchase at auction. In doing this, you will avoid making impulse decisions and will ensure you don’t pay over the odds for a machine that doesn’t fit your requirements.

You want to consider where it is possible to view the equipment from multiple different sellers as this will give you different choices and enables you to draw comparisons between machinery, which is why buying at auction is preferable.


Price is another important consideration, doing your research is key as there may be a reason why a particular piece of machinery is going up for auction at a lower price than others have in the past. If you feel something is below the asking price, then it could indicate a potential issue, so it is important to enquire about this before making a bid.

Look at the general condition of the equipment

Now that you have decided on the equipment you want to go to auction for, another good tip is asking the auction yard or rep if you, or someone on your behalf, can view the machine before bidding starts. This is an important tip for buyers because while something may look perfectly fine from the outside, there could be cracks and leaks on the inside hiding beneath the hard exterior.

Some auctions may allow you to test equipment yourself to get a feel for how the machine moves and gives you the opportunity to spot any strange noises that may be worth noting. Should you not be able to check it over beforehand, be sure to inspect it at auction.

Carry out a thorough visual inspection, looking for signs of rust and any overspray or painted-over decals which may indicate hassle in painting or intent to cover up potential problems.

Ask the seller for as much documentation as possible such as the number of hours, maintenance and service records for the machine in question, as this is another good way of identifying any potential problems. If possible, find out who owned the machine previously to gather some other intel.

Check VIN plate

When purchasing machinery from auction houses such as Euro Auctions, all necessary checks will already be carried out. However, if you are purchasing from a private seller you will need to check the VIN plate including the condition and current position.

Does it appear to be fixed incorrectly or does it look to be tampered with? The VIN should be consistent with other vehicles in the same class, you can check the lettering on the plate and ask if it’s consistent with similar vehicle make and models.

Bid smart

Auctioneers want to get the best price possible for any and all machines sold at auction, and they also want to keep you coming back to bid at the next auction. Set yourself a limit and stick to it, and once you have reached the limit, stop bidding.

While you’d hope any equipment at auction is in good condition, every piece will have a history. Knowing what exactly you’re buying will save you money in the long run.

Selling machinery at auction:

Now that we have covered tips for buyers at auction, here are our tips for selling machinery at auctions like a professional.

Where to sell? Research the market trends

Deciding where to sell that will gain the best price possible is crucial. Across the world, different markets will attract buyers who are interested in certain makes or types of machinery. Researching the market before selling can prove to be invaluable. Here at Euro Auctions, we can assist with shipping your equipment to overseas markets.

Photos and descriptions

If you’re going to be listing your product online, most buyers aren’t going to have the opportunity to inspect the machinery in person. As a result of this, it is up to you the seller to take as many photos and write comprehensive descriptions of your used machinery. Take close-up photos to show various details that may interest many buyers as well as full sized photos.

Descriptions need to include all pertinent details about the item such as the make, model, year, history, capabilities and any accessories you may be selling alongside it. Use the owner’s manual to ensure you’re giving facts only.

Remember that when shopping online, customers are making important purchasing decisions based on the information you’re providing, be as transparent as possible to protect your reputation as a seller.

Here at Euro Auctions, we take care of photography, videos, descriptions and marketing your machinery so you have the time on concentrate on running your business.

Think like a buyer

To be a smart seller, you need to think like a smart buyer. Present your machine for sale as you would wish to buy it, well-presented machines are always going to make the best price. In most cases, machines with low hours are the most sought-after at auctions, but if that low hour machine has had a tough life there could be a problem.

There are a few things you as a seller can do to make a difference to a buyer and help generate a better profit such as having them cleaned, if items are heavily used then ensure the critical components have been refurbished and any damage repaired. A small investment can help you extract the maximum value out of your machine.


When selling your used machinery, consider the importance of repairs as buyers will thoroughly check over a machine before placing their bids. Here are a few repair considerations that can help you get the maximum value for your machine:

  • Mirrors, bulbs and windscreen condition - Broken/missing mirrors, broken light casings or lenses, missing wiper blades, damaged cab glass all show the vehicle hasn’t been cared for.
  • Fuel, filters and battery - Have the battery fully charged and a half-full fuel tank giving a buyer the chance to test the vehicle pre-auction inspection. Renew fuel filters to reduce the risk of blockages.
  • Tyres - Make sure tyres match all round and are fitted with a good brand such as Goodyear. Fit only with new tyres, as fitting with partly worn tyres to save some money can result in you losing money on your final sale.
  • Repair any dents or scratches to show the vehicle has been maintained.
  • Check for any oil or fluid leaks. Check that rams and hoses are not damaged or shot and any seals are not worn.

As well as this, have all the correct and up to date documentation on the equipment as buyers will ask for this. Being able to show the service history of the vehicle allows you to ask for the best price. 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 distributed to buyers at the auction. Other essential documentation is the CE documents, machine ID and visible serial plates.

Market research trends

No matter what industry you’re involved in, obtaining the right tools is vital to the success of any project. Whether you’re starting out and want to invest in your first piece of machinery or are selling on your redundant equipment, our tips will help ensure your trip to an auction is a successful one. Euro Auctions are experts in the global market, understanding trends/demands and where best to market your machinery.

Should you wish to obtain more information on buying and selling at auction, get in contact with a member of the Euro Auctions team.


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