It’s a tough economy out there, even more so for today’s agricultural professionals. Farmers have been particularly hard-hit by the declining economy and wild swings in supply and demand, as well as competition. Therefore, the tractor aftermarket has evolved beyond the corner dealership to the information superhighway.
For years, thousands have discovered the internet as a convenient source for reaching out to other prospective owners, looking to find a new home for that tractor — regardless of its condition, in many cases. Let’s review the basics of buying a used tractor online with the principles of being both economical and smart about your decision:
Buying Your Next Tractor Online
Why use the internet to buy your next used tractor? It’s convenient, has a broader selection, and is easier to comparison shop compared to simply reviewing the listings in your local classifieds. As with anything, there are obvious precautions that must be taken: you’ll have to do some homework by contact the seller with important questions, and weigh your options: both financial, and otherwise.
…From A Distance
Unless you’re looking at a local deal, most used tractors purchased online are done so from a distance in which the buyer cannot physically see the used tractor for closer inspection. Thanks to online measures that greatly protect buyers, such as PayPal and other ‘escrow’ style payment gateways, the integrity of these transactions is maintained.
Before buying a tractor through an online sale listing or auction, there are several main points to take note of:
- Usage: This is typically reported in “hours,” as in hours of operation. A seller should always estimate the number of hours the used tractor has been in service, and it is a major determinant of how much wear and tear the machine might have.
- Condition: The condition of a tractor should be clear, stating any current issues or needed repairs. It isn’t uncommon to consider a used tractor that needs repairs, if the price is right after factoring what your out-of-pocket expenses would be to fix it. This, of course, opens opportunities for those who have mechanic expertise — especially pertaining to engine issues which typically are ‘deal-breakers’ when looking at a used tractor due to expense. Other cosmetic issues should be considered, including rust damage and dents in the body panels or rims due to accidents.
- History: Did this tractor have an owner before the current owner? Was this tractor a restoration? Did it have an engine overhaul? Did it have water damage due to a flood? It’s important to know what lifestyle a used tractor had before considering it — only the seller can answer that question.
- Extras: Does this used tractor come with any attachments, spare tires or any other aftermarket parts? These “extras” add a little incentive to the sale, as they’ll allow you to be able to bundle more together for a more worthwhile purchase.
- “Why Are You Selling It?”: Always an interesting question to a seller. In most cases, current owners have upgraded to a new tractor and are looking to sell off their old equipment. Be wary of those selling off their tractor due to ongoing issues that they have not been able to resolve.
Know Your Seller
Most used tractor sellers are conditioned in the business, and have seen many tractors come and go on their lot. Others are simply private owners who are looking for an upgrade. It’s always nice to know the background of who is selling the used tractor you’re interested in. What kind of work do they do? How long were they in business?
A major determinant of initial cost is that of shipping the tractor to your location, which will either have to be done via carrier or flatbed. Be sure to know the shipping cost before placing a bid or any other kind of commitment to an online sale; especially if the tractor you’re interested in is from a great distance, demanding a greater shipping fee.
- Local Pick-Up: If the tractor you’re looking at is within reasonable distance, be sure to inspect it in person. It would be rare to find a seller who wouldn’t gladly set up an appointment with you. Due to this short distance, transportation is easier to organize via flatbed.
- Delivery: If the tractor is available a great distance away, delivery will have to be set-up between both parties. Be sure to ask the seller if they have any sources who might give a good quote for shipping — it will save you a lot of legwork and potentially save money. The cost of shipping a tractor depends on its total weight, and, of course, distance.
Much like buying a car, it’s important to have all of your expenses down on paper. Tally your short-term (initial purchase price, shipping, insurance quote) costs and long-term (repairs needed, attachments needed, new tires, etc.) costs to get a good picture of what you’re facing with your new purchase. Since your next used tractor will contribute to your income, it is the epitome of an investment — provided that it is the right match for the work you do, and reliable enough to continue working without fail. Start your search by browsing current listings for sale and auction prices, here on TractorSpot: