Equipment Appraisal Blog | Understanding Machinery Appraisals

Valuing a Semi Part 2: Trailer Appraisal

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 @ 10:30 AM


In the first part of this series, we looked at the truck appraisal end of a tractor trailer. But what about trailer appraisal? What does an equipment appraiser look for when determining equipment values in standard, flatbed or reefer trailers? By knowing what is taken into consideration during equipment appraisals, it's much easier to make sure the process goes quickly and smoothly. Here's what is usually looked at when a trailer is appraised:

Valuing a Semi Part 2: Trailer Appraisal

  • Where are the logs? An equipment appraiser will want to take a good look at repair and maintenance logs, especially on refrigerated trailers and other types that have high-maintenance systems on board. But even on standard trailers, there should be some documentation on the tires, the maintenance that has been done on mechanical systems such as the brakes and similar concerns. Having documentation of these tasks, whether as a log book or a collection of receipts, will show that the trailer has been kept in good condition.
  • What is the condition? A trailer that has been well maintained will always have a higher valuation than one that has been poorly kept. Why? A trailer that is poorly kept will often fail faster than well kept counterparts. This can have a drastic effect on the value, especially if there appears to be problems with key systems on the trailer.
  • Kick the tires. Replacing trailer tires can be an expensive proposition, so newer tires or retreads can help boost the valuation of your trailer. But even beyond tread depth, what kind of condition are the tires themselves in? Are there cracks or signs of damage to the sidewalls? Tires in good repair and with decent tread left will help improve your trailer's overall valuation and are another sign of good maintenance of the entire unit.
  • Over the top wear and tear. Though we've been talking about signs that a trailer has been well maintained, now we're going to look at the other end of the spectrum. A trailer that has been abused will often have a much shorter expected life cycle, lowering its appraised value drastically. This can show up in terms of serious dents, bends in the frame, poorly made repairs, failing refrigeration units, worn or damaged tires, worn or failing brake systems and other areas where the condition indicates abuse and poor maintenance.
  • Special features. This will depend specifically on the type of trailer that you're having appraised. It can include the cooling unit on a reefer trailer, heavy brakes on nine axle trailers, scrapes or dents on the bottom of a low boy or any other numerous features for non-standard trailers. As with the other features mentioned above, having these features in good condition with evidence of regular maintenance will boost the value, while signs of abuse or excessive wear will decrease the value.

By having a grasp of what will happen during a trailer appraisal, you can use your equipment in a way that protects the equipment values in the long run. If you didn't have a chance to read the first part of this series dealing with semi tractors, please take a look now and you'll know exactly what to expect from the entire machinery valuation process.

Tags: truck appraisals, trailer appraisal

Valuing a Semi Part 1: Truck Appraisals

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Tue, Apr 19, 2016 @ 11:00 AM


When you run a big rig and need to have a truck appraisals conducted, how do you know what will come into consideration during the process? Knowing what the equipment appraiser is looking for helps you know how to judge equipment values, whether you're considering making a new purchase or figuring out when to upgrade from your old standby. Here are a few things to keep in mind when having your semi tractor appraised:

Valuing a Semi Part 1: Truck Appraisals

  • Show us the paper. Though it seems like it wouldn't have as much to do with your truck's machinery valuation, having proof of maintenance and repairs is vital to the process. Whether you keep a regular maintenance and repair log, have an envelope with all the repair receipts in it or can get a copy of the records from the shop you always use, documentation helps prove good care of your truck.
  • In good condition. Though it's normal to have some average wear and tear on your truck, it should show that it has been keep up, whether that's through regular washing, a clean interior or an engine compartment that is well kept and in good repair. Much like documentation, this step also proves that your truck has been well maintained.
  • Mileage matches wear. Though most people wouldn't dream of messing with the odometer, some shady shops will try to tamper with it to gain a few dollars in the sale price. Equipment appraisals will take a good look at the wear and tear of the entire vehicle, and if it appears to have much more wear and tear than the odometer would support, you may want to have documentation on hand in the form of mileage logs or similar paperwork to back up your claim. Excessive wear is often related to early failure of a variety of systems, lowering the final appraised value.
  • Free from signs of abuse. Much like the mileage concern above, this step is to ensure that the truck will continue to operate for an expected period of time. Abuse can include repairs that have not been seen to, too much play in steering, suspension, brakes and similar systems, poorly made repairs, cracks or dents, bends in the frame and similar concerns. Trucks that have been hard used and not cared for often have much earlier failure rates than trucks that have been well maintained.
  • Manufacturer-added or -approved features. Everyone can buy a basic truck, but one that has a few more bells and whistles will demand a higher price in the market, which is reflected in the appraised value. But what about additions that were manufactured by third parties or part of customization outside the manufacturer's specifications? You may actually end up lowering your truck's value. Why? If a feature was added that causes additional wear and tear on a particular system or circumvents a safety feature, it can actually cause the truck to fail sooner instead of adding value to a normal life cycle.

Knowing what to expect during a machine appraisal helps you get through the process quickly and easily by allowing you to have everything you need on hand and accessible for the process. But now that you know what to expect in truck appraisals, what about the trailer? Tune in next time for the second part of this series, dealing with trailer appraisals, and don't forget to contact us for all your appraisal needs.

Tags: equipment appraisers, truck appraisals

How Equipment Appraisal Firms Operate

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 @ 11:51 AM


When you are trying to find an equipment appraiser who can provide quality equipment values, how do you know a good company from a bad one? Equipment appraisal firms provide machinery appraisal services to the business community and must be reliable and accurate in their documentation. Here's our look at how equipment appraisal firms operate and what to look for in a quality machine appraisal firm:

How Equipment Appraisal Firms Operate

Equipment appraisal firms provide quality machine appraisal services to a variety of industries. Though other people may purport to provide equipment appraisals, only a report from a certified equipment appraiser may be accepted in a variety of situations, including legal action, financial transactions, tax appeals, risk management and similar situations. But what makes an equipment appraisal firm different than someone who may perform appraisals for a dealership, auction company or similar business?

Independence and Scrutiny

One area to take into consideration is independence. An independent machinery appraisal company provides documentation of the machine's value that will stand up to scrutiny because they have no vested interest in the outcome of any transaction. By comparison, think about the last time you went to a car dealership with a really bad trade-in vehicle. The sales reps took a look at your trade and, because they had a vested interest in selling you a new vehicle, appraised it at a much higher value than was actually worth. At that point, they can write off the loss as the cost of doing business and claim a lower profit for the year, lowering their taxes.

Proper Certification

Another area where qualified machine appraisers stand out is in the area of certification. Being certified by an accrediting agency or organization means that the appraiser has had training and been tested to ensure they'll use the appropriate methods and techniques when appraising your equipment. An Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) and Accredited Member (AM) in Machinery & Technical Specialties (MTS) are designations from the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) that proves that the appraiser you're hiring to value your machinery has a solid grasp of the techniques and methodologies used to value equipment. They'll often take into account different factors including the expected lifespan of the machinery, current market conditions and many more issues that can affect the valuation of your machinery.

Appropriate Approaches and Methodology

Part of the qualification for certifying as a machine appraiser includes learning how to apply the appropriate approach and methodology to the appraisal. This is of vital importance in many situations, including insurance claims, business value when changing ownership or buying out a partner, getting financing for a business expansion, providing documentation for a property tax appeal and many other situations. If your machine appraisal doesn't include the appropriate methodology, it may be rejected and your effort and money wasted.

Now that you know what to look for in a firm offering quality equipment appraisals, it's time to find one that will work well with your company's needs. If you haven't found a company yet to provide you with quality equipment values, please contact our expert equipment appraisers at Equipment Appraisal Services.

Tags: accredited appraisers, equipment appraisal firms

How Incorrect Depreciation of Equipment can Affect Your Bottom Line

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Tue, Apr 05, 2016 @ 10:30 PM


As tax season is in full swing, there are two ways to handle depreciation of equipment: the easy, risky way or the harder, smart way. Though it's easy to use the government's standard depreciation tables and schedules to depreciate your equipment values over the years, you may actually be creating a situation where you're opening your business up to risk or leaving money on the table when looking at potential opportunities. Depreciation is legal documentation of your business assets and should be accorded the same regard as your deed to your location or your business licenses. Here's why using machine appraisal to get a proper figure for depreciation of equipment can make a huge difference to your company:

How miscalculating depreciation of equipment affects your company's potential

Situations where value remains higher than the standard depreciated value

In some situations, an equipment appraiser may assign a higher value than a standardized depreciation table. If you use a depreciation table in these circumstances, you're stating a lower value than the machine may actually be worth. This is a problem in a few areas. A tax agency may claim that you are intentionally claiming a lower value to avoid taxes, especially if you use the equipment for an extended period of time after it has been fully depreciated per the standardized table. You can't leverage your assets fully to take advantage of opportunities that may come your way because your financial institution doesn't know you have more value in your machinery than stated. Not having an accurate machinery valuation may cause problems with getting cash from your insurance company to purchase comparable equipment in a loss because the tax record and depreciation is the only proof of value you have.

  • Is your equipment seeing easy use? If it isn't getting normal wear and tear, it might have a higher value than an average piece of equipment of that type and quality because it will be expected to last longer.
  • Did you invest in quality equipment that is still expected to be in service and retain value beyond the end date of the standard depreciation table for that type of equipment? If so, it might lose value at a slower rate and will still have value long after it has been completely depreciated.

Situations where value may be lower than the standard depreciated value

But there are also situations where your value may be below the standardized depreciation tables. In these instances, you may be overstating the value of the equipment, leaving your business open to risk and higher taxes. Paying taxes on assets that are shown as having a higher value creates a false high value, raising your business taxes. At the same time, using these figures to secure financing may open your business to additional risk when an opportunity doesn't pan out and the machinery won't sell for its depreciated rate.

  • Does your equipment tend to see heavy or abusive use? If it does, it might have a lower value than an average piece of equipment of that type and quality due to a shorter expected lifespan.
  • Is it of average or bargain quality? It may not last the full length of the depreciation table, forcing you to pay higher taxes on it until it fails.
  • Have there been issues with irregular maintenance or uncompleted repairs? These can lead to a shorter lifespan, causing it to be removed from service before it's completely depreciated.

If you need to have equipment appraisals performed to get a corrected depreciation value, Equipment Appraisal Services can help. Our certified, highly-trained equipment appraisers are ready to find the right value for your machinery.

Tags: Asset Depreciation, machinery & equipment appraisal