Machinery & Equipment valuations rely in large part on available market data that can be researched and considered. This information can be in the form of recent sales, current listings, new equipment pricing, opinions on normal useful life, and average annual levels of market depreciation.
Two of the most common sources of this data are equipment dealers (vendors) involved in the retail sale of new and used machinery, and auction companies, who liquidate thousands of used machines each and every year through advertised public sales. How does an experienced appraiser review these sources, and consider them when valuing similar assets?
The answer to that question will likely vary somewhat depending on the appraiser you are working with, however, it is important to first understand the differences between equipment dealers and auctioneers, along with the levels of value each of these sources equate to.
New and Used Equipment Dealers
These market sources are usually experienced in specific equipment types and manufacturer/model lines and can provide valuable insights on the overall market, new and used equipment pricing, normal useful life, and how the assets typically decline in value over time. This data and their general opinions are viewed as direct Fair Market Value comparisons, however, they can also discuss how they purchase used equipment such as typical buy/sell margins from an Orderly Liquidation perspective.
It is important to keep in mind that, although equipment dealers are considered experts in their specific market areas, there may be some level of bias associated with their opinions. It is always a good idea to consider additional perspectives in order to gain a balanced conclusion of value.
Auction companies are well recognized in many types of equipment markets, most notably in construction, earth moving, transportation, material handling, machine tools, and certain industrial manufacturing industries. Auctioneers provide a convenient, time-sensitive opportunity to liquidate assets under an organized public sale, and may even provide guaranteed buy-out options as an alternative for those unwilling to take on the risks associated with a “no-reserve” sale.
Because these sales are in the public arena, much of the data can be discovered quite easily through company websites, online databases, and other open sources. Auction sales data technically falls under the comparison to Forced Liquidation Value from an appraiser’s perspective, and actual realized sales can vary greatly depending on the type of equipment, buyer turnout, seasonality, and any number of other factors. Because of the potential inconsistency associated with this data, it is important to understand how best to consider it in conjunction with other sources of data to then conclude on a reasonable value.
In summary, new and used equipment dealers, along with auction companies, are considered two of the most important market sources of data for machinery & equipment appraisers. Making sense of this information and ultimately forming an opinion of value for the actual assets being appraised is the most critical step in any valuation effort. Engaging with an experienced, independent, accredited appraiser will provide you with confidence that the result will be credible and reliable.