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Euro Auctions is Europe's largest specialist for construction and agricultural machinery, and in the last 18 months has seen a marked increase in interest in used equipment and machinery. With global OEM production depressed due to COVID, and delivery schedules stretching into 2022 Chris Osborne, 'Territory Manager' for Euro Auctions is helping consignors with good quality stock to sell to bring their kit to market.
The Construction Index interviews Chris Osborne
Q – What is the UK market like just now for used equipment?
The UK demand for good, late, low-hours used equipment and machinery has burgeoned during the last 12 months with no sign of demand slowing down. Since the Covid lockdown and a slowdown in manufacturing, OEMs and main dealers have been running low on stock, with delivery times of new machines now stretching into 2022, driving interest in good used equipment, not just in the UK, but globally.
Construction, Recycling and Agriculture are key pillars of the economy and there has been a lot of focus and support throughout Europe and rest of the world in keeping these sectors working throughout the pandemic, creating more demand than usual for equipment. With the decreased availability of new stock many customers are left searching for equipment to purchase from alternative sources. This is where many businesses have turned to Euro Auctions.
Q – What services does Euro Auctions provide its consignors
On a seller perspective we completely take the hard work out of getting the best return for our customers’ equipment. The sale of an asset is a key part of that equipment’s life cycle of ownership and it needs to be done as efficiently as possible. We aim to achieve the best possible price for our customers with very little effort needed on their part.
Our team of experienced Territory Managers provide advice and guidance throughout the selling process. This includes offering different disposal methods depending on the type and volume of equipment that the customer needs to dispose of. Traditionally this is through our normal auction process but for specialised or large static equipment this may be through our 24/7 Daily Marketplace.
We can collect your equipment, complete any prep work that may be required (Repairs, Wash, and Paint), we will photograph and take videos that will be listed on our website, social media and in various marketing publications worldwide. We of course sell the equipment, from here the seller knows they are guaranteed to be paid for that machine, and it is our job to invoice and collect proceeds from the buyer.
For buyers we work closely with various shipping agents to assist with worldwide shipping, we can dismantle equipment and load in to containers or on to transport as required. For new potential buyers that see our marketing we make it very easy to create an account to either bid in person at a live sale or online. I personally believe it is crucial to make business as easy as possible, as in this modern-day people like convenience and simplicity, and that is exactly what Euro Auctions strives to achieve.
For buyers this is priceless, for them it means one trip to one location for a few days or buying online through one auction event where they can get their hands on everything they need for a project. Combined haulage makes it very efficient for them to collect. For sellers the ability to sell everything from hand tools to vans to excavators and dump trucks in one place and knowing you are getting true global market value is invaluable.
Q – As a Territory Manager – how do you support your clients?
We will work as closely with our customers as they want us to, providing the best value and support throughout their equipment cycle as we possibly can. From initial purchasing decisions, many clients will look at our auction prices as an estimate for future equipment value. Equipment depreciates at different rates based on various factors, (make, spec, application) and we can share our experience and advice on potential future values to help with purchasing decisions.
We will share market sentiment with customers, provide advice on buying trends we are seeing to help get the best return by selling the right equipment at the right time in the right place. When we are notified that a customer has some kit coming available for sale, depending on where it is, if required we will visit site, take photographs and videos of it working to ensure it is advertised as early as possible even before arriving on our site.
A value that our reps deliver to our customers isn’t necessarily always seen. We are continuously working between our network of reps and customers around the world to market items that are coming to the auction, to get machinery and equipment in front of the right buyers. All this 'behind the scenes' work means consignors can have confidence knowing that machines aren’t just sent to auction with the hope that buyers turn up. We will work particularly hard on more specialist items ensuring we attract the right customers globally to engage and bid.
Auction week is what we are all working towards and is what all Territory Managers look forward to. During the week of an auction we will often have buyers that can’t travel to site ask their rep to check over machines for them, looking at specific parts etc. In doing this we are helping the buyer to have confidence in what they are bidding on, as well as helping to achieve the best possible price for the consignor. A true win, win.
Territory managers also work ‘Ringmen’ (Bid Catcher) at the front of the auction arena, this is an important role, relaying bids from the crowd to the auctioneer. We interact with the crowd to ensure they are following the sale, understand the auctioneer and know what is selling and at what price. Of course, we will always ask you to ‘go on' placing one more bid!
