Media Centre: Sellers Tips

This advice is most relevant for selling used tractors, but many of the tips apply to all types of farm machinery:

Preparation

Even though you’re usually selling your machinery in its working clothes, you should try and make it as attractive to customers as possible. This will make it easier to sell, and in the case of a tractor, can boost its value by £800-£2000.

Start by cleaning the machine thoroughly. Don’t just blast it with the pressure washer. Buy a decent cleaning product and sponge it down thoroughly and don't use washing up liquid as it smears. Once you've washed everything, leather down the bodywork and glass to get rid of any drying out marks. While this dries out, turn your attention to the interior. Give it a good vacuum, clear out all the rubbish and wipe down the plastics. Don’t leave cubbyholes full of old string, broken shear pins and plastic bottles. It’s also worth taking the mats out and hosing them down.

Then clean up the exterior plastics, cut back and polish the paintwork and consider replacing damaged decals.
If you don’t fancy doing this, you can get a professional agricultural valeting service to do the hard work for you. Carlisle-based firm Agri-Valet offers a basic tractor valet for £150.

Next, replace worn-out parts where it’s economic to do so. Making sure all lights are working and there are no broken lenses is particularly important, as well as replacing broken mirrors. Battered mudguards are another item that can spoil an otherwise tidy tractor’s appearance and aren’t too expensive to replace. Adding a new set of wiper blades will also show that you’ve looked after the machine.

If the seat is threadbare it will make the cab look much worse than it really is. Consider putting a cover on it or replacing. Also carefully glue back any linings that have come unstuck and make sure the plastic panels are in place.

Touching up flaky paintwork can help add, value, but try not to go over the top. Too much glossy paint can look like you’re trying to cover a dodgy repair or a hidden past.

Painting wheels is a relatively safe bet and brightens up the machine. Make sure the surface is properly prepared and all grease and flaky paint is removed before painting. Also mask the tyres off properly as paint on the rubber looks sloppy.

Make sure any other parts or accessories you are including in the sale are also clean and clearly presented.
Gather all receipts as well as details of any major repairs or improvements. Include any warranties and receipts if applicable and include any manuals.


Placing an advert

Put together a good advert and you’re likely to get a sale. Keep the ad short, but give enough information to let potential buyers get a good feel for what you are offering. List the best features for your item and be sure to include anything that sets your item apart from any others. For example, front linkages, wide tyres with plenty of tread and front axle suspension are all good selling points to highlight.

To make your classified ad listing easy to find on search engines:

Make sure that you give the full title of the item that you are selling. State the make and model first rather than the year and avoid abbreviations.

Use multiple images, complete all fields including price and location and add a short but useful description.
Be honest with your listing and avoid the following sales lines:

  • Like new
  • Mint
  • Immaculate

The machine is used so buyers will know it’s not in showroom condition. Buyers will be more likely to believe you use the following language:

  • Excellent condition
  • Well looked after and regularly maintained
  • Very tidy

If it’s not in the best condition, say so and reflect this in the price.

A good quality colour photograph is also crucial for selling the machine. If you don’t include a picture or upload a bad one people are unlikely to get in touch. Make sure it is clear and in focus, try to include an overview picture from a distance, a close up picture of a particular item of interest and a photo from another angle. This will give the potential customer a good overall perspective of your item.

Start by working out how much to ask for your equipment. Price it too low and you'll lose money, but price it too high and you'll get no interest. The key is to price it just above what you'll accept, leaving room to haggle - everyone likes to think they're getting a bargain. Search on FW Classifieds for similar or identical items to yours to get a feel for the value.


Viewings

Selling farm equipment can be a daunting prospect, but by knowing what to expect, you can avoid being caught out by experienced hagglers, time wasters or criminals. Follow these steps to make sure you're not caught out.

  • Don't let a buyer take the machine out alone, as they might not come back
  • Check they have adequate insurance cover, or you could be liable for any accidents
  • Keep a close friend or relative with you - especially if you're selling
  • Always keep the keys on you when swapping seats or getting out of the farm equipment

Buyers will probably be keen to haggle on your asking price. You need to be firm, without being unreasonable; set a price beforehand and keep it in your head during negotiations. While this price in your mind should be the lowest you're prepared to sell the farm equipment for, don't decline a sale over a £50 difference in your lowest and their highest offer. It'll cost you far more in re-advertising fees, time and hassle.

Set appointments to meet with buyers during daylight hours and at times when you know others will be around. Give a quick tour over your item for them, but let the buyer ask lots of questions.

Be ready to demonstrate that your item starts and runs well (if applicable) and be careful with scams; which are unfortunately becoming more and more common. If people offer you money before they've seen it, refuse it. If anyone starts talking about shipping agents and picking the item up be very careful. Get them to telephone you, or obtain their number so you can call them – a genuine buyer would be more than happy with this.

Be very careful of poor English and any emails from countries like Africa, where many of these scams originate from. A typical scammer will be offering to buy your item and paying by Cashiers Cheque, Building Society, Bankers Draft or credit card for an amount greater than you are asking, then to send the balance on once the cheque has cleared. This is a scam using stolen/forged bank drafts/cheques which can clear in 3 days and bounce in two months. You may then have no tractor, and have paid the scammer the surplus cash and your bank withdraws the total amount back from your account.

Remember - If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!


The Sale

In an ideal world, you'd be paid cash during office hours, which you'd pay in immediately, but this isn't always possible. If you do receive cash, try to get it handed over in a bank, so you can pay it in immediately and the cashier can check for fake notes. If your buyer gives you cash outside banking hours, pay it in as soon as possible. A far better way is electronic transfer. It allows you to transfer funds online, but it can take a few days, so don't release the farm equipment until the bank tells you the funds have been successfully transferred.

Personal cheques and bank or building society cheques can cause problems. Personal cheques can be cancelled or issued without the available funds in the account, so if you've already handed over the farm equipment, you could be left seriously out of pocket. Despite common belief, bank or building society cheques aren't as good as cash; forged cheques are common.

Other precautions you can take include:

  • Ask the bank if you can draw funds against the cheque; asking if
    the cheque has cleared can mean something different
  • If possible, go with the buyer to the bank to draw the cheque
  • Ask the buyer for ID with an address and landline telephone number;
    if they're reluctant to give this information, be wary

It's easy to be daunted by the various bits of paperwork that accompany your farm equipment, but there's nothing to be frightened of. Once the deal has been sealed, you'll need to write a receipt acknowledging the following information:

  • The date
  • The amount paid
  • The make and model of farm equipment sold
  • The equipment's registration (if it has one)
  • The names and addresses of buyer and seller

Make two copies of the receipt; one for you and one for the buyer. Finish off by handing over any other useful documentation such as:

Handbook and service records

Any paperwork that relates to a warranty, if it still has one.