Equipment Appraisal Blog | Understanding Machinery Appraisals

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Credentialed and Experienced Appraisers

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Mon, Oct 02, 2023 @ 07:30 AM

Machinery and equipment appraisals from experienced credentialed appraisers

Like many jobs, a combination of educational qualifications and hands-on experience should create the most reliable professionals who can be trusted to be efficient and effective in their work. Whether you have trade or manufacturing skills, are in retail sales, or provide consulting services, the more schooling, training, and on-the-job performance you have, the more accomplished you will become.

Appraisal work falls into the service provider category, and in addition to these qualifications, requires a high level of ethical understanding and impartiality to create value-added for their clients. With the focus on these requirements, the educational component for an appraiser is not learned in high school, undergraduate, or graduate school, but is part of an overall technical training program provided by reputable industry organizations such as the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) and the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA).

Although many appraisal companies are affiliated with these types of organizations, it is incumbent upon the individuals within each business to personally acquire the educational training and credentials they offer. Once the initial certifications or accreditations are granted, there are continuing educational requirements to maintain them over one’s career.

From an experience perspective, the highest-level credentials are generally not earned until 3-5 years after an individual begins working as an appraiser. If less experienced employees are involved in a valuation project, the final reports submitted to clients should have a signed certification from the senior appraiser who would be responsible for the results of that assignment.

If you need an independent appraisal, it is important to ask the companies you are considering exactly how the assignment will be handled. Ensure that a senior-level valuation professional will be managing the project and directly involved throughout the process. Without the proper credentials and experience behind the work effort, you may end up with a less than reliable report.

Education, training, and experience are the keys to becoming adept at most things in life. The appraisal industry is no exception. To learn more, contact a reputable valuation professional who can provide additional insight on the topic.

Tags: machinery & equipment appraisal, accredited appraisers, certified business appraisers

Elements of Equipment Appraisals: Estimating Liquidation Values

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Mon, Sep 18, 2023 @ 07:30 AM

understanding liquidation values in equipment appraisals

The need to have an independent machinery and equipment (M&E) appraisal completed for your business can arise from any number of circumstances. The most common reasons are for collateral review with bank financing and leasing, merger and acquisition, purchase or sale, estate planning or settlement, divorces and business disputes, insurance, accounting, and tax requirements.

In all of these instances, Fair Market Value is estimated and deemed appropriate to rely upon; however, there may be reasons to consider lower-value premises such as Orderly and Forced Liquidation (Auction). Many finance companies and investors, as well as those not used to buying and selling equipment for a living, like to understand these lower-tier value levels given the likelihood they may not realize Fair Market Value in a real-world scenario.

Similar to estimating Fair Market Value, the appraiser will utilize available resale market data and consider factors such as replacement cost, useful life, depreciation, and other relevant components in their methodology. There are auction databases and other sources of information that can be found when researching liquidation values. Of note, auctions can tend to have inconsistent results with their sales depending on a variety of factors that determine the level of success a particular venue may have.

Given the appraiser will most likely be estimating Fair Market Value as part of their analysis, will they want to go back to the market and start over again with a liquidation assessment? Probably not. Instead, there are a couple of options where the valuation professional can establish reasonable liquidation value estimates utilizing Fair Market Value as a starting point.

One of these is to review databases and obtain opinions from market resellers regarding the average variance between the wholesale and retail markets. Databases involving vehicles and construction equipment, as an example, include this type of analysis estimating these different levels of value.

Depending on the level of resale activity for a particular type of equipment, you will see higher or lower margins between the fair market and liquidation value. Generally, the more active the market, the less differential you will see compared with equipment in a more specialized industry.

The value level of the M&E may also play a part in establishing a reasonable differential. A $500,000 piece of equipment may have a lower percentage margin than a $5,000 asset given what a reseller would try to target for a dollar profit margin between his wholesale price and the end user price. Similar to how an appraiser establishes Fair Market Value, they seek to rely on these variables to develop a pattern that makes sense when estimating liquidation value.

Elements of Equipment Appraisals: Asset Depreciation Schedules

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Mon, Sep 04, 2023 @ 07:30 AM

machinery and equipment appraiser use of asset depreciation schedules

One of the most common documents an equipment appraiser will receive from their clients during the early stage of the valuation process is an asset depreciation report, which tracks all the capitalized machinery, FF&E, real property, and improvements that a company has invested in and acquired over time. This document can be useful in the valuation process; however, it is generally not reliable on its own.

The capitalized depreciation record will usually be categorized and itemized by type of asset and includes the date of acquisition, dollar amount, and a brief description of the item. There will also be columns for accounting information so the company can internally track depreciation while providing a helpful tool for property tax and balance sheet purposes.

From an appraisal perspective, the original acquisition dates and associated investment amounts are the most beneficial pieces of information, however, with the descriptions typically abbreviated, it will be difficult to rely on the document to create an accurate itemized listing for the purposes of researching values. These documents can also be incomplete or include equipment that has long been disposed of. This is because companies will expense a portion of their equipment purchases while not having a consistent process in place for updating the report for accuracy.

It is important the appraiser and client review this listing together with the goal of expanding the descriptions while adding items that are not on the list and excluding those that should be removed.

For example, old computer equipment might have been sold or scrapped years ago for newer models but remain on the list, or there may be $10,000 worth of hand tools that were expensed over the years and never capitalized and depreciated.

The goal in any M&E appraisal is to create a refined list that is reasonably accurate and complete so the valuation process will be supportable. The primary focus can be on the larger, more valuable equipment while potentially grouping smaller asset types like office equipment and support tools so the process doesn’t get too bogged down and time-consuming.

In summary, when you provide an asset depreciation schedule as part of the data requested by the appraiser, anticipate the need to get more involved to afford them a better understanding of the detail behind it so they can develop a more accurate listing that represents your company’s machinery and equipment.

Simply put, the better the data provided, the better the result will be with the valuation. Discuss this topic with your appraiser proactively to ensure a timely and effective process.

Tags: Asset Depreciation, Machinery & Equipment Appraisals

Elements of Equipment Appraisals: Should the Income Approach Apply?

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Mon, Aug 21, 2023 @ 07:30 AM

Applying Income Approach to M&E Equipment Appraisal

Even though other professional appraisers may disagree with me on this topic, I find it is relevant to raise the issue of whether the income approach should apply or even be a consideration when valuing most machinery and equipment (M&E). In my 40 years of working in the M&E asset management and valuation markets, involving machinery across virtually every known industry, I can count on one hand how many times I have even attempted to assess and place weight on this approach. The same goes for the number of times I have been asked by a client even to consider it.

In layman's terms, the Income Approach estimates the current value of the future economic benefits of owning a particular piece of equipment. Similar to using this approach to estimate the value of a complete business or real property (land, buildings, and related assets), which is relevant in many cases, it requires the ability to clearly separate and directly apply revenue and expenses to M&E.

A scenario where this might be possible is a business that owns a rental fleet of equipment such as trucks, trailers, or heavy machinery. Both short- and long-term rental history could be considered and potentially applied to estimate the value of this type of activity. There are concerns, however, as to the validity and reliance of the assessment.

First, it is common practice in the equipment rental industry to apply discounts to the eventual purchase price of these assets based on past rentals when their clients eventually want to buy them outright. Even with large assets such as aircraft, this is not unusual. The result is that a significant portion of rental income lessens the real market value of the equipment, causing it to get tangled up with the other approaches to value.

Second, assuming you can estimate value under the Income Approach, given the restrictions and requirements, how do you weigh the result in the context of the other approaches, namely Cost and Sales Comparison (Market)?

You cannot completely ignore the other two approaches, as they should be considered and applied to some degree in every equipment appraisal regardless of the purpose, especially if the income approach estimate is materially different from that of the cost and market methodologies. I have never completed an M&E valuation without placing weight on each of these two methods.

In summary, these are just two of several issues that create concerns about the appropriateness of utilizing the income approach to assess M&E value. Contact an accredited professional appraiser to learn more on the topic.

Tags: Equipment Appraisal, equipment appraisers, Income Approach, M&E

Elements of Equipment Appraisals: Historical Data

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Mon, Aug 07, 2023 @ 07:30 AM

Historical Data in Machinery and Equipment Appraisals

Machinery & Equipment (M&E) valuation relies in large part on understanding the new and used trade markets and developing an analysis that reasonably reflects what the particular assets being appraised would be worth in those markets. Another important component of an M&E appraisal is looking internally at the business that is or was directly involved with the most recent purchase and operation history of the equipment to understand the facts behind this.

The additional perspective an appraiser receives by learning this history is critical to making potential adjustments to the market information they research. This history provides in-depth specifics for the machinery actually being valued that can’t be disputed. Every piece of equipment is unique in its own way. There may be somewhat different specifications between the assets being valued and what is available as a comparison in the market. Materially different hours or mileage may become a factor to consider as well as any recent upgrades or refurbishments completed.

Knowing the original purchase price of the machinery, even if it was acquired several years ago, will assist in reasonably verifying that the replacement cost estimates you determine are accurate. Appraisers cannot blindly assume all the independent market information they uncover is 100% bulletproof, as sources can be limited in their ability to provide all the right answers. This is perhaps the biggest challenge in the equipment industry. Unlike business valuation, where databases and historical financial data are almost always available, or real estate, which has a tendency to provide a wide array of published comparable property resale data, the machinery markets can behave in very inconsistent ways.

You will commonly see the same makes and models of equipment, with virtually identical specifications and usage, listing and selling for vastly different prices. The auction marketplace, which reflects billions of dollars of used equipment sales annually, experiences varying levels of demand, any of which may play a part in developing values for many types of assets. With the recent growth in online auctions across these markets, these disparities can be even more pronounced.

In summary, the historical data you can provide to an appraiser that complements their independent research and analysis will be very helpful in ultimately determining a reasonable and supportable value for your M&E.

Tags: valuation, accredited appraisers, Machinery & Equipment Appraisals, purchase price