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When 'Used' Makes Economic Sense

(July 2008) posted on Tue Jul 01, 2008

The upsides and downsides of the used-equipment market.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Jonathan Zinsmeyer

The lease scenario is tougher because you may or may not recover enough to pay off your lease, so you may lose money on the transaction. Weigh the remaining monthly payments versus the penalty fees. It might make more sense to get out now versus having the headache of the monthly payments, especially if you don't use the equipment often enough.

Once you have decided your approximate sale price, contact a broker. I have exclusively used Scott Patterson at SP Brokerage (, but there also are companies such as Wildcat Imaging ( and others across the marketplace. Whichever broker you choose should be able to tell you what your machine is worth and its street value. The pricing decision is up to you-go with the street value or raise your price-it all depends on how badly you need to move the machine.

The broker will take a percentage of the sale for their services, but without a broker all you have is eBay (I never suggest) and some organizations that offer classified listings for members, (SGIA, ISA, etc.), as well as classified ads in trade publications or on their websites.

What I like about brokers is that they typically will move the machine fast, plus they take care of everything-packing, rigging, shipping, and so on. All you have to do is prep the unit and unplug it from the wall. The broker prepares and presents the sales contract only when he has received a cash deposit from the buyer showing a commitment to purchase your unit.

This contract should state that you are selling the unit 'as is' with no warranty or guarantee, and cover you against "return" of the unit. Since the buyer is afforded an opportunity to check out the unit in advance-watch it print and check under the hood-the contract should protect you against a buyer coming back with a claim or problem that they were unaware of. If you're not working with a broker, have your attorney draft a quick sales agreement that states that above-mentioned items as well as who pays for packing, shipping, and other sale basics.

Specific points when selling include proof of performance, prepping the machine, getting the machine out the door, and collecting the proceeds. Let's take a look at each: