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Top 3 Online Equipment Shopping Tips

Top 3 Online Equipment Shopping TipsIf you’re on this website, chances are that you’re shopping online for farm equipment. And while buying farm equipment online can be convenient, savvy farmers will want to keep several considerations in mind. Read on for our “Top 3 Online Equipment Shopping Tips” …

Tip 1: Know What to Look For.

Shopping for used farm equipment in general can be tricky – even more so when shopping online. When selecting our used farm equipment inventory, our policy is never to purchase equipment that has not undergone a careful visual inspection. As the old saying goes, “Paint can cover a multitude of flaws.” So can grease, for that matter. Consider, then, the risks inherent in shopping from a photo!

When dealing on websites like Craigslist, look at photos carefully, making certain that you’re seeing the implement from all angles. High resolution photos are preferable. Don’t hesitate to ask for close-ups of areas where wear & tear are likely to be seen.

Your risk as a buyer increases with the mechanical complexity of the implement. Our advice for tractor buyers is old fashioned but still holds true: “Never buy a tractor you without a test drive.” There are a multitude of unknowns when buying a tractor, from hydraulic pressure, to the condition of the transmission, to the number of hours on the engine. (Ask about our custom equipment locating service if you’re unable to find a tractor locally – our extensive network of trusted equipment contacts extends your geographic reach while removing the risk of dealing with an unknown party.)

Tip 2: Become Familiar With the Seller.

Knowing the reputation of the party with whom you are dealing can eliminate many of the concerns outlined in Tip 1. But if you’re buying from someone online from the first time, ask if he or she can provide you with references from satisfied customers. It’s often said that trust is a key ingredient in a capitalistic system. So, while honest sellers greatly outnumber dishonest sellers, here’s our word of advice: “Trust, but verify.” (And no, we didn’t coin the phrase – Ronald Reagan did.)

Tip 3: Plan for Unplanned Costs.

A common misconception is that Internet has reduced the prices farmers pay for used farm equipment. In fact, the opportunity to compare equipment over a wider area has had the opposite effect, raising implement prices across the board by an estimated 30-40%.

Other cost-related matters to keep in mind include planning for freight hauling costs. If purchasing equipment off our retail equipment sales lot, the cost of long-distance freight is already factored into the price, and getting it home to your farm from our equipment lot is simple. Often, you can hitch your tractor up to a newly purchased implement and drive it right off the lot. If other cases, we can load your purchase onto your truck or trailer free of charge. (We also provide local delivery at a nominal cost.) But when purchasing equipment online, logistics can be an expensive & labor-intensive matter. Long distance freight is usually not included in the purchase price of an implement bought or sold online. Generally, the heavier the implement, the higher your freight cost per mile. Also, be sure to plan for the mechanics of getting your implement safely unloaded once it reaches your farm.

Finally, keep in mind that when you buy it online, it’s yours, period. Purchase an implement from a local dealership, and chances are that if you’re dissatisfied with the piece after a couple uses, you can either return it or trade it back in for a different implement. In the case of an implement purchased online, if you buy it, you own it, even if it the purchase turns out to be a disappointment.


The Internet has had a major impact on the used farm equipment market – and in our opinion, sellers, not buyers, have reaped the majority of the benefits. When purchasing equipment online, the farmer winds up paying a higher price, taking on more risk, and expending more effort to purchase a used farm implement than he did in the pre-Internet era. Brand new equipment is the only thing you can buy online with 100% confidence.

3 thoughts on “Top 3 Online Equipment Shopping Tips

  1. When I was in college I worked for a company that auctioned off used equipment online. Most of the equipment came from cities or local government, so I have a couple of extra tips about buying anything online. The biggest two are to plan ahead for costs like shipping and repairs. Also, if at all possible go see and inspect the equipment. It will be sold as is and you’ll want to make sure the price listed is fair. As long as you are aware of these two things, you shouldn’t have any trouble with stuff you buy online.

    1. Hi James – You make good points regarding planing for shipping costs and inspecting the equipment. Thanks for reading & commenting.

  2. I really like your tip on becoming more familiar with the seller. Since farm equipment can be fairly expensive, I definitely agree that it is important to check out references and testimonials when working with a new seller. However, I imagine that you may not need to do this if you are purchasing the equipment from the manufacturer or major distributor. Plus, they usually offer warranties so that the risk you make is minimized.

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