When a first-time buyer comes to the sale it can be a little overwhelming to follow, and I would always recommend speaking to one of the Territory Manager, and we will be more than happy to explain everything. If you are bidding for the first time, sit near the front, and make yourself known to the Ringmen, even let them know beforehand which machine you are interested in, this way they will keep an eye on you and coach you through the sale, even slow it down a little to ensure you don’t miss out.
Q – What global reach do the Euro Auctions 'Territory Manger' team have?
We have a large global network, with territory mangers across five continents. With a large team in the UK and Northern Ireland we cover Europe with feet on the ground in Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Denmark and Scandinavia. We have team covering Australasia, with four managers in the Middle East. With our sister company Yoder & Frey we have an additional ten territory managers covering the whole of the USA. As a result, our global network has exceptional reach. You will see the team at all Euro Auction sales dressed in red and working at the front of the arena as ‘Ringmen' catching bids during the sale. The team do travel from sale to sale and as such do get-to-know our clients at all sales globally, making the world seem very small and our reach very, very broad.
Q – How would you advise someone that has some equipment to sell?
Talk to us at the early stages. If you know you are due to renew some of your fleet 3-4 months from now, then speak to one of our reps and discuss your plans. It may be that we suggest it’s worthwhile to make some repairs or replace the undercarriage for example to get the best return. Or we may suggest selling some equipment in a different auction, where your type of machine sells well. Some items sell very well in Dromore, some very well in Leeds, some very well in Germany, for example.
Once we decide on an auction, take advantage of the early marketing and getting some photos in the sale brochure that’s put together around 3-4 weeks before an auction. These brochures are posted out as hard copies and emailed to our registered customers. Either prepare the machine yourself or send it to us in plenty of time and we can prepare for you. You should check that all functions work before sending - a machine breaking down in the yard or on way to the ramp doesn’t help it out. You want to make sure it’s very well cleaned, valeted, no leaks, cracked windows, minimal damaged panels or latches etc, send an excavator with a good digging bucket or set of buckets so it’s ready for work.
We state deadlines for getting equipment into Euro Auctions, this done partially to allow us time to organise the sale but mostly because getting machines into us early helps everybody, it means it has plenty of time listed on our website with a full set of photos and video in our yard, giving time for buyers to see it and test it out. We want to achieve the best possible prices for everything and if it arrives late, not washed etc then you’re not giving it the best chance.
Q – Euro Auctions has built a reputation for 'Offs Site Sales'
What sets Euro Auctions apart from its peers is our reputation for being able to plan and execute an ‘off site’ heavy machinery sale, not just in the UK, but also overseas. The term ‘off site’ sale refers to a sale away from the infrastructure of the permanent sales sites that Euro Auctions operates, with sales at the sites or depots of its clients or at a neutral location.
Making a success of any 'offsite sale' depends upon five key elements:
In recent years Euro Auctions have conducted many ‘off-site’ sales for many reasons. Notable recent retirements sales include WH Bond and Long Eaton Plant Hire, where clients choose to work with Euro Auctions because we understood their business and cared about the outcome. Sunbelt Rentals (the new A-Plant) have conducted regular stock rotation sates at our Leeds site, with other operators hosting one day disposal sales including: DUO, DA Williams, Temple Quarry, MGL Contractors, Long Eaton Plant Hire and UK Coal.
Two of the most notable disposal sales conducted by Euro Auctions were Hewden and Hawk Plant Hire, which, due to the size and scale of each project needed a sympathetic approach, where we built good relationships with the Joint Administrators. For Hawk we set up a two-day auction at their HQ in Shropshire, with the sale totalling £29m. For Hewden Plant Hire the inventory was sold at each of its plant hire centres across the UK. Then to finish the job we held world’s largest crane sale selling Hewden stock of 127 mobile cranes in one day on the runway at the Newark Showground, with a final hammer of £28m (€32m). This was quite a sight to see, it attracted a huge number of new buyers and was an overwhelming success.
We are often asked what makes Euro Auctions so good at putting on world class ‘one off’ sales, on a muddy farmer’s field, or a remote runway, whilst attracting an international audience? It’s not just about the plant and machinery, it’s also about the people and as a family business Euro Auctions understands the importance of people and we all take pride in playing a part of the overall success of every single auction. Euro Auctions know there many reasons why owners may be conducting a disposal sale, including the end of a business, retirement or a bereavement and as such we work sympathetically with the business to effect a satisfactory outcome.