“Hey Ryan, what’s my tractor worth now?” is a question that I get asked ALL THE TIME. It happens at tractor pulls, on the internet, even at my last eye doctor’s appointment. Furthermore, it’s not just tractors. It’s farm equipment values in general.
It makes sense, too – for more reasons than just people knowing what I do for a living. The fact is, determining what your equipment is worth isn’t easy – especially in the economic climate we’re in right now. In fact, when we surveyed farmers last year 82% said it was their biggest pain point when shopping. There’s a lot of moving parts to it, plenty of rabbit holes to fall down, and it takes time!
So, with all of this in mind, I put together my top tips for evaluating equipment. For some of you, this is old news and common sense. However, every day I see farmers breaking these rules when putting a number on something. Plus, at the end of this article, we’ll talk about a better way to keep a handle on this stuff.
Let’s dig in.
Honestly, old auction results and record sale prices only matter when you’re shooting the breeze. Sure, they’re fun to talk about over the morning coffee or beers in the shop. However, for working machines, nobody gives a rip what a combine sold for at a retirement auction in Nebraska on a random Tuesday in April 2012. When it comes to negotiating, the only sales numbers that have any credibility are ones that have happened within the last 3-6 months.
If you’re looking at auction results or sale prices, make sure they’re relevant. Be honest with yourself about the condition of what you’re evaluating. If it’s had four owners and it’s seen better days, don’t compare it to a cream puff that’s never slept outside a night in its life. Condition, hours, tire/track wear…that’s all important. We all know it’s easy to be pretty generous with what you own (and harder on equipment you’re shopping). Don’t fall into this trap, because in the end it’ll disappoint you.
You can look at classifieds all you want, but at the end of the day, the list price doesn’t really matter much. The only number that really matters is the sold price. That’s not an easy number to track down, especially if it’s a private sale. Joe Farmer won’t spill his guts to some random farmer from three counties away just because you asked. You wouldn’t do it, and neither would I!
If you post on social media to find out what something is worth, you’ll lose faith in humanity. Threads like this usually go one of two ways.
The first guy says it’s worth X, the next three will pile on him saying that he’s a moron and there’s no way it’s worth that much.
The fifth guy will rant in all caps about how new stuff is junk and computers have ruined farming.
The sixth and seventh guys will ramble about how it was so much better “back in the day” (which could’ve been the 70s, the 90s, or last Tuesday – who knows?).
The eighth guy will give you another number, re-starting the cycle.
At some point, someone randomly goes on a tangent badmouthing no-tillers (or full tillage farmers – it’s a race to see who jumps in first)
…and then the thread derails itself completely.
Now look what you’ve done. You’re mad at 2/3 of the people on the internet, gotten three low-ball offers based from yahoos apparently living in fantasy-land, and you’re ready to hit your phone with a hammer. And you still don’t have a number.
Yes, that was probably an overly-dramatic example of how those conversations go, but let’s be honest, you know you’ve seen EVERY SINGLE ONE of those responses in social media posts. The fact is, NONE of them know what they’re talking about, and most of the time their gut-feel number is wrong. Why? Because it’s not backed by enough data. If a reasonably clean John Deere 8200 with 6000 hours on it sold near them for $43K once, then that’s what the standard is. It’s all about frame of reference, and looking at a bigger picture. (For the record, that’s NOT what clean 6000-hour 8200s sell for these days. Expect to pay closer to $80K for those right now!)
The thing is, to get the bigger picture, gut feel doesn’t cut it. You’ve got to use DATA.
So now that I’ve shared the bad ideas, and what NOT to do…what if I told you that Tractor Zoom has an easier way to keep tabs on what your tractor’s worth now?
Because we do. And it’s free.
It’s called My Equipment List, and it’s one of the most powerful new tools on Tractor Zoom!
Farmers talked, and we listened. 82% of them said they wanted an easier way, so we built one. It’s pretty darn simple to use – tell us a little about the equipment you’re evaluating, and we’ll do the heavy lifting to help you put a number on it.
Here’s how it works.
Think of us as a digital blue book for tractors, combines, planters…pretty much whatever you’d find on a farm. With a database of over $20B in farm equipment sales, we’ve got millions of data points to draw from. We get the big picture, which allows us to give you unbiased values for YOUR equipment – not category averages.
